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11 Essential Talking Points for Mount Rushmore Enthusiasts

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Gutzon Borglum began carving Mount Rushmore on this date in 1927. Here's everything you need to know about the famous tourist attraction.

1. New Yorker Charles Rushmore’s curiosity made him famous. During an 1885 visit to South Dakota, the mining lawyer asked locals what a particular mountain was called. The response? "We will name it now, and name it Rushmore Peak."

2. In the early 1920s, historian Doane Robinson conceived of the monument as a tourist draw for the Black Hills. He enlisted sculptor Gutzon Borglum to carve it.

3. Borglum originally planned to carve only Washington and Lincoln, but he added Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt for a manifest destiny theme.

4. Carving began in 1927—it took just three years to finish Washington. The monument was gradually dedicated as each head was completed.

5. Jefferson initially sat to Washington’s right. When Borglum realized the stone wasn’t strong enough, he blasted away the sculpture and started a new Jefferson.

6. In 1937, Congress briefly considered adding Susan B. Anthony to the mountain. The expense stopped them.

7. The final tab: $989,992.32

8. Borglum died in March 1941, just months before the work’s completion that October. His son Lincoln finished up the project.

9. The National Park Service refused to let Alfred Hitchcock shoot North by Northwest’s climax on the mountain. Undeterred, Hitchcock built a giant model and shot the sequence in a studio.

10. The presidents’ faces went unwashed until 2005, when a pressure-spraying company donated a cleaning to blast away lichen and grime.

11. Doane’s tourism plan worked. Nearly three million people visit Mount Rushmore each year.

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine. Download our new iPad app and get a free issue of the digital version!

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
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If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

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