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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Monday, March 30

Music Monday: Happy Bat-Birthday

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! You might have known that Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27. And you might have known that the cover of that issue read "May 1939." But did you know that comics often lied about those cover dates for years and years? And did you know that Detective Comics #27 first came out on March 29th, 1939? Holy... um... oh, we don't do that any more? Aw, shucks.

Anyway, Scott's celebrating the tragic death of Tom and Martha with a special bat-focused Music Monday today. Join in, won't you?

Snoop Dogg - Batman & Robin

 

The idea of the anti-hero and his protege is perfect for the hip hop game, so it's no wonder Snoop embraced the concept fully. Also you'll note his groovy sample, right? And props for the POW! BAM! BIFF! A worth tribute to the Dark Knight.

More to come, same bat-post, after the bat-jump.

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Tuesday, March 24

The Debunker: In the New Testament, Is Mary Magdalene a "Fallen Woman"?

by Ken Jennings

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: In the New Testament, Is Mary Magdalene a "Fallen Woman"?

If you know anything about Mary of Magdala, it's probably her life as a sex worker. She's the patron saint of "wayward women," after all, and for centuries Catholic organizations operated a network of "Magdalene asylums" where sexually active teens of all descriptions, from single moms to rape victims, could be cloistered away from the respectable population, and made to do their laundry for them. You know, like in that Judi Dench movie.

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Monday, March 23

Music Monday: Songs Of Madness

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Spring has always brought with it a sort of insanity, so today Scott's chosen to collect five songs of madness. Join him in the crazed bacchanalia that is this week's Music Monday! IEEEEEE!

David Bowie - All The Madmen

 

So clearly this is David Bowie playing Syd Barrett, yeah? This skewed look at madness comes from a guy who had his own issues with being homo-superior over the years, so it carries a hint of authenticity. Also it's great.

It only gets nuttier from here, everyone! See you down the rabbit hole after the jump...

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Tuesday, March 17

The Debunker: Did the Nineteenth Amendment First Give Women the Right to Vote?

by Ken Jennings

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: Did the Nineteenth Amendment First Give Women the Right to Vote?

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson stood before the U.S. Senate and urged its members to approve a new constitutional amendment, one that would give women the right to vote. World War I was raging, and women were becoming familiar sights in mills and factories, with so much of the regular male workforce off fighting in Europe. The tide of public opinion on women's suffrage shifted rapidly, in a way that would be familiar to anyone watching the gay marriage debate today. States began to fall like dominoes, and both political parties, eager to stand on the right side of history, embraced the amendment. It was ratified in 1920, just five years after a similar bill couldn't get out of the House and two years after one had failed in the Senate.

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