World’s Strangest

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12 Proposed U.S. States That Didn’t Make the Cut

The road to 50 states was littered with wannabes who couldn’t wait to declare themselves—but never quite got to full statehood. Here are 12 states that could have been. 1. Franklin Wikimedia Commons After the Revolutionary War, it became common for states to gift their westernmost lands to the newly-founded (but broke) American government to repackage and sell [...]

10 Sports Heroes You Won’t Find On Wheaties Boxes

Shame on Wheaties for ignoring the heroes of elephant polo, sumo wrestling, and bullfighting! At our breakfast of champions, they’re always at the head of the table. 1. Sumo Wrestling: Akebono Taro (Image credit: Philbert Ono via Wikipedia) The only slim thing about sumo wrestling is the chance of becoming a yokozuna, or grand champion. Throughout the centuries, [...]

The Time Benjamin Franklin Tried (And Failed) to Electrocute a Turkey

Image credit: Comstock Benjamin Franklin loved electricity. He also loved the turkey. One day, he put the two together. It all started as a party trick. Franklin had been dabbling with electricity for years, and he wanted to show off his newest electrical toys. On April 29, 1749, Franklin told scientist Peter Collinson about his dream to [...]

That Time They Found Those Bodies in Ben Franklin’s Basement

© Bob Krist/CORBIS From 1757 to 1775, Ben Franklin lived in an elegant four-story Georgian house at No. 36 Craven Street in London during his time as an ambassador for the American colonies. In late 1998, a group calling itself Friends of Benjamin Franklin House began to convert the dilapidated building into a museum to honor [...]

10 of Ben Franklin’s Lesser-Known Feats of Awesomeness

Franklin statue image via Shutterstock We all know about Benjamin Franklin’s kite-flyin’, library-establishin’, Declaration-signin’, newspaper-printin’, lady-killin’ ways but, in honor of the Ben’s 306th birthday, let’s celebrate some of his lesser-known but very cool contributions to society. 1. Ben swam with the fishes. As a youngster, Ben learned to swim in Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River and became [...]

11 Scientists Who Experimented on Themselves

Would you inject 50 hookworms under your skin for your job? Or steam in a vomit sauna for a few hours? Hopefully we non-scientists will never have to answer questions like these. But for the 11 brave souls on this list, experimenting on themselves was all in a day’s work. 1. Benjamin Franklin The man on the [...]

How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names?

As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Irene, here’s a look at how these storms are named. Since Europeans first came to the Americas and the Caribbean, hurricanes have been named using a variety of systems. First they were named after Catholic saints. Later on, the latitude-longitude positions of a storm’s formation was used as a [...]

Make Your Franklin

The one hundred dollar bill as we know it has been around for a while. Even with official redesigns, they always seem to turn out somewhat boring. That’s why this gallery of “Franklins” makes it exciting to see what the public would do if they had a crack at creating our cash. At the link [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAAs (The Southeast)

We may not be much help in filling out your bracket. But throughout this week we’re going to bring you a _flossy take on March Madness: one interesting fact about each of the 68 teams in the tournament field. Tonight we’re tackling the Southeast region. (1) Pittsburgh graduated its first female students in 1898. Sisters Margaret [...]

Benjamin Franklin’s 200+ Synonyms for "Drunk"

Noted founding father Benjamin Franklin published a list of different ways we refer to someone as drunk in the Pennsylvania Gazette on January 6, 1737. Franklin said he collected these phrases at -what else- a tavern. Here are just a few: Got the Indian Vapours, Topsy Turvey, As Drunk as David’s Sow, He’s got his Top Gallant Sails out, Seen [...]