The Sideshow
  • We may never know for sure why the dinosaurs went extinct or what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. But thanks to an exhaustive investigation by the Slate writer Forrest Wickman, we now know when teens started wearing their backpacks with two straps instead of one.

    Backpack graph (

    In a two-page article that features pie charts, photos, videos and interviews with former one-strappers, Wickman attempts to get to the bottom of when it became cooler to use two straps instead of one.

    The article, deliberately over the top and oh so serious, includes some legitimately fascinating anecdotes, especially for anyone who fretted over whether they should risk future back problems in the name of fashion.

    Inspired by the "21 Jump Street" movie, in which the two characters debate the relative coolness of one-strap versus two, Wickman conducted his own research, "speaking with 75 ex-students and students from all over the country, spanning 60 years of high-schoolers — from the class of 1965 to the class of 2026."

    Wickman found Read More »from Slate gets to the bottom of the backpack question: One strap or two?
  • No one is safe from the zombie apocalypse ― even underwater. (Woody Tinsley)

    Zombies are everywhere these days ― even underwater.

    From the premiere of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 up through “The Walking Dead” of today, the question has been asked time and again, “What would you do if the zombie apocalypse became a reality?”

    PADI master diving instructor Woody Tinsley has helped add another layer to the zombie mythology by offering scuba divers the opportunity to navigate the water while simultaneously fending off the undead in his Zombie Apocalypse Diver course.

    “I cease to be an instructor and take on the role of a leader of a group of survivors trying to escape the zombie apocalypse,” Tinsley told Yahoo News in an interview from central Connecticut where the course takes place. “We cover areas like supply gathering, fishing and medical first aid.”

    Tinsley has been using the PADI system of diver certification for years but says he came up with the unique course after he and some friends challenged themselves to come up with new and

    Read More »from You can now take a zombie-themed diver certification course
  • Imagine that someone asked you to name the one group of people who've earned the right to spend less time at the office next year. To just relax. Because, darn it, they've really busted their humps in 2013, and everyone is extremely pleased with the job they're doing.

    We're guessing "United States Congress" wouldn't be at the top of your list.

    Well, guess what? Congress, the group of esteemed lawmakers who brought you the government shutdown of 2013, has announced that they plan to be in session for fewer days next year.

    The news came from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who announced the schedule on Twitter.

    Follow the links and you'll get to this handy-dandy schedule (PDF) that lists the days when Congress will be in session. The grand total for 2014: 113 scheduled days. In 2013, the expected total was 126 days.

    To be fair, members of Congress spend a Read More »from Congress announces it will be in session fewer days in 2014


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