New on Shmoop: a “Woolf,” an Albatross, & Pigs

Pig Out on Our Enhanced Coverage of Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
  • Based on your requests, we've upgraded our coverage of this classic allegory
  • Find our totally revamped Symbolism and Allegory page – mapping key events from the novel to historical events
  • Check out our deeper character analyses – outlining which characters represented which historical figures
What Gives with the Saying “Albatross Around the Neck?” Check out Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Classic Poem
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" may be one of the most influential and eerie poems in the English language, but it's a doozy of a confusing read. An old sailor stops a wedding guest and says, essentially, "I know you want to get your drink and your dance on, but now I'm going to tell you a really long story about how I got my entire crew killed and almost died myself because I acted like a jerk while sailing the far reaches of the globe."

TED Talk: David Merrill: Siftables, the Toy Blocks that Think

Maybe we’re still secretly lusting after that awesome Jabba the Hut Barge lego set that was on our holiday wish list year after year. Whatever the motivation, we think Siftables are cool.

David Merrill’s talk from the most recent TED conference caught our attention. Merrill, an MIT grad student, says that his passion is “making new human-computer interactions that better map to the way our brains work.” We think that rocks. Tactile computing could change our daily lives – and education – in big and small ways.

How would you use siftables to learn or teach?

  • chemistry experiments without the chemicals?
  • legos that visually display principles of physics and architecture?

Add your ideas in the comments below. Or, tweet @helloshmoop

Watch David Merrill’s TED Talk (7 min)

Tackle Fall Finals: 200+ Topics Now on Shmoop

Hi from Shmoop HQ,

Snow (in Houston), mean old Mr. Grinch (on television), and ugly sweater parties (everywhere). Oh, yes, it’s December. And that means finals are here, too.

Sharpen your brain for final exams and papers.

Shmoop now covers more than 200 topics:

Shmoop packed on the pounds just in time for finals. Let’s call it our “Freshman 18.”

New in Shmoop Literature:

New in Shmoop Poetry:

Are we missing something on your reading list? Let us know.
Make some noise in our new feedback forums. Make suggestions. Vote up your faves.