World’s Strangest

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The 13-year-old Veteran

Calvin Graham was only 12 when he became a seaman in the United States Navy. He had already left home to escape an abusive stepfather, and the military was desperate for manpower right after the Pearl Harbor attack that drew the US into World War II. Graham was assigned to the USS South Dakota, which [...]

12 Proposed U.S. States That Didn’t Make the Cut

The road to 50 states was littered with wannabes who couldn’t wait to declare themselves—but never quite got to full statehood. Here are 12 states that could have been. 1. Franklin Wikimedia Commons After the Revolutionary War, it became common for states to gift their westernmost lands to the newly-founded (but broke) American government to repackage and sell [...]

Zombie Bees

Poor bees. First, there’s the honeybee colonies collapse disorder, then there’s this: a parasite that turns bees into zombies. Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in California and South Dakota have [...]

A Day Trip to Chicago

What do you do with only one day in Chicago? My family recently went there for a biannual reunion that I explained in a similar post a few years ago. Since then, the families have grown by one husband (mine) and five stepchildren (although only the youngest goes to the reunions). With only one full [...]

On Sticking Your Arm Into an Underwater Cavern and Hoping a Catfish Bites You

Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters/Landov Lincoln Sadler eyes one of his favorite fishing spots, Great Rock, from a distance but times his approach around an oncoming boat so as not to reveal the rock’s secret location. He has already hiked two-miles in the boiling heat of an August North Carolina day followed by two miles of swimming and wading [...]

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 [...]

Temporal Distortion

(vimeo link) You’ve seen time-lapse videos of the night sky here before, but this one is particularly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and soothing. It’s even more impressive in full-screen mode. Randy Halverson shot the scenes in South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Wisconsin. You have to get way out beyond the light pollution to see the stars this way! [...]

More Snowy Owl Sightings in the U.S.

Bird watchers and Harry Potter fans are delighted at the larger than usual number of snowy owl sightings in the lower 48 this year. Snowy Owls are native to the Arctic, but fly south every few years to let us admire them. This winter, they’ve been seen as far south as Hawaii! “A lot of people [...]

8 Heroic U.S. Military Chaplains

While researching the post 10 Heroic Battlefield Medics, I came across a couple of fascinating stories about military chaplains and their wartime exploits. Those stories were filed away for later, and they grew into a list of stories that deserve to be told and remembered. They are presented here in more or less chronological order. 1. [...]

9 Things Everyone Should Know About North Dakota

Everyone gives North Dakota a hard time. Well, some people in Montana and South Dakota do. People in states farther away can’t name a single thing about it. But we should all give this place more respect. It might be cold, it might have long and tedious roads, and it might not even be a [...]