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Naughty Bits

T<i>HE</i> C<i>OURT</i>: I thought that was your business, being fools.M<i>r</i>. P<i>ALIN:</i> Well, on our own terms.—<i>From the testimony of Michael Palin, a member of Monty Python, in the case of Monty Python v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.</i>M<i>R</i>. F<i>RIED</i>: Was there any cannibalization of the program that you saw in the …

Comedy

Artist Transforms Ordinary Bananas Into Whimsical Works of Art

Graphic designer Stephan Brusche (aka iSteef) continues his journey to transform bananas into art. These Fruitdoodles, as the Dutch artist has dubbed them, are one part sculpture, one part drawing, and one part pure imagination. Brusche is able to see unlimited possibilities with his edible canvas, …

Art

John Cleese, Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers Trash Priceless Art (1969)

Here's a curious scene from the 1969 cult film <i>The Magic Christian</i>. In the story, Peter Sellers plays an eccentric billionaire, Sir Guy Grand, who …

6 Scientific Reasons Facebook Turns Everybody Into A Jerk

The internet had such promise. The World Wide Web was going to help us share information, learn about people from different places, and have access …

Tommy Hilfiger

Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man

Who are we when we, to borrow Hannah Arendt’s enduring words, “are together with no one but ourselves”? However much we might exert ourselves on learning to stop letting others define us, the definitions continue to be hurled at us — definitions predicated on who we should be in relation to some …

"Is this the way we want to live?" Andrew Sullivan on our distraction sickness — and Trump

"This is a mass addiction."<p>So there we were, Andrew Sullivan and I, sitting at a wobbly table on my poorly manicured patio. We were supposed to meet at Andrew’s apartment, but the cleaning crew showed up unexpectedly and took the place over.<p>We considered a coffee shop, one of those hipsterish …

Political Science

100 Greatest Music Books of All Time

The music event of the season isn’t a surprise-release hip-hop album or a pop diva’s Max Martin-produced single. It isn’t even music. It’s a book — …

Only 10% of People Can Pronounce All the Words in This Poem About the English Language

How will you fare?<p>The truth is, when you take the time to really think about English pronunciation, a lot of it doesn't make any sense. For example, "lettuce" has never looked right to me. Don't even get me started on "colonel." And what's that "I before E except after C" gibberish all about, again?<p>…

Lionel Shriver dissects 'cultural appropriation': Speech in full

Journalist and <i>We Need To Talk About Kevin</i> author Lionel Shriver delivered a caustic and controversial keynote speech entitled 'Fiction and Identity …

San Francisco

How non-English speakers are taught this crazy English grammar rule you know but have never heard of

English grammar, beloved by sticklers, is also feared by non-native speakers. Many of its idiosyncrasies can turn into traps even for the most confident users.<p>But some of the most binding rules in English are things that native speakers know but don’t know they know, even though they use them every …

Language

Clever Mashups of Star Wars Characters and Classic Music Album Covers

Artist Steven Lear (a.k.a. “WhyTheLongPlayFace“) has created a clever collection of mashups that mixes together iconic characters from <i>Star Wars</i> with …

Albums

The Size of Countries in Real Life Versus the Size of Countries on a Map

Maps lie. We all learned this at some point in school, when we realized Greenland wasn’t quite the hulking beast of land mass we thought it was. I …

Use standard Mac OS X apps to optimize your home Wi-Fi network

Some time ago I visited my parents, and as these things tend to go, they had a list of things that bothered them about their computers, iPhones and iPads and the Internet connection. I like helping them, so tried optimizing their Wi-Fi network first. That was frustrating at first because I didn’t …

The hug that will go down in history

On Tuesday night, former President Bill Clinton spent more than 40 minutes, and covered four decades, attempting to humanize his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.<p>A day later, President Obama did it in three seconds, with a hug that will go down in history.<p>Addressing the …

20 Insanely Great Peter Gabriel Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know

Explore the art-rock icon's hidden gems – from funky B sides to expansive soundtrack epics<p>Art-rock innovator, soul-pop craftsman, "world music" …

Why the English Language Has So Many Words That Mean Exactly the Same Thing

In their wonderful whiteboard series for Mental Floss , linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill verbally and visually explain why the …

Vocabulary

How to identify any language at a glance

Thanks to globalization, it's very likely that at some point you've found yourself faced with a line of text written in a language you couldn't quite …

5 Insanely Powerful Patterns You Didn't Know Are Everywhere

The world is full of patterns -- the swirl in a conch shell, the orbit of the stars, the regular bee invasions of the Cracked home offices. (We like …

"It's Not Your Fault": Netflix's Jessica Jones and the Outward Ripples of Domestic Violence

Jessica Jones -- played with strength and haunted panache by <i>Gilmore Girls</i> alum Krysten Ritter -- is a "hard-drinking, short-fused, mess of a woman" with a minimalist fashion sense, private gumshoe leanings, and superpowered strength. She's also a survivor of hardcore domestic violence that she …

Domestic Violence
Music Technology

Gaze Up at the Northern Lights From One of These Glass Igloos

The idea of an igloo—especially one in the Finnish wilderness, set beneath a spectacular Northern Lights display—is as romantic as it gets. When it …

David Bowie’s Death Itself Was a Science Fiction Masterpiece

It was an exhilarating, fitting end for our first 100 percent science fictional human.<p>David Bowie doesn't just die. He turns his death into a spectacle that forces everybody to think about the end.<p>Okay, Bowie's been gone for a couple days already, the remembrances and tributes have cycled through …

Science Fiction

Why We Remember the Beatles and Forget So Much Else

Over Christmas, when the Beatles catalogue finally got released on several music-streaming services, Spotify notably among them, a few of us waited to see not whether anybody wanted the old songs but which ones they would want. Would the audience in 2016 make smart choices, or confused ones, about …

Political Science

One Woman, 17 British Accents

In April, we featured a tour of 14 British accents in 84 seconds. But as any commenter to that video will tell you, such a selection only scratches …

These Kooky Animated Portraits Will Make You Look Twice

These animated portraits (often known as cinemagraphs) by French photographer Romain Laurent are sure to confuse your senses.<p>In his imaginative …

Photography

This Beautiful App Lets You See the Cell Towers, Wifi Signals, and Satellites Around You

You’re aware that your cell service comes from cell towers. And that your mapping app is made possible by GPS satellites. And that wifi signals …

Noam Chomsky Talks About How Kids Acquire Language & Ideas in an Animated Video by Michel Gondry

These days Noam Chomsky is probably most famous for his consistent, outspoken criticism of U.S. foreign policy. Yet before the War on Terror and the …

This 3-minute animation will change your perception of time

The Earth is really, really old. Over four and a half billion years old, in fact. How do we begin to comprehend a number that large? It helps to put …

Animation