World’s Strangest

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17 More Offbeat Holidays and Anniversaries to Celebrate in January

Forget weight loss and penny-pinching, make a resolution to keep this year a little more unconventional. What better way to start than with a few offbeat holidays and anniversaries you can easily observe? 1. January 1: First Foot Day A Scottish New Year tradition, the first person to step into someone’s home is called the “first-footer” and [...]

19 Presidential Jokes for Presidential Joke Day

We often think of American presidents as butts of jokes, the muses for mockery, and the subjects of satire. But every once in awhile, our commanders-in-chief (or their speechwriters) come up with a few witty wisecracks of their own. Saturday is presidential joke day – a holiday to commemorate the fact that presidents sometimes have [...]

Awkwardness and Bawdy Talk: 7 Tales of Presidential Courtship

You may be surprised to learn that not every politician is equipped with romantic game. Here are the stories of a few presidents who had a little difficulty garnering the affections of the first lady – or at least had a few awkward moments during the courtship. Learn from their fumbles, and be grateful that [...]

The Vice Presidents That History Forgot

Schuyler Colfax Writer Tony Horwitz visited the Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center in Huntington, Indiana. It is the only museum dedicated to the 47 vice-presidents of the United States. Museum director Daniel Johns admits the title of second banana is not held in high regard. “Ridicule is an occupational hazard of the job,” Johns observes, leading me [...]

History, Celebrity, and Literary Dolls

Debbie Ritter at Uneek Doll Designs captures real people in doll form in a way in which anyone would recognize them. Each is hand-painted one at a time, and the selection is incredible! Where else could you get a doll that looks like Percy Shelley or Willie Nelson or Teddy Roosevelt? Pictured here are Thomas [...]

9 Fourth of July Myths Debunked

When we Americans are young children, we are taught the basics of our nation’s founding. But often those stories get shortened into easy-to-recall sound bites that don’t tell the whole story. Most of the historical “facts” you remember are oversimplifications of a more nuanced story. For example, I bet you thought the Declaration of Independence [...]

Link Latte 159

#159 – Week of June 10, 2011 Huge Explosion on the Sun, info – [wow space]Google Body Browser: Wow Anatomy Experience – [useful]The “Killer Cucumbers” Genome Revealed – [photos]100 Fish Fountain by Bruce Nauman – [wow art]Extreme Unloading: Trucks, Excavators! – [wow]Great Video Explaining How LHC Works, source – [science]Shape-shifting Cuttle Fish – [wow pics]Superhigh Towers: [...]

Biological Warfare in the American Revolution?

Popular culture has given us the idea that war used to be less vicious and more orderly. I don’t know about you, but when I think of the American Revolution, I can’t help but picture soldiers standing in straight single-file lines on either side of the battlefield waiting for the command to fire. It’s always [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Supreme Court Scandals

It’s no secret that I love Robert Schnakenberg’s Secret Lives series, so when I recently spotted Secret Lives of the Supreme Court, I snapped it up. There are plenty of fascinating tidbits to share, but let’s start with the scandalous ones. Here are 10 of the biggest shockers to ever rock the bench. 1. Thus far, [...]

7 Tiny Books That Packed a Big Punch

by Michael Ridgeway At 1,456 pages, War and Peace makes a big impression … and a great doorstop. But books don’t have to weigh a lot to be heavy hitters. Here are seven tiny tomes—all fewer than 100 pages—that sparked revolutions. 1. Common Sense by Thomas Paine (52 pages) In the 1770s, American colonists were riding the [...]