World’s Strangest

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More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Sleeping Patterns of Hummingbirds

There are some topics you probably never thought you’d be interested in, including the nocturnal habits of hummingbirds. But there exists a YouTube video that is so fascinating (read: adorable), it begs exploration of this topic. In the video, a green female hummingbird slumbers, and with every one of its tiny breaths, the bird lets [...]

How I Became Bait for Bloodsucking Leeches

Mark Siddall is an expert on leeches. To find new species, he travels the world and wades into strange waters, offering his own flesh as bait. My expedition to Peru was especially fruitful. We started out in the Andes Mountains, elevation 16,000 feet, to look for a lake that had been recorded in the 1880s as [...]

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 [...]

The Lost Scripts, Part III: Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods

While it’s not unusual for a film to have unused screenplays hiding in a filing cabinet somewhere, the lost scripts of Indiana Jones are a fascinating look at what might have been for everyone’s favorite whip-wielding, fedora-wearing archaeologist. We’ve discussed Indiana Jones and the Monkey King and Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars. Our [...]

Ten 2012 Olympians to Keep Your Eyes On

Thousands of athletes from all over the world are in London for the 2012 Olympics. Many of them are already stars, having trained their entire lives for this chance at gold. For some, getting there has been a struggle against poverty, politics, prejudice, and other disadvantages. Here are a few that you’ll want to know [...]

5 Fictional Bears and Whether They’d Kill You

From docile to deadly, we’ve ranked our favorite fictional bears by your likelihood of surviving an unplanned run-in with them. Paddington Bear Andean Bear The only bears native to Paddington’s home country of Peru, Andeans are docile omnivores. When they see (or smell) a human, their first move is to bolt up a tree. Unless you’re packing one [...]

At the Libraries: Heavy on the Visuals

Each week Miss Kathleen provides links to a variety of stories about libraries, authors, and books. If there’s something noteworthy going on in your local library, leave us a comment! I just can’t understand this no-fiction-prize business from the Pulitzer Committee. How do you have nominees but no winner? I guess the New Yorker has it [...]

Combination Pistol/Knife Owned by the President of Peru

José Balta’s reign as President of Peru ended with an assassin’s bullet on July 26, 1872. So perhaps this was a fitting weapon for him to own during a dangerous age. The French gunmaker Lefaucheux, Casimer & Eugene made this unique knife that includes a pinfire revolver in the handle. It fires six 7.65 mm [...]

Dietribes: Lima Beans

• Though we have come to pronounce them differently, Lima beans were indeed named for the capital of Peru where they have been growing for over 7,500 years. Through trading and cultivation, limas became popular throughout the world, spreading across central America and the United States to Europe and Africa via Spanish and Portuguese ships!   • Lima beans [...]

10 Other Organizations “Without Borders”

Most of us have heard of the international NGOs Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders, and you might know about Reporters Without Borders. But what about Monks Without Borders? Or Clowns? Here’s a list of borderless organizations you really should hear about. 1. Bikes Without Borders Bikes Without Borders is a Canadian non-profit group that [...]