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14 Things You Might Not Know About Ghost

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When Ghost was released over 25 years ago, it was hardly on anyone’s radar, with the exception of critics, who panned it. Somehow this supernatural-romantic-thriller, in which the lead character is an apparition, levitated out of the shadows to not only become the world’s highest-grossing film of 1990, but to win two Oscars. Here are some ghostly facts about a film that explores how even in death, love thrives.

1. WHOOPI GOLDBERG CREDITS HER OSCAR WIN TO PATRICK SWAYZE.

On The View, Goldberg revealed that she only got the role of Oda Mae Brown because Swayze fought for her. The producers resisted casting her, but Swayze told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi was in it, too, and that she was right for the part—even though at that point she and Swayze had never met. “And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” Goldberg said. In her 1991 Oscar speech, she thanked Swayze, calling him “a stand-up guy.”

2. GHOST OUT-GROSSED EVERY MOVIE RELEASED IN 1990.

When a low-budget movie makes an unanticipated large sum of money, it’s considered a “sleeper” hit, which is exactly what happened to Ghost. Produced for a modest $22 million, it ended the year with a worldwide gross of $505,702,588—that’s a lot of “dittos.” According to Box Office Mojo, Home Alone ranks as the highest-grossing domestic film of 1990, with Ghost a close second. But Home Alone didn’t surpass Ghost’s hull until February of 1991. Ghost hit another milestone when it spent 19 consecutive weekends in the top five weekend box office, ranking number five on the all-time weekend list.

3. GHOST TURNED DEMI MOORE INTO THE HIGHEST-PAID ACTRESS AT THE TIME.

By the time Ghost was released, Moore was already famous for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night..., but she wasn’t considered a bankable star. After the unexpected $200 million domestic gross of Ghost, she hit box office gold with a trifecta of other huge hits: 1992’s A Few Good Men ($141,340,178), 1993’s Indecent Proposal ($106,614,059), and 1994’s Disclosure ($83,015,089). If you add up all of Demi’s film grosses, it comes out to more than $1 billion. In 1995, she was paid an unprecedented $12.5 million to take her clothes off in Striptease. The film wasn’t a huge hit, and a few years later she traded Hollywood for Idaho.

4. DIRECTOR JERRY ZUCKER SAID HE’D CAST PATRICK SWAYZE “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”

In a video that appears on the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin—who won an Oscar for his script—talks about how Zucker was at first against casting Swayze as Sam. “Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse, and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” recalls Rubin. Swayze really wanted the role, and because Zucker appreciated Swayze’s gusto, he let Swayze audition. After Swayze read the end of the script aloud, Zucker changed his mind. “We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”

5. THE MOVIE BREATHED NEW LIFE INTO “UNCHAINED MELODY.”

The Righteous Brothers’s 1965 cover of “Unchained Melody” hit number four on the Billboard charts, but back in 1955 four other versions were also popular. After the Brothers’s 1965 version was used in the movie and featured on the soundtrack, it was re-released. The Brothers decided to re-record the song and then released it as a second single, with both songs concurrently selling well. It was the 1990 version, though, that hit number one on the Billboard U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, surpassing the feat of the 1965 cover. “So I didn’t know what it was going to do to the song, but, boy, when it came out in that movie, that song became a monster,” co-Righteous Brother Bill Medley told Songfacts. “I mean, a monster. I didn’t see that coming, that’s for sure." Medley’s hit song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was featured in another Patrick Swayze movie: Dirty Dancing.

6. THE NOW-INFAMOUS POTTERY WHEEL SCENE HAS BEEN PARODIED MULTIPLE TIMES.

Sam and Molly’s sensual pottery making formed such an indelible impression that for over two decades a score of homages have been filmed. In 1991, Jerry Zucker’s brother David directed The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, which featured stars Priscilla Presley and Leslie Nielsen reenacting the scene in a comedic matter. A 2010 episode of Community contains a pottery class instructor who admonishes the class with, “I will tolerate no re-creating, whether it’s ironic or sincere, of the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore pottery scene in Ghost. I’ve had to adopt a zero Ghost tolerance policy. If you so much as hum three notes from that Righteous Brothers song, with god as my witness I will come at you with everything I’ve got.” And a 2014 episode of Two and a Half Men, starring Moore’s ex-husband Ashton Kutcher, shows him and Jon Cryer creating lovely pottery together.

7. THE FILM’S SUCCESS MADE ROMANTIC FILMS MORE VIABLE.

Summer tentpoles Die Hard 2 (starring Moore’s then-hubby Bruce Willis), Total Recall, and Dick Tracy failed to claim a slot in the top five year-end box office, but romantic comedy Pretty Woman did. Like Ghost, Pretty Woman was yet another female-loved film that made a lot of money ($178 million domestic). “The success of Ghost and Pretty Woman has revitalized the romantic comedy, a genre that in recent years had become less appealing to Hollywood studios intent on making blockbuster action-adventure films,” read a 1990 article in The New York Times. In Ghost’s wake, The Bodyguard, Jerry Maguire, and Titanic all became huge hits for the romantic drama genre.

8. IN 2010, JAPAN REMADE THE FILM.

Ghost grossed a healthy $48,449,689 in Japan, so it’s no surprise the Japanese decided to remake the movie, except with a woman being the ghost. The studio that released the original Ghost, Paramount, and a slew of other companies were involved in the film’s production and release. In Japan the film is called Ghost: Mouichido Dakishimetai, which in English roughly translates to “Ghost: In Your Arms Again.”

9. TONY GOLDWYN GOT THE ROLE OF CARL WITH HELP FROM HIS WIFE.

Before he was President Fitz on Scandal, Goldwyn was a struggling actor, and then a film director. When it came time to cast of the role of Sam’s friend and murderer, Carl, Goldwyn got a leg up not because of his pedigree (his grandfather was Samuel Goldwyn), but because of his wife. “I fought my way into an audition on Ghost,” Goldwyn told The AV Club. “My wife was the production designer on that movie. At that time, she was much more successful than me and was doing all these big movies, and she kept saying, ‘They haven’t cast that part! You should bug your agents!’ And I kept harassing my agent, who would never return my phone calls, and I managed to get an audition. And, by a fluke, they stumbled on my audition tape and said, ‘That guy was really good.’” Jerry Zucker told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that he was skeptical of Tony. “We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice.”

10. DEMI MOORE THOUGHT THE PLOT WAS “A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.”

At a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of Ghost, Moore told the audience her initial feelings on the film. “It’s a love story, and it’s a guy—a dead guy—trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it’s a love story,” Moore said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.’ It’s either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust.” She went on to talk about what made the film special. “I think the beauty in this film is that none of us knew, and the alchemy that came together with Whoopi and Patrick, and our film editor, Walter Murch, and Adam Greenberg, our DP, it just had a magic.”

11. JERRY ZUCKER SPRUCED THE SCRIPT UP AND GAVE IT SOME LEVITY.

Zucker established himself as a comedy writer-director with Airplane!, so he was an unusual choice to direct a drama. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bruce Joel Rubin was skeptical of Zucker directing his script. “I wanted Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick [to direct the movie],” Rubin said. “When I was told that the guy who made Airplane! was going to direct Ghost, I cried.” Zucker and Rubin “went through 19 drafts of the screenplay together,” and Zucker gave the script more structure. “I felt it needed more twists and turns,” Zucker said. “It needed to keep moving. All those zany comedies have instilled a sense of pace in me. And, yes, I added more humor. Actually, a lot of the work I did was take things in Bruce’s head, which weren’t clear in the script, and help translate that into something a mainstream audience could grasp and digest.”

12. THE SOHO LOFT WHERE MOLLY AND SAM LIVED CAN BE YOURS FOR A COOL $10 MILLION.

Currently on the market is the spacious 4,341-square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, where Sam and Molly got clay all over themselves, and where they said their final goodbyes. The loft was originally listed for $10.5 million but was recently lowered to a more budget-friendly $10 million. It has three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator! Relive the magic … if you can afford the 10 percent down payment, that is.

13. GHOST ALMOST GOT ADAPTED INTO A TV SHOW.

In 2013 it was reported that Paramount TV had tapped writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie. Since then, no info has been released as to whether the pilot actually came to fruition. Honestly, some things are best left in the grave.

14. PATRICK SWAYZE’S SPECTER INFLUENCED HIP-HOP MUSIC.

Because Patrick Swayze’s surname rhymes with “crazy,” there’s been an influx of rappers rhyming the two words together. Marley Marl’s “The Symphony Part II” features the line, “Reach for the pistol and you’re crazy / Try to blast and I’ll be spinnin’ that ass like Patrick Swayze.” Eventually the word “Swayze” became associated with his Ghost character and became slang for “gone” or “leaving”. On 2Pac’s “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)”, Notorious B.I.G. raps: “That’s why I bust back, it don’t faze me / When he drop, take his glock, and I’m Swayze,” and in 2005’s SNL Digital Short “Lazy Sunday,” Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell sing, “Throw the snacks into the bag and I’m a ghost like Swayze.”

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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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