World’s Strangest

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September 11th and the Hospitable People of Gander

Immediately after the attacks of September 11th, eleven years ago today, Operation Yellow Ribbon went into effect. Airline flights were diverted to Canadian airports in small towns in order to neutralized any danger as much as possible. One of those airports was in Gander, Newfoundland. The tiny town only boasted 10,000 residents, but what it [...]

How the Canadian Provinces and Territories Got Their Names

Here’s a little more Canadian history on this Canada Day. Alberta Named in honor of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. Lake Louise, the village of Caroline, and Mount Alberta are also named after her. British Columbia The name refers to the Columbia District, the [...]

8 Celebrities Arrested for Obscenity (and What It Was They Said or Did)

Freedom of speech? Not if it’s deemed “obscene.” These celebrities found that out the hard way. Though they weren’t all convicted, they did end up fighting costly battles in court and had their names dragged through the mud, though in some cases – looking at you, Hugh Hefner – it only helped their causes. Read [...]

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 [...]

The Unauthorized Biography of the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is a beloved springtime character, but look deeper and you’ll realize nobody gives away that much chocolate unless they’re hiding something. KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters /Landov He Can’t Even Cover the Whole World! Say what you will about Santa Claus, but at least he’s delivering presents the world over. The shiftless Easter Bunny outsources egg and candy [...]

Why Are Unidentified People Called John or Jane Doe?

From the courts to the morgue, if the government doesn’t know someone’s name or wants to withhold it, they give them one of these as a placeholder. Why? Toe tag image via Shutterstock The John Doe custom was born out of a strange and long since vanished British legal process called an action of ejectment. Under old English [...]

Which Came First: Orange the Color or Orange the Fruit?

Reader Erica wrote in with a question about oranges. Is the fruit named for its color, or is the color named for the fruit? Crayon and orange images via Shutterstock The citrus definitely got named first. The earliest recorded use of orange the fruit in English is from the 1300s and came to us from the Old French [...]

What Legal Authority Does Judge Judy Have?

Judge Judy reportedly makes $45 million a year. What kind of legal power comes with it? JIM RUYMEN/UPI /Landov While Judith Sheindlin was a real, live judge — New York City Mayor Ed Koch appointed her to criminal court in 1982 and then made her Manhattan’s supervising family court judge in 1986 — she’s not acting as one on her [...]

Why Don’t You Hear Someone’s Accent in a Song?

Reader Jared wrote in with this question: “Why do singers I perceive as having accents (i.e. Adele, Bono, etc.) have those accents when they talk, but not when they sing?” Microphone image via Shutterstock I hear what Jared is saying. Or, rather, I don’t hear it. While there are certainly exceptions, I’ve heard a thick accent on [...]

September 11th and the Hospitable People of Gander, Newfoundland

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, our Canadian neighbors sprang into action to help clear American airspace of any other potentially dangerous flights. The action was known as Operation Yellow Ribbon, and in those uncertain first hours after the attacks, it was hugely helpful. The mission also made a tiny town in [...]