Tuesday, September 01

The Debunker: Did Slaves Build the Pyramids?

by Ken Jennings

Summer's winding down as we enter September—or, as they would have called it in ancient Egypt, Akhet, the height of the rainy season that flooded the Nile once a year and made their entire civilization possible. Ken Jennings has a new book out this month on the land of the pharaohs, so all month he'll be sharing his sphinx-like wisdom with us by debunking millennia of misinformation about the ancient Egyptians. Maybe you've been in "de Nile" for a long time, but finally, here are the Ra facts.

The Debunker: Did Slaves Build the Pyramids?

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians pulled off the most precocious construction feat in human history. At a time when the tallest building on Earth was no higher than an oak tree, the Egyptians used six million tons of masonry—enough to pave a road all the way across the United States—to build colossal pyramid-shaped tombs almost five hundred feet into the air. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only surviving landmark from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was the tallest building on earth for 3,800 years straight!

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Monday, August 31

Music Monday: Van Day

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Say, where would we be without vans? Vans are very talented at making music, you know. Today Scott's gathered five famous Vans in honor of Van Morrison's birthday. We'll run into him at the end. But first...

Townes Van Zandt - If I Needed You

 

You probably noticed my love of Townes Van Zandt last week. Normally I try not to do the same artist back to back, but this time I made a little exception. He's just so good at being sad, isn't he? Don't worry, Vans aren't always melancholy. It's gonna get happier after the jump.

Four more Vans comin' up inside! Join us, why don't you.

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Wednesday, August 26

 

Tuesday, August 25

 

Monday, August 24

The Debunker: Is the Earth Closest to the Sun in the Summer?

by Ken Jennings

Take a break from your fun in the August sun to ask yourself: what do I really know about this giant glowing globe of plasma shining down on my picnic/game of Ultimate Frisbee/clothing-optional beach right now? Given that the Sun is what makes life on Earth possible, it's appalling how much misinformation we've been fed about our nearest star. Speaking of our nearest stars: Ken Jennings, that one guy from Jeopardy!, may not be as bright as the Sun, but he's an expert on debunking myths and misconceptions. All month, he'll be lighting up our stellar misconceptions regarding the sun.

The Debunker: Is the Earth Closest to the Sun in the Summer?

Yes, the Earth is closer to the sun in the summer! But only if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. If you're not Argentine or Australian, read on.

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Music Monday: Dedicated To The Woot Writers

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! One of the best parts of this job? The people one gets to work with. Today's mix is a tribute to Scott's co-workers, the Woot Writing Team. Please enjoy! OR ELSE.

Townes Van Zandt - Kathleen

 

Kathleen is our newest writer, and she's so much fun. One day, after we all die, it'll be her job to carry on in our name. Carry that torch, Kathleen! We believe in you!

We're got more writer-based music coming up, right after the jump!

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Friday, August 21

 

Tuesday, August 18

The Debunker: Are Sunspots Dark?

by Ken Jennings

Take a break from your fun in the August sun to ask yourself: what do I really know about this giant glowing globe of plasma shining down on my picnic/game of Ultimate Frisbee/clothing-optional beach right now? Given that the Sun is what makes life on Earth possible, it's appalling how much misinformation we've been fed about our nearest star. Speaking of our nearest stars: Ken Jennings, that one guy from Jeopardy!, may not be as bright as the Sun, but he's an expert on debunking myths and misconceptions. All month, he'll be lighting up our stellar misconceptions regarding the sun.

The Debunker: Are Sunspots Dark?

You've probably seen images of sunspots, patches on the face of the Sun where strong magnetic fields are keeping the Sun's normal convection in check. As a result, less energy flows from the Sun's hot interior up to the photosphere, and we get those cool, dark spots—almost black, in the NASA photos you're probably picturing. The effect on the "solar weather" is noticeable enough that some scientists have linked sunspots to climate changes on Earth.

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Monday, August 17

Music Monday: Electricity

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Electricity has been important ever since Dylan picked up that axe-targeted guitar. Who cares if it really happened or not? All that matters is the story has kept on shooting through the wires of rock. Five electric songs to follow.

Spiritualized - Electricty

 

You couldn't really make this song as effective with an acoustic. A lot of what makes electric guitar so cool is that you can really hear the power going through the strings. Distortion might not be something you can really put into musical notes, but you sure can hear when it's not there.

Four more after the jump. Wear rubber soles.

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