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23 Hipster Baby Name Ideas From The Dictionary of Medieval Names

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Looking for a unique name with some historical cachet? The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is the place to go. It is a hefty work of scholarship that “aims to contain all given (fore, Christian) names recorded in European sources written between 500 and 1600, less the names of historical/non-contemporary people and names occurring only in fictional literature or poetry.”

The dictionary so far has over 1000 names, documented with citations and etymologies. They are constantly adding to the collection, planned in two phases, first looking at Western Europe and Hungary and then Eastern Europe. They also maintain an active blog with interesting facts about medieval naming practices and a “Mystery Monday” feature, covering documented names that have uncertain etymologies.

Here are 23 medieval names that would make great hipster baby names today.

1. Osgyth

This name of a 7th century Northumbrian saint comes from the Old English for “war god.”

2. Cherubina

This variant on the word cherub showed up as a name in Rome in 1527.

3. Aylward

There were spelling variations on this one, including Eilwardus, Aloardus, and Æðeluuard, but this one probably works best for the Kindergartener learning to write.

4. Hainfroy

Related to the Old German words for "enclosure of peace," this one showed up in France in 1388.

5. Brihtstan

From the Old English for "bright stone," this one can be pronounced sort of like Brixton (which has a different etymology).

6. Dewnes

The origin of this name is obscure, but it was also sometimes spelled Dunes.

7. Zoete

An adorable choice, from the Middle Dutch word for "sweet."

8. Everbern

For your dangerously cuddly cub, ever goes back to the Old High German for "boar," and bern goes back to the word for "bear."

9. Frost

It’s a solid English word, why not also a name? Someone had the same thought in 1420.

10. Ysoria

The etymology is uncertain, “but perhaps related to Latin Isaura, an ethic byname derived from the region of Isauria in Asia Minor.”

11. Hilpwin

Goes back to a Germanic term for "help friend."

12. Galicius

This delicious choice is from the Latin name for the Celtic tribe who lived in Galicia in Spain.

13. Idony

Name your daughter for Iðunn, the Old Icelandic name of a goddess associated with apples and youth.

14. Roenwallon

Found in France in the 9th century, this is a combination of the Old Breton words for "royal" (roen) and "valorous" (uuallon).

15. Joceran

It sounds cute, but it can also be traced back to something like "goth raven."

16. Magner 

Feel like Magnus is too common? Go for Magner, which can be traced back to the Old High German for "mighty army."

17. Alleaume

This name of a 10th century French saint means "noble helmet."

18. Willulf

Also good is the 9th century Latin version of this name: Willulphus.

19. Landwin

This name going back to "land friend" was popular in early medieval France.

20. Queniva

Formed from the Old English cwen and gifu, Queniva is a "Queen gift." It's also spelled Kueneva or Kweneve.

21. Rustic

Take little Rustic to the farmer’s market with you, just like they did in the 12th century.

22. Snorri

Snorri may sound like a sleepy choice, but it’s actually from an Icelandic word for "smart, sharp-witted person."

23. Unica

There is no one like your baby, says this name, from the Latin for "unique, sole, singular." It was recorded as a name in England in 1552.

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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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What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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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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