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11 of the Most Delicious Reuben Sandwiches in the U.S.

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A classic Reuben sandwich is made of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing served on buttered, toasted rye bread. Open-faced or closed, it's a quintessentially American sandwich, and these 11 restaurants and delis have earned a reputation for making top-notch Reubens.

1. KATZINGER'S DELICATESSEN // COLUMBUS, OHIO

Katzinger's Delicatessen has been a Columbus landmark for 30 years, and their Reuben sandwich is billed as "the sandwich that built the business." The classic comes in two sizes, and the menu also features nine variations on the Reuben—including ones with slow-cooked brisket and oven-roasted turkey—to please any taste.

2. KATZ'S DELICATESSEN // NEW YORK CITY

Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan was founded in 1888 and regularly appears in lists of New York's best delis. (You might also recognize it from the most memorable scene of the movie When Harry Met Sally.) Katz's goes through 8000 pounds of corned beef every week, with much of it going into their Reuben sandwiches. Their corned beef is slow-cured, which takes about 30 days and gives it a particular tenderness.

3. THE BAGEL DELI // DENVER, COLORADO

If you crave an extra amount of corned beef, The Bagel Deli offers a classic, piled-high Reuben with sauerkraut stuffed between layers of meat. You can also get a Reuben with pastrami or turkey, a hot Reuben, and variations using coleslaw.

4. SKIPPER'S SMOKEHOUSE // TAMPA, FLORIDA

Skipper's Smokehouse boasts Floribbean cuisine, described as "a fusion of Caribbean, Florida, and Louisiana flavors." They serve seafood, crawfish, and alligator, yet they've built a reputation for their Blackened Grouper Reuben. This sandwich has a filet of grouper grilled with Cajun seasoning on rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing.

5. NATE 'N AL OF BEVERLY HILLS DELICATESSEN // BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA

Al Mendelson and Nate Rimer opened Nate 'n Al in Beverly Hills in 1945, and Al's grandsons Mark and David run the popular deli today. Their classic Reuben—called the "Hollywood"—is a favorite, but pastrami and turkey are also options, as are sides like potato salad and onion rings.

6. ZINGERMAN'S DELICATESSEN // ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

Established in 1982, Zingerman's Delicatessen serves made-to-order sandwiches with locally sourced meat and bread and dressings made on site. In 2012, Zingerman's Deli's Reuben made Food & Wine's list of Best Sandwiches in America.

7. HAM HEAVEN & DEVIL DOGS // SARASOTA, FLORIDA

When former New Yorker Rocky Rocchio moved to Sarasota, he brought his penchant for class sandwiches with him. Floridians have loved it—his Reuben at Ham Heaven & Devil Dogs was once voted best in the state.

8. CRESCENT MOON // OMAHA, NEBRASKA

One of the Reuben sandwich origin stories is that it was developed at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. The Crescent Moon Ale House, which is located just a couple of blocks down from where the former hotel stood, appropriately named its Reuben sandwich after the local landmark.

9. COURT STREET GROCERS // BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Last year, Grub Street named Court Street Grocers as the home of the best Reuben in New York (a high honor for a town known for their deli sandwiches). Court Street Grocers, which has three New York locations, makes their own "comeback" sauce for their Reuben sandwiches, described as a spicier alternative to Russian or Thousand Island dressing. They also use locally made bread and sauerkraut and concentrate on a balance of flavors instead of how much meat their Reuben contains.

10. CANTER'S DELI // LOS ANGELES

Canter's Deli has been serving L.A. since 1931, and they say they've gone through 10 million pounds of corned beef in that time (though you can also order their Reuben with the usual alternatives—pastrami or turkey—or with a vegetarian option).

11. SAM LAGRASSA'S // BOSTON

Sam LaGrassa's tagline is "World's No. 1 Sandwiches," and its patrons—who regularly wait in long lines—probably agree. The family owned shop is only open during weekday lunch hours, but the take-out menu assures you can get your fix anytime, assuming you plan ahead. Their Jumbo Reuben, which comes on grilled pumpernickel, is also available for delivery.

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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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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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