Leslie Threlkeld is currently working as a mental_floss intern in Birmingham. She recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Journalism and Computer Science.
Drew Toal is a freelance writer and photo booth operator. He currently resides in Brooklyn.
Will Treece grew up in Tokyo, lives in Detroit, and is currently a History major at Swarthmore College.
Editorial Director/VP, Strategy at mental_floss.
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In the late 1970s, the Phillies’ mascots were two 18th-century siblings named Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phyllis, but the duo did little to attract families wary of Veterans Stadium's rough-and-tumble image. In an effort to find a more family-friendly mascot, team officials commissioned design firm Harrison/Erickson, who also designed Muppets and the Montreal Expos’ beloved Youppi!, to craft a gentler symbol for the team. Thus, in 1978, six feet of... READ ON
Although it will once again be overshadowed by March Madness, this year's National Invitation Tournament gets rolling tonight. You might not realize it, but the NIT wasn't always an afterthought. Let's take a look at how the New York tourney was eclipsed by the... READ ON
John Cazale passed away on this date in 1978. His brief stay in Hollywood generated one of the more interesting bodies of work in modern... READ ON
In terms of presents and cake, leap day babies can have their pick between February 28 and March 1. But legally, things are a bit murkier in non-leap years. Some federal and state agencies consider February 28 the birthday, so leapers can go ahead and start collecting those sweet, sweet Social Security checks before the calendar flips over. Other agencies take a narrower approach. To get a driver’s license in some states, for instance, February 28 is technically still a day before the birthday, so in... READ ON
© Heiko Wolfraum/dpa/CorbisThe Spring Break season will be here before you know it, and if you’re traveling abroad for a vacation, you’ll get to enjoy the fun and excitement of passing through Customs on your way home. Let’s take a look at a few of the other rules regarding duties and declarations, and see what's up with the duty free shop.What am I supposed to declare to Customs officers?As a general rule, you’re supposed to declare anything you’re bringing back from your trip that... READ ON
If the authorities knock down your door while following procedure to catch you in some nefarious act, you’ll be paying for your own door-fixing contractor. But if the cops burst in by mistake, it becomes a trickier... READ ON
Flipping image via ShutterstockDon't bet on it. In 2004, three statisticians from Stanford and UC Santa Cruz set out to test the classic coin flip. Using a mechanical flipper to ensure identical tosses, they chucked thousands of coins into the air and landed on a surprising conclusion. For a hand-tossed coin, there's a slight bias toward the side it started on landing face up. While the bias only means the coin lands same-side-up 51 percent of the time, that's still a better bet than anything you'll... READ ON
© Rick Friedman/CorbisBecause the state wants it that way!New Hampshire's primaries have informally been the earliest since 1920, but over the years, the state has passed laws to ensure that its primaries will remain the first in the... READ ON
The cover story for the new issue of mental_floss magazine is The Most Important Questions of 2012. To tide you over until you get your hands on a copy, here are 25 very short answers to very big questions.
1. How do South Koreans get kids to stop... READ ON
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After a disappointing performance in the Iowa Caucus, Rick Perry is reassessing his campaign. Some members of her own party are urging Michele Bachmann to call it quits. [Update: He's still in. She's out.] If they do drop out and they're not out of cash, what happens to that money?
One thing's for sure — disappointed candidates can't console themselves by putting the dough toward a new yacht.
The Federal Election Commission has strict rules about what... READ ON
Angela Tung is a writer in San Francisco.
When she’s not watching for Saint West sightings or doing some serious social media creeping, Khalea Underwood, a Howard University alumna
Erik Vance is a former scientist who used to study dolphins as they played.
When she's not feeling nostalgic over old Hey Arnold! and Boy Meets World episodes, Tiffany Walden is writing about crim
Can you guess your state's book?... READ ON
A Dutch company aims to make education more accessible—and more personal.... READ ON
Blame the Internet. ... READ ON
These stores are unusually popular. ... READ ON
If you feel like life is just passing you by, there is a way to slow it down—or at least make you feel like it is. ... READ ON
Religion, weather, and Pinterest.... READ ON
If your state had an official state dessert, what would it be?... READ ON
Caity is a freelance writer who spends her nights blogging for Gawker and her days getting sucked into Wikipedia wormholes for mental_floss.
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Bradley Cooper. Channing Tatum. Kim Jong Un? Not to be outdone by People's annual ode to chiseled abs, The Onion nominated North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un this year's "Sexiest Man Alive." Unfortunately, not everyone was in on the spoof, namely China's largest Communist Party newspaper, The People's Daily, which not only took the bait but splashed a 55-page slideshow dedicated to the boyish leader across its... READ ON
His brain is legendary: When TIME named Albert Einstein its Person of the Century in 1999, the magazine called the shaggy-haired physicist a "genius among geniuses," whose understanding of the universe represented the "embodiment of pure intellect."
What few people know, however, is that within a few hours of his death in 1955, Einstein's brain was removed from his skull and photographed from different angles before it was sectioned into 240 blocks — all to advance the sciences he loved so dearly.... READ ON
Cloning a dinosaur might be a doomed pursuit (much to the dismay of a generation raised on Jurassic Park fantasies), but biologists at Brazil's Brasilia Zoo want to use genetic information from endangered animals to shore up dwindling populations. Next month, zoo researchers plan to begin cloning eight "at-risk" species before they disappear from the planet for good. Here's what you need to know about the bizarre project.
What animals are they cloning?
"The idea is to start with an animal that is... READ ON
Say hello to what may just be the loneliest planet in the universe. CFBDSIR2149—as researchers unromantically refer to this orphan world—doesn't have a traditional solar system to call its own, and instead floats through the galaxy untethered to a larger sun-like body. According to a new report in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, its existence is making astrophysicists rethink what they knew about starless planets, which may be more common than previously believed. Here's what you should know... READ ON
Duke University researchers perfect the illusion of invisibility using a new light-bending... READ ON
Skyfall — the 23rd entry in the James Bond franchise and the third to star Daniel Craig — hit U.S. theaters today, and critics are awarding it some of the highest marks in the series' 50-year history. But Skyfall's four-year production was nearly as convoluted and intriguing as the film that eventually resulted. Here, 007 fascinating behind-the-scenes facts about Skyfall:
001. Daniel Craig drunkenly offered Sam Mendes the chance to direct — without the producers' permission
The Hollywood... READ ON
In the midst of Tuesday's mad rush of election news from all 50 states, one contest was largely lost in the shuffle: Puerto Rico's referendum on statehood, which could potentially make the Caribbean island and U.S. territory the 51st state in the union. Now that the ballots have been tallied, it's clear that a majority of Puerto Ricans favor full statehood. What's the next step for Puerto Rico and the U.S. government? Could Puerto Rico really become the 51st state? Here's what you should... READ ON
Wikimedia Commons"That's it, I'm moving to Canada." So goes the liberal response every time the Democratic candidate loses a presidential election. The prospect of four years of Republican rule makes America's northerly neighbor — where everyone has health care, gay marriage is legal, financial regulations are strict, and the death penalty is abolished — seem like a sanctuary of progressive values. However, conservatives in recent years have also jumped on the Canadian bandwagon, claiming... READ ON
Splitting the bill after dinner can be a big headache for some people. Now researchers have an idea why.
The question: For the math-averse among us — number-crunchers like Nate Silver notwithstanding — a simple equation can cause a major headache. Why do some people find the task of balancing a checkbook or trying to split a bill after dinner to be incredibly daunting?
How it was tested: Researchers from the University of Chicago worked with 14 adults proven to have "math anxiety" based on... READ ON
"The 8-million-strong human population of New York City is matched, if not exceeded, by the city's number of rodent dwellers," says Lynne Peeples at The Huffington Post. And lots more rats lost their homes — subway tunnels and sewers — to flooding from Hurricane Sandy than people did. What has become of those disease-carrying vermin?
"Rats are incredibly good swimmers," says Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, ominously. "And they can climb." If Sandy did... READ ON
Every once in a while, we hand over the keys to college and graduate students. Here's what they've come up with in the past.
Excerpted from the wonderful Viva La Pizza by Scott Weiner.
An avowed Westerner, freelance writer Leah Welborn has never lived east of the Mississippi (not that there's anything wrong with it).
The inventors of Bubble Wrap were originally trying to make plastic wallpaper.