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Wednesday, July 18

The Debunker: Was Caesar the Emperor of Rome?

by Ken Jennings

July is the first month of the year named for a specific person. Well, January, March, May, and June are all named for Greek or Roman gods, but July is named for a real historical person: Julius Caesar. Caesar was born in the month of July, which is why, in 44 BC, Rome renamed the summer month of Quintilis "Iulius" after the ambitious, toga-wearing general. We've asked Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings to cross the Rubicon this month and set the record straight about the life and death of the ancient world's biggest celeb. Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend him your ears.

The Debunker: Was Caesar the Emperor of Rome?

If you look up the word "Caesar" in the dictionary today, there it is, right between "caduceus" and "Caesar salad." It's now uncapitalized, says Webster's, and just means "emperor" or "dictator." For centuries, German kaisers and Russian czars have borrowed their imperial title from "Caesar," a name that originated as the cognomen (Roman family nickname) of Julius Caesar. As a result, it's often taken for granted that Julius Caesar was emperor of Rome—the most famous emperor, to many people. But that's not historically true.

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Monday, July 16

 

Sunday, July 15

 

Thursday, July 12

 

Wednesday, July 11

The Debunker: When are the "Ides" of a month?

by Ken Jennings

July is the first month of the year named for a specific person. Well, January, March, May, and June are all named for Greek or Roman gods, but July is named for a real historical person: Julius Caesar. Caesar was born in the month of July, which is why, in 44 BC, Rome renamed the summer month of Quintilis "Iulius" after the ambitious, toga-wearing general. We've asked Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings to cross the Rubicon this month and set the record straight about the life and death of the ancient world's biggest celeb. Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend him your ears.

The Debunker: When Are the "Ides" of a Month?

Caesar was famously stabbed on March 15, 44 B.C.—the "Ides of March," according to the Roman calendar. The Romans may have invented concrete, antiseptic surgery and highways, but their monthly calendar was kind of nuts. The days of each month were measured from three reference points: the kalends at the start of a month, the nones about a week later, and the ides about a week after that. What we would call March 16, the Romans would have called "the seventeenth day before the kalends of April."

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Sunday, July 08

 

Wednesday, July 04

The Debunker: Was Caesar Killed in the Capitol?

by Ken Jennings

July is the first month of the year named for a specific person. Well, January, March, May, and June are all named for Greek or Roman gods, but July is named for a real historical person: Julius Caesar. Caesar was born in the month of July, which is why, in 44 BC, Rome renamed the summer month of Quintilis "Iulius" after the ambitious, toga-wearing general. We've asked Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings to cross the Rubicon this month and set the record straight about the life and death of the ancient world's biggest celeb. Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend him your ears.

The Debunker: Was Caesar Killed in the Capitol?

In Shakespeare's mind, the famous assassination of Julius Caesar took place on the steps on the Capitol, where the Roman Senate met. "Come to the Capitol," Cassius urges Caesar with a petition, luring him to his death at the conspirators' hands. Later, in Hamlet, Shakespeare was so confident about this historical fact that he has the gloomy prince of Denmark make a pun about it. "I was killed in the Capitol; Brutus killed me," says Polonius, reminiscing about his acting career. "It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there," ripostes Hamlet.

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Tuesday, July 03

 

Monday, July 02

 

Saturday, June 30

Two Shirts Are Better Than One

by Shirty

Here's the TL;DR version:

1. Log in with your Amazon Prime account.

2. Add two Shirt.Woot shirts to your cart.

3. We'll drop the price of one shirt to $0 at checkout.

4. It's only for Prime Members.

5. It's only this weekend: June 30 - July 1, 2018.

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Wednesday, June 27

The Debunker: Were There "Seven Dirty Words" You Couldn't Say on Television?

by Ken Jennings

We live in an increasingly unfunny world, which might be why comedy is booming in our culture like never before. Today, every ad tries to be funny, every politician tries to be funny. Many of us get our news from comedy shows , if we haven't already been filled in by the day's viral tweets and Facebook memes. Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings has a new book out about our comedy-first culture, called Planet Funny, which is on sale now, so we've asked him to spend June debunking some popular misconceptions about humor and comedy. He'll be here all month! Tip your waitress.

The Debunker: Were There "Seven Dirty Words" You Couldn't Say on Television?

George Carlin was one of the most gifted and beloved comedians to come out of the counterculture era of the 1960s. Carlin recorded nineteen comedy albums, appeared in fourteen HBO specials, and wrote three best-selling books. His mix of black comedy, social critique, and wordplay is still regarded with reverence by stand-ups and comedy fans today, a decade after his death. But to the wider public, especially in his generation, Carlin was more famous for a single comedy bit: his "filthy words" routine. And perhaps rightly so: the legal wrangling over the routine's broadcast became a landmark Supreme Court case, the first ever to take on the FCC's regulations on indecency.

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Wednesday, June 20

The Debunker: Are Abbott and Costello in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

by Kenn Jennings

We live in an increasingly unfunny world, which might be why comedy is booming in our culture like never before. Today, every ad tries to be funny, every politician tries to be funny. Many of us get our news from comedy shows , if we haven't already been filled in by the day's viral tweets and Facebook memes. Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings has a new book out about our comedy-first culture, called Planet Funny, which is on sale now, so we've asked him to spend June debunking some popular misconceptions about humor and comedy. He'll be here all month! Tip your waitress.

The Debunker: Are Abbott and Costello in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

It's been a trivia chestnut for decades, as anyone who's read enough mimeographed office newsletters or listened to enough drive-time radio DJs probably knows. "Who are the only two people in the Baseball Hall of Fame who had nothing to do with baseball?" The question sometimes clarifies: these two are not players, managers, team owners, or umpires. The answer has a pleasingly "aha!" ring to it: it's supposedly Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, the comedy duo most famous for their baseball routine, "Who's on First?"

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