World’s Strangest

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Cuckoo Bees Invade Other Hives

A newly-discovered bee doesn’t build hives. It sneaks into existing hives and lays eggs in order to take over! Dr. Jakub Straka of Charles University in Prague and Dr. Michael S. Engel of the University of Kansas observed five species of cuckoo bees in the Republic of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa. According to [...]

The Decapitating, Rat-Eating Clocks of the Black Forest

As the full title says, these are not your grandmother’s cuckoo clocks! Justin Miller has been fascinated with cuckoo clocks of the Black Forest since he was a child. He tells us about the origins of clocks with automatons, and how they became associates with the Black Forest region of Germany. Shown here are clocks [...]

The 10,000 Year Clock

The Long Now Foundation is building a clock that is supposed to last 10,000 years, and chime with a different song every time it sounds. Danny Hillis invented the clock in 1995, saying I want to build a clock that ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes [...]

Cuckoos and Other Animated Clocks

Mental_floss blog editor Jason English told me his daughter wanted a cuckoo clock, but she wanted one with a dog instead of a cuckoo. I began to wonder why clocks use cuckoo birds to identify the hour. As it turns out, there are quite a variety of ways clocks will announce the hour. Image by [...]