The Weekly Word: Jan. 10th, 2012

Dearest Shmoopers,

How’s the brain? Full of stale sugarplums and stupid advertising jingles? (Seriously, those State Farm songs need to just stop.)

Hey, it’s hard for anyone to make the transition from zoning out over Jersey Shore reruns to memorizing the metaphors in Macbeth. We feel for you. Don’t sprain anything. Sit back and have some Shmoop. On us.

ISEE Prep Is Out and About

We know that a gaggle of you probably have your eyes on an independent school or three. Fear not! Shmoop has all the news that’s fit to print or download…when it comes to the Lower Level Independent School Entrance Exam, that is.

We like to call it the LL ISEE. You know, the slightly nerdier version of the original LL, Cool J.

Digital Literacy

The Internet is good for much more than just videos of adorable kittens sitting on Roombas. Whether you can’t tell your Twitter from your Tumblr or simply need a crash course on how to cite digital sources, we have the resource for you:Shmoop Digital Literacy!

The guide includes a heap of helpful curriculum for teachers looking to instill some internet-savvy in their students. As if you didn’t have enough of a reason to untag those horribly unflattering photos of you on Facebook…

Friend of Shmoop: Random House

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Random House Audio and Listening Library is hosting a contest beginning January 10, 2012.

The contest is simple: If you had the chance, what advice would you write to your future or past self? Starting today, to post your entry. Have your friends vote for you, and vote on other posts (if you feel especially charitable).

Oh, bee tee dubs, the Grand Prize is a new DSLR camera!

Literary Birthday: Jack London Jan. 12, 1876

Back in the day, before “Klondike” was the word that came before “bar,” Jack London was all about celebrating the Klondike Gold Rush: Gold Rush 2: Son of Gold Rush: Alaska Boogaloo with gritty novels like White Fang and Call of the Wild.

Here’s wishing a happy 136th birthday to the San Francisco native, onetime Cal student, and scurvy survivor.

Get Shmoop for Your School

You know what’s better than getting Shmoop for your school? Nothing. That’s right. Absolutely nothing. We’re in the computer! It can’t get much easier than that.

If you are harboring a secret desire to be everyone’s favorite teacher, administrator, or librarian—and really, who isn’t?—jump on over to our School or District page to find out how.

This Week in History: Treaty of Versailles Ratified Jan. 10th, 1920

A short list of things not to put in your peace treaty after the Great War if you want it to be the only Great War in the 20th century:

  • A clause that sticks Germany with all the blame for causing World War I
  • A requirement for Germany to give up giant swathes of land, and
  • A bill—for Germany, who else?—that came out to about $442 billion over the next 92 years.

Of course, those weren’t the only terms of the treaty…but try telling that to Germany in the late 1930s. Read more here.

Shmoop Shout Out: Mapping Dark Matter

For those of you who enjoy a good mystery within a mystery,* you’ll love dark matter. If you aren’t hip to the substance—yet—it actually makes up 85% of the universe. (Unfortunately, it’s not the material in Darth Vader’s suit.)

Trick is, we can’t see it. In fact, we only know dark matter exists at all because it has gravity that pulls on things, like light. The result? Using images of bent light to map it out. This is your brain. This is your brain on dark matter.

Dark Matter

How cool is that?

Good luck at school this week,

Your Shmoop Support Team

*Like those little Russian dolls that have a doll inside, and then another doll, and then another doll, all the way to the eensy knob doll.**

**Or Inception.***

***Or these asterisks.

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