World’s Strangest

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12 Historical Speeches Nobody Ever Heard

For every speech, there are a bunch of versions that ended up on the writers’ room floor. Here are 12 speeches that were written but, for a variety of reasons, never delivered. 1. “In Event of Moon Disaster” As the world nervously waited for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to land on the moon, Nixon speechwriter William [...]

Why Did the U.S. Abandon the Gold Standard?

Some have called for a return to the gold standard. How would it affect the economy? What is the gold standard? It’s a monetary system that directly links a currency’s value to that of gold. A country on the gold standard cannot increase the amount of money in circulation without also increasing its gold reserves. Because the [...]

Why Is it so Hard for Pandas to Get Pregnant?

Getty Images In the wild, giant panda mating occurs just as nature specials would have you believe. There’s intense competition for each female, and the dominant male will mate with her several times to ensure success. And that strategy works: Wild female pandas generally give birth every two years. But that low birth rate means that [...]

The Early History of 5 Spy Agencies

Most intelligence agencies in the U.S. government were formed to solve specific problems, or evolved from preceding organizations. There wasn’t always an FBI, for example. Before its founding, there was the Bureau of Investigation, whose members were drawn from the Secret Service. Most agencies operate in blackout conditions, and it takes a lot of work [...]

The Missing Links: Hey, I Know That Olympian From Somewhere

Exactly How Big Is Our Solar System? Ummmm, really big. And: How big is infinity? Ummmm, also extremely big. * But If You Want to See the Other Kind of Stars Those of you who love that grandiose pomp that is Inside the Actor’s Studio will love this remix of the show’s closing questionnaire. * Olymp-Alikes If each of these Olympic athletes [...]

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 [...]

11 Things You Didn’t Know About America’s Spymasters

© JASON REED/Reuters/Corbis There’s more to being a spy than drinking martinis, talking into shoe-phones, and discarding messages that self-destruct in five seconds. Here are 11 surprising facts about America’s spymasters. 1. The CIA had a mad scientist on the payroll Dr. Sidney Gottlieb sold Christmas trees at a roadside stand, raised goats and was an accomplished square [...]

6 Interns Who Ended Up Running the Company

Many of us started out at jobs way down at the bottom of the food chain. Getting coffee and stuffing envelopes isn’t exactly a dream job for most people, but if you’re doing it now, take heart in the fact that these people started out as interns as well – and ended up running the [...]

11 Peculiar Meetings Between Famous People

You’d expect famous people to know other famous people. But maybe not these famous people. 1. Nikita Khrushchev & Marilyn Monroe PA Photos /Landov In September 1959, during Khrushchev’s American tour, he visited 20th Century Fox Studios. At a lunch banquet with hundreds of stars (including Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, and Gary Cooper), he was [...]

How the Greatest Prankster in Political History Messed With Richard Nixon

© Bettmann/CORBIS by David Borgenicht and Turk Regan Democratic prankster Dick Tuck began tormenting Richard Nixon in California in 1950, after he became a mole in Nixon’s successful Senate campaign. When Nixon unsuccessfully sought the presidency 10 years later, his opponent, John F. Kennedy, hired Tuck to play practical jokes on Nixon. The day after the first [...]