World’s Strangest

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Companies Americans Love to Hate (the Most)

The good people over at The Atlantic recently reviewed the American Customer Satisfaction Index and compiled a list of the 19 Most Hated Companies in America. The list includes all the usual suspects that you’ve probably had actual or virtual run-ins with, for all the reasons you would put them atop a list you might [...]

Why Is Michigan So Generous With Bottle Deposits?

The classic Seinfeld episode “The Bottle Deposit” will be 15 years old in May. In honor of Kramer and Newman’s ill-fated trip to Michigan in a mail truck full of bottles and cans they hoped to redeem for dimes, let’s take a look at why Michigan’s bottle deposit is so high. How long has Michigan [...]

The Beanie Babies Bubble

© Kevin Horan/Corbis Nothing says “Destined to hold its value indefinitely” quite like a teddy bear stuffed with plastic pellets. Or so collectors thought in the late 1990s, when Beanie Babies, the plush stuffed animal brainchild of Ty Inc. founder Ty Warner, were sweeping the national collecting market. But what made these little stuffed critters a [...]

Who Exactly Is J.D. Power?

It feels like every car commercial you see touts the vehicle’s sterling showing in a J.D. Power and Associates survey. The awards are bandied about as if their origins are common knowledge. But who exactly is J.D. Power, and who are his much-discussed associates? Let’s take a look at the man behind the car ads. [...]

Family Might Own Lost Michelangelo

A family in Buffalo passed this painting from generation to generation for years. While they called it a Michelangelo, no one in the family really took the claim too serious until Martin Kober retired in 2003 and decided to look into the painting’s origins. As he started contacting museums and art scholars, the claim started [...]

The Most Popular Stories of 2009: #13 to #6

We’re counting down the year’s most-read mentalfloss.com stories. On Sunday, we rattled off #20 to #14. Here’s the next batch. 13. 8 Unusual College Scholarships by Kara Kovalchik Today’s students can parlay a hobby, goofy talent or even a genetic luck of the draw into scholarship money. Take a gander at some of the more unusual opportunities that [...]

5 Toys With Dark Histories

You know the toys, but do you know about their dark sides? 1. Kites Just how could something as delicate and serene as a kite turn into a harbinger of death, doom and destruction? Easy—turn it into a sport. An annual kite festival in Pakistan has become a regular safety hazard due to its highly competitive nature. [...]

3 Weird Disasters Involving Food

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a number of dangerous food recalls in the last few years. But there was a time when food didn’t just attack us after we ingested it. Some foods just cut out the middleman and created wide-scale disasters without contaminating a single colon. 1. The Boston Molasses Flood of [...]

Month in Review: August’s Most Popular Stories

Numbers-wise, August was our best month ever. Remember when Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ home run record? Our August stats were like that, except if instead of hitting 70 home runs, McGwire had started a website and racked up 22,000,000 pageviews. Thanks to all 7-million-plus of you who stopped by. Here’s a look back at [...]