The Tree That Owns Itself
Sort of.... READ ON
Vices, paychecks, fate
Last year the Reason Foundation published a study arguing that drinkers earn more than non-drinkers (stressing that drinkers "who tipped a glass at home" earned less--and probably cried and Googled exes more?--than drinkers who jousted for social capital at functions). I wonder if that's doubly so in America's Drunkest Cities. Other studies have shown that smokers earn less than non-smokers--MSN says 4-11% less. But regardless of your vices, it seems that twenty-something women living in major U.S. cities... READ ON
Predators and Pray?
If you're looking to put a little Jesus in your paintball routine, make sure to visit Wisconsin's Promised Land, the nation's largest Christian paintball park. Being neither a Christian, nor a Bible scholar, I was a little shocked by the idea, but apparently the facilities are going over incredibly well with pastors, youth group leaders and gun-savvy believers in the region. I guess it makes sense. Apparently, all warfare begins with a group prayer, curses aren't allowed (no... READ ON
10 Oscar factoids that'll impress everyone you know today
While every Tom, Dick and Oscar is busy Academy-chatting around the water cooler today, I thought I'd arm you with some ammo from past years that'll have all your cohorts thinking you really know your trivia. 1) Composer/conductor John Williams has been nominated for 45 Academy Awards, the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person. 2) Walt Disney, who picked up 26 Oscars out of 64 nominations (some say 59), holds the record for the most wins. 3) The youngest winner of... READ ON
LEGO, weapons of moderate destruction
There are two types of kids in this world: those who spend their time building towns and castles and LEGO cities on a hill, and those who spend their time trying to figure out how best to tear down those towns, castles and elevated civilizations. Need proof? Let me point you toward evidence A) the LEGO flamethrower, and B) the LEGO 8-barrel rubberband chain gun (be sure to check out the videos). While I do find the MacGuyver-ness of it all somewhat thrilling, I'm also afraid of what I've been arming my... READ ON
I stumbled across "The Twisted Films of PES" yesterday, and I was completely mesmerized. PES, or Adam Pesapane as no one calls him, is a stop-motion animator and director who seems to be taking the world by storm. His lovely pieces, which now appear as commercials, are the very definition of viral—things you instantly want to tell your friends about (hence this post!). I first read about his work in this great Print Magazine article, and it's definitely worth reading. In any case,... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: Whitney and Bobby
This time tomorrow, everyone at the office is sure to be talking about Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, as the 43-year-old pop singer reportedly filed for divorce today. But we've got something that'll surely impress the folks around the water cooler: a nifty song written about Whitney and Bobby that very few people know about. Written by singer-songwriter, Ethan Lipton, it's sure to become a huge hit now and you can say you heard it first over at mental_floss. I had the good fortune of seeing Mr.... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: It came from Maine
What is that thing? The monster from Maine (would that make it a "monstah?") that was found by the side of the road this week is probably just a wild dog, says the AP: Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist, said he didn't know for sure what the animal was based on his examination of its remains Wednesday. "I think this dead animal is a chow or chow-mix, a relatively small dog, that was feral, which is unusual for that area," he told the Sun Journal newspaper. ... Some say it's simply a... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: Don't be a pack rat
We're going all Lifehacker-y today for Watercooler Ammo, since some of you may be traveling for the weekend (and since all four of us will be traveling on Monday and Tuesday). Here's how to pack under the new "hand over the Burt's Bees and nobody gets hurt" rules, from the Philly Inquirer: * If you are not sure whether an item is banned from carry-ons, pack it with the luggage going on the plane. ... It can get confusing. Lipstick does not appear to be prohibited, but lip balm does. [Editor's note: What... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: Is this some kinda bust?
As you've doubtless heard if you have any interest in politics, sex, art, or other things that shouldn't be discussed at dinner parties, the Museum of Sex just revealed its new "presidential bust" of Hillary Clinton, and it's... busty. Rather than take the Wonkette approach (which titled its post on the subject "Bleaaaauuurrrrrrgh"), we thought we'd point you to some other disembodied heads of state: the Senate's gallery of vice presidents, which is decidedly (and thankfully) less sexualized. There you'll... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: The Vaughniston engagement
As Gawker pointed out, people will be talking about Jen and Vince at the watercooler today, so no matter what you thought of The Break-Up, you'd best be prepared. We'll provide some Jen-Hearts-Vince trivia after the jump, but what's really worth seeing is the wedding photo! That's right, they were secretly married, and we've got the exclusive! * Update: Oh no! Gawker says US Weekly might be wrong and there's no engagement! Where on earth could our photo have come from, then? We're so... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: The Manhattan Manatee
Perhaps inspired by its hapless British counterpart, a manatee from Florida appears to have swum upstream -- way upstream, past Manhattan and several miles north into the Hudson River. Unlike the whale in the Thames, the manatee isn't in any danger as long as the water stays warm. It's normal for these creatures to take a summer vacation, though usually not this far afield. Manatee trivia abounds on the Internet; here's the best of it, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: A... READ ON
Rubber Bandits
According to Backyard Artillery, this insane, hand-crafted rubber band gun is the only "fully automatic machine gun that's legal in all 50 states!" And while it probably won't be very useful in say, robbing a bank or invading a small country, it'll definitely wow all the 10-year olds in your neighborhood. Designed to work like an old Gatling Gun, the shooter comes equipped with 12 rotating barrels and a live action trigger, and it can shoot off 144 rubber bands in a row.... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: Hot Hot Heat
Now that you've had your 1,354th conversation about the weather, you're probably running a little low on things to say about it -- so let us drop some trivia like it's, er, hot: * The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth most likely occurred in Death Valley, California in high summer, 1913. During that time, the national weather service recorded 56.7°C (134°F). Other sources report an even toastier day of 136°F or 58°C in Al Aziziyah, Libya, in September 1922. * The surface of the... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: Starlings are the new "Star Wars Kid"
The noble fellow at left is the Common Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, and he has recently become a web celebrity ("cewebrity?"). A crazy video of Hitchcock-style starlings in flight is making the rounds as the latest viral meme. If someone mentions the video and you want to show off, there are plenty of factlets to throw out (starlings mimic car alarms and human speech in their calls, starling flocks are so huge in the spring in Denmark that they're referred to as the "Black Sun"), but here's our favorite:... READ ON
Watercooler Ammo: What you won't find in Castro's obituary
As Cuban exiles cheer in the streets of Miami, newspapers and magazines are scrambling to write advance obits for Fidel Castro (that is, if they haven't already -- rumors about the old boy's death have been swirling for a few weeks). We're lobbying to have the following tidbits included in the official records: * Castro was one of seven kids, and his parents weren't sure they were going to send all of them to school. In perhaps his first display of power through violence, young Castro threatened to burn... READ ON

The state fish of Hawaii is the humuhumunukunukuapua'a. The Hawaiian name roughly translates to "the fish with a pig-like nose." It's English name is the Reef Triggerfish.

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