THE KNOWLEDGE FEED

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The Day The Mississippi River Ran Backward—and How It Led to The Trail Of Tears

Laura Steadham Smith

New Madrid seismic zone. Red circles identify earthquakes that occurred between 1974 and 2002 with magnitudes 2.5 and larger. Green circles denote earthquakes that occurred before 1974.

How Do Zebras Get Their Stripes?

Monica Granados

Coat patterns such as a zebra’s stripes afford animals the ability to blend into their environment and among other individuals with the same patterns.

11 Epic Controversies in Dinosaur Naming

Mark Mancini

Naming a dinosaur is no easy task.

Early Balloons Were Made From Animal Intestines

Monica Granados

Wikipedia/Jeremy Kemp Today's balloon animals—those mainstays of carnivals and country fairs—all begin as flat, 60-inch-long "worms." Air gives the worm structure, and twists give it

Why Do We Get Shivers Up Our Spines?

Stephanie DePetrillo

Picture this: You’re sitting on your couch in the dark alone, watching a scary movie. The killer is walking toward an unsuspecting victim, then suddenly jumps out at her.

5 Psychological Conditions Named for Disney Characters

Lauren Baker

These characters had their own fairy tales and books and, later, Disney movies. They were also the basis for psychological disorders and personality types.

18 Gene Names that Cover the Gamut, From Movies to Pop Culture to Cartoons

Meghan Radford

Some might believe that scientists stay holed up in their laboratories wearing white coats, mixing chemicals, and hanging out with lab animals, but the truth is that we do get out occasionally.

How Happy Are Clams?

Erica Hersh

Wikimedia Commons"Happy as a clam" is one of those expressions that makes you wonder: Does this phrase come from an actual measurement of the happiness of

How Do 3D Glasses Work?

Andrew Koltonow

Stereoscopy—the illusion of depth created by showing a separate image to each eye—is at least as old as photography itself.

What Makes Something an Antique?

Julia Krueger

Every time you watch Antiques Roadshow, you probably wonder: Just how do we know what items are antiques?The rule of thumb used by most antique dealers is that anything about 100 years or older is an

5 Reasons Michael Faraday Is as Cool as Tesla

Sarah Frazier

Wikimedia Commons The Internet is obsessed with Nikola Tesla, with good reason. But I would argue that one of his predecessors, Michael Faraday, is just as worthy of all that attention.

Before Mad: The History of Educational Comics

Royce Wilmot

Images Courtesy of Comic-Covers.com Mad Magazine, the subversive satire-laced magazine best known as the home of Alfred E.

19 Confounding Discrepancies Between American English and British English

Kathleen Elise

Don’t freak out if your flatmate says he will be sure to knock you up in the morning.

Where Did Hard Hats Come From?

Laura Steadham Smith

Historically, dockworkers covered their hats with tar and let that harden to offer some protection against falling objects.

Welcome To College Weekend!

Erin McCarthy

A couple of weeks ago, we sent out a call for pitches from college students who wanted to write for mental_floss—and we were flooded with excellent ideas.

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