World’s Strangest

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World War I Centennial: Schlieffen Is Dead, but His Plan Lives On

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that killed millions and set the continent of Europe on the path to further calamity two decades later. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. With the centennial of the outbreak of hostilities coming up in 2014, Erik Sass will be looking back at the lead-up to [...]

How Did Humans Develop Lactose Tolerance?

The majority of the world’s people become lactose-intolerant as they mature into adulthood. The exceptions are mostly people of European ancestry, who continue to drink milk all their lives. Why? It’s a case of genetic mutation, in which an adult continues to produce lactase, the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. But why did [...]

What Is Boxing Day?

The day after Christmas is Boxing Day, a holiday observed by a large part of Europe and most of the former British Empire -except for America, who broke away fairly early. Mental-floss has a roundup of Boxing day facts for those who aren’t familiar with the customs of this odd holiday. Boxing Day is observed every [...]

RIP Daniel Inouye

Senator Daniel Inouye became a U.S. Representative on the day that Hawaii became a state, on August 21, 1959. He was elected Senator in 1962, and became the longest-serving member of the Senate. But he was already quite accomplished before entering politics. Inouye was a teenager in Honolulu when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and [...]

WWI Centennial: The Conference of London Convenes

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that killed millions and set the continent of Europe on the path to further calamity two decades later. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. With the centennial of the outbreak of hostilities coming up in 2014, Erik Sass [...]

Crockford’s Club: How a Fishmonger Bankrupted the British Aristocracy

Crockford’s Club in 1828. How about a bit of history today? Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story, and and the tale of Crockford’s Club is a great one: a man who sold fish for a living smelled an opportunity to garner a little bit of the British aristocracy’s surplus wealth. And he knew just how to [...]

I Am Bitterly, Bitterly Disappointed

Nick Crews (pictured left, Photo: SWNS) has become a cult hero and a viral sensation- particularly in Great Britain. Why? Because of a leaked email he sent to his kids explaining just how (brutally) disappointed he is with them. It starts with "Dear All Three" and goes pretty downhill from there. With last evening’s crop of [...]

Man Catcher

This terrifying-looking weapon of German origin was used to jerk riders off horses: Man catchers were used in Europe in the late 1700s during times of war. The terrifying collar pulled riders off horseback. In peacetime, it is thought the device may have caught and held escaped prisoners. Link | Photo: Science Museum of London

The Nobel Winners Who Foiled the Führer

As the Nazis swallowed Europe, two scientists fought back with the only weapon they had: chemistry. Getty Images When the Third Reich took control of Germany, Danish physicist Niels Bohr (pictured) transformed into something like Oskar Schindler in a lab coat. From his Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, the Nobel laureate aided and protected Jewish scientists, [...]

The History And Impact Of The Red Cross

In honor of the founding of the Red Cross on October 29, 1863, here’s a closer look at the organization, how it works, and its greatest triumphs. How It Works There is no international Red Cross. Instead, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) oversees and approves national Red Cross organizations, ensuring those local organizations always [...]