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21 Facts About Full House

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Since making its debut on September 22, 1987, Full House has never really been off the air. If anything, the show’s cancellation in 1995 seemed to improve its ratings, considering how well the series's 192 episodes have performed in syndication and on cable. So it was hardly surprising when it was announced last year that Full House would be joining the recent trend of TV shows being brought back to life.

Netflix's Full House spin-off, Fuller House, began streaming today. The series stars Candace Cameron Bure, who reprises her role as D.J. Tanner, now a recent widow and mother of three who recruits her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), to help her out during her time of need. Before you binge-watch, read up on some surprising facts about the original series.

1. AN EPISODE OF THE ORIGINAL SERIES WAS TITLED "FULLER HOUSE."

It was the 20th episode of season four, in which the recently wed Jesse couldn’t emotionally handle moving out of the Tanners’ home. Meanwhile, Stephanie struggled with fractions.

2. THE ORIGINAL PREMISE WAS CALLED HOUSE OF COMICS.

Jeff Franklin, a former writer for Laverne & Shirley, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and Bosom Buddies (where Bob Saget was the warm-up comic) initially conceived of a show about three stand-up comedians living in the same house. ABC told him they were looking for their own version of the very popular family-oriented shows of the time, like Family Ties, so he made some changes. Franklin admitted that he never thought ABC would like his idea, and that the scenario he dreamed up of a widower inviting his best friend and his brother-in-law to live with him and help raise his children is a scenario that exists “nowhere in the real world.”

3. BOB SAGET DID NOT PLAY DANNY TANNER IN THE ORIGINAL PILOT.

Saget was Franklin’s first choice, but he was employed on CBS’ The Morning Program. Paul Reiser was also on the list, but he opted to star in My Two Dads, the other new sitcom involving a plethora of fathers, instead. John Posey portrayed Danny in the original pilot seen by the network, but after Saget was fired from his job (The Morning Program would end up lasting all of nine months anyway), Franklin re-shot the pilot for broadcast with Saget.

4. SAGET AND DAVE COULIER HAD KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE 1979.

Aspiring stand-up Dave Coulier met established comic Bob Saget in 1979. Six months later, Coulier took Saget up on his offer to give him a call if he was ever in Los Angeles. "The irony of all of this is that when I didn't have an apartment, I slept on Bob's couch," Coulier told The Huffington Post.

5. COULIER STOLE "CUT. IT. OUT." FROM HIS FRIEND.

Mark Cendrowski is a television director who has been behind the camera for virtually every episode of The Big Bang Theory. In their brief time as a comedy duo, Cendrowski played a “Mark Suave” character who would tell a woman in the audience, “You’re in love with me, now cut. It. Out.” "So I told him, 'I’m going to steal that. I’m going to use that someday,'" Coulier admitted to BuzzFeed. "And he said, 'Ah, you can’t steal that.' So I starred on a show on Nickelodeon called Out of Control and it became my hook on the show. And when Full House started, I just brought it over and it stuck."

6. UNCLE JESSE WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE UNCLE ADAM.

But John Stamos told Franklin he was much more comfortable as a “Jesse.” Franklin had no problem with that, because Jesse was the name of Elvis Presley’s twin brother.

7. MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN WERE HIRED BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T CRY AT THEIR AUDITION.

Because child labor laws severely limit the hours a very young child can work in a day, twins were needed to play the role of Michelle, the youngest Tanner. Out of the 10 sets of twins who auditioned, Mary-Kate and Ashley were the only ones who both behaved.

8. COMET WAS ALSO AIR BUD.

Comet the dog was actually named Buddy. Buddy was a golden retriever who could shoot a basketball, stop soccer balls and hockey pucks, and catch baseballs. Those basketball skills landed him the starring role in Air Bud and Air Bud 2. Sadly, he died from synovial cell sarcoma in 1998.

9. ONLY ONE EPISODE WAS ACTUALLY SHOT IN SAN FRANCISCO.

That was the season eight premiere, “Comet’s Excellent Adventure.” Aside from the three episodes shot on location in Hawaii and Walt Disney World, every installment was taped on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles.

10. THE HOUSE FROM THE OPENING CREDITS WAS SOLD IN 2014 FOR $3.1 MILLION.

It’s the largest and oldest of the seven San Francisco houses known as the "Painted Ladies." The owner was asking for $4 million for the five-bedroom home, which was built in 1892.

11. THE WRITERS OF "EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK" ALSO WROTE THE THEMES FOR PERFECT STRANGERS, FAMILY MATTERS, AND STEP BY STEP.

Jesse Frederick was the performer, and Bennett Salvay was the writing partner. (Jeff Franklin also received a writing credit for the Full House theme.)

12. D.J. STOOD FOR DONNA JO.

The eldest Tanner child’s full name was Donna Jo Margaret Tanner.

13. CANDACE CAMERON’S FIRST KISS WAS ON THE SHOW.

The young actress was embarrassed because she was 13 and inexperienced. She had to ask Lori Loughlin, who played Becky, if she should keep her eyes open or closed.

14. D.J.’S BOYFRIEND STEVE WAS THE VOICE OF ALADDIN.

Scott Weinger’s big Disney gig was referenced in their two-part Disney World episode “The House Meets the Mouse.”

15. LITTLE RICHARD ACCIDENTALLY SLAPPED JODIE SWEETIN.

In “Too Little Richard Too Late,” the singer inadvertently finished a piano flourish with a smack to Stephanie Tanner’s face. "He felt so bad," Sweetin told The Huffington Post. "But I'm on a fairly short list of people who can say they've been slapped by Little Richard."

16. TWO ADDITIONAL SEASONS ALMOST RAN ON THE WB.

Because the budget was getting bigger and bigger, and family shows were suddenly not as cool, ABC cancelled the top 25-rated show after eight seasons. The brand new WB Network wanted an established major network show to poach, but some of the actors weren’t interested in that arrangement. (The WB ended up becoming Sister, Sister’s new home instead.)

17. FRIENDS FILMED IN FULL HOUSE’S SOUND STAGE AFTER ITS CANCELLATION.

When John Stamos guest starred on Friends’ 2003 episode “The One With the Donor,” he claimed that Dave Coulier’s underwear was still on the roof of his old dressing room.

18. GAIL EDWARDS RETIRED FROM ACTING SOON AFTER PLAYING VICKY LARSON.

Vicky and Danny broke off their engagement in the season seven episode “The Perfect Couple,” and Edwards never returned to the show. At about the same time, her recurring role on Blossom also concluded. The next year, she made one final TV appearance on Touched By an Angel before leaving show business altogether at the age of 41, moving to the Southwest.

19. ALEX KATSOPOLIS GREW UP TO BECOME A FOLEY ARTIST.

Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit has made sound effects for Game of Thrones and Furious 7. His twin brother, Blake, is a firefighter.

20. THERE HAVE BEEN ATTEMPTS AT TELEVISION AND MOVIE REMAKES BEFORE.

In 2008, Stamos pitched a “semi-remake” of Full House that went nowhere. In 2009, he said he was working on a movie idea, and had James Franco in mind as Uncle Jesse, Steve Carell as Danny, and Tracy Morgan as Joey.

21. JESSE AND THE RIPPERS REUNITED IN 2013.

Stamos, in character with his old band, performed their popular (in Japan) Beach Boys cover “Forever,” Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister,” The Beatles' “Hippy Hippy Shake,” and “Everywhere You Look” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Saget and Loughlin made cameos.

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technology
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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Health
200 Health Experts Call for Ban on Two Antibacterial Chemicals
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In September 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on antibacterial soap and body wash. But a large collective of scientists and medical professionals says the agency should have done more to stop the spread of harmful chemicals into our bodies and environment, most notably the antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban. They published their recommendations in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The 2016 report from the FDA concluded that 19 of the most commonly used antimicrobial ingredients are no more effective than ordinary soap and water, and forbade their use in soap and body wash.

"Customers may think added antimicrobials are a way to reduce infections, but in most products there is no evidence that they do," Ted Schettler, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, said in a statement.

Studies have shown that these chemicals may actually do more harm than good. They don't keep us from getting sick, but they can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs. Triclosan and triclocarban can also damage our hormones and immune systems.

And while they may no longer be appearing on our bathroom sinks or shower shelves, they're still all around us. They've leached into the environment from years of use. They're also still being added to a staggering array of consumer products, as companies create "antibacterial" clothing, toys, yoga mats, paint, food storage containers, electronics, doorknobs, and countertops.

The authors of the new consensus statement say it's time for that to stop.

"We must develop better alternatives and prevent unneeded exposures to antimicrobial chemicals," Rolf Haden of the University of Arizona said in the statement. Haden researches where mass-produced chemicals wind up in the environment.

The statement notes that many manufacturers have simply replaced the banned chemicals with others. "I was happy that the FDA finally acted to remove these chemicals from soaps," said Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. "But I was dismayed to discover at my local drugstore that most products now contain substitutes that may be worse."

Blum, Haden, Schettler, and their colleagues "urge scientists, governments, chemical and product manufacturers, purchasing organizations, retailers, and consumers" to avoid antimicrobial chemicals outside of medical settings. "Where antimicrobials are necessary," they write, we should "use safer alternatives that are not persistent and pose no risk to humans or ecosystems."

They recommend that manufacturers label any products containing antimicrobial chemicals so that consumers can avoid them, and they call for further research into the impacts of these compounds on us and our planet.

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