World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

How To Write a Love Letter

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research. (Image credit: Flickr user Kristina Alexanderson) An application of current communications techniqueby Joshua LedermanSpecial Instructor of Writing Department of English, Emmanuel College, Boston, Massachusetts [EDITOR’S NOTE: Professor Lederman has tried, for many years, to teach college students how to write. He got to thinking about [...]

Assessing Gluteal Hardness in Uniformed Security Guards

The following is an article from the Annals of Improbable Research. by Peter Freundlich The Peter Freundlich Institute New York City, New YorkPhotographs by S. Drew, AIR staff The author of this study has often been an object of intense study by Uniformed Private Security Guards. In response, he has spent much time in turn studying them [...]

Plucked From Obscurity: Aviators’ Safety Spinner

Inventive, yet under-publicized devices by Marina Tsipis, Improbable Research staff U.S. patent #1,799,664, for a “safety drop device for aviators’ use,” was granted to H.W. Williams on April 7, 1931. Here are some of the details: [A] safety device for use in making a landing from an aeroplane or other vehicle of the air especially in case of [...]

The Lady and the Bug

An entomological adventure taleby Stephen Drew, AIR staff NEWS ITEM: “An Israeli woman swallowed a cockroach and then a fork she used to try to remove the insect from her throat. The winged cockroach jumped into the 32-year-old woman’s mouth as she was cleaning her home in a village in northern Israel this week… [a] surgeon [...]

Constellation Reformation

(Image credit: Flickr user Diana Kathrina Leomo) by Ursula Majors A constellation is a group of stars that form a particular pattern. The celestial sphere is traditionally divided into 88 such constellations. Most are arranged to resemble characters from Ancient Greek mythology, and all have Latin names. Examples include Aries, Cygnus, Pisces and Virgo. Figure 1. The constellation [...]

Scratch & Sniff Business Suit

(Video Link) According to Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prize and the Annals of Improbable Research, some Korean businessmen own special suits that emit a pleasant aroma when rubbed. These suits allow the owners to remain fresh after very long days at work and play. Here’s Abrahams demonstrating the effectiveness of his peppermint-scented [...]

Hand Sanitizing: An Informal Look

by John Trinkaus, Baruch College, City University of New York John Trinkaus was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize in literature, for meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about things that annoyed him. This new study is one of a series Professor Trinkaus is publishing in the Annals of Improbable [...]

Paper Airplane Producers: Morning Types vs. Evening Types

The following article is reprinted from The Annals of Improbable Research. by David L. Dickinson, Dept. of Economics, Appalachian State University, and Todd McElroy, Dept. of Psychology, Appalachian State University People differ in their diurnal (time of day) preferences: some are morning-types and others are evening-types. These differences are explored in a unique experiment design in which [...]

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 [...]

Anatomy of the Centaur

The following is an article from the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research. Figure 1. Battle between Lapiths and Centaurs (Centauromachy) at the wedding of Perithoos with Hippodameia (Vase 5th century b. Chr.) by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. H.C. Reinhard V. Putz Institute of Anatomy, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich/Germany This study concerns itself with the systematics of [...]