There’s a “quirky” new mag started by recent Duke graduates called mental_floss. One reviewer called it a “liberal arts education in installments.” Available only in print, check out their site for more info. Here’s a rundown of their latest issue:
- The SAINTS & SINNERS Issue The best pairs are always the opposites. Yin just ain’t as sweet without its yang. Black? It’s embarrassingly plain without white. And what fun would good be without a nice dash of evil? So, why Saints and Sinners? Because pairs make sense. Because two really are better than one. And because, quite frankly, the Saints and Sinners issue sounds so much better than the Saints and People Who Were Pretty Good, But Not Really Good Enough To Be Called Saints issue.
WEARING THEIR ART ON THEIR SLEEVES: 25 ALBUM COVERS THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING By Chris Smith Somewhere along the way, records translated into more than just the music. Somewhere along the way, elaborate cover art and glamorous packaging, bizarre photography and trippy liner notes began to eclipse the lure of the songs themselves. So dig in as Chris Smith scours the decades for the album covers that really mattered.
WILLIAM HOGARTH, THE SINFUL SAINT OF ENGLISH ART By Robert Cumming A full-force satirist and keen observer of human nature, William Hogarth made his name by establishing England’s artistic tradition. And while he’s wholly revered today, he ticked off plenty of people on his ascent to glory. Steady on as art historian Robert Cumming whisks you through the world according to Hogarth.
SAINTS & SINNERS By John Green When Santa Claus is the patron saint of beer and bikers are working to protect kids, you know something’s a little screwy. Or is it? John Green tears through saints, sinners, saintly sinners, sinful saints, and basically everything in between on his romp between heaven and hell. Learning right from wrong has never been this much fun before.
MAD SCIENTIST OF THE MONTH: JAMES WATSON By Peter Leese Good old James stands on hallowed ground. He won the Nobel, discovered the double helix, and helped unravel our genetic code. And yet, that’s all he’s remembered for? What about the near fistfights (with women), the bad hair, the terrible British outings, and his attempts to use his sister as sexual bait? Oh, we love James Watson, and we think you should too!
6 IDEAS THAT COULD SAVE THE PLANET Overpopulation, rapid expansion, and industrial pollution are obviously taking their toll on the environment. And while fewer and fewer politicians seem to be heeding the earth’s “handle with care” tag, a few scientists are taking measures to set things right. Here are six ideas that might just save our planet.
FEAR OF ALL SUMS: 3 MATH THEORIES BROUGHT TO YOU IN PLAIN ENGLISH If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night, broken out in a cold sweat: chances are you were dreaming of math. Chaos theory, relativity, golden proportions? It’s the stuff nightmares are made of. But don’t let it scare you; let it free you. mental_floss harnesses a “no hear” attitude to extreme mathematics, and we want you to tag along.
PHOTO FACTUAL: HOW INSTANT FILM WORKS HowStuffWorks.com There’s no camera quite as magical as a Polaroid. Focus the lens, press a button, and immediately a full-size photograph begins to wriggle its way out. If you think it’s magic though, you’re severely mistaken. So, step out of the dark ages, and into the dark room as the folks at How Stuff Works shed a little light on instant film.
OH BOY, OBENTO: THE JAPANESE LUNCH BOX By Michael Stusser Talk about kicking it up a notch! While our moms (God bless ‘em) might have spent a good 10 minutes or so whipping up a PB&J sack lunch, it’s “normal” for Japanese mothers to spend up to an hour making their kid’s obentos! Read on as Michael Stusser whizzes through the bizarre world of Japanese lunch art.
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SHINTO (BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK) By Greg Salyer What makes a religion: an all-powerful god, a founder, scriptures, ethical codes… churches even? Well, not in Japan. And yet 86% of Japanese still consider themselves Shinto. If you’ve got questions (and you should have a lot right now), Prof. Salyer’s got the answers.
FOR THE SAKE OF SAKE By Michael Stusser 2,000 years of beautiful tradition, from Imperial Court brew masters to ice-cold rice wines, and you’re wondering why we’re still living in the past? Put away your beer helmet and hide that funnel because mental_floss is going to learn you some culture, straight-up sake style!
LOPPING OFF MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE GUILLOTINE From An Underground Education The National Abbreviator? The Patriotic Razor? You know something’s wrong when your country has more than one pet name for its execution device. Those wacky French loved their guillotine, and Richard Zacks is here to tell all.
PLUS ALL THE USUAL DEPARTMENTS: [scatter_brained] PRESIDENTS, THE BOOK: LOLITA, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 20 AND 30 FACTS ON JAPAN, KNOW YOUR DOUGH: THE EURO, 10 CURIOUS ORIGINS OF DELICIOUS PHRASES, THE QUIZ, MAKING SENSE OF CURRENT EVENTS: THE INTERNATIONAL, MONETARY FUND AND WORLD BANK, and plenty of USELESS KNOWLEDGE.