World’s Strangest

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Categorization of Baked Goods and Pancakes in English and Chinese

J.M. Errington of Haonowshaokao blog is an Englishman who studied linguistsics and is currently teaching English in Beijing, China, so he’d know about this: how to categorize baked goods in three countries. Link

What Do The Chinese Think About SOPA?

A lot of people have compared the Internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA with the Great Firewall of China, but how are the recent anti-SOPA protests viewed by those most affected by Internet censorship? Beijing-based [...]

Pollution Over Beijing

Cloudy skies over Beijing? Actually, no – the gray haze you see above is pollution. NASA’s Aqua satellite captured the patch of winter haze over the mega cities of Beijing and Tianjin on January 10, [...]

How Does China Enforce Its One-Baby Policy?

© Roy Hsu/Blend Images/Corbis Most people have heard that in China, you’re only allowed to have one kid. But does that apply to everyone? And how is that enforced? How did this whole thing start? When Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, he envisioned China as a superpower. A great nation would [...]

The 25 Most Powerful Songs of the Past 25 Years

by Jennifer Drapkin, Kevin O’Donnell and Ky Henderson They’re not the most beautiful songs, or the most musically important. In fact, a few could literally drive you nuts. But the following tunes—some as old as Mozart, others as current as Beyoncé—have fundamentally altered the world we live in at some point in the last quarter century. [...]

Giant LED Screen Ceilings At Chinese Mall

(YouTube Link) Shopping in The Place Mall in Beijing, China is like taking a strange journey through a hallucinatory wonderland, or maybe it’s just the giant LED screens that play animated videos all day. They don’t look like very much fun for people who suffer from motion sickness, or for those who already think the sky [...]

At the Libraries: Fictional Food

Each week Miss Kathleen provides links to a variety of stories about libraries, authors, and books. If there’s something noteworthy going on in your local library, leave us a comment! How am I just hearing about this excellent website? I think the name says it all: Fictional Food. With recipes, oh yes! * If you ever make it [...]

10 Previous Word of the Year Candidates That Didn’t Catch On

Last week Oxford Dictionaries named “squeezed middle” the Global Word of the Year,* edging out terms like “clicktivism,” “fracking” and “tiger mother.” A quick look through past lists like these tells us Words of the Year don’t always stand the test of time. Here are ten examples. 1. Bushlips Anyone who remembers George H. W. Bush’s [...]

11 Wars That Led to Natural Disasters

An hour ago, we discussed 11 Natural Disasters That Led to Wars. Let’s switch that around. 1. Flooding of Babylon, 689 BCE The Assyrians still rank as one of history’s meanest groups of people: skinning captives alive, throwing babies on spears — all in a day’s work for these brutal empire-builders in the ancient Near East. So [...]

The World’s Response to 9/11

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, people in countries all over the world showed sympathy, solidarity, and support for the US as we mourned those we lost. Mental_floss has a roundup of the international reactions to the events. Here’s a small sample: In London, the Star Spangled Banner played during the Changing of the [...]