World’s Strangest

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A Little Bit of Lotto History (Including Thomas Jefferson’s Take on Lotteries)

EPA/ERIK S. LESSER /LANDOV Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is up over $500 million—the biggest lottery prize ever. Whether you call it the poor man’s dream, a casino without walls, or a tax on the stupid, the lottery has deep and widespread roots. Here’s a look at three quick stories about the numbers game. Lotteries of Yore Lotteries have [...]

Why Is The Middle Finger Offensive?

The middle finger is one of our species’ oldest and most ubiquitous insulting gestures. But why is waving one of your fingers offensive? David Clark answered this question for us back in 2009, and we’re reposting it today in honor of a one-finger salute that aired on MSNBC this morning. The Middle Finger Like the Devil Himself, [...]

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Vergil

1. Vergil or Virgil? Vergil’s proper Roman name was Publius Vergilius Maro. However, many texts refer to the author of The Aeneid as Vergil while others refer to him as Virgil. Vergil is now understood to be the correct spelling of the poet’s name. Why the mistake? There are different theories. Gilbert Highet, in The Classical Tradition, [...]