World’s Strangest

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Why Does a Laptop Need Its Own Bin at Airport Security?

Taking your laptop out of your bag is the second most annoying thing travelers have to do at airport security (number one, of course, is being forced to remove your shoes and put your bare feet on the undoubtedly filthy floor). Some electronic gadgets, like e-readers and tablets, can go through the scanner with your [...]

How One Pilot’s Sweet Tooth Helped Defeat Communism

by Greg Volk In 1948, the Soviet beast was hungry. Three years into the postwar occupation of Germany, the USSR had tired of sharing Berlin, so it blockaded ground and water access to the two million residents in the American, French, and British zones. The Soviet hope was to starve them into submission. In response, from [...]

How to Find Sunken Treasure

Modern treasure hunting isn’t all maps and shovels—it takes science, too. STEP 1: PICK A SHIPWRECK There are plenty of ships in the sea. According to UNESCO, roughly three million shipwrecks across the globe are just waiting to be found, and at least 100 of them boast potential values that top $50 million. So what’s the best-case [...]

9 of the World’s Most Ridiculously Secure Safes and Vaults

1. Fort Knox Plan on breaking into Fort Knox? First, climb the four surrounding fences—two of which are electric—and then sneak past the armed sentinels lining the perimeter. Be sure to avoid the video cameras. Don’t waste time trying to blast through the granite walls—they are four feet thick and held together by 750 tons of [...]

10 Stainless Steel, Spring-Loaded Things You Should Know About the Swiss Army Knife (Now With a Corkscrew!)

Image credit: Flickr user AJ Cann Pocket-sized multitools are a dime a dozen, but the Swiss Army Knife is an icon. Its name is shorthand for versatility and its cross-emblazoned red handle has gone to the North Pole, to the top of Mount Everest, to the depths of the Amazon, and even orbited around Earth on the space [...]

15 Awesome (or Awesomely Bizarre) Christmas Cards

Most store-bought Christmas cards feature Santa and his reindeer, Christmas trees or religious iconography. Here are some people who went in another direction. 1. Murphy’s Law is in full effect around the holidays. Here, Michael Herb manages to emphasize this sentiment by showing just how wrong a Christmas photo can go. 2. The weirdest family Christmas card [...]

The Evolution of Santa Claus

The following article is reprinted from The Best of Uncle John’ Bathroom Reader. Ever wonder how the Santa Claus of 21st-century Christmas lore came about? Here’s the story of how an almost completely unknown bishop became the most recognized holiday character in Western civilization. A MAN NAMED NICHOLAS In the fourth century A.D., a man named Nicholas [...]

Candy Cane Weapon System of Santa’s Defense Forces

Image: Sir EDW/Flickr Protecting Santa is a tough job, so Santa’s Defense Forces need heavy-duty weapons like this candy cane small arm that is standard issue on [...]

Marathon in Antarctica

The marathon is brutal enough as it is normally conducted. Remember that Pheidippides, the first marathon runner, died at the end. Now imagine completing one in sub-zero temperatures through the snow. That’s what thirty-six runners did at the Union Glacier Antarctic base camp. The winner, Clément Thévenet, finished the race in three hours and forty-seven [...]

The Disastrous North Pole Balloon Mission of 1897

Reaching the North Pole was an international obsession during the late 19th century. Various countries devised plans for becoming the first to reach the pole, but no journey was as fascinating (or as doomed) as Sweden’s S.A. Andree’s mission to cross the Arctic in a hydrogen balloon. To understand what went wrong with Andree’s mission, [...]