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A Brief History of the Magna Carta

To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the creation of the Magna Carta, the British Library has created two animations—narrated by Monty Python's Terry Jones—about the groundbreaking "Great Charter." The first, which you can watch above, explores the document's history. The second, below, outlines why the charter was created and what it says.

The document has its roots in a conflict between King John and 40 British barons, which arose in 1215. "Many people believe that King John was one of the worst kings in history," Jones says in the video. John was the kind of king who imprisoned his own wife, allegedly murdered his own nephew, and made his barons pay high taxes so that John could fight expensive foreign wars. "If they refused to pay, he punished them severely or seized their property," Jones says. "The barons demanded that King John obey the law; when he refused, they captured London and John was forced to negotiate."

The two sides met at Runnymede on June 10, 1215 to hammer out the agreement which became the Magna Carta. Though it was nullified by Pope Innocent III just a few weeks later, the document was reissued several more times before the "final" version was issued in 1225. Three clauses from that version of the Magna Carta remain on the books today. The document would inspire many, including America's Founding Fathers, suffragettes, and Gandhi. It also paved the way for the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was written after World War II.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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