iStock
iStock

Welcome to the New Mental Floss!

iStock
iStock

Now wait a minute. Something's different around here.

We're very excited to unveil the new mentalfloss.com! Poke around. We think you're going to like it. Stories have more room to breathe. Pages have less clutter. If you know what you're looking for, you'll have an easier time finding it. If you're here to get lost down a rabbit hole, we can keep you busy for hours. (Also, we love you. Come back often.)

We're still on a mission to write a list of facts about every proper noun, from famous movies to lesser-known presidents, fast-casual restaurant chains to celebrity-endorsed NES games. We'll eventually hit every book you'll read in school, every painting in art history, and every hot dog-shaped automobile you might encounter on the highway.

The staff will continue to answer Big Questions you've always wondered about, and questions you probably haven't.

And we're turning our best writers and editors loose on some fascinating untold stories you'll want to share with your friends. Like, in real life. Verbally. Not just on Facebook. But please tell your Facebook friends as well.

As with any new construction, there are still a few kinks we need to work out. There's a creaky floorboard, a door that needs painting, and no easy way to navigate all 274 installments of our World War I: 100 Years Later series. We're getting there. In the meantime, if there's something you can't find, shoot me an email (jason@mentalfloss.com) or tweet @EnglishJason. Before you know it, this will feel like home for you, too.

And finally, let's give a big round of applause to the very exhausted people who made this all happen, especially John, Mahala, Marty, Maja, Van, Lucy, Emem, Skye, Lauren, and Garrett. You can (almost) sleep now.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images
arrow
This Just In
Australian University Evacuated After Rotten Durian Smell Mistaken for Gas Leak
Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images
Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Getty Images

If you’ve ever been within sniffing distance of a durian, you would know it: The odor of the Southeast Asian fruit has been compared to decaying flesh, old garbage, and rotten eggs. The scent is so pungent that it prompted the recent evacuation of a university library in Melbourne, Australia, the Australian Associated Press reports.

Firefighters were called to investigate the scene on Saturday, April 28 after a strong smell was reported in the university library of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Police initially suspected it was a gas leak coming from the potentially harmful chemicals stored at the site. It was only after about 600 students and faculty members were evacuated that firefighters wearing gas masks discovered the true source of the stench: a durian that had been left to rot in a cupboard.

Putrid gases from the fruit had made their way into the air conditioning system, where they circulated thoughout the building and got the attention of the inhabitants. Though durian isn’t toxic, the fruit’s rancid remains are being dealt with by the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.

Evacuating an entire building over some old produce may seem like an overreaction, but the room-clearing power of durian is taken seriously in other parts of the world. The fruit is banned in some hotels in Southeast Asia, and the Singapore subway famously posts signs warning passengers not to carry it onto trains.

[h/t Australian Associated Press]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
technology
There's an Easy Way to Rid Your Mailbox of Catalogs and Other Junk
iStock
iStock

You've signed up for paperless billing. You've opted in on e-statements for your credit cards. But your mailbox is still filled to the brim with envelopes full of useless credit card offers, catalogs, coupons, and charity solicitations. Thankfully, there is a way to take back your mailbox from unwanted junk mail—if you know where to go. According to The New York Times, there is a relatively painless way to reduce the amount of unwanted paper piling up in your mailbox.

DMAChoice.org is a website run by the DMA, or the Data & Marketing Association, a New York-based lobbying organization for data-based marketing and advertising that represents around 3600 companies that send direct mail to consumers, i.e., the sources of your junk mail. In order to try to keep consumers happy (and thus, more amenable to marketing), the website lets consumers opt out of certain categories of unsolicited mailings.

For a $2 registration fee, you can remove your name from mailing lists for catalogs, magazine offers, and other direct mail advertising. Your can opt out of offers from specific companies, like say, the magazine Birds and Blooms or the AARP, or you can opt out of all companies in a category. If you don't want to get any mail from DMA-affiliated businesses, you have to separately opt out of all three categories: magazine offers, all catalogs, and all "other" mail offers.

Compared to ripping up AARP offers every single day, the effort is worth it. For less than the price of a few stamps and a few minutes of your time, you can vastly cut down on your junk mail. While the opt-out only applies for companies that find their direct-mail potential customers through DMA lists, you'll still be eliminating a huge swath of your unwanted mail.

As for those annoying "prequalified" credit card offers, you'll have to go to a different website, but this one, at least, is free. OptOutPrescreen.com, run by the four major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Innovis, Experian, and TransUnion—lets you opt out of all of credit card offers originating from the customer lists provided by those four reporting agencies. You can either file a request to opt out on the website to free yourself of credit card mailings for five years, or mail in an opt-out form to stop receiving them permanently. The site does ask you for your Social Security number, but it's legit, we promise. It has the FTC's stamp of approval.

[h/t The New York Times]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios