The Time Groucho Marx Did the Charleston on...
Groucho Marx once visited the place Hitler committed suicide. And danced on it.
19 Fun Facts About Children's Books Spotted at the...
This past week I spent some quality time in the children’s section of my local library. Over on Instagram (we’re @mental_floss), we’ve been sharing photos of books we saw with facts related to them. Here’s a recap of our latest field trip.
The L.A. Riots Erupted 20 Years Ago Today
The Los Angeles Riots began on April 29, 1992, after officers in the Rodney King case were acquitted of almost all charges. Here’s a look back at the events leading up to the violence.
7 Downsides to Being Left-Handed
While we no longer force 10% of the population to learn to write with their right hand or burn them at the stake as witches, the world is still out to get lefties.
Who Said It: Cartman or Ted Nugent?
Can you tell the verbatim Eric Cartman dialogue from the Motor City Madman’s lyrics, writings, and public pronouncements? Take the Quiz: Cartman or Nugent?
Vintage Photos of Librarians
Here are 15 historical images of librarians being their wonderfully helpful selves.
From King’s Quest to Leisure Suit Larry: A Brief...
If you had a home computer in the 1980s, you probably played at least one adventure game from Sierra On-Line. Here’s a brief history of the company – and the games – that helped define a generation of computer geeks.
In 1945 a Japanese Bomb Exploded in Oregon,...
A pregnant Sunday School teacher and five kids were the only World War II casualties in the continental U.S.
Why Do We Scream "Geronimo" When Jumping From...
It goes back to Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1940. http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/118168
7 Ways the Internet Has Been Used for Good
When good people get together on the web, it’s amazing what they can achieve.
Operation Eagle Claw
On this date in 1980, an elaborate plan to rescue American hostages in Iran was a spectacular failure.
This Is Your Brain on Porn
Staring woman image via Shutterstock You’d think watching pornography would be a turn on. But a new study suggests it actually causes part of the brain to turn off, at least in women.
More Regular People Who Became Internet Memes
From Ridiculously Photogenic Guy to Angry Hipster Girl to Baby Godfather, here are some real people behind the memes.
Elaborately Staged Theme Park Ride Photos
Lots more here.
23 Fun Facts About Things We Saw at the Grocery...
The other day we set up a mental_floss Instagram account, then went to the grocery store and took some pictures. (We also needed food.) Here are some fun facts about the products we encountered. And if you’re in a following-magazines-on-Instagram mood, there is plenty of room on the mental_floss bandwagon. Don’t forget the underscore.
The M&M of M&M's
What Do the Ms on M&M’s Stand For, and How Do They Get Them on There?
Early Scathing Reviews of Works Now Considered...
See how the following works—whose ‘classic’ status now seems self-evident—were once butchered by the Simon Cowells of yesteryear.
Morbid Road Trip Idea: The Scattered Artifacts of...
[Above: The contents of Lincoln’s pockets the night he was shot and one of the hoods the assassination conspirators were forced to wear.] If we ever take an Assassination Vacation-esque Lincoln road trip, here’s what’s on our must-see list.
Facebook May Be Turning You Into a Pretty Horrible...
Pan Xunbin / Shutterstock Facebook has over 800 million users, and researchers have been busy studying them. Here are some of the positive and negative ways the site is impacting people’s lives. (Mostly negative.)
The Simpsons made their debut on The Tracy Ullman...
Bribe Your Favorite Celebrity for a Worthy Cause
Want to contribute to a worthy cause and get your favorite celebrity to do something awesome and/or ridiculous? That’s the idea behind Charity Bribes. Anyone can post something awesome or bizarre for a specific celebrity to do. These ideas go on a master list, where the good people of the Internet vote for their favorites. Currently on the leader board: “Morgan Freeman to spend an afternoon...
On this date in 1930, BBC Radio reported, "There...
The Original Gmail
Before Google launched Gmail, “G-Mail” was the name of a free email service Garfield’s website offered to fans of the lasagna-loving cat.
The Window Tax
British homes used to be taxed on the number of windows they had. Instead of paying the higher taxes, many people just bricked up windows they could do without.
5 Apocalypse Scenarios Governments Have Actually...
From a Zombie invasion to a March Madness app infecting all our cellphones, governments are preparing for the worst.
The First Webcam
The first webcam was pointed at a coffee pot. It allowed computer science researchers at Cambridge to monitor the coffee situation without leaving their desks.
Why Do Dogs Stick Their Heads Out of Car Windows?
Two-headed dog image via Shutterstock Matt Soniak explains.
The War on Lemonade
Lemonade stand image via Shutterstock For generations, entrepreneurial kids have set up card tables in front yards to sell ice cold drinks to passers-by. But sometimes the law catches up with these renegade youngsters. Read More: 6 Illicit Lemonade Stands Towns Had to Shut Down
Something E.B. White Said
“In real life, a spider doesn’t spin words in her web. In real life, a swan doesn’t blow a trumpet. But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination.”
The Healthcare Industry Has the Best Mascots
From Petey P. Cup to Prosty the Spokesgland to Mr. Testicles, here are some of our favorite healthcare mascots.
Rough Day in History
On April 14th: Lincoln was shot (1865), the Titanic hit an iceberg (1912), and the Great Plains saw the worst dust storm of the Dust Bowl era (1935).
That Time They Found Those Bodies in Ben...
Construction workers found something odd while renovating Ben Franklin’s old London home—lots and lots of bones.
Fun Facts About the 11 "Greatest Books for Kids"
Parent & Child magazine recently put out a list of the 100 Greatest Books for Kids. Here are the top 11, along with some flossy tidbits about each.
Notable Patients at the U.S. Government's Hospital...
St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., provided mental health care services to members of the U.S. armed forces and District residents when it opened as the Government Hospital for the Insane in 1855. Founded by social reformer and mental health advocate Dorothea Dix, St. Elizabeths treated more than 7,000 patients at its height during the 1940s and 50s. Here are a few of the hospital’s...
It Was a Long 48 Years
British merchant Peter Durand patented the tin can in 1810. Ezra Warner patented a can opener in 1858. In between, people opened cans with chisels and hammers.
Religions Inspired by Pop Culture
If you’re going to worship one of the main characters from Disney’s long-canceled Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, Gadget is probably the best option. A group of Russian individuals, apparently ignoring the fact that her inventions usually failed at particularly inconvenient moments in nearly every episode, decided that the animated begoggled tinkerer was worthy of more than mere admiration. ...
Variations on “Keep Calm and Carry On”
The now-famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was produced by the British Ministry of Information in 1939, as a quintessentially British statement of what to do in the event of German invasion. The poster actually wasn’t circulated at the time, and only became popular after its rediscovery at a bookstore. But enough with the history. Let’s look at some wacky variations on the...
11 Modern Antiques Today’s Kids Have Probably...
How many of these do you recognize, and how many would puzzle young kids today?
8 Old-School Diseases Making a Comeback
Humanity spent the last hundred years virtually eradicating some of the planet’s most unpleasant diseases. But in the past decade some of them have started showing up again in increasing numbers of people. Here are some of the reasons why.
12 Underappreciated (But Equally Precious) Bodily...
Fluids image via Shutterstock Blood, sweat, and tears? Classic bodily fluids. Mucus, spit, semen, and urine? Well known to juvenile minds everywhere. But what else is oozing around inside us?
In 1906, the Bronx Zoo Put a Black Man on Display...
In his first few weeks at the Bronx Zoo, Ota Benga wandered around the grounds freely. But soon, zookeepers urged Benga to play with the orangutan in its enclosure. Crowds gathered to watch. Next the zookeepers convinced Benga to use his bow and arrow to shoot targets, along with the occasional squirrel or rat. They also scattered some stray bones around the enclosure to foster the idea of...
19 Regional Words All Americans Should Adopt...
REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE/LANDOV When traveling across the United States, it sometimes feels like the locals are speaking a whole different language. That’s where the Dictionary of American Regional English comes to the rescue. The last installment of this staggering five-volume tome, edited by Joan Houston Hall, was published last month, and let me tell you, it’s a whoopensocker. In celebration...
Why Some Civil War Soldiers Glowed in the Dark
They called it “Angel’s Glow,” and it may have saved their lives.
Where Does the Easter Bunny Come From?
KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters /Landov The Easter Bunny is a beloved springtime character, but look deeper and you’ll realize nobody gives away that much chocolate unless they’re hiding something. Read More: The Easter Bunny: An Unauthorized Biography
Treat Your Interns Well This Summer
You — and everyone else — may be working for them one day. Read More: 6 Interns Who Ended Up Running the Company
If Facebook, Google and Twitter Were Invented...
The folks at Squirrel-monkey have been putting together parody videos showing what popular online games and websites today might have looked like twenty or thirty years ago. They are tremendous. Watch Here: Modern Internet Stuff, 80s and 90s Style
11 Things That Have No Business Being Lip Balms
Read More: 11 of the Weirdest Lip Balm Flavors Ever
Why Does Your Nose Get Stuffy One Nostril at a...
Nose-blowing image via Shutterstock Because your nostrils split their workload.