Mental Floss

In the Beginning: A Little Media Madness

Mangesh Hattikudur
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Another installment from our new book In the Beginning. Enjoy!

A Few Newspapers and Magazines

Sure we know all about the birds and bees. But periodically, we like to explore where the rest of the buzz is coming from.

The New York Times

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The Washington Post

Like the Times, the Post "“ one of the city's most venerable non-government institutions "“ produced high-end copy right from its founding in 1877. Unlike the Times, it needed some extra help to increase circulation. In 1889, in a bid to get people excited about reading the paper, the Post management commissioned, we kid you not, a theme song. The resulting tune, named simply "The Washington Post March," is often heard by oblivious spectators at patriotic parades: It's the work of John Philip Sousa.

Time and Newsweek

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Scientific American

more after the jump...

Rufus Porter invented a number of things in his lifetime "“ clocks, cameras, and an early washing machine "“ but none of his inventions had nearly as much success as Scientific American, which essentially started as a pamphlet advertising his latest creations. Later on, the magazine would feature articles from some rather more accomplished inventors (Samuel Morse, Thomas Edison), but we think its greatest claim to fame is its prediction in 1849 of underground mass transportation. Readers howled at this for about 20 years, until workers started building a tunnel in lower Manhattan that would become, indeed, the New York subway system.

Cosmopolitan

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Can't wait the day for In the Beginning? Pre-order your copy at any of these fine stores today: Amazon, B&N, Borders, Books-A-Million. Oh, and if you e-mail us your proof of purchase at newsletters@mentalfloss.com, we'll send you an autographed sticker to place in the book!

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