World’s Strangest

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Flowery Bits

NOTHING SAYS TECHNOLOGY LIKE FLOWERS The flower business might seem old-fashioned, but 1-800-FLOWERS is anything but behind the times. In the 1980s, it was one of the first businesses to operate a 1-800 number, taking calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And in 1991, during the Gulf War, the company made the risky [...]

Birds of a Feather

GETTING GOOSED The events of January 15, 2009, gave new meaning to the fear of flying. At 3:27PM, a flock of Canadian geese struck an outbound plane leaving LaGuardia, blowing out both engines and sending the aircraft plummeting to the ground. The incident made a hero of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who safely piloted the plane into [...]

Month in Review: September’s Most Popular Stories

If you’re keeping score at home, September was the second-best month we’ve ever had. (The halcyon days of August ‘09 will be tough to top.) Thanks to everyone who has made mental_floss part of your routine, especially the folks who’ve been here for years and have aggressively spread the word about our site and magazine. [...]

10 Technologies We Stole From the Animal Kingdom

By David Goldenberg and Eric Vance People have been lifting ideas from Mother Nature for decades. Velcro was inspired by the hooked barbs of thistle, and the first highway reflectors were made to mimic cat eyes. But today, the science of copying nature, a field known as biomimetics, is a billion-dollar industry. Here are some of [...]