Yesterday, I told you about impact that learning to use fire had on the evolution of humankind. Well that interesting little factoid was gleaned from the 50th issue of mental floss, the July-August 2010 50 Most Interesting Places edition. Mental floss bills itself as the place where knowledge junkies get their fix.
Mental floss is kind of a guilty pleasure. There’s no real purpose for buying it, like there might be with diet and fitness, cooking or decorating magazines. On the other hand, it’s a lot more worthwhile reading than People or the National Enquirer (does that even exist anymore?).
Mental floss is full of odd and interesting facts in both the print version and online. On the website they have a random facts feature where I learned that:
Alien Hand Syndrome is a condition that conveniently defines itself: AHS sufferers believe that one of their hands acts completely on its own. A 1990 medical journal tells the story of one longtime smoker who repeatedly put a cigarette into her mouth with her good hand, whereupon her alien hand would remove the cigarette before it could be lit. The disorder is generally caused by brain damage resulting from strokes or physical trauma.
Cool! That’s one way to quit smoking. Put that in a box and label it Stop Smoking Cure and you have the next Pet Rock. I also learned that:
Due to the “naughty” dancing of the can-can girls, and the scantily clad models on 1800s French postcards, the British equated anything risqué withFrance. In fact, that’s how the phrase “pardon my French” entered the vernacular.
And surely, some day I’ll have a chance to use this piece of useless information:
Despite his many name changes, musician Prince did have a real first name once: Prince.
After all, they don’t call me the Trivial Pursuit Queen for nothin’.
They also have lunchtime quizzes but I did so poorly at all of the ones I tried that I don’t think I’ll bother anymore. They also have several blogs and I found this interesting and vitally important piece of news on one of the blogs:
Banana Attacks Gorilla
The WirelessCenter, a Verizon outlet in Strongsville, Ohio, was staging a promotion on June 29th featuring their mascot, a man dressed as a gorilla. Police were called because a man dressed as a banana walked in and attacked the gorilla! The banana then fled on foot with four unidentified men. Police did not find the banana. The gorilla was uninjured, but embarrassed.
There’s also a mental floss store. They have games and some nifty gift ideas like a food face place and a Henry VIII mug (his wives disappear as you drink your coffee). Of course, they have the ubiquitous t-shirts. This is my absolutely favourite t-shirt; truly amazing:
I love mental floss. I’ve given it a great deal of thought and I’ve come up with some really powerful justifications for actually buying them. Here they are:
- They have odd and unusual pictures that you might need for a vision board some day.
- They make really great stocking stuffers.
- You could use them to create your own random facts tweets – quotations are just getting boring on Twitter.
- Read it on the bus or subway. It makes you look smarter.
- In fact, as a career coach, I think when you’re sitting in the reception area, waiting to be called in for an interview, make sure you read mental floss. When they come to get you, make sure they see what you are reading. That’s worth several points for sure and if you’ve never heard of the Halo Effect, nows the time to read up on it.
- If you’re a trainer or instructional designer, like me, you can use the random and unusual facts to create cool icebreakers.
- If you’re really compulsive and anal, you could catalogue the factoids and then write some kind of book about them. Oh wait, I think someone did that already.
Mental floss is a great source of IDEAS!!! And that’s what this month’s theme is. Coincidence? I think not!
Mental Floss is a great idea dreamed up by someone in Birmingham, Alabama. What’s your’s? Enter your idea in the Great Idea Challenge here.