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A palm-reading will cost you extra

Here at mental_floss, we make a point of telling you about things that happened in the past (executions of royal mistresses, origins of nursery rhymes, and so on). It's a little-known fact that we can also predict the future. For instance, I predict that you are about to read two paragraphs about The Amazing Criswell, a character I recently came across while doing m_f-related research:

The Amazing Criswell began his career as a television newscaster. One night he ran out of copy, and faced with the prospect of fifteen minutes of dead air before the closing credits rolled, he decided to tell his audience what was going to happen the next day. When one of his predictions actually came true, Charles Criswell King was transformed into The Amazing Criswell.

Over the next few years, Criswell became a celebrity psychic who astounded the world on the Jack Paar show by predicting the assassination of JFK. He also published several popular books in which he prophesied that Des Moines, Iowa would become a world hub of homosexual activity, Las Vegas would host the first interplanetary conference in 1990, and brain transplants would someday be available from vending machines.  

You can hear Criswell's predictions for yourself here. If you prefer slightly more realistic futurology, we'll be showing off our abilities at the Idea Festival in October, and also in a future feature (on the future) in the magazine, written by the Amazing Me.  

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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