Tuesday, May 05

The Debunker: Did Henry David Thoreau Live in Solitude at Walden Pond?

by Ken Jennings

The month of May is come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom and to bring forth fruit! If you're literary enough to recognize that quote from Thomas Malory, you might also know that May is one of the best months of the year to be a bookworm, what with Independent Bookstore Day and National Library Legislative Day, not to mention the birthdays of Whitman, Emerson, and Thomas Pynchon. But you might be surprised by how much of what you think you remember about American literature is wrong. Luckily, Jeopardy! champ and man of letters Ken Jennings is here to set us straight. Let every lusty brain begin to blossom and bring forth fruit!

The Debunker: Did Henry David Thoreau Live in Solitude at Walden Pond?

"When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself." So begins Walden, a work by Henry David Thoreau in which the famed American poet and philosopher describes the two years he spent living in a one-room cabin near Concord, Massachusetts. Life in the Woods, he subtitled the book. Modern readers, taken with the romantic idea of a man living alone with nature, often imagine Thoreau as a secluded hermit.

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Monday, May 04

Music Monday: Let's All Hear Some Lindsay Buckingham

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! You know who rocks? Lindsay Buckingham rocks. Today Scott's gathered five Lindsay-penned songs that really showcase how great a songwriter he is. Join in! Join in!

Lindsay Buckingham - Trouble

 

Listen to that radio-friendly cascade of warmth and light! MMMMM! It just demands you put on some shades and sit on the beach, don't it? That Southern California feel is what Lindsay Buckingham brings to the table. The expensive, powder-covered table. At least back when this song was popular.

Tune your twelve string, there's more to come, after the jump!

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Tuesday, April 28

The Debunker: Do Microwave Ovens Cook from the "Inside Out?"

by Ken Jennings

April is the traditional month for spring cleaning: opening doors wide for the first time in months, polishing things till they gleam, possibly beating on rugs with some kind of stick or club? In honor of this season of good housekeeping, we've asked Jeopardy! mastermind Ken Jennings to help us out with a little mental spring cleaning. He'll be dusting away some persistent around-the-house myths and spraying the sweet-smelling Lysol of Truth over all your remaining brain clutter.

The Debunker: Do Microwave Ovens Cook from the "Inside Out"?

Is there a more misunderstood appliance than the humble microwave oven? My generation was the first to grow up with microwaves in the kitchen, so we heard all the craziest craziness from worried parents. Eating microwaved food might cause cancer. (Not true.) Don't look in the microwave while it's running. (Not true.) You can't put metal in the microwave. (Not true, but you do have to be careful about its shape, thickness, etc.) Don't run the microwave empty. (True, but only a problem on older models.)

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Monday, April 27

Music Monday: Happy Birthday To The Mouse

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Today, in 1981, Xerox gave the world a big bulky perephrial that changed everything we knew about computers. Today's the birthday of the Computer Mouse! In it's honor, Scott's selected some songs that that mouse might have heard on the radio on it's very first day.

Loverboy - Turn Me Loose

 

"Turn me loose on the world!" the first mouse might have said, knowing what was coming deep in its mousy soul. And it's true! Without the mouse, we might never have made it all the way to tablets. What use is G-U-I without the M-O-U-S-E?

More mouse malarkey coming after the jump.

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Tuesday, April 21

The Debunker: Is Window Glass Really a Slowly Flowing Liquid?

by Ken Jennings

April is the traditional month for spring cleaning: opening doors wide for the first time in months, polishing things till they gleam, possibly beating on rugs with some kind of stick or club? In honor of this season of good housekeeping, we've asked Jeopardy! mastermind Ken Jennings to help us out with a little mental spring cleaning. He'll be dusting away some persistent around-the-house myths and spraying the sweet-smelling Lysol of Truth over all your remaining brain clutter.

The Debunker: Is Window Glass Really a Slowly Flowing Liquid?

It's easy to see the appeal of this myth. The windows of medieval cathedrals, it's been noticed, are often thicker at the bottom than they are at the top. Imagine these brightly colored panes of religious scenes, seemingly frozen but imperceptibly melting over the centuries, a potent symbol of Time's wingéd chariot, undetectable in any given instant, but inevitably coming for us all!

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Monday, April 20

Music Monday: Reggae Hits

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! For some reason, lots of people listen to reggae on this day. No one seems to know why this particular day is so popular among reggae fans. It just is! So Scott's digging up some of his favorite reggae hits to share with you. Also please note that he's using "reggae" as a very broad term today. Stay chill.

Desmond Dekker - Fu Man Chu

 

There are a lot of sexist, racist types in reggae. It's impossible to deny. But when reggae is at its best, it's a genre that fights for good. Desmond Dekker wasn't being purposefully racist when he referenced the evil Oriental overlord from those old movies. It could just as easily been Lex Luthor or Ultron. All he meant was that bad guys win when we're jerks to each other and bad guys lose when we embrace as family. Can't we all agree on that?

More to come inside. Happy whatever today is!

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Tuesday, April 14

The Debunker: Can One Slide Down the Banister?

by Ken Jennings

April is the traditional month for spring cleaning: opening doors wide for the first time in months, polishing things till they gleam, possibly beating on rugs with some kind of stick or club? In honor of this season of good housekeeping, we've asked Jeopardy! mastermind Ken Jennings to help us out with a little mental spring cleaning. He'll be dusting away some persistent around-the-house myths and spraying the sweet-smelling Lysol of Truth over all your remaining brain clutter.

The Debunker: Can One Slide Down the Banister?

Banisters! Or, less commonly, bannisters! The most exciting part of any staircase! The elderly cling to them. The young and sprightly slide down them. Mary Poppins slides up them. Banisters!

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Monday, April 13

Music Monday: Songs About Rain

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Into every life, a little rain must fall. So you're gonna need some music.

Scott Walker - It's Raining Today

 

Scott Walker's voice is almost like a rainstorm all by itself. You can't really curse it or hide from it. All you can do is sit down and enjoy it as it washes over you. And then, when it's done, you kinda miss it.

More rain songs coming up after the jump. Leap over that puddle and come inside.

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Tuesday, April 07

The Debunker: Is Most Household Dust Really Human Skin?

by Ken Jennings

April is the traditional month for spring cleaning: opening doors wide for the first time in months, polishing things till they gleam, possibly beating on rugs with some kind of stick or club? In honor of this season of good housekeeping, we've asked Jeopardy! mastermind Ken Jennings to help us out with a little mental spring cleaning. He'll be dusting away some persistent around-the-house myths and spraying the sweet-smelling Lysol of Truth over all your remaining brain clutter.

The Debunker: Is Most Household Dust Really Human Skin?

Do you feel "comfortable inside your skin," as the saying goes? Well, just wait a few hours. You may feel like your skin is a permanent part of you, but in fact, the body is constantly replacing its billions of skin cells as they wear out. Every hour, you lose over half a million dead skin cells. In fact, eight hundred of the little guys just flaked off while were reading this sentence.

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Monday, April 06

Music Monday: Songs About Horses

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! There are few things as lovely as a happy horse enjoying the pasture. Today Scott's paying tribute to the horses of America... nay, the horses of the WORLD!

America - A Horse With No Name

 

This rhythmic guitar gives the feeling of a slow methodical horse ride, doesn't it? The lyrics are kinda hippy, but one can really get into the groove of the music.

Giddy up! More after the jump.

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