Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »
Why Are Bananas, Nuts, and Crackers the Only Foods That Say 'Crazy'?
Gastro Obscura
story
linguistics

Why Are Bananas, Nuts, and Crackers the Only Foods That Say 'Crazy'?

An investigation into how three snacks became associated with madness.
April 13, 2018
The Long Linguistic Journey to 'Dagnabbit'
story
bears

The Long Linguistic Journey to 'Dagnabbit'

This piece of pseudo-profanity is what's known as a taboo deformation—a word we say when we don't want to say the word.
March 14, 2018
Decoding the Design of In-Flight Seat Belts
story
aviation

Decoding the Design of In-Flight Seat Belts

Why we buckle up differently in cars and planes.
January 29, 2018
How Australian Nicknaming Conventions Turn an Afternoon Into an 'Arvo'
story
linguistics

How Australian Nicknaming Conventions Turn an Afternoon Into an 'Arvo'

A thorough explanation for why Dazza ate a sammie at the servo.
January 04, 2018
Meet the Most Toxic Plant in North America
story
plants

Meet the Most Toxic Plant in North America

"Those who eat it will die in two hours."
December 14, 2017
Some Delightful Alternatives to the Post-Sneeze ‘Bless You’
story
features

Some Delightful Alternatives to the Post-Sneeze ‘Bless You’

To sneeze is human, to respond "Go away, kitten" is divine.
December 05, 2017
Why Does the Season Before Winter Have Two Names?
story
autumn

Why Does the Season Before Winter Have Two Names?

A look at the history of fall and autumn.
November 03, 2017
Investigating Pennsylvania's Very Particular Penchant for Potato Chips
Gastro Obscura
story
food

Investigating Pennsylvania's Very Particular Penchant for Potato Chips

Turns out there is an unusually high concentration of snack-food producers in this state.
October 24, 2017
Oxford Bags, the Ridiculously Wide-Legged Trousers of the 1920s
story
pants week

Oxford Bags, the Ridiculously Wide-Legged Trousers of the 1920s

Many decades before JNCOs, British rowers took their pants to extreme dimensions.
September 22, 2017
Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Is From the Bronx—So What's With the Name?
Gastro Obscura
story
food

Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Is From the Bronx—So What's With the Name?

Examining the phenomenon of the faux-foreign product.
September 05, 2017
The Unsolvable Mystery of the Word 'Hoosier'
story
linguistics

The Unsolvable Mystery of the Word 'Hoosier'

No one seems to know how we got this nickname for people from Indiana.
August 22, 2017
Why Do We Sleep Under Blankets, Even on the Hottest Nights?
story
sleep

Why Do We Sleep Under Blankets, Even on the Hottest Nights?

There's great comfort in being covered.
August 15, 2017
Why People From Manchester Are Mancunians, Not Manchesterians
story
names

Why People From Manchester Are Mancunians, Not Manchesterians

Demonyms are vital to our conceptions of ourselves, but the rules behind them can be pretty messy.
July 06, 2017
Why Maine Is Mad for This Coffee-Flavored Liqueur
story
maine

Why Maine Is Mad for This Coffee-Flavored Liqueur

Allen's Coffee Brandy is more popular than vodka or whiskey.
June 21, 2017
How the Owner of the Greatest Mystery Bookstore Pulled the Genre Out of the Muck
story
bookstores

How the Owner of the Greatest Mystery Bookstore Pulled the Genre Out of the Muck

"This is literature. It's not just puzzles, it's not just telling a nice story."
May 22, 2017
Germans Are the World's Most Discerning Seltzer Connoisseurs
story
water

Germans Are the World's Most Discerning Seltzer Connoisseurs

Don't mess with mineralwasser.
May 15, 2017
Cracking the Secret Code of Car Names
story
cars

Cracking the Secret Code of Car Names

How a jumble of numbers and letters came to convey fanciness, while cute names came to mean value.
April 07, 2017
'Miami English' and the Linguistic Oddness of South Florida
story
linguistics

'Miami English' and the Linguistic Oddness of South Florida

South Beach speech is like no other.
April 04, 2017
Why 40% of Vietnamese People Have the Same Last Name
story
names

Why 40% of Vietnamese People Have the Same Last Name

Everyone knows a Nguyen, but how did that come to be?
March 28, 2017
What Makes This Special-Edition VW From the '90s Look So Cool?
story
fashion

What Makes This Special-Edition VW From the '90s Look So Cool?

According to the fashion industry, it's all about colorblocking and maximal minimalism.
March 09, 2017
'Da Kine,' Hawaii's Fantastically Flexible All-Purpose Noun
story
linguistics

'Da Kine,' Hawaii's Fantastically Flexible All-Purpose Noun

It means everything and nothing at the same time.
March 02, 2017
The Mystery and Occasional Poetry of, Uh, Filled Pauses
story
linguistics

The Mystery and Occasional Poetry of, Uh, Filled Pauses

They are especially unusual in Japanese.
January 27, 2017
Why Do Canadians Say 'Eh'?
story
linguistics

Why Do Canadians Say 'Eh'?

The story behind Canada’s most distinctive verbal tic.
January 10, 2017
Whether You Say Freakin', Friggin', Or Frickin' Depends On Where You’re From
story
pop culture

Whether You Say Freakin', Friggin', Or Frickin' Depends On Where You’re From

F-word substitutes vary by region.
December 15, 2016