Wednesday, February 21

The Debunker: What Color Is Puce?

by Ken Jennings

February means Fashion Week in New York, where style trends are born and the newest looks are big business. But what about the rest of us? What about you, a randomly chosen non-supermodel reading a short trivia piece on the Internet? What do you know about fashion? Don't get me wrong, you look great today, but there are a lot of sartorial misconceptions that make the rounds in our culture. We've asked Ken Jennings, who is well-dressed at least by the low standards of Jeopardy! contestants, to go through our closets and throw out all the wrong stuff we thought we knew about our clothes.

What Color Is Puce?

Have you heard of the Mandela Effect? It's a modern phenomenon of collective false memory, named for the (apparently not uncommon) misconception many people have that Nelson Mandela died sometime in the 1980s. In the past, when a bunch of people were wrong about a clear point of fact, we called this "being wrong." But today, many tender-hearted millennials who misremember their childhood have become convinced that their memories are unimpeachable and there must, therefore, be a paranormal explanation that will vindicate their false beliefs. Perhaps they've somehow been recently transported to this alternate reality in which Mandela died in 2013. Sounds implausible? Sure, but I dare you to prove they didn't switch universes!

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Sunday, February 18

Announcing FREE Shipping for Amazon Prime Members!

by Biff Jezos

Prime header

 

You may have already heard, but Woot! is owned by a much larger company that goes by the name of Amazon. Now, after EIGHT long years of subsidiary-ship, we want to bring some of that Amazon goodness directly to our customers.

That's why today we're very happy to announce FREE SHIPPING for Amazon Prime customers! Yes, we know it sounds pretty awesome and yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. (And yes, for you old-timers who have been asking for this for, um, eight years, thanks for waiting. This computer stuff is hard).

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Wednesday, February 14

The Debunker: What Do Scotsmen Wear Under Their Kilts?

by Ken Jennings

February means Fashion Week in New York, where style trends are born and the newest looks are big business. But what about the rest of us? What about you, a randomly chosen non-supermodel reading a short trivia piece on the Internet? What do you know about fashion? Don't get me wrong, you look great today, but there are a lot of sartorial misconceptions that make the rounds in our culture. We've asked Ken Jennings, who is well-dressed at least by the low standards of Jeopardy! contestants, to go through our closets and throw out all the wrong stuff we thought we knew about our clothes.

The Debunker: What Do Scotsmen Wear Under Their Kilts?

There's a logical goof called the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, in which the speaker consistently re-defines his terms in the face of new evidence. The original case, from a 1975 book by philosopher Antony Flew, imagines a Scot reading a news article about a sex maniac on the loose in England. "No Scotsman would do such a thing!" he says. The next day, he sees a second article about a similar crime spree in Scotland. "No true Scotsman would do such a thing," he still insists.

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Wednesday, February 07

The Debunker: Should You Freeze Your Jeans?

by Kathleen Richards

February means Fashion Week in New York, where style trends are born and the newest looks are big business. But what about the rest of us? What about you, a randomly chosen non-supermodel reading a short trivia piece on the Internet? What do you know about fashion? Don't get me wrong, you look great today, but there are a lot of sartorial misconceptions that make the rounds in our culture. We've asked Ken Jennings, who is well-dressed at least by the low standards of Jeopardy! contestants, to go through our closets and throw out all the wrong stuff we thought we knew about our clothes.

The Debunker: Should You Freeze Your Jeans?

In 2014, speaking at a business summit on sustainability, Chip Bergh told the crowd that he was wearing a pair of jeans that hadn't been laundered in over a year. That might sound like an odd way to begin a corporate speech, but Bergh had a little credibility: he's the president and CEO of Levi Strauss.

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Friday, February 02

 

Wednesday, January 31

The Debunker: Was Pompeii Buried in Lava When Mount Vesuvius Erupted?

by Ken Jennings

We usually think of volcanic eruptions as sudden and dramatic events, but that's not always the case. The Hawaiian volcano of Kilauea, for example, has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, covering 48 square miles of the state's "big island" with new lava. In honor of the thirty-fifth anniversary of Earth's longest-erupting volcano, Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings will be here all month providing explosive corrections to a lot of popular misinformation about volcanoes. The results might just rock your world.

The Debunker: Was Pompeii Buried in Lava When Mount Vesuvius Erupted?

Mount Vesuvius, a stratovolcano on the Gulf of Naples, erupted violently in the year 79 AD, destroying the resort towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. "Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore," wrote the Roman author Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption and then the death of his own famous uncle, Pliny the Elder, in the subsequent cataclysm.

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Wednesday, January 24

The Debunker: Are Volcanoes Full of Lava?

by Ken Jennings

We usually think of volcanic eruptions as sudden and dramatic events, but that's not always the case. The Hawaiian volcano of Kilauea, for example, has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, covering 48 square miles of the state's "big island" with new lava. In honor of the thirty-fifth anniversary of Earth's longest-erupting volcano, Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings will be here all month providing explosive corrections to a lot of popular misinformation about volcanoes. The results might just rock your world.

The Debunker: Are Volcanoes Full of Lava?

Just because I'm "The Debunker" doesn't mean I'm an irritating pedant full-time. But this particular installment does hinge, in part, on a bit of semantic hair-splitting. Yes, volcanoes can vent lava, which is molten rock. But that doesn't mean that a volcano contains lava. That's because molten rock is only called "lava" after it erupts onto the surface. When it's still underground, it's called magma instead.

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Tuesday, January 23

 

Wednesday, January 17

The Debunker: Is Krakatoa "East of Java"?

by Ken Jennings

We usually think of volcanic eruptions as sudden and dramatic events, but that's not always the case. The Hawaiian volcano of Kilauea, for example, has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, covering 48 square miles of the state's "big island" with new lava. In honor of the thirty-fifth anniversary of Earth's longest-erupting volcano, Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings will be here all month providing explosive corrections to a lot of popular misinformation about volcanoes. The results might just rock your world.

The Debunker: Is Krakatoa "East of Java"?

At the 1970 Academy Awards, a not-very-good Gregory Peck astronaut drama called Marooned defeated a not-very-good Maximillian Schell volcano drama called Krakatoa, East of Java for the Best Visual Effects statuette. Neither film really would have deserved the "Academy Award Winner!" sticker on its video box, but there we are. Krakatoa, East of Java was a Cinerama disaster movie set on the ill-fated Indonesian isle, and opened to widespread moviegoer apathy. It was then re-released a few years later under the title Volcano with a "Feelarama" low-frequency soundtrack added, in the hopes that a booming bass rumble in the eruption sequence would entice audiences. Nope again.

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Wednesday, January 10

The Debunker: Should We Freak Out about the "Supervolcano" Under Yellowstone?

by Ken Jennings

We usually think of volcanic eruptions as sudden and dramatic events, but that's not always the case. The Hawaiian volcano of Kilauea, for example, has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, covering 48 square miles of the state's "big island" with new lava. In honor of the thirty-fifth anniversary of Earth's longest-erupting volcano, Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings will be here all month providing explosive corrections to a lot of popular misinformation about volcanoes. The results might just rock your world.

The Debunker: Should We Freak Out about the "Supervolcano" Under Yellowstone?

Pseudo-scientific fearmongering about the end of the world is nothing new. When Halley's Comet passed by us in 1910, for example, one French astronomer theorized that all life on earth might suffocate as we passed through the "cyanogenic gases" coming off the tail of the comet. Hucksters made tons of money selling anti-comet pills and elixirs and gas masks, which looks pretty silly in hindsight.

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