For one thing, a trip to the polls used to involve a lot more booze.... READ ON
Yours doesn't even come close.... READ ON
Modern detention is nothing compared to kneeling on peas. ... READ ON
Childbirth is no picnic. But at least it no longer involves chickens and weasels.... READ ON
Modern housework is as pleasant as sitting through your niece’s recorder recital. But compared to housework of the past, we are living the domestic dream.... READ ON
The past was putrid. ... READ ON
A.J. Jacobs is one of thousands of researchers tackling the biggest challenge in the history of ancestry.... READ ON
DEAR A.J., I’m about to turn 50, and my doctor tells me I should get a colonoscopy. Is this really necessary? It sounds highly unpleasant.—ERICA IN MARYLAND... READ ON
DEAR A.J., I went to my local diner, and they served me a glass of ice water—with a dead mosquito in it. I asked the manager what he planned to do about it. He said he’d give me a “free glass of water.” What should I have done?... READ ON
Dear A.J., I just switched to a corporate gig, and the jacket-and-tie requirement is a pain in the neck (pun intended). Should I convince my bosses to adopt Casual Mondays-through-Thursdays? Wear a T-shirt with a tie on the front? Help! —TRAVIS IN MOBILE... READ ON
DEAR A.J., My cell phone keeps dropping calls in midtown New York. This isn’t Siberia; it’s the heart of a major metropolis. I’ve switched devices and providers with no improvement. What can I do?... READ ON
Modern life is filled with annoyances and hurt, but compared to yesteryear, most of us live in an earthly paradise.... READ ON
In 2009, A.J. Jacobs set out on a two-year quest for bodily perfection, chronicled in his new book, Drop Dead Healthy. Now, as the healthiest person on the planet, he presents the ultimate plan for total body domination. Follow these nine steps and in just 17 days, you’ll be slimmer, stronger, and smarter than... READ ON
Before I started my year of living biblically, I had feared that I'd be forced into twelve months of sobriety. After all, I knew the puritans had a reputation for condemning alcohol. And certain fundamentalist Christians think of booze as up there with adultery, idol worship and South Park. Some even argue that the "wine" drunk in the Bible is not wine at all, but actually grape juice. This was apparently the thinking of a temperance advocate named Thomas Welch who tried to sell... READ ON
In my Year of Living Biblically, one of the more fascinating and surprising pilgrimages was to the new Creation Museum in Kentucky. This is the $25 million museum for those who believe that the earth is 6,000 years old. It's the Louvre of the young earth movement.
And whatever I may think of creationism, I have to admit that the museum is spectacularly well done. There is a scale model of the ark. There are animatronic cave people and dinosaurs. There is a movie theater with sprinklers in the... READ ON
During my year of living biblically, I made several pilgrimages across America. I wanted to embed myself in various communities that live the Bible literally in their own way "“ from Hasidic Jews to evangelical Christians. I also invited religious people to my house. I think I'm the only person in American history to out-Bible talk a Jehovah's Witness. After about three hours, he looked at his watch and said, "I gotta go."
One of my first trips was to Amish country in... READ ON
To paraphrase the late great Phil Hartman on the Simpsons, you might remember me from such mental_floss backpages as G,H,I or J. I'm the author of the book The Know-It-All, which was about the year I spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z and trying to learn everything in the world (including such important knowledge as the fact that opossums have 13 nipples). I write the Know-It-All column for the_floss about facts from each... READ ON
The eye chart with the big "E" on top is called a Snellen Chart.