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Our Top 16 Stories of August 2012

In case you weren’t obsessively refreshing mentalfloss.com all month, here’s what you missed: 1. 24 Vintage Photographs of Abraham Lincoln Being Awesome, by Lucas Reilly * 2. 11 Geeky Wedding and Engagement Rings, by Jill Harness * 3. 11 Time Traveler Urban Legends That Pretty Much Debunk Themselves, by Bill DeMain * 4. Why Do Olympians [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The Midwest

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. Last up, the Midwest! (1) North Carolina © Duomo/CORBIS Yearning to learn more about your kidneys? Head to the University of North Carolina’s Carl W. Gottschalk Collection. The 12,400-item collection houses legendary medical professor Gottschalk’s passion: historical items related to the study [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The East

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Syracuse Syracuse’s colors were originally pink and blue, but the class of 1890 changed it to orange. A member of that class explained the switch at his 50th reunion in 1940: “What kind of ‘whoopee’ can be made with [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The South

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Kentucky Kentucky got its royal blue team color from a piece of clothing. In 1891 the school needed a set of team colors before a football game against in-state rival Centre College. After some debate, the students settled on [...]

The Halloween Costume You’re Most Proud Of

On Fridays, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion… 1. Two years ago, we asked for pictures of your best Halloween costumes. Let’s do that again! If you’re particularly proud [...]

How to Beat the Lottery with Statistical Certainty

Someone very smart once told me that the lottery is like a tax for the mathematically stupid, but apparently you can make playing lottery a profitable venture … if you’re good at math (kids, this is why you should stay in school). Here’s the story of how a loophole in the Massachusetts lottery game Cash WinFall [...]

What the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks Were Almost Called

The NBA Finals are set, with Dallas heading to Miami for Game 1 on Tuesday. We can’t tell you who’s going to win, but thanks to an article Scott Allen wrote for us a couple seasons ago, we can tell you what both teams were nearly named: Dallas Mavericks A Dallas radio station sponsored a name-the-team contest [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Things We Got from Texas

Happy Texas Independence Day! Today, 175 years ago, Texas official declared itself independent of Mexico. In the meantime, Texans have been busily filling the world with weird and useful things. Here are ten creations, inventions, developments or products from Texas. 1. Deep-Fried … Anything? Salty, pretzel-like pockets filled with Guinness and deep-fried? I’d try it. The ravioli-shaped [...]

Last Month’s Most Popular Stories on mentalfloss.com

In case you weren’t obsessively refreshing mentalfloss.com in November, here’s what you missed… 1. 4 Bizarre Experiments That Should Never Be Repeated, by Megan Wilde * 2. Talking Pictures: Glamor Shots, by Ransom Riggs * 3. 10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell, by Ethan Trex * 4. Talking Pictures: Times of Trouble, by Ransom Riggs * 5. 5 Geniuses Who Renounced Their Work, [...]

What Exactly Is a Crimson Tide?

Last month, Scott Allen wrote about the origins of the nicknames of the 10 schools in BCS bowls. In honor of tonight’s championship game between Alabama and Texas, here’s the scoop on where they got “Crimson Tide” and “Longhorns.” Alabama Crimson Tide Hugh Roberts, sports editor for the Birmingham Age-Herald, is widely credited as being the first [...]