The Insane History of Rockets at Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Everyone loves a gorgeous rocket launch, but the story of getting from the first sputtering attempts to the modern day marvels is completely unreal. The Jet Propulsion Laboratories took it up a notch, giving mad scientists their epic reputation. » 3/29/14 3:21pm 3/29/14 3:21pm

How to manipulate people into choosing the worst option

When we are choosing which action to take, one of the most basic calculations which guide us is, "How likely is it to lead to one option or another." We need to think of all possible outcomes, and the rough probability of each one occurring. There is a problem with this. We are not great at assessing probability. But… » 3/06/14 8:00am 3/06/14 8:00am

Scientists Demonstrate Laser-Powered Mind Control in Best Way Possible

Researchers call it the Fly Mind-Altering Device (aka "FlyMAD"), and to demonstrate the system's effectiveness, they've shown that firing a laser at the head of a fly can compel it to flirt, and attempt to copulate, with a ball of wax. (Come on. You know you want to watch this.) » 3/02/14 11:00am 3/02/14 11:00am

Physicists say energy can be teleported 'without a limit of distance'

A team of physicists has proposed a way of teleporting energy over long distances. The technique, which is purely theoretical at this point, takes advantage of the strange quantum phenomenon of entanglement where two particles share the same existence. » 1/29/14 1:30pm 1/29/14 1:30pm

Ball lightning has been captured on video for the first time ever

Reports of ball lightning have existed for hundreds of years, but footage of the rare phenomenon, which appears transiently in the form of a glowing sphere of electrical activity, has never been acquired outside the lab. Now, a team of Chinese researchers claims it has obtained the first recorded scientific video of… » 1/19/14 10:55am 1/19/14 10:55am

Does the internet prove that time travelers are visiting us? (No.)

How would we know if time travelers are visiting the present? You could look for clues — but the best indication might be found on the internet. Unfortunately, two researchers tried to look for clues to time travel online... and came up with nothing. » 1/03/14 4:00pm 1/03/14 4:00pm

The Weirdest Science Stories of 2013

From human head transplants to magnets that prove gay marriage is wrong to potty-mouthed supercomputers, 2013 was truly a bizarre year for science and those purporting to be scientists. Here are 25 of the weirdest stories of the past year. » 12/31/13 8:00am 12/31/13 8:00am

Great Unintended Scientific Discoveries

In the latest episode of Mental Floss, Derek Muller is on loan from Veritasium to dish out two dozen unintended scientific discoveries, including a few you've probably heard of (like penicillin*) and a bunch you probably haven't (like Viagra). » 11/13/13 1:20pm 11/13/13 1:20pm

How much science does Breaking Bad get right? Way more than you think.

Breaking Bad is almost over. As the end grows nigh, let's take a few minutes to recognize some of the real science that's gone into making it one of the best shows on television. Donna Nelson – University of Oklahoma chemistry professor and Breaking Bad chemistry advisor – will be our guide. » 9/25/13 9:15am 9/25/13 9:15am