CLOSE
Tirados Joselito via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Tirados Joselito via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

The Bittersweet Story of Vanilla

Tirados Joselito via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Tirados Joselito via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Vanilla beans are a lot harder to grow than you'd think. The majority of the vanilla we consume today doesn't even come from vanilla beans.
*
The Black Dahlia Murder. You've heard of it; now learn the details.
*
Meet the clown who dominated Chicago’s airwaves for generations of kids. Every city had a Bozo, but Chicago took him seriously for 40 years.  
*
17 Creative Ways Australians Got Around After Their Town Had Been Flooded. Out come the boats, the floats, and anything else that would work.
*
That time the Beastie Boys recorded a country music album. You can listen to the whole thing if you want to.
*
7 Acts Of Madness Committed By History's Worst Dictators. No, not genocide or other war crimes, but their weird peccadilloes you might not know about. NSFW text.
*
Found: First Evidence in England of Burning Dead Bodies to Keep Them From Rising. The abandoned medieval town of Wharram Percy is giving us clues.
*
6 People Who Claimed to Have Been Romanovs. Before all the bodies were found, it was easier to convince people.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Robert Penn, Twentieth Century Fox
How Intelligent is the Alien Xenomorph?
Robert Penn, Twentieth Century Fox
Robert Penn, Twentieth Century Fox

Just How Intelligent is the Alien Xenomorph? For a slimy, 8-foot insect, it had some canny strategies.

*

Sharknado 6 Will Have Nazis and Noah's Ark, Which Seems Weirdly Predictable. Godwin's law should have come into effect long before the sixth film.

*

Your Cortex Contains 17 Billion Computers. Our brains are much more complex than we've been told, and we have charts to explain them.

*

Is This The Most Crowded Island In The World? A visit to Ilet a Brouee, a micro-sample of Haiti's unnatural history.

*

Hilarious Guide To Dog Breeds That Will Help You Choose Your Next Dog. Comic artist Grace Gogarty captures the canine personalities you won't understand from mere pictures.

*

Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking. Thought to be gone forever, a chef stumbled across a surviving crop of hill rice in Trinidad.

*

29 Secrets Competitive Figure Skaters Will Never Tell You. But we found out anyway.

*

This is What the Flu Does to Your Body. You feel like you've been hijacked, because that's exactly what's happening.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Atsushi Nishijima, Disney Enterprises, Inc.
How A Wrinkle in Time Inspired Female Scientists
Atsushi Nishijima, Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Atsushi Nishijima, Disney Enterprises, Inc.

True Stories of How A Wrinkle in Time Inspired Female Scientists. The right book at the right time can change the world.

*

How a Pile of Unpaid Bills Led to Washington, D.C. The new city was to be a haven from angry creditors.

*

At the NBA All-Star Game, Fergie Performed "The Star Spangled Banner" as a Sultry Torch Song. The response was not so much outrage as it was laughter.

*

Hawai‘i’s Last Outlaw Hippies. They've been squatting in the Kalalau Valley for 50 years, but that's coming to an end.

*

The Insect That Painted Europe Red. When Conquistadors brought cochineal insects back from the Aztec empire, the color they produced made Spanish dyers rich.

*

A New Model Predicts That the 'Ideal' Mammal Is 2.5 Times Bigger Than an Elephant. That model assumes adequate resources from an abundant Earth.

*

New York’s Oldest Dim Sum Restaurant and the Secrets of Chinatown. Take a tour of Doyers Street, also known as Bloody Angle.

*

15 of History's Greatest Mad Scientists. How being downright insane can lead to thinking outside the box.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios