World’s Strangest

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The Late Movies: High School Haka

As I prepared an old mental_floss magazine article for the internet, I was struck by YouTube’s “related videos” section. It appears that the Maori war dance known as the haka has been adopted by not only rugby teams, but quite a few American high school football teams, too! You may enjoy watching these teenagers intimidate [...]

We’ve Got the Perfect Thing for Your Shiny New Tablet

If you got your hands on a new tablet this holiday season, your next move should be downloading the mental_floss magazine app. And when you make that next move, you get the current issue of mental_floss free! — iPad version — Android version — Kindle version Happy downloading!

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 Sad Story of Alfred Nobel

Despite being one of the richest people in Europe, Alfred Nobel was not a happy man. The Swedish industrialist made his fortune by inventing (and later producing) dynamite. But his work made him a recluse. He spent most of his life traveling to oversee his vast multinational business, and he filled the rest of his [...]

The Sperm Bank for Nobel Prize Winners

The Repository for Germinal Choice, better known as the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, was founded in 1980 by multimillionaire Robert Graham, inventor of shatterproof eyeglass lenses. His goal was to combine the sperm and eggs of superior men and women—ideally Nobel laureates—to produce superior babies. If all this sounds an awful lot like eugenics, well, [...]

The Magazine With a Smartphone Inside

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly has a smartphone in it. Yes, inside the print magazine, there is a fairly complete phone — screen, battery, T-Mobile 3G SIM card (!), Android operating system, camera, and even a portion of the keyboard (minus the actual keys). The only bummer is that EW is only [...]

Introducing the mental_floss iPad App!

We’re very excited to announce the launch of the iPad version of mental_floss magazine! The app is free, and if you download it now, you can get the new issue free as well (thanks, Boeing). If you’ve always thought about giving our magazine a shot, now seems like the perfect time. Download the mental_floss iPad [...]

How Secure Are Electronic Voting Machines?

Getty Images It’s not that the machines have slight security glitches. It’s more that they’re almost comically hacker-friendly. Take the touchscreen Diebold Accuvote system. In 2012, nearly one-quarter of Americans are expected to use them to cast ballots. But the machines have been under fire for security errors for nearly a decade. Just how insecure are they? [...]

5 Fictional Bears and Whether They’d Kill You

From docile to deadly, we’ve ranked our favorite fictional bears by your likelihood of surviving an unplanned run-in with them. Paddington Bear Andean Bear The only bears native to Paddington’s home country of Peru, Andeans are docile omnivores. When they see (or smell) a human, their first move is to bolt up a tree. Unless you’re packing one [...]

How Smokey Bear Helped Win World War II

Only you can prevent forest fires, but only Smokey could help us topple the Axis powers. © CORBIS Forest fires posed a terrifying threat during World War II. Fighting wildfires required huge chunks of precious manpower that otherwise could have been utilized for building tanks or guns. Infernos also swallowed up thousands of acres of wood, a [...]