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John Hodgman's Powerful Documentary: "Hobo Matters"

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"They called it the war to end all wars. The called it the London Fire. They called it the Trail of Tears. But they were all wrong. It was called the Great Depression, and the hobos saw it coming." So begins the powerfully hilarious eight-minute mockumentary "Hobo Matters," assembled by Andrew Quitmeyer using audio from John Hodgman's audiobook rendition of The Areas of My Expertise, along with still photography from the PBS documentary American Experience: Riding the Rails. I'm stunned that I didn't spot this when it came out in 2007.

I should point out the three operative jokes here, just so we're clear. First, Hodgman's fake hobo history is the main thrust. Second, this is of course not an American Experience episode, though it almost could be one, given the overall tone. Third, I very much enjoy the repeated use of a single photograph, endlessly Ken Burns Effected, for nearly eight minutes. More like this one, please.

For more on Hodgman, see That is All: John Hodgman’s Transcendent Final Audiobook of Complete World Knowledge or THAT IS ALL, John Hodgman’s Final Book of Complete World Knowledge (the latter contains significantly more Nick Nolte material). Also weirdly pertinent: Amenities Available at the Original "Big Rock Candy Mountain."

(Via Kottke.)

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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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