World’s Strangest

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Big Brother Arrives

(YouTube link) Brothers Bailey Leonard and Meyers Leonard grew up close, especially after their father died. Bailey joined the Marine Corps. Meyers grew a foot taller and became a basketball player. What you see here is older brother Bailey coming home from Afghanistan. The younger Leonard now plays for the Portland Trailblazers. Read more about his [...]

Why Do So Many Countries End in “-stan”?

Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? Who put the -stan in Afghanistan? I don’t know about the former, but we can thank the Proto-Indo-Europeans for the latter. These folks spoke the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE), a prehistoric Eurasian language that linguists have reconstructed. The PIE root, stā-, or “stand,” found its way [...]

Khakis: A Heat Stroke of Genius

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Salutes the Armed Forces. The British Army’s fancy scarlet tunic looked sharp, but was agonizingly uncomfortable in the heat. The soldier’s warm-weather option was a dazzling white uniform -spiffy but impractical for daily use. How to solve the problem? JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY Legend has it [...]

The New Single-Medal Countries (and Two That Left the List)

A few weeks ago, we gave you 21 countries that have only won a single Olympic medal. Now that the London Games are through, it’s time to update our list with the countries that netted their first-ever medal this summer, and the two countries that have now moved into multiple medal territory. First-time medals Bahrain Getty Images Bahrain thought [...]

PTSD: A Very Modern Trauma

We’ve been familiar with the term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since the Vietnam War. The diagnosis of PTSD revolves around the presence of trauma and symptoms that include “intrusive memories, hyper-arousal, and avoidance of reminders or emotional numbing.” Most of us figured it was a modern name for a condition once called shell shock, battle fatigue, [...]

A Brief History of Olympic Defectors

Getty Images For some athletes, the Olympics aren’t just a competition: they’re a chance to escape oppression. Earlier this week, seven of Cameroon’s athletes disappeared from London’s Olympic Village. The week before, three runners from Sudan’s Olympic training squad filed for asylum in Britain. Here’s a look at some other Olympic defections. 1948 Summer Olympics: London Marie Provaznikova, [...]

The 21 Countries With One Olympic Medal

Earlier today, we quizzed you on the countries that have won more than 100 Olympic medals. Now it’s time for the other side of the equation. Twenty-one countries have won just one medal. Here are the stories of the national heroes who brought them home. Afghanistan OMAR SOBHANI/Reuters/Landov Despite making appearances at 12 Olympic Games since 1936, Afghanistan [...]

Taco Bell to the Rescue of Alaska Town

When residents of the remote town of Bethel, Alaska, learned that the news of a Taco Bell opening was a hoax, their hearts were crushed. But when Taco Bell learned of the story, it came [...]

There’s a Little Bit of Belgium in Every U.S. Dollar Bill

by Albena Shkodrova/Latitude News Antoine Vervaeke with pallets of flax. Image credit: Albena Shkodrova Dollars probably matter more to Antoine Vervaeke than any other person in Europe. Vervaeke’s company provides the linen fibers — flax — that go into the U.S. dollar bill. It’s a deal that’s been in place since 1962, when Vervaeke’s father signed a [...]

Epic Launch Video

Link Scroll down for today’s pictures & links. Epic Launch Video Feel the raw power of “riding a controlled explosion into space” – watch this Space Shuttle Discovery launch in high-res and with loud audio. And if you want more, then watch this too. Link Now for those who want to savor all the details of launch from all possible [...]