Here at Mental Floss, we take our reputation of being the internet's home for all things curious very seriously, even—and perhaps most especially—when we're sharing a story like this one about an enterprising sixth-grader who devised an experiment in order to determine whether a cat's butthole actually touches everything it sits on (note: it involves red lipstick). Which is why, at the end of each year, we're always fascinated to see which stories most connected with our readers in the previous 12 months.
After pouring over the biggest stories of 2021 (which are different from our favorite stories of 2021, though there's definitely some overlap), some key takeaways might be that Mental Floss readers adore their pets and all their bizarre behaviors, are fascinated by the features they see on other motor vehicles while driving, love a good shark tale, and really want to know what happened to all that white dog poop they used to see. So buckle up for a wild ride back through the most popular stories of 2021.
Like a cat on a perch, the chains on school buses and ambulances seem to dangle with no apparent purpose. Their true mission is actually pretty clever.
The Sutton Hoo ship burial, one of the most important archaeological discoveries in British history, contained a hoard of Anglo-Saxon artifacts that transformed our understanding of the 'Dark Ages.'
It wasn't a product of your young imagination: Chalky, white dog poop really was everywhere in the 1970s and '80s. Here's why it went away.
A semi truck's tire spikes mainly protect the wheels’s lug nuts. They also offer drivers a chance to give their trucks a bit of personality.
From the fart jokes penned by famous writers like Shakespeare to the horrifying consequences of holding in your flatus, here's everything you ever—and never—wanted to know about farts.
The original Jaws ride at Universal Orlando closed after two months—but not before terrorizing theme park guests (and their children).
These vintage playground devices were so perilous, kids of yesteryear were lucky to live through recess.
Sixty-two years ago, nine hikers died in what's now Dyatlov Pass in Russia after fleeing their tent for unknown reasons. Using models inspired by Disney's Frozen, scientists have come up with an explanation for the incident.
As Khan Noonien Singh once said, “revenge is a dish best served cold,” and cinema is filled with stories where vengeance and retribution gets served with chilling brutality and precision. Here are 25 of the best of those tales.
The celebrated author of Go Tell It on the Mountain used music to inspire and influence his work. Now you can listen, too.
According to historians, these are the worst American presidents ever to hold the highest office in the land.
This particular car safety feature isn’t so your passengers can wordlessly convey that they think you’re a reckless driver.
The action movie genre is packed with plenty of masterpieces, but these 30 films are our absolute favorites.
Dogs that rush to fill the space on the sofa may be doing it because they love you, or because they want to be top dog. Here's how to tell the difference.
For more than a decade, Ghost Adventures has been spooking up the airwaves of the Travel Channel, "capturing groundbreaking proof of the paranormal" on camera in hundreds of haunted destinations around the globe. Now Zak Bagans is sharing some of the show's behind-the-scenes secrets.
To be an endurance runner is to leave a trail of sacrifice behind you. Here's why marathoners sometimes get off to a runny start.
Thanks to Led Zeppelin, there is nothing more rock ‘n’ roll than Gollum slipping away with your girl.
At 133 words long, Prince Philip’s full title included the words duke, earl, baron, royal knight, and just about every other noble designation you can think of. But the highest and perhaps most obvious moniker that was conspicuously missing: king.
Animals in movies seem lucky to begin with—but none can compete with the shelter dog that Chris Evans took home.
The color of an egg's shell says nothing about its quality. The only difference between brown eggs and white eggs lies in the breed of the chicken that laid them.
From daytime soap operas to late-night comedy programs, these are the longest-running TV shows in entertainment history.
If you have a bad habit of over- (or under-) watering your houseplants, a coffee filter inside your flower pot can be a safeguard against both issues.
Contemporary music has become a constantly expanding repository of classics whose origins sprung up from the most painful and profound experiences, the relationships that dominated portions of the artists’ lives, or just chance encounters that lodged in their memories and touched their souls.
Cats seem to enjoy booping humans on their foreheads. Is it a sign of affection, or yet another sign of condescension?
In 1935, a tiger shark on display at the Coogee Aquarium in Sydney, Australia, regurgitated a human arm. The strange incident was just the beginning of one of the country's most twisted murder cases.