World’s Strangest

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The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The West

We may not be much help in filling out your bracket, but we can promise one interesting fact about each of the 68 teams in the tournament. Let’s tip things off with the West Region. © Chris Bergin/Icon SMI/Corbis (1) Michigan State In May, a Michigan State professor from the School of Social Work will begin teaching an [...]

What You’re Missing at TED2012 Right Now

As you and I sit here like dopes in front of our computers, a swarm of alpha nerds are basking in the Long Beach sun and enjoying TED2012. Only two talks from the show have been released so far, and they have somewhat differing messages: Abundance is Our Future (by Peter Diamandis) and [...]

The Lessons of Kwanzaa, as Taught by TV

December 26th wasn’t just Boxing Day; it also marked the first day of the pan-African holiday celebrating African culture known as Kwanzaa. Founded in the mid-1960s by Maulana Karenga, a black studies professor at Cal State Long Beach, this holiday lasts from the day after Christmas through January 2nd. Each of the 7 days is [...]

Man Arrested Over Photo of Oil Refinery

Talk about a tough audience. Granted, it can be hard to take a photo that everyone is happy with, but recently a Long Beach newspaper photographer was arrested for taking pictures of “no aesthetic value.” Ouch. Long Beach, Calif., police arrested a man for taking a photograph of “no aesthetic value.” Sander Wolff, who takes photos [...]

Hands Across America: 25 Years Later

On May 25, 1986, over 5 million Americans linked hands to make a 4,125-mile human chain that stretched from New York City to Long Beach. They weren’t just big hand holding enthusiasts, though. They were participating in Hands Across America, a massive charity event and fundraiser that hoped to raise money for and draw attention [...]

83 Gut-Busting Restaurant Challenges for Free Food

If you have a big appetite and a big stomach, you might use this list of food challenges as a vacation guide. But beware: these offers have rules, like you have to eat everything on your plate in a certain time period to get the meal free. Eateries may have additional rules. LW Pizza in [...]

The Greatest College Prank Ever Pulled

It’s been called the greatest college prank ever pulled: in 1961 Rose Bowl, a team of Caltech students altered the University of Washington’s halftime flip-card routine so it’d spell out “CALTECH.” Here’s how they did it, as told by the mastermind of the stunt (a then 19-year old student) Lyn Hardy: “There was a lot of luck [...]

Who Invented the Gatorade Shower?

Snow and ice may be dominating the weather report, but January is also a great time for another very specific type of precipitation: the Gatorade shower. With the college bowl season winding down tonight and the NFL playoffs heating up this weekend, get ready to see some coaches covered in sports drink. Here are the [...]

Travis Pastrana Flies a Car

(YouTube Link) When he gets bored with doing double backflips on his bike, skydiving without a chute, or inventing new sports like the Hydrojump, Travis Pastrana takes life easy with a casual drive in Long Beach, CA. Watch him sail this rally car 269 feet with the precision landing of an experienced pilot. Don’t miss his [...]

13 Incredibly Focused Graduate Programs

Are you thinking of getting a graduate degree, but want something with a narrower focus than an MBA or a JD? Schools around the world offer all sorts of incredibly focused graduate degrees to students who are trying to break into very specific fields. Here’s a look at a handful of programs you might not [...]