World’s Strangest

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Brain Damage May Be an Advantage for Gamblers

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research Staff Brain damage has its disadvantages, but an American study suggests that it can sometimes give gamblers a winning edge. The researchers take a flier at explaining how and why certain brain lesions might, in some circumstances, help a person triumph over others or over adversity. The study, published in the [...]

The Coming and Going of Cello Scrotum

A look at a transitory medical concept by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff The years 1974–2009 saw the inspiration, birth, and death of a medical ailment that puzzled some physicians, inspired others, and perhaps made no impact upon most. Its history played out in the pages of several medical journals. Here are [...]

The Ancient and Modern Ecology of Execution

Ancient Arab swords. Note that some designs were more commonly used for decapitation, and other designs less so. Drawing: The Book of the Sword, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Chatto and Windus, London, 1884. The following is reprinted from The Annals of Improbable Research. Click to enlarge images. by Simcha Lev-Yadun, Department of Science Education—Biology, Faculty of Science [...]

A Tribute to the Edible Dormouse

A British method for cooking dormouse, as pictured in an 1865 book. Drawing by John Tenniel. by Alice Shirrell Kaswell The edible dormouse (Myoxus glis) is the star of Giuseppe Carpaneto and Mauro Cristaldi’s 1994 study “Dormice and Man: A Review of Past and Present Relations.” The two Rome-based scholars—Carpaneto at Terza University, Cristaldi at the University [...]