We Are Hiring! Inquire Within

Right now, things are pretty good at With a crafty team of editors and a stable of awesome freelancers, we're sending 12-15 stories out into the world each day. More than 8 million people stopped by last month, and another million folks check out our weekly YouTube videos. This year we won a Webby Award. TIME named us one of the 50 Best Websites. And Mashable put @mental_floss #1 on their list of 25 Twitter Accounts That Will Make You Smarter. On really good days we get ice cream cake.

But we can do better. 25 stories a day! 20 million visitors! Ice cream cakes daily!

That's where you come in. We're creating three new positions for amazing thinkers who will knock our collective socks off while working in our New York office. 

Deputy Digital Editor

We're looking for a rabidly curious grammar freak to dream up great stories and edit other people's work. You can write about almost anything, and you will. Why Paraguay loves Rutherford B. Hayes. What people did for fun in the 16th century. Why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were so obsessed with pizza. Chaucer. Mini-golf. Drones. Nachos. Nachos again because the topic is too expansive for a single post.

Primary responsibilities will include conceiving and assigning story ideas that fit mental_floss's smart, quirky voice and positive tone, editing work from freelancers and staff writers, and generally elevating

But because we're a small editorial team, you'll wear many hats. You may be asked to help with video scripts and board games and event planning and new apps. It's not just because you're new. Our head of business development proofreads our newsletter each morning. When we have parties, we do the decorating. Our co-founders will be looking over your applications. Everyone does a little of everything.

Candidates should have:

- At least two years experience writing, assigning, and editing
- Strong research and reporting skills
- Ability to nurture writers with constructive feedback
- Natural curiosity and the ability to generate tons of story ideas (this one should probably be higher)
- Ability to collaborate with a small team
- Knowledge of social media platforms and analytics
- Experience with Drupal and Photoshop a plus
- We should mention that editing part again

Staff Writers

We're also looking to add two staff writers to help us bring our readers even more wonderful stories. Primary responsibilities will include writing 2-3 posts for publication on the site each day, overseeing our daily Watercooler Ammo editorial newsletter, and assisting with custom content for our advertising partners. You'll also be pulled in on video scripts and special projects. At least we think they're special. OK, we haven't come up with said special projects yet. But they're coming! Additionally, there are often cookies in our office, so if you could pitch in on eating those, that would be a huge help to everyone.

For this position, prior experience is not as crucial as strong writing skills and the ability to manage time and hit deadlines. We're less worried about experience and more about finding people with the right blend of work ethic and intellectual curiosity to dig up amazing stories.

Ideal candidates will have:

- Energetic, positive written voice
- Strong research and reporting skills
- Ability to translate complicated concepts into accessible writing
- Ability to conceive, pitch, and execute timely stories on tight deadlines
- Ability to generate large volumes of story ideas
- Ability to work and collaborate with a small team
- Knowledge of social media platforms and analytics
- Willingness to take ownership of projects
- Experience with Drupal and Photoshop a plus

Do either of those jobs sound like you? Then this is your chance to get in with fun people who love what they do, hate drama, and really want to take this to another level. We are also part of the Dennis family of publications so we offer benefits like health, dental, and vision insurance, gym deals, and other goodies.

How to Apply

To toss your hat in the ring, email with the following:

- Your resume and cover letter
- Links to three stories you've written that you're really proud of
- A 140-character summary that convinces us you're the perfect fit for the job (or just something insanely interesting that will stick with us)

Note that these positions are in our New York office. Good luck!

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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