World’s Strangest

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Where Does Decaf Come From? …and Other Burning Questions About Coffee

Whether you take it with cream and sugar, as a latte or frappuccino- coffee can get complicated. Fortunately, mental_floss is here to unlock the mysteries of the dark drink that brightens your mornings. Q: WHERE DOES DECAFFEINATED COFFEE COME FROM? It’s pretty simple. To make decaf, you start out with regular coffee beans and then take out [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The Midwest

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. Last up, the Midwest! (1) North Carolina © Duomo/CORBIS Yearning to learn more about your kidneys? Head to the University of North Carolina’s Carl W. Gottschalk Collection. The 12,400-item collection houses legendary medical professor Gottschalk’s passion: historical items related to the study [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The East

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Syracuse Syracuse’s colors were originally pink and blue, but the class of 1890 changed it to orange. A member of that class explained the switch at his 50th reunion in 1940: “What kind of ‘whoopee’ can be made with [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The South

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Kentucky Kentucky got its royal blue team color from a piece of clothing. In 1891 the school needed a set of team colors before a football game against in-state rival Centre College. After some debate, the students settled on [...]

Last Week’s Most Popular Stories and an Enjoyable Wikipedia Screenshot

In case you weren’t obsessively refreshing mentalfloss.com all week, here’s what you missed: 1. 119 Amazing Facts for National Trivia Day, by Jason English * 2. Why Do Dogs Walk in a Circle Before Lying Down?, by Matt Soniak * 3. 25 One-Word Answers to Very Important Questions, by Ethan Trex * 4. How Do Magic Eye Pictures Work?, by Matt Soniak * 5. [...]

19 Outstanding Words You Should Be Working Into Conversation

There are some of our favorite words that appeared in mental_floss stories in 2011. Some are foreign words. Others come from medical dictionaries. And there’s a surprising amount of hobo slang. Have fun working these into conversation this holiday season! Gene Lee / Shutterstock.com 1. Kummerspeck (German): Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon. 2. [...]

Counting Down Our Most Popular Quizzes of 2011 (#6-#10)

This weekend, we’ll be counting down the year’s top quizzes (see #11-#15). Pay attention to what’s been working, because on Monday we’ll start accepting suggestions for another installment of Reader-Submitted Quiz Week. What resume wouldn’t look better with “I wrote a quiz for mental_floss” down in the MISCELLANEOUS section? (Plus you can win a t-shirt, [...]

6 Freakishly Effective Ways to Court the Muse

Some writers can just sit at their desks and bang the keys. Others need to get naked and climb a mulberry tree before they’re sufficiently inspired. Right now, we’re only interested in the latter. 1. Take Orders from a Dog Sometimes the only thing standing between an artist and true greatness is the lack of a good [...]

Leonard Nimoy Directed Three Men and a Baby

Last night fellow _flosser Ethan Trex told me Three Men and a Baby was directed by Leonard Nimoy. This pretty much blew my mind. What lesser-known movie/director combos do you think would cause a similar my-mind-being-blown reaction?

1982: The Year a Kicker Won the MVP

Our own Ethan Trex is doing a little writing on the side for Bill Simmons’ new site, Grantland. Ethan’s debut piece looks back at the 1982 NFL strike-shortened season, when a kicker who was almost cut in training camp went on to win the MVP. If you like Ethan or Simmons or football or labor [...]