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The Best Amazon Deals We Could Find Today, March 19

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amazon / istock

As a new recurring feature, we’re going to share some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, March 19.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

GADGETS

Photive PH-BTE50 Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Headphones with Built-in Microphone for $24.95 (list price $99.95)

Neon Red Mini Portable Can-Shaped USB Fridge Beverage Drink Cans Cooler and Warmer for $21.98 (list price $48)

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black for $99.93 (list price $129.95)

Robot USB Hub for $15.89 (list price $29.99)

Bluetooth Car Kit, Bluetooth 4.0 Car Adapter Hands-Free Calling + Dual 2.1A USB Charger for $19.19 (list price $99.99)

Wireless Bluetooth Speakers TaoTronics 20W Boom X Premium Wireless Stereo (Aluminum-Alloy, Strong Bass, High Fidelity Sound, Built-in Microphone, A2DP Profiling) for $49.99 (list price $129.99)

Key Finder W 5 Receivers, Kollea Intelligent Wireless RF Item Wallet Locator Remote Control W LED Light for $21.99 (list price $49.99)

Anker USB Car Charger PowerDrive 2 (24W / 4.8A, 2 Ports) for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 / mini 3, Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge and More for $7.99 (list price $29.99)

RAVPower 7800mAh Power Bank External Battery Pack (2.4A Output, 2A Input, Deluxe Series, iSmart Technology) for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Smartphones, Tablets and More - Black for $15.19 (list price $99.99)

Portal 2 Sentry Turret - Motion Activated Desk Defender with 11 Speaking Functions for $34.95 (list price $59.99)

Apie Best In-ear Headphones Earbuds High Resolution Heavy Bass for Smart with Mic for $12.99 (list price $39.99)

GreatShield Clip-Grip Handlebar Bike Mount Holder for iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, LG, BlackBerry, HTC Smartphones, GPS Devices and More for $9.89 (list price $24.99)

iXCC Element Series 1ft Apple MFi Certified Lightning 8pin to USB Charge and Sync Cable for iPhone 5/6/6s/Plus/iPad Mini/Air/Pro - 2pc White for $11.99 (list price $39.98)

KITCHEN

Culina Quality Stainless Steel Electric Powered Fine Grind Salt/Pepper Mill with LED Light for $9.95 (list price $29.95)

Kitchen Maestro Collapsible Silicone Colander/Strainer. Includes 2 Sizes 8 and 9.5 inch for $12.99 (list price $34.99)

Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black for $241.03 (list price $350)

Everyday 6-Pack Replacement Charcoal Water Filters for Keurig Coffee Machines for $5.66 (list price $6.49)

KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, Black for $19.99 (list price $29.99)

Ouddy 16 Inch Magnetic Knife Holder, Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar for $21.99 (list price $79.99)

Wilton 570-1121 Easy Flex 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set, Blue for $6.20 (list price $9.99)

Wine Aerator Pourer - Upscale Aerating Wine Pourer by Boen Sendi for $9.98 (list price $42.99)

Ouddy Silicone Whisk, Balloon Whisk Set, Set of 3, Red,Yellow, Blue for $7.99 (list price $29.99)

Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Infrared Thermometer, Yellow/Black for $17.88 (list price $35)

Lodge LCC3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Combo Cooker, 3-Quart for $29.99 (list price $63.85)

Lodge SCRBRSH Scrub Brush for cleaning cast iron cookware, 10-Inch for $5.48 (list price $8.75)

Brita Water Filter Pitcher Advanced Replacement Filters, 3 Count for $13.99 (list price $29.89)

Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter (Single) for $8.85 (list price $19.95)

Culina Pizza Cutter 14" Stainless Steel, Wooden Handle (Beech) for $11.98 (list price $29.95)

HOME

Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner Machine for Cleaning Eyeglasses, Watches, Rings, Necklaces for $29.99 (list price $99.99)

Clara Clark Premier 1800 Series 4pc Bed Sheet Set - Queen, White for $26.89 (list price $99.95)

Bamboo Pillow - Hotel Quality Pillow with Stay Cool Bamboo Cover - Fiber Filled in the USA - Hypoallergenic and Dust Mite Resistant for $24.97 (list price $129.99)

Envion Ionic Pro Turbo Ionic Air Purifier for $99.99 (list price $179.95)

Honeywell TurboForce Fan, HT-900 for $13.99 (list price $34.55)

Lucid 10" Memory Foam Dual-Layered Mattress, Queen for $244.99 (list price $849.99)

InterDesign Modulon Household Storage Basket for Closet, Office, Garage, Kitchen, Bathroom and more - Tall, Frost for $13.99 (list price $23.35)

Diateklity LED Starry String Lights Copper Wire, Waterproof Décor Rope Lights for Garden, Patio, Tree, Party, Bedroom, Xmas Decorations, 33ft Bundle with UL Certified 3.6v Power Adapter for $15.99 (list price $39.99)

Brilliant® 8 Oz Silver Jewelry Cleaner with Cleaning Basket for $7.95 (list price $19.99)

BISSELL Natural Sweep Dual Brush Sweeper, 92N0A for $25.49 (list price $39.99)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

xtava | Verona Far Infrared Hair Dryer - Professional Level Blow Dryer for $55 (list price $85)

Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips Professional Effects 20 Treatments + 3D White Whitestrips 1 Hour Express 2 Treatments - Teeth Whitening Kit for $36.99 after on-screen coupon (list price $67.99)

GoWISE USA Body Fat Scale with FDA approved- Measures Weight, Body Fat, Water, & Bone Mass 400 Lbs Capacity Tempered Glass (Black) for $31.95 (list price $129.99)

Agadir Argan Oil Treatment, 4-Ounce for $13.75 (list price $40)

ArtNaturals Auto Shut-off & 7 Color LED Lights Changing Essential Oil Diffuser for Office & Home for $29.95 (list price $89.95)

Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun for $39.97 (list price $65.99)

Coconut Milk Body Scrub 100% Natural 12 oz. Powerful Body Scrub Exfoliator for $14.95 (list price $45.95)

Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner 10 oz for $19.71 (list price $40)

Obiqo Refreshing Body Wash with Marine Extracts and Sea Lavender 16.9 oz for $12.99 (list price $25.99)

OFFICE

10-Color LINKYO Liquid Chalk Marker Pens with Erasable Ink and Reversible Tips for $13.95 (list price $43.99)

Altra Dakota L-Shaped Desk with Bookshelves, Dark Russet Cherry for $89 (list price $139.99)

UBOXES Small Bubble Cushioning Wrap 175' 3/16", Perforated Every 12" for $16.17 (list price $29.95)

Boss Black "No Tools Required" Executive Leather Chair for $136.10 (list price $360)

SySrion Colored Pencils Set Premium Artist Grade Watercolor Water Soluble Soft Core Colored Pencils, Including 1pc Brush & a Free Pencil Sharpener - Set of 48 Assorted Colors for $13 (list price $39.99)

Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens, Fine Point, Assorted Colors, 8-Pack for $8.74 (list price $16.49)

Post-it Cat Figure Pop-up Note Dispenser, 3 inch x 3 inch for $6.99 (list price $14.93)

Anpress LED Reading Eye Protection Desk Lamp 18pcs 3 Level Brightness Touch-Sensitive Control Switch Dimmer Table Lamp with Calendar, Temperature Alarm Clock Function and 256 Living Colors Changing Mood Lamp for $16.95 (list price $40.99)

OUTDOORS, GARDEN, AND SPORTS

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, Black for $55.96 (list price $69.95)

Set of 6 LED Solar-Powered Garden Lights; Easy NO-WIRE Installation; All-Weather/Water- Resistant for $32.99 (list price $49.99)

Raniaco Power Pruning Shears, Sturdy Metallic and Sharp Garden Shears for $10.99 (list price $28.99)

Quik Shade Go Hybrid Backpack Canopy (Blue), 6 Feet X 6 Feet for $57.20 (list price $79.99)

Ivation Battery-Powered Handheld Portable Shower - Turns Water from Bucket/Sink Into Steady, Gentle Stream - Built-In 2200mAh Rechargeable Battery for $34.99 (list price $79.99)

Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill for $287 list price $499)

Suisse Sport Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compactable Sleeping Bag for $38.57 (list price $99.99)

Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug 'n Secure Swing Blue for $23.79 (list price $29.99)

CygoLite Dash 350 lm USB Rechargeable Bicycle Headlight for $48.25 (list price $54.95)

Etekcity 2 Pack Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern Flashlights (Black, Collapsible) for $15.88 (list price $70)

OuterEQ 8pcs Lightweight Outdoor Camping Hiking Cookware Bowl Pot Pan Set for $19.99 (list price $65.90)

ELECTRONICS

Sony KDL65W850C 65-Inch 1080p 3D Smart LED TV for $1,198 (list price $1,899.99)

TechPlay ODC19 BK, 3-Speed Turntable & Cassette player W/SD USB, MP3 Encoding System and AM/FM Stereo Radio & built-in speakers for $76.89 (list price $99.99)

Seiki SE32HY 32-Inch 720p LED TV for $139.99 (list price $199)

BLU Vivo Air Unlocked Cellphone, 16GB, White/Gold for $99.99 (list price $199.99)

Roku 3500R Streaming Stick for $37.55 (list price $49.99)

Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer for $115 (list price $239.95)

TOOLS

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool, Black for $12.69 (list price $22)

Stanley 66-344 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver for $3.99 (list price $8.35)

Keku LED High Power Headlamp Rechargeable Waterproof Head Flashlight Lamp with 3 Xm-l T6 4 Modes for $23.99 (list price $45.99)

Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Built in Compressor for $69.88 (list price $99.99)

GreenWorks 21212 4Amp 13-Inch Corded String Trimmer for $29.98 (list price $49.99)

AAA 85 Piece Commuter First Aid Kit for $16.04 (list price $19.99)

Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher, ABC, 160CI for $33.50 (list price $108.99)

Black & Decker LI2000 3.6-Volt 3-Position Rechargeable Screwdriver for $19.88 (list price $37.46)

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

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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