World’s Strangest

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Naughty Korea and Nice Korea

Australian newspaper The Mx printed a chart of Olympic medal standings by country. The countries of North Korea and South Korea were called “Naughty Korea” and “Nice Korea.” If you don’t know which is which, then you’ll need to find another source for medal standings. Link

Mrs. Dear Leader

The “mystery woman” seen with Kim Jong-un recently was the source of international speculation, which all turned out to be wrong. The North Korean leader married “Comrade Ri Sol Ju” a few years ago, even before his father died. Ri Sol Ju is said to be a 27-year old graduate student at Kim Il-sung University, pursuing [...]

The Ryugyong Hotel Gets a Makeover

It’s been years since we checked in on the Ryugyong Hotel, the monolithic concrete building in Pyongyang, North Korea, that was never completed. After work was abandoned in 1992, officials even denied its existence! But in 2008, the 105-floor structure got a second chance from the Orascom Group of Egypt. A new glass facade gives [...]

Want To Know More About North Korea? Then Read The FAQ Page

In an effort to pull the old “I’m not up to no good! See, I can prove it!” routine, North Korea has released a FAQ page to answer all your questions about the dark and mysterious country, and alleviate any global concerns at the same time. This fun, informative and easy to read page includes the [...]

Spot the Difference

These two photographs of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession were taken only seconds apart, but the top photo was taken by Japanese press outlet Kyodo News, and the bottom one was provided to journalists by North Korea’s state news agency. North Korea is no stranger to photo manipulation; in this case it serves [...]

The Late Movies: Kim Jong Il’s Monster Movie

Early this morning, we republished a 2006 article from the magazine about the time Kim Jong Il kidnapped a South Korean director and his ex-wife and forced them to make movies in the North (and to remarry). The highlight of Shin Sang-ok’s 8-year period directing movies under duress in North Korea is the monster film [...]

Kim Jong Il, the Director He Kidnapped, and the Awful Godzilla Film They Made Together

Late Sunday, the Associated Press reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has died of heart failure. He was 69. The following story about the former dictator originally appeared in mental_floss magazine back in 2006. © kcna/Xinhua Press/Corbis by Jessica Royer Ocken When your work hits a wall, it’s natural to seek new inspiration. The less natural [...]

The Other Space Race

“QUANTUM SHOT” #744Link – article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams Active Space Programs in Iran, Brazil, India, Japan, China, Israel… is it going to get crowded even without USA or Russia? Back in the early sixties, John F. Kennedy declared America’s intention of putting a man on the Moon, a dream that was fulfilled with the [...]

Mangyongdae, The Happiest Place in North Korea

Image: bryanh/Flickr In the Mangyongdae funfair, riding that white knuckle ride can actually be your last. Kuriositas blog explains why in this North Korea amusement park, having fun can be a deadly business: The rides [...]

Hitler’s Nephew, Stalin’s Daughter and Other Famous Defectors

Here are four defectors whose stories you won’t soon forget. 1. Hitler’s Nephew © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS William Patrick Hitler was born in England to a German father, Alois Hitler, and an Irish mother, Bridget Dowling. When William was still a boy, his father moved back to Germany, but his mother refused to go, raising her son alone [...]