VSL:WEB // Let your freakish flag fly

Flags have been on our minds a lot lately, what with the happily distracting coverage of the Olympics going on around the clock. Whether appearing as a tiny graphic alongside an athlete’s name or draped, literally, around the neck of Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt, flags are inescapable. But what happens when the games end and you’re suddenly craving a focal fix of brightly colored and obscure national symbols? Easy. Head over to the website Flag Identifier.

This mildly addictive Web tool allows you to search a 1,012-flag database by several categories, including geography, color, and (most fun) shape. Bored with looking at tired old rectangles? Then the adorable and risqué-sounding “swallowtailed with tongue”–shaped flags (practically de rigueur in Scandinavia!) may be for you. And who knew the tiny island nation of Malta waves 68 flags, each for a different local municipality? Have fun — though after an hour deep inside this site, you may be looking for the white flag of surrender.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL:WEB // Let your freakish flag fly