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Dogfish Head / New Belgium

6 Seasonal Beers to Try This Spring

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Dogfish Head / New Belgium

As the snow begins to melt, beer drinkers can finally put down their stouts and come out into the sunlight to enjoy some lighter, fruitier beers. Here are some new springtime brews to enjoy in the warmer weather. 


With warm weather comes music festivals, and the craft beer fanatics at Delaware's Dogfish Head brewery spend time each year concocting the perfect beer to drink while enjoying some outdoor tunes. This year's version is a juicy and refreshing beer that comes with noticeable, yet restrained, notes of hibiscus and kiwi, which bring the whole summery flavor together. You can find the beer in six-packs in most northeast beer stores until May. As an official beer of Record Store Day, the pink-tinted ale is the perfect beer to enjoy while listening to your favorite vinyl.


Widmer Brothers Brewing found so much success with its original take on Hefeweizen, that this year they're releasing a whole Hefe lineup. The Hefe Hopfruit is out now, with Hefe Berry Lime and Blood Orange soon to follow. So what's a hopfruit? In this case, it's a lot of grapefruit, which pairs quite nicely with the hazy, light beer. With a 4.6 percent ABV, the shandy is perfect for throwing back on a perfect spring day.


There used to be a time when watermelon-flavored beer would raise many eyebrows. Today, the summer fruit can be found in beloved beers like 21st Amendment Brewery's Hell or High Watermelon and Anderson Valley's Briney Melon Gose. Now New Belgium is joining the mix with their own Juicy Watermelon addition. The light, fruit flavor is sure to make for an addictive spring favorite. 


Texas' oldest craft brewery is showing its age with a little bit of outdated teen slang in the name of its latest release. Its new tart Berliner weisse, which will be sold in cans, packs a huge raspberry punch. Apparently, the brewers filled eight red wine barrels in their brewery with different fruit. A taste test of the finished barrels determined raspberry to be the best tasting, so now we have Raspberry AF. Each batch contains 405,000 raspberries and 3000 pounds of raspberry puree to really get that fruity taste. With an ABV of only 3.7 percent, the beer is light enough to be enjoyed with every meal.


Boulevard Brewing Company's new Show Me Sour beer is part of their new sour series (a Berliner weisse will join the series in August). The super tart beer is the result of a collaboration between Boulevard's brewmaster Steven Pauwels and Side Project Brewing owner/brewer Cory King. The brand's sour beers are available in six packs in the greater Kansas region.


This aromatic red ale from Colorado's Left Hand Brewing Company pours into the glass with a nice amber color. Despite being an IPA, the 6.8 percent ABV beer is more malty than hoppy in taste, and its smooth texture makes it work well as a satisfying drink at the end of a warm spring day. 


If you're trying to cut some calories in time for the beach this summer, then you might want to try one of the many spiked seltzers that have been hitting the shelves recently. The Truly Spiked & Sparkling line of seltzers offers five percent ABV drinks with just 100 calories and one gram of sugar per bottle. Their new flavor, lemon and yuzu, is a refreshing way to welcome the warmer weather. Unlike other spiked seltzers, the drink hides its alcohol content well and delivers a truly un-boozy taste.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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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Here's How to Change Your Name on Facebook
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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]