Lucas is the Associate Editor at mental_floss. A recent graduate of Lafayette College, he grew up in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, where he played a lot of piano and toiled as a chocolatier.
For nearly two centuries, powdered wigs—called perukes—were all the rage. The chic hairpiece would have never become popular, however, if it hadn't been for a venereal disease, a pair of self-conscious kings, and poor hair hygiene.... READ ON
CBS/LandovOver seven seasons, the General Lee went airborne more than 150 times. Although it seemed fine on screen, the General rarely survived a jump. Warner Brothers totaled an average of two Chargers per episode. By the time filming ended, an estimated 300 Chargers had starred as the General Lee. What happened to all those... READ ON
If you like sampling new beers or hate having money, you might want to try one of these.... READ ON
In 1963, 16-year-old Bruce McAllister mailed a four-question survey to 150 novelists, asking if they intentionally planted symbolism in their work. Here’s what they had to say.... READ ON
At Goucher College last month, Ira Glass said that commencement speakers "give stock advice, which is then promptly ignored.” He may be right. Every year, speakers spew the same old sayings: Never give up! Embrace failure! Be passionate! Here’s a look at speakers who said things a little differently this... READ ON
Joni Rendon and Shannon McKenna Schmidt are the authors of
Alisa works in New York as the Director of Communications for
Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
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I made the video above in about four minutes, for free. It's kind of an amazing technology -- used recently by GEICO to make commercials -- and with little marketing, Xtranormal has swept the internet. Their videos are free-or-cheap to make (you pay for stuff like upgraded sets, actors, etc) and lots of people have been doing it -- often to express frustration with some aspect of their everyday lives. The best Xtranormal videos have gone viral. Here are a few we thought were... READ ON
A lot of people think they know where shit comes from. (It's possible this whole article was devised just so I could write that opening sentence.) But the origins of the word "shit" have long been clouded by urban legend. Granted, the urban legend is a good one, and people can't resist a good story. The story goes that back in the 1800s, cow pies were collected from the prairie to be used as fuel on ships during long voyages -- because they weighed less than various forms of liquid fuel (many of which... READ ON
I know what you're thinking: yeah, yeah, more mashups. But I promise you, THIS IS DIFFERENT. The guy behind Girl Talk -- a laptop-wielding hipster named Greg -- raises the mashup to an art form. (An extremely danceable art form.) He's released five albums thus far, all available for free, each composed of hundreds and hundreds of clips and samples from pop songs and classic rock and hip-hop and rap and everything in between. Astoundingly, he's never been sued.
I REALLY like this stuff. The... READ ON
I know, I know -- the first rule of Book Club is, don't use Book Club as a verb! But seriously, I never thought I'd say this: I joined a book club. A sit-around-in-someone's-living-room-sipping-brandy-discussing-Jonathan-Franzen book club. For years, I didn't see the point; I had spent four years talking about books with groups of people at Kenyon College (the better of our seminars were even held in professors' living rooms), and as much as I'd enjoyed being an English lit major, it seemed like I'd had... READ ON
Vivian Maier was one of the best street photographers of her time -- and completely unknown. She worked as a sweatshop laborer in New York and for forty years as a nanny in Chicago, and during that time she took some 100,000 photographs of street scenes and cityscapes. She was an intensely private person, and spent much of her free time roaming the streets with her camera, taking pictures that she didn't show to anyone -- and many of which she never even developed. In the 1970s, she cared for Phil... READ ON
It's been awhile since I've posted any new "talking pictures" -- I've been hard at work on the book! -- but over the weekend I was inspired to make this video about them. I get a lot of blank stares when I tell people I collect old snapshots, and my hope is that this will explain why I love them.
You can follow me on Facebook or... READ ON
If you saw the Golden Globes this year, then you probably saw Claire Danes accept the Best Actress award for her role as Temple Grandin (in the HBO movie Temple Grandin). It's a bio-pic about an autistic woman who uses her astounding ability to "think in pictures" and her unusual empathy (I mean that in the strictest sense of the word) for animals to change the cattle industry, designing better and more humane ways to herd and bathe and even slaughter animals. It's fascinating and inspiring, as is Temple... READ ON
I posted a video of Richard Nixon playing the piano this morning, and it got me to wondering -- what other politicians have musical talent? Let's find out -- to YouTube!
There's Condi Rice, of course, who's a classically-trained pianist. Here she is playing for the Queen of England.
Here's Bill Clinton playing the sax on Arsenio Hall, way back in the day. Or way back in the the nineties, at... READ ON
"Egghead" is one of those words that seems to have fallen out of wide use, not unlike the fifties-ish epithet "pieface" (a favorite insult of Ramona Quimby, among others). These days I think most of us take it to mean "nerd" or "geek." While its true origins are a bit murky, it's widely agreed that "egghead" reached the height of its usage in 1952, when then-vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon used it to describe the Democratic candidate for president, Adlai Stevenson -- whose balding head... READ ON
Leave it to Vice Magazine to dirty up what is otherwise the most straight-laced and coma-inducing genre of writing imaginable: reviews of classical music albums. But just because Vice has a potty mouth doesn't mean they don't take the music seriously, which makes for some seriously interesting reading, even for people who aren't flipping out over the latest recording of Richard Strauss by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or whatever. Here are a few of my favorite reviews -- that we could... READ ON
Kate Rockwood is a freelance journalist living in Chicago.
Most of the world seems to think that America invented obesity sometime in the last century, but the truth is, fat has always been a part of life (witness Hatshepsut, one of the great ancient Egyptian queens who reigned in the 15th century BC—despite her svelte sarcophagus, modern archeologists believe that she was pretty obese and may have suffered from diabetes).
So it stands to reason that dieting has been around just as long.
Some historians credit William the Conqueror with starting the... READ ON
On the face of it, it seems like a hard sell to get millions of people to part with vast amounts of their hard-earned cash with just a hint of ever getting any of it back. But since casinos are able to do it at increasing amounts every year, the question is, how?
Well, a lot of it comes down to design "“ casinos are designed to put visitors in a trance-like state where the bright lights, lack of natural daylight and absence of clocks keep them lulled into continually pulling out their wallets.... READ ON
After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections. Today she wraps up with Bush v.... READ ON
After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections. Today's topic is the endless election of 2000.
The 2000 election "“ the one that saw George W. Bush follow in his father's footsteps "“ didn't come to an official conclusion until December 12,... READ ON
After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections, and we'll be posting her stories throughout the... READ ON
After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections, and we'll be posting her stories throughout the week.
George Bush the elder had just spent four years trying to refashion America into a "kinder and gentler" nation. But by the 1992 election, the American people... READ ON
Now that Obama and McCain are on the cusp of choosing Vice Presidents, maybe it's time to take a look at 10 of the most memorable backup plans, and what they might want to avoid.
1. Chester Arthur was... READ ON
Heavy is the head that wears the "It" girl tiara.
Sure, it's all fun and games "“ or coke and threesomes "“ at first. But it seems that barely a day goes by without some misguided pop moppet lurching across the evening news: Onetime star, fulltime trainwreck Britney Spears continues to careen from one explosion to another; Lindsay Lohan's strung out, white-trash-on-meth mug shot remains a perpetual punch line; and Nicole Richie keeps forgetting to eat.
Sure, you... READ ON
Dave Roos splits his time between freelance writing and organic vegetable farming, neither of which pay very well but make excellent use of his Religion major.
Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator and entertainment journalist who loves zombies and yoga in equal measure (but preferably not at th
Jake Rossen is a writer, editor, and curator of fine comic strip art.
How do you plug leaks in an 85-mile long tunnel buried 700 feet in the ground? ... READ ON
When you're already making millions, you need to start making other demands. Like cooking classes.... READ ON
They make more tires than Goodyear. Tiny, tiny tires.... READ ON
A peek inside the zaniest toy factory in American history. ... READ ON
The makers of the Hula Hoop would also like to interest you in a bomb shelter. ... READ ON
Everyone agrees Gilliam makes wonderful movies. He just can't get anyone to pay for them. ... READ ON
If a surgeon gets too close to delicate nerves in the throat, an alarm goes off. (But no one's nose lights up.)... READ ON
The show's production designer on the art of crafting giant, booger-filled noses. ... READ ON
The famed director on meeting Hitler, colorization, and dog farts.... READ ON
Before the show was a hit, audience members were made out of plywood.... READ ON
Depending on the time of day, Greg Sabin is either a financial planner, freelance writer, banjo player, or improvisational comedian.
Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, writer, and broadcast media producer.
Erik Sass is the author of The Mental Floss History of the United States and co-author with Steve Wiegand of The Mental Floss History of the World, both of which you should go buy right now.
The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that shaped our modern world. Erik Sass is covering the events of the war exactly 100 years after they happened. This is the 125th installment in the series.... READ ON
In his final days, Archduke Franz Ferdinand expressed forebodings about his journey to Bosnia to observe the empire’s annual military maneuvers.... READ ON
Erik Sass has been covering the events of WWI exactly 100 years later. Here's a look back at how we got here.... READ ON
Two years after the sinking of the Titanic the world was gripped by news of yet another horrific maritime disaster—but developments behind the scenes foreshadowed something even worse.... READ ON
Since her dream of appearing on “Rock & Roll Jeopardy” didn’t pan out, Mandy works as a freelance writer.
Jenna Scherer is a writer, editor and rouser of rabble whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Traveler,
Mike Schlossberg is a Pennsylvania State Representative who also works as a
Iris Gupta took a problem from everyday life, and used science to try to solve it. ... READ ON
It's the largest astronomical photo ever. ... READ ON
Participants rated their level of fear on everything from measles to the dark. ... READ ON
There was something strange happening on the island of Eilean Mor long before three lighthouse keepers disappeared in the winter of 1900.... READ ON
Proof that comedic genius can come from very unlikely places. ... READ ON
The list reads like a who's who of beloved '80s actors. ... READ ON
You might get sand in the joystick, but it'll be worth it. ... READ ON
Chuck Yeager took to Twitter in the days leading up to the 68th anniversary of his record-breaking achievement. ... READ ON
The Southwestern graveyard of dinosaurs continues to be a source of discovery more than 100 years after its beds were first searched.... READ ON
The historic photo cost Randy Guijarro $2 at a thrift store in California.... READ ON
Dana Schwartz is a writer and comedian, graduating from Brown University in 2015.
Anne Schweitzer is a publicist in the City of St. Louis, splitting her free time between outdoor adventures and indoor cats.
Jon Seder is a writer, artist, graphic designer and recent Brooklyn expatriate who now happily lives in Maine.
Streeter Seidell is the front page editor of CollegeHumor.com and co-author of the site's first book, The CollegeHumor Guide to College.
Rachel is an East Coast native and a total Anglophile.
Freelance writer and head of expansion at bulb - a social network for sharing knowledge - living in Colorado.
Bud Shaw is a columnist for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer who has also written for the Philadelphia Daily News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National.
Taco Bell is named for its founder, Glen Bell.