World’s Strangest

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What Causes That “Fresh Cut Grass” Smell?

Lab image via Shutterstock Trauma, that’s what. It’s the smell of chemical defenses and first aid. The fresh, “green” scent of a just-mowed lawn is the lawn trying to save itself from the injury you just inflicted. Leafy plants release a number of volatile organic compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLVs). When the plants are injured, [...]

The Word Counts of 11 American Things

1. “The Star-Spangled Banner” (National Anthem version): 80 2. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettsyburg Address: 271 3. The Emancipation Proclamation: 719 (title and signatures included) 4. Don McLean’s “American Pie”: 870 5. The Declaration of Independence: 1,458 (including signatures) 6. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech: 1,652 7. The U.S. Constitution: 4,543 (including signatures) 8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. [...]

Why Does Your Nose Get Stuffy One Nostril at a Time?

Nose-blowing image via Shutterstock Because your nostrils split their workload. Throughout the day, they each take breaks in a process of alternating congestion and decongestion called the nasal cycle. At a given moment, if you’re breathing through your nose, the lion’s share of the air is going in and out of one nostril, with a much [...]

He Wanted to Better Understand Hanging, So He Hanged Himself 12 Times

Gallows image via Shutterstock Hanging is a pretty simple way to kill someone. All you really need is a length of rope, someone who can tie a decent knot, and something from which to hang the victim. If you’re having a fancier execution, you can dress things up with gallows and use the victim’s height and [...]

5 Reasons to Feel Uneasy About Canada

Maple Leaf image via Shutterstock I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been complimented on the safe, peaceful oasis that is my homeland. I’ve been petted and cooed at in public; laughed at by airport security when my passport was presented; had my socks pilfered during a routine mugging in Baltimore after a red and [...]

Who Was Murphy and Why Is There a Bed Named After Him?

Image credit: Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets The Murphy Bed, also known as a wall bed, fold down bed or pull down bed, is a bed that’s hinged at one end so it can be folded up and stored vertically against a wall or in a closet. It’s useful in situations where floor space is at [...]

10 Bizarre Divorce Settlements

Divorce is almost always a messy business, but certain settlements between former beloveds end up being downright absurd. Forget child custody, what happens when a couple has shared possession of a goat? Have a look at 10 examples of offbeat divorce settlements. 1. Now That’s a Breakup Record Marvin Gaye was a tremendous singer, but he [...]