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How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names?

Matt Soniak

As Hurricane Sandy pounds the East Coast, here's a Big Question from the mental_floss

The Missing Links: T.Hanks A Lot

Colin Patrick


The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries in the United States

Jill Harness

We already looked at libraries in all the major continents, but there were so many great ones in the United States that the article featuring libraries in North America had to leave many beautiful bui

Last Week's Most Popular Stories

Jason English

In case you weren't obsessively refreshing mentalfloss.com last week, here's what you

The History And Impact Of The Red Cross

Jill Harness

In honor of the founding of the Red Cross on October 29, 1863, here's a closer look at the organization, how it works, and its greatest triumphs. How It

Kryptos: The CIA Cipher Hiding in Plain Sight

Chris Higgins

Kryptos photo via Wikimedia Commons Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture installed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The Last 'Frankenstorm': Video of the 1938 Nor'easter That Ravaged New England

The Week

Hurricane Sandy is making its presence known across the Eastern Seaboard, with powerful winds beginning to lash the coast and rain starting to pour down from North Carolina to New York.

Do People Really Walk in Circles When They’re Lost?

Matt Soniak

It’s a reliable movie trope: Our heroes are lost in the woods, and in their valiant effort to make a beeline out of the forest or back to camp or civilization, they inevitably get turned around and wi

Brain Game: Math Square #144

Best wishes to our East Coast readers as they brace for a nasty bit of weather.

Morning Cup of Links: Storm Prep

Miss Cellania

If there is any doubt as to how serious the National Weather Service is taking Frankenstorm, read the warning they gave for New Jersey residents.

Why Are Dried Coffee Stains Darker At The Edges Than In The Center?

Andrew Koltonow

FlickrIf you spill coffee anywhere near as often as I do, you may have noticed something peculiar: When a puddle of coffee is allowed to dry undisturbed, the brown sediment collects almost entirely on

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