World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!
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18 Bizarre Self-Proclaimed Capitals of the World

Lots of places claim to be the world capital of something — animals, fruits, vegetables, consumer goods, other odds and ends. But sometimes, that something is really, really strange. 1. Pearsonville, California: Hubcap Capital of the World Image credit: Center for Land Use Interpretation While Pearsonville, California, only has a population of 17, it’s still the Hubcap Capital [...]

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 [...]

What Exactly is Quicksand?

Quicksand is a staple hazard of adventure movies, TV shows and video games. Whenever a minor character needs to be killed off quickly, the hero needs someone to rescue, or danger needs to be introduced without calling the villain in, quicksand is there to fulfill the task and swallow an explorer whole. Conveniently, there’s always [...]

What on Earth is Sun-Earth Day?

Image Credit: Sylvie Beland/NASA Today is Earth Day, the internationally designated time to pay extra-special attention to human impact on Earth’s ecology. But in addition to your Earth Day observances, why not join NASA scientists this year in celebrating Sun-Earth Day, an astronomically educational holiday designed to recognize special moments between Earth and our Sun? Past [...]

Frito Pie, As Served in the Dime Store That Invented It

Frito pie, a delicacy of the American Southwest, consists of Frito chips, chili, cheese, beans and onions. Its origins are a mystery, but one legend places its birth at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Woolworth’s isn’t around anymore, but a dime store still resides at that location. It serves Frito pie [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The South

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Kentucky Kentucky got its royal blue team color from a piece of clothing. In 1891 the school needed a set of team colors before a football game against in-state rival Centre College. After some debate, the students settled on [...]

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 [...]

10 Cool Underground Hotels

My husband and I were watching some apocalyptic group building an underground shelter on TV, and I remarked that living underground is quite cozy and pleasant -as long as you have ready access to the outside (of course, being trapped is a nightmare). My father was a geologist, and I grew up in cave country, [...]

New Study Claims Men Are Funnier Than Women

This is sure to be controversial, but a study by psychologists and anthropologists from the University of New Mexico finds that “Humor ability reveals intelligence, predicts mating success, and is higher in males.” Here’s the abstract: A good sense of humor is sexually attractive, perhaps because it reveals intelligence, creativity, and other ‘good genes’ or ‘good [...]

Whatever Happened to Play?

When browsing Bill Simmons’ new long-form sports site, Grantland, I found myself wondering two things. First, what is a “Grantland”? And second, didn’t the New York Times try this once? Although it only lasted two years, the Times’ Play magazine was an early attempt at a print version of Grantland. It combined long-form sports stories with [...]