# Cutting bagels into linked halvesJune 28, 2012 4:21 PM   Subscribe

"I recently came across this video: Mathematically correct breakfast, which shows how a bagel can be neatly sliced into two identical linked halves."
posted by SpacemanStix (69 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

Author's original website. At least that's where I saw this first.
posted by brokkr at 4:24 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

<3
posted by jessamyn at 4:26 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I want to spread peanut butter on it and drop it above a carpet and watch as it spins so fast it tears a hole in the space time continuum as it attempts to land peanut butter down.
posted by srboisvert at 4:26 PM on June 28, 2012 [9 favorites]

mind-bageling.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:29 PM on June 28, 2012 [19 favorites]

This is how mathmaticians play with their food?
posted by dfm500 at 4:29 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Man! That's cool and all, but how does he make it seem so sinister? "Cut vertically...and then down to the inside..."

Brrr.
posted by howfar at 4:30 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to spread peanut butter on it and drop it above a carpet and watch as it spins so fast it tears a hole in the space time continuum as it attempts to land peanut butter down.

I don't know about space-time, but if you want to not just warp, but transform space entirely, just figure out how to glue back the bagel in the right way, then via Dehn surgery you can obtain a whole new space (well, closed three-manifold.) Hint: the bagel is roughly the "tubular neighborhood." Cut the bagel along a torus knot and you can obtain essentially any 3-manifold...

or something like that.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:39 PM on June 28, 2012

Infinite cream cheese.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:39 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I appreciate the fun he's having but not something I'm inclined to try at home. I have a hard enough time cutting a bagel without slicing my fingers down to the nubbins.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 4:47 PM on June 28, 2012

Just because one can doesn't mean one should.
posted by Mr.Me at 4:47 PM on June 28, 2012

Man! That's cool and all, but how does he make it seem so sinister? "Cut vertically...and then down to the inside..."

Reminded me of this.
posted by synecdoche at 4:48 PM on June 28, 2012 [6 favorites]

this seems like some pretty crummy math
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:49 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

When I was about 13, my doctor told me the story of his son, who cut off his own thumb slicing a bagel in half WHILE HIS THUMB WAS IN THE HOLE.

If he'd been trying to do this trick cut, he could have decapitated himself. This seems dangerous and I think it should be removed from youtube.
posted by broadway bill at 4:53 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I could have sworn this was a double.

But now I just want a bagel.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:54 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to leave a bunch of these at the hotel buffet and surreptitiously film people's reactions
posted by ook at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know how to party
posted by ook at 5:01 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

There is something horribly, horribly wrong about the consistency of that bagel.
posted by griphus at 5:07 PM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]

There is something horribly, horribly wrong about the consistency of that bagel.

Amen. That is, like, a Texas-grocery-store bagel. (i.e. basically a funny-shaped dinner roll.)
posted by restless_nomad at 5:12 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like this. Reminds me of the product idea I had in college. Infinite potato chips. You eat exactly half the remaining chips each sitting. Problem is once I sold everyone on earth a bag nobody would need to buy another.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:21 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, that is not a proper bagel at all. Let's just call the object he started with a doughy torus, shall we?
posted by maudlin at 5:25 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

But the carving is neat. Two (uncut) thumbs up!
posted by maudlin at 5:25 PM on June 28, 2012

That is an egg bagel.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:27 PM on June 28, 2012

ook, I had the exact same thought. We should go on holiday together.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 5:36 PM on June 28, 2012

That is an egg bagel.

I think it is an egghead bagel.
posted by drlith at 5:38 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't know. It kinda reminds me of this post.
posted by MtDewd at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

This has indeed been posted/linked before - it's by George Hart, the content head of the Museum of Math, theorist of the Incompatible Food Triad, and the dad of Vi Hart, who makes those fun math explanation videos that we've discussed.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

Egg bagels are a real thing, they are made with egg and sometimes sugar. They have a yellowish color. They are more challah bread. That is also why some people call normal bagels "water bagels"
posted by Ad hominem at 5:47 PM on June 28, 2012

The problem of cutting a bagel has not received as much attention as the cake-cutting problem (PDF)

Mathematicians like cake.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:55 PM on June 28, 2012

That is, like, a Texas-grocery-store

You obviously don't shop at the Tom Thumb by my house. Their bagels are somehow on par with an average New York bagels, which is to say that for Texas they're goddamn amazing.
posted by item at 6:00 PM on June 28, 2012

I have a hard enough time cutting a bagel without slicing my fingers down to the nubbins.

Yeah, but if you do it this way the nubbins will end up linked. How cool would that be?
posted by flabdablet at 6:08 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

My uncle is a topologist and I have seen this trick done in person.

He can also turn his pants inside out with his feet tied together. You know, in case you ever need someone to do that for you.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:12 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

turn his pants inside out with his feet tied together

I must know more.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:20 PM on June 28, 2012

I think I've met your uncle. He's the guy who always takes his vest off before he removes his coat, right?

Seems kinda inefficient, but it looks cool.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:24 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Man, imagine what he could do with a bread knife.
posted by box at 6:29 PM on June 28, 2012

Bagel-cutting injuries are among the the top ER admittances.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:29 PM on June 28, 2012

That is not an egg bagel. That is an egg "bagel."
posted by rtha at 6:35 PM on June 28, 2012

"Cut... Turn 180 degrees and cut... Turn 180 degrees and cut again"

That's 360 degrees, back to his first cut. That's not a mathematically correct breakfast.
posted by BurnChao at 7:10 PM on June 28, 2012

You eat exactly half the remaining chips each sitting. Problem is once I sold everyone on earth a bag nobody would need to buy another.

Zeno's Potato Chips - they're too good by half!
posted by zamboni at 7:12 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

torus toast!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:34 PM on June 28, 2012

...my doctor told me the story of his son, who cut off his own thumb slicing a bagel in half WHILE HIS THUMB WAS IN THE HOLE.

*Quentin Tarantino takes note*
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:37 PM on June 28, 2012

My mom is an ER doctor and said the number of people who come in having sliced up their hands trying to cut frozen bagels in half is just enormous. Sunday morning shift, it's a doozy.
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

>That's 360 degrees, back to his first cut. That's not a mathematically correct breakfast.

He said 'rotate' rather than 'turn' at least once, and flipped the bagel on a couple of axes...
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:55 PM on June 28, 2012

"That's 360 degrees, back to his first cut."

Yeah, this is some kind of mattress flip-turn regime voodoo, that's not turning 180 degrees.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:13 PM on June 28, 2012

This would be impossible to do with a Montreal bagel....
posted by cacofonie at 8:16 PM on June 28, 2012

I must know more.

Here you go. It apparently illustrates some deep mathematical principle, but mostly it's just good for embarassing your nephews at family functions.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:18 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

This will escher in a whole new way of looking at breakfast.
posted by subgear at 9:57 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I was a young man, you would have to go to the library to learn how to do this. But you wouldn't, would you? "Learning" "things" on the Internet does not endear me to the Twenty-First Century.
posted by kozad at 10:04 PM on June 28, 2012

Dear AskMe: Halp! I have somehow caught my pants into a half-sliced bagel. Problem is: I'm locked in my bedroom!
posted by trip and a half at 10:10 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Here you go

Thank you, and my nephews "thank" you.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:32 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

All the Sunday morning thumb injuries by bagel cutting are a perfect example of the sociology problem of the uneven stair thread from the other day.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:52 AM on June 29, 2012

Here you go. It apparently illustrates some deep mathematical principle, but mostly it's just good for embarassing your nephews at family functions."
"Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights."

They don't want us to know!
posted by brokkr at 1:20 AM on June 29, 2012

They don't show him eating the bagel. I think there's a reason for this. Either it's because it starts a chain reaction like ice 9 and all the molecules in his body will rearrange themselves in links, or else the guy is just camera shy.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:47 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Amen. That is, like, a Texas-grocery-store bagel.

Honestly, some of the best bagels I've eaten we're from a little shop in Houston TX called Hot Bagel Shop. A true hole in the wall establishment and I'm relatively certain they were true water bagels. They even make salt bagels, my personal favorite. Bit's making me hungry writing this.
posted by hwestiii at 5:05 AM on June 29, 2012

SORCERY!
posted by elizardbits at 5:22 AM on June 29, 2012

twoleftfeet: "vest"

I still remember when Flashdance came out and it seemed like every guy in the world was just amazingly impressed by this trick. (Ok, it wasn't a vest in Jennifer Beals' case, but it's the same principle.) And all of the girls were like, "Everyone does this. Why are you impressed?"

Ah, topology.

As far as the bagel goes, you should toast it, cover the toasted inside surface with your schmear of choice and then twist it back "closed". Stuffed bagel!
posted by Karmakaze at 5:31 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, that was a quoting fail. Er, follow the link for the original comment?
posted by Karmakaze at 5:32 AM on June 29, 2012

Amen. That is, like, a Texas-grocery-store bagel. (i.e. basically a funny-shaped dinner roll.)

You can get okay bagels at Central Market, because they buy from Hot Jumbo Bagel, but god forbid they should ever make a pumpernickel or two. You've got to get there early in the day.

I used to work next to HJB back when they were on 5th street, (it was us, them & The Rainbow Cattle Co --- what a bunch of misfits) and I'd go in at 9 in the morning and ask for pumpernickel, & they would invariably say "oh, we're out, but we've got plenty of onion!" Every day, they'd be giving left-over onion bagels away to the winos in the alley. Why, never once, did it not occur to them to make less onion & more pumpernickel?

Speaking of pumpernickel bagels, when I was a kid, there was this place in San Francisco, and every day I would get out of high school around 3 in the afternoon up at the top of the hill & ride my skateboard from Market & O'Shaugnessey down to 24th & Castro. It was a funky little coffee shop, & there was this hippie girl who worked there with long, straight brown hippie hair, you know the type of hair, and she had a little nose ring, the first I'd ever seen, and man she was beautiful, and I'd get me a cup of amazing Kenyan coffee and a buttered, toasted pumpernickel bagel with an absolute mountain of cream cheese from her, and I'd sit there and write bad high school poetry, and life was perfect. They had the name of the place painted at the top of the glass windows, and from inside, it read TEKRAM TAEM.

But I digress. I've watched the video, and while I am impressed with his paring skills (though can he make a swan from a cantaloupe??), I've got to ask -- how do you intend to grill that thing butter-side down?
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:01 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Now I am deeply nostalgic for a coffee place I've never been to thanks a lot
posted by ook at 7:12 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sehnsucht. Of course the word for it is in German, I knew it would be before I googled.
posted by ook at 7:16 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

And appropriately for the anecdote, sehnsucht kinda looks like it oughta be something spelled backwards.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:01 AM on June 29, 2012

Potatosphere!
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:17 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think it would be easier to do with 2 cuts all the way through the thickness of the bagel, rather than 4 cuts half way through. You could even do it in one cut, it's just that it's tough to get the handle of the knife through the hole.

It'll be the first thing I do when I get home tonight.
posted by CaseyB at 9:24 AM on June 29, 2012

Re: removing pants with legs tied together

Donn Pearce, author of Cool Hand Luke, described chain gang convicts taking off their pants each night while wearing shackles. (He demonstrated how to do this in a photo spread in Esquire back in the late 60s, if anyone has access to back issues and, if you do, let me know.)
posted by CCBC at 12:46 PM on June 29, 2012

Sehnsucht is so cruel.
posted by palbo at 2:30 PM on June 29, 2012

I am disappointed. With Banasky-Tarach decomposition, he could have had two bagels. Even without it, he could have continued cutting and ended up with two interlinked spheres of bagel.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:10 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

oops, Tarski Banach.

I have been grading high school algebra tests all day and I am becoming dyslexic and mathlexic.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:11 PM on June 29, 2012

(Q: What's an anagram of Banach-Tarski?
A: Banach-Tarski-Banach-Tarski.)

posted by nebulawindphone at 6:44 PM on June 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

LOL you know, I actually heard that joke before. You and I may be amongst maybe 20 people on earth that think it's funny.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:20 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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