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A Brief History of Olympic Defectors

Lucas Reilly

For some athletes, the Olympics aren’t just a competition: they’re a chance to escape oppression. Earlier this week, seven of Cameroon’s athletes disappeared from London’s Olympic Village.

Brain Game: Mitch's Desk

Say hello to Mitch, whose likes and dislikes are the fodder for today's mentalfloss.com Brain Game Free-for-all Friday challenge.

Morning Cup of Links: RoboDog Shark Bait

Miss Cellania

The Perseid Meteor Shower is conveniently scheduled for this weekend. Read some tips on arranging the optimum conditions to enjoy the show.

The Missing Links: Hey, I Know That Olympian From Somewhere

Colin Patrick

Exactly How Big Is Our Solar System? Ummmm, really big. And: How big is infinity?

13 Brazen Harry Potter Knock-Offs From Around the World

Julia Davis

If J.K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books left you hungry for more Hogwarts, you’re not alone.

What Happened to Starting Races With Real Pistols?

Jason Plautz

When Usain Bolt, Wallace Spearmon and the rest of the field line up for today's 200-meter race, they'll kick off the race not at the fire of a pistol, but a noise triggered by an electronic

The Lasting Gifts of the Civilian Conservation Corps

Miss Cellania

In 1933, America was in the depths of the Great Depression. Unemployment stood at around 25%.

Does Peeing on a Jellyfish Sting Actually Help?

Matt Soniak

The sting of a jellyfish comes from specialized cells in the surface of its tentacles called cnidocytes.

A Physics Lesson: Why Cats Land on Their Feet (Usually)

Chris Higgins

Why do cats (usually) land on their feet?

Invade Canada! A Brief History of the War of 1812

The Week

Two centuries ago, the U.S. declared war on Britain, and invaded its closest colony. Why was the War of 1812 fought, and who really

Brain Game: Below Your Feet?

Here's some "elemental floss" for today's mentalfloss.com Brain Game Think Thursday challenge.

Morning Cup of Links: Screaming Stars

Miss Cellania

The Olympics Hall of Shame.

World War I Centennial: Teddy Roosevelt Runs Again

Erik Sass

Installment #29: August 7, 1912, was a busy day in one of the most complicated presidential elections in U.S. history.

Does Wedding Rice Really Make Birds Explode?

Matt Soniak

Throwing rice at a newly married couple has been a tradition for thousands of years, possibly going back as far as the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians.

The Late Movies: Geeking Out on "The Edge's" Guitar Rig

Chris Higgins

Today in 1961, Dave Evans (known as "The Edge" of U2) was born. In the 51 years since, The Edge has become known for his layered, echoing guitar lines.