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isaac brock of modest mouse, via getty images

20 Bands Named After Classic Literature

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isaac brock of modest mouse, via getty images

Sometimes musicians reach for inspiration from their bookshelves. Here are 20 bands named after classic literature.

1. Modest Mouse

Issaquah, Washington's Modest Mouse named their band after a passage from the novel The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf. “I chose the name when I was fifteen," explains lead singer Isaac Brock. "I wanted something that was completely ambiguous, but it’s really candyesque sounding. But it meant something to me. And I could identify with that.”

"I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest, mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises."

2. Veruca Salt

Alternative rock band Veruca Salt is named after the spoiled rich girl who wins one of the Golden Tickets from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

3. My Chemical Romance

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Bassist Mikey Way was working at a Barnes & Noble when he was taken with the title Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance from Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh. His older brother and co-founder Gerard Way suggested the word "My" at the beginning of the band name.

4. Titus Andronicus

The New Jersey punk band named themselves after the William Shakespeare play Titus Andronicus, one of the playwright's most bloody and violent.

"I have found that when a person wants to be in a band, he or she spends a lot of time accumulating a mental file of words or phrases that would be cool band names. "'Titus Andronicus' was, to my mind, the best one that I’d come across," vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stickles explained to Exclaim.ca. "I wanted our band to straddle that line between the more cerebral, thoughtful elements of the human condition and the part of us that just wants to see blood and brutality."

5. The Doors

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The Doors took their band name from Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, which was itself taken from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell from English poet William Blake:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”

6. Rainer Maria

Co-founders Caithlin De Marrais and Kyle Fischer named their indie rock band after Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. The pair first met at a writing workshop in Madison, Wisconsin.

7. Steppenwolf

The band's original name was The Sparrow, but founder John Kay renamed it Steppenwolf based on a suggestion from record producer Gabriel Mekler, who had just finished reading Hermann Hesse’s novel.

8. Of Mice & Men

California-based Metalcore band Of Mice & Men got their name from John Steinbeck's famous work.

“The book Of Mice and Men says, ‘the well laid plans of mice and men often falter,’” frontman Austin Carlile explained. “You make plans, and they get screwed up. [Bassist Jaxin Hall] and I both had plans for life, and they both got screwed up, so now we’re making the most of what we can.”

9. Joy Division

Joy Division with Sam Riley

Originally, the name of the band was Warsaw, but they changed it to Joy Division so people wouldn't confuse them with another punk band from London called Warsaw Pakt. The name Joy Division comes from a novella entitled House of Dolls from a Jewish writer named Yehiel Feiner, who wrote under the pen name Ka-tzetnik 135633, which was his number in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The novella describes Jewish Joy Divisions as a group of women being used as sex slaves for Nazi soldiers and officers during World War II.

10. Clem Snide

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Singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay named his alt-country band Clem Snide after a character who frequently appears in the novels of William S. Burroughs, including Naked Lunch, Exterminator!, and The Ticket That Exploded.

11. As I Lay Dying

The San Diego-based metalcore band got their name from William Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying. While lead singer Tim Lambesis liked the name of the book, he believes that its themes and story don't reflect the band's identity.

"We got the idea from the name. I wouldn’t say that there is a correlation in the meaning of the book and the meaning of the band. We stole the name from there," Lambesis explained to Metal Underground. "It’s kind of depressing but I guess it’s well-written. It’s not my style of novel."

12. Belle & Sebastian

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Lead singer and founder Stuart Murdoch named his indie pop band after a French children's book called Belle et Sébastien by Cécile Aubry. It was adapted into a TV series during the '70s and was made into a Japanese anime series in the '80s.

13. Silverchair

Originally, the Australian alternative band was called Innocent Criminals, but the trio was later renamed Silverchair after the C.S. Lewis novel The Silver Chair when they signed with Sony Music in 1994. The Silver Chair is the fourth novel in "The Chronicles of Narnia" book series.

14. Josef K

The Scottish post-punk band took their name from the protagonist featured in Franz Kafka's novels The Trial and The Castle. The character Josef K also appears in the short story "A Dream."

15. The Artful Dodger

British garage band The Artful Dodger was named after the leader of the juvenile pickpocket gang in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Founders Mark Hill and Pete Devereux took the name because of all the bootleg songs they made when they first got started in the music industry.

16. The Boo Radleys

This name comes from the mysterious Boo Radley of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. According to the band's MySpace page, "The name comes from the shady character in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but was chosen (in a pub) just because they liked the sound of it."

17. Sixpence None The Richer

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Sixpence None The Richer took their name from a passage in C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity. The section from Lewis' book is about a son asking his father for a sixpence to buy him a gift.

"When the father received the present, he was none the richer because he originally gave the sixpence to his son," lead singer Leigh Nash said on The Late Show with David Letterman. "The analogy is to God who gives gifts for us to glorify him. He is not richer because of our presentation since he originally gave the gift."

18. Okkervil River

Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff named his indie rock band after a short story by Russian novelist Tatyana Tolstaya.

"There’s a lot of writing in the second person, a lot of jumping around in terms of what she was talking about, and it just felt very intuitive to me," Will Sheff told MTV. "A lot [of] how those experiences might feel to me, where you’re waking up from a dream and you’re jostled around. I was just really impressed by her writing."

Okkervil is also the name of a muddy river in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

19. The Airborne Toxic Event

The Los Angeles-based indie rock band based their name on a section from the novel White Noise by Don DeLillo.

20. Moby

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Born Richard Hall, the electronic songwriter got his middle name "Melville" and the nickname "Moby" from his parents, who told him at a young age that Moby Dick author Herman Melville was in their family lineage. "The basis for Richard Melville Hall—and for Moby—is that supposedly Herman Melville was my great-great-great-granduncle," he told CNN.

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Here's How to Change Your Name on Facebook
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Whether you want to change your legal name, adopt a new nickname, or simply reinvent your online persona, it's helpful to know the process of resetting your name on Facebook. The social media site isn't a fan of fake accounts, and as a result changing your name is a little more complicated than updating your profile picture or relationship status. Luckily, Daily Dot laid out the steps.

Start by going to the blue bar at the top of the page in desktop view and clicking the down arrow to the far right. From here, go to Settings. This should take you to the General Account Settings page. Find your name as it appears on your profile and click the Edit link to the right of it. Now, you can input your preferred first and last name, and if you’d like, your middle name.

The steps are similar in Facebook mobile. To find Settings, tap the More option in the bottom right corner. Go to Account Settings, then General, then hit your name to change it.

Whatever you type should adhere to Facebook's guidelines, which prohibit symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, and honorifics like Mr., Ms., and Dr. Before landing on a name, make sure you’re ready to commit to it: Facebook won’t let you update it again for 60 days. If you aren’t happy with these restrictions, adding a secondary name or a name pronunciation might better suit your needs. You can do this by going to the Details About You heading under the About page of your profile.

[h/t Daily Dot]

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