World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!
Ads

Nine Things Invented For Military Use That You Now Encounter In Everyday Life

A surprising number of military inventions have found their ways into our civilian lives. Here are just a few military-turned-everyday items. 1. GPS Getty Images When you rely on the GPS app on that Android phone to keep yourself from getting lost, you’re using the same Global Positioning System satellites set up by the U.S. Department of [...]

Homeland Security’s New Molecular Scanner

Still fretting about privacy? Don’t worry, it will soon be over. Big Brother will know everything about you with this new molecular scanner that sounds like it’s straight out of Star Trek: Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of [...]

World War I Centennial: Breaking Up DuPont

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that killed millions and set the continent of Europe on the path to further calamity two decades later. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. With the centennial of the outbreak of hostilities coming up in 2014, Erik Sass will be looking back at the lead-up to [...]

When Did the FBI Start Using “Wanted” Posters?

On a December night in 1919, a 23-year-old soldier named William N. Bishop managed to slip out of the stockade at Virginia’s Camp A.A. Humphreys and escape into the surrounding woods. Unable to locate Bishop, the army requested the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Division of Investigation, the precursor to the Federal Bureau of [...]

Everywhere a Sign: A Brief History of International Symbols

Restroom sign via Shutterstock You see them every day when you go to the restroom, cross the street, or look at a map. International symbols are intended to make getting around easier for anyone, regardless of their native tongue. But where do these symbols come from? Let’s take a look. Isotype Unlike many museums, the [...]

The New York Times Just Turned 160

Last Sunday was the 160th anniversary of The New York Times. Throughout those years, The Times has created quite a reputation for itself and has even garnered the nickname the “newspaper of record.” These days, the paper is the third most popular in the world, only ranking behind The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, [...]

Mad Scientist of the Month: Who’s Afraid of Taylor Wilson?

This article is your special sneak peek at the September-October issue of mental_floss magazine. by Judy Dutton At 10, he built his first bomb. At 14, he made a nuclear reactor. Now he’s 17… Taylor Wilson makes people nervous. While his beanpole frame and Justin Bieber–esque haircut suggest he’s just a harmless kid, his after-school activities paint a [...]

Magnetic and Electric Properties in a Single Material

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory announced today that they have observed a rare property in a special class of metals called multiferroics: they have both magnetic and electric properties, which normally don’t happen in the same material. Ferromagnets are, of course, magnetic metals, and ferroelectrics are materials that have a [...]

What Would You Buy With $3 Trillion?

Last week, the state-controlled Chinese Central Bank released figures indicating the country now holds over $3 trillion dollars in foreign-exchange reserves. The Economist has some interesting ideas on what the bank could buy if it were ever inclined to shop around for sexy investments, rather than squirrel money away on stodgy foreign currency. The fictional-but-still-realistic shopping [...]

Ray Cats, Artificial Moons and the Atomic Priesthood: How the Government Plans to Protect Our Nuclear Waste

by Rachel Kaufman Radioactive junkyards remain dangerous for millennia. So how do you keep future generations of urban explorers and dumpster divers away from all that toxic trash? With a sign, of course! New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) may be the trashiest place on Earth. Buried deep in the Chihuahuan Desert, the plant contains [...]