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11 Literature-Themed Coloring Books

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amazon

Coloring books have been making quite the comeback in recent years, and now, you can color in almost anything you can imagine. That's especially true for book lovers—there is a whole smorgasbord of different literature-themed coloring books to choose from. If you ever imagined Harry Potter in Slytherin colors or Anne Shirley with black hair, now is the time to make those dreams a reality.

1. WUTHERING HEIGHTS; $12

Emily Brontë's gothic novel paints a pretty vivid picture of the Yorkshire moors, and the misty landscapes and brooding characters make for excellent subjects in a coloring book. Each illustration is coupled with a quote from the book, so you can relive the drama once again as you color.

Find it: Amazon

2. COLOR ME JANE: A JANE AUSTEN ADULT COLORING BOOK; $9

The sparkling world of Jane Austen offers up a whole slew of designs and clothing to fall under the tip of your colored pencil. Illustrated by Jacqui Oakley, the book is inspired by all of Austen's greatest stories, from Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility. The 80-page book offers characters, patterns, and accessories that all need a splash of color.

Find it: Amazon

3. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES; $10

Anne Shirley might not have been able to get rid of her carrot-colored locks, but with this coloring book, you can give her the raven- or auburn-hued hair she always wanted. Unlike other coloring books, this one offers a coherent storyline that unfurls as you color. Illustrations are done by Jae-Eun Lee, who breathes new life into the iconic characters.

Find it: Amazon

4. ALICE IN WONDERLAND; $10

The surreal and colorful world of Wonderland is a prime coloring book candidate because it welcomes bold and adventurous choices. If you want to give the Mad Hatter pinstripes and Alice a black dress, no one's stopping you—just don't mess with the Red Queen. Amily Shen gives the world and its characters a highly detailed look and even adds in new elements, like Alice's tiny bowler hat.

Find it: Amazon

5. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA; $11

This official coloring book offers a new way to enter the wardrobe. Color through the world of Narnia and enjoy scenes, characters, and designs from all seven books.

Find it: Amazon

6. TOLKIEN'S WORLD; $4

This unofficial coloring book takes inspiration from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There are over 90 pages in the book that come from six different artists. You can enjoy coloring all the fantastical locations and creatures, including elves, orcs, and hobbits.

Find it: Amazon

7. HARRY POTTER; $12

Enter the magical world of Hogwarts once more with this new series of coloring books. This book has over 90 pages just waiting for your colored pencils to give them life. When you're finished, you can try one of the other books in the series, like Magical Creatures, Magical Places & Characters, or Magical Artifacts.

Find it: Amazon

8. ESCAPE TO SHAKESPEARE'S WORLD; $4

Experience the stories of William Shakespeare in a completely new and interactive way. This 96-page coloring book features designs and patterns directly inspired by The Bard's work.

Find it: Amazon

9. EDGAR ALLAN POE: AN ADULT COLORING BOOK ; $8

You're going to need a lot of black and red before diving into this Poe-themed coloring book. Illustrator Odessa Begay brings the creepy motifs of Poe's work to each page, which are all laid out on thick, high-quality paper.

Find it: Amazon

10. THE DR. SEUSS COLORING BOOK; $12

This new coloring book is an ode to the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Inside, you can color familiar characters like Horton, the Lorax, and the Cat in the Hat.

Find it: Amazon

11. A GAME OF THRONES; $13

This is not a coloring book for the faint of heart—besides the graphic content, the intricate linework makes for some intensely difficult coloring. You can color the Weirwood trees, house sigils, and scheming characters from the books.

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
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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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technology
Why Your iPhone Doesn't Always Show You the 'Decline Call' Button
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When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren't always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?

A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.

If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the "slide to answer" button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.

If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, "accept" or "decline."

Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. ("Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!")

[h/t Business Insider]

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