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How to eavesdrop from a distance

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Another lesson from The Action Hero's Handbook, which this time is also pretty useful for your everyday nosey neighbor, jealous ex-lover, private eye or other such non-heroic profession. Let's get started!

1. Determine the topic of conversation beforehand.
Kind of a no-brainer, yeah, but it'll certainly help to know whether you're spying on drug dealers, contract killers or suburban moms gone wrong. In any case, knowing the topic will help limit the vocabulary used.

2. Position yourself in front of or to the side of the speaker
If you're better at tongue-reading, position yourself slightly to the side. If lips are your specialty, you'll want a frontal view.

3. Stay mobile
You may need to reposition yourself during the conversation as the speakers move their heads from side to side and shift their bodies. But be smart -- a Segway is great for mobility, but not so great as far as the whole "incognito" thing goes.

4. Read consonant sounds using the following basic criteria
"¢ P, B and M are formed with both lips together.
"¢ F and V are formed with the top teeth on the bottom lip.
"¢ Sh, Ch, J, Y and Zh are formed with the lips in a large pucker.
"¢ Th sends the tip of the tongue sticking out through the teeth.
"¢ S (C) and Z (X) are formed by the lips making a smile.
"¢ R is formed by the lips making a small pucker.
"¢ W is formed by the lips making a closed pucker.
"¢ K (hard C, Q), G (hard) and H are formed with an open (neutral) mouth and are never perceptible. Experience and context will help you discern them.
"¢ T, D, N and L are formed with the tip of the tongue moving up to the top of the mouth and then down (seldom perceptible -- again, context and practice help).

5. Multiply your exposures
Use a team of readers in multiple locations to get the whole story. Station the readers in various proximities to the speaker(s). Each reader will obtain a different part of the conversation. And if you fail, at least the speakers will feel weird, wondering why a roomful of people are all staring at them.

Of course, this is just the beginning. Eavesdropping is a learn-by-doing kind of activity, so get out there and start minding other people's business!

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Opening Ceremony
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:


Opening Ceremony

To this:


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]