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kels.vmn, Instagram

12 Pun Costumes for Halloween

Original image
kels.vmn, Instagram

At your Halloween party, you’ll see the classic scary horror icons, and you’ll see the trendiest pop culture characters, plus a few old standbys like cowboys, clowns, and animals. Every once in a while, though, you’ll see a costume that you have to figure out, because there’s a joke in there that may make you groan. Here are a few of the best costumes that give us a clever visual pun for Halloween.

1. TACO BELLE

AvantGeek, DeviantART

Olivia Mears is a cosplayer and costumer extraordinaire. Her Taco Belle dress decorations are made from card stock, tissue paper, felt, and Taco Bell wrappers. The inspiration came from a previous costume event, when she went for some fast food and contemplated the inadvertent pun. 

2. SAILOR MOON

ubebabe, Instagram

While everyone else is trying to make their anime Halloween costumes super faithful to the original, this guy took the shortcut with a Navy uniform and a false butt. That's an instant Sailor Moon. Instagram member ubebabe caught this fellow on his rounds last Halloween.

3. ALICE IN CHAINS

colebearden, Imgur

It took redditor colebearden 22 hours of work to get the costume right. Let’s hope that enough people at the Halloween party got the joke to make it worthwhile.

4. AMAZON PRIME

Jerry_Cherry, Imgur

Last Halloween, Jerry_Cherry combined the characters of an Amazon warrior and the Transformer Optimus Prime. The result is Amazon Prime.

5. SILENT KNIGHT

thebobsta, Imgur

Redditor thebobsta’s grandpa made his own Halloween costume out of building materials in his shop. Not only did it turn out to be awesome, but the title gives us a little preview of Christmas dad jokes.

6. THE GRIM REEFER

tehNardDawg, Imgur

For Halloween 2012, tehNardDawg’s father dressed as The Grim Reefer, and didn’t mind his son posting a picture.

7. THE SPICE GIRLS

kels.vmn, Instagram

You know who these ladies are—they’re The Spice Girls! Instagram user kels.vmn and friends dressed up as McCormick spices to raise money for the United Way a couple of years ago.

8. THE THIRD WHEEL

Brettera, Imgur

Redditor Brettera hung a bicycle wheel in front for her Halloween costume. It doesn't make much sense by itself, but as you can see in this gallery of pictures, she spent the evening posing with people wearing couple's costumes. She is the Third Wheel!

Brettera, Imgur

Brettera's inspiration came from her boyfriend, who teamed up with his roommate for a sort-of couples costume without her. A couple's pun costume. These cheerleaders are ceiling fans.

9. ONTARIO BANDANNAS

Photo courtesy of T.J. Griffin, used with permission

In 2005, the big movie in theaters was The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas. T.J. Griffin spiced up his Zorro costume by adding some Canadian flags to his neckerchief and armband and was "Zorro, featuring Ontario Bandanas." Ha!

10. EDGAR ALLAN HO

Zacch, Imgur

Redditor zacch mixed a literary figure with a statement on the trend of inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes when he dressed as Edgar Allan Ho. He explained:

I have a little paper sticking out of my pocket that says "Nevermore..."
If people didn't get it I told them I was Hipster Hitler.

Of course, the picture sparked dozens of further puns about Poe.

11. ONE-PURSE ENT

yourenotmydad, Imgur

And then there's the pun you have to travel around the world for. It's a good thing redditor yourenotmydad had a sign—otherwise, he'd have had to tell that whole joke to everyone who saw him!

12. WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

Illinformedpseudoint, Imgur

Under the category of things instead of characters, redditor Illinformedpseudoint caught a photograph of a guy dressed as the opening credits of the TV sitcom Cheers (you can see the iconic image itself here). He even has the expression down pat! Strangely, he went to a place "where everyone knows your name,” yet no one knows what his name is.

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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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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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
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What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]

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