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14 Pop Culture Coloring Books for Adults

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amazon

Still waiting on that next season of Game of Thrones or Sherlock? Missing Breaking Bad? Ease the pain with one of these pop culture-themed coloring books. As we’ve mentioned before, these books aren’t just for kids anymore. Adults have been utilizing coloring as an effective way to unwind and manage stress. And since you’re going to be breaking out your colored pencils, it might as well be to add some color to Harry Styles’s face.

1. HARRY POTTER COLORING BOOKS

Wizards rejoice! Soon there will be a whole series of Harry Potter coloring books for you to enjoy. Scholastic is already selling a general Harry Potter version with more specific topics like creatures, artifacts, and magical places and characters coming soon. Finally you can give Hogwarts the color makeover you always wanted. You just have to wait for the book to come back in stock.

Find it: Amazon

2. GAME OF THRONES

The elaborate and ornate world of Game of Thrones offers plenty of complex designs and patterns to color in. From the lavish castle in King’s Landing to the twisty Weirwoods in the North, there is no shortage of incredible scenes to color. There are 45 illustrations in total, drawn by artists Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomić, Adam Stower, and Levi Pinfold.

Find it: Amazon

3. DOCTOR WHO

Color your way through 96 timey-wimey illustrations from Doctor Who. There are planets, galaxies, villains, heroes, the Doctor, and the TARDIS, all ready to be filled in with colored pencils. This coloring book does not come out until February, but you can order the UK version right now. 

Find it: Amazon

4. SHERLOCK

Here is another English classic for your coloring pleasure. The book contains over 50 scenes and cast images from the show to color, but the most intriguing part is the clues. One clue from each episode is hidden in the book’s pages, and will only be revealed as you complete the scene.

Find it: Amazon

5. TOLKIEN’S WORLD

Enjoy coloring Tolkien’s vast Middle-earth, from the Trees of the Valar to Mount Doom. This unofficial coloring book was created by illustrators Ian Miller, Allan Curless, and Mauro Mazzara, and comes with 90 pages of intricate artwork.

Find it: Amazon

6. HARRY STYLES

Get lost coloring in the eyes of One Direction’s front man Harry Styles. Ever wonder what Harry would look like as a blonde? Now you can find out! You can also design and draw some cool tattoos for the singer to sport. Once you finish coloring, you hang up your work with this themed duct tape

Find it: Amazon

7. THRILL MURRAY

Over 10 illustrators have come together to create a celebration of the enigmatic Bill Murray. You can color him in some of his best roles like The Life Aquatic, Ghostbusters, and Lost in Translation.

Find it: Amazon

8. CLASSIC MOVIE POSTERS

Remember the classics with this old school coloring book. You can color in posters of such films as Gone With the Wind, North by Northwest and 28 other timeless classics. If you would like to change Clark Gable’s hair to a lovely shade of green, no one can stop you.

Find it: Amazon

9. DONALD TRUMP

“Let’s Make Coloring Great Again!” This Donald Trump-themed coloring book takes a look at some of the things the GOP candidate could accomplish in office. Color in awe as Trump meets with aliens, defeats Kim Jong-un in Connect Four, and finds his way onto Mount Rushmore. Love him or hate him, this is the perfect coloring book for all your political pals.

Find it: Amazon

10. TED CRUZ

This 24-page coloring book is a little more self-serious than the Trump version. The book offers colorable pages as well as direct quotes from Cruz about his political stance and ideas for the country.

Find it: Amazon

11. HILLARY CLINTON

For the liberal counterpart to Ted Cruz’s coloring book, try Hillary Clinton's version. This coloring book follows Clinton from childhood to her campaign for presidency.

Find it: Amazon

12. BREAKING BAD

While Breaking Bad might be over, the love of the show remains strong. You can relive the action with Gus, Jesse, Skyler, and the rest of the gang thanks to this 80-page coloring and activity book. You better break out a blue crayon!

Find it: Amazon

13. STAR WARS

The excitement of the new Star Wars movie is probably enough to make you a nervous wreck, so chill out with this relaxing coloring book. The clever book takes symbols and objects from the Star Wars world and turns them into abstract, kaleidoscopic designs.

Find it: Amazon

14. BUN B’S RAPPER COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK

This is the perfect activity book for any hip hop lover. There are 48 pages of coloring and activities including some notable names like Kanye West, Earl Sweatshirt, Tupac, and Drake.

Find it: Amazon

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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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