Weekly Word: March 13, 2012

Hey there Shmooperinos,

Let’s get it straight: every month has an ides,* but it’s still a good idea to watch your back this Thursday. If you, likeJulius Caesar, run into a group of your so-called friends—let’s call them Shmrutus and Shmassius—hanging out by the the local Senate and looking sneaky, turn around and run. Trust us. Just do it.

The middle of March is a crazy time, is what we’re trying to say here. That’s why they call it March Madness.**

If you’re looking for a break from overzealous bracketologists (or murderous conspirators, we don’t know your life), take a breather with some nice, refreshing Shmoop. Maybe even apply to win $3,000.

Featured Shmoop: $3,000 Zinch Scholarship

Shmoop has teamed up with the folks at Zinch to offer a $3,000 scholarship to you. Yes, you…as long as you’re a student looking to score some extra cash for college. Does the shoe fit? Then sign up and apply.

All you need to do is defend your favorite word in the English language. Good luck, and to the winner go the spoils. (And by “spoils,” we mean that oh-so-tempting $3,000 dollars.)

This Week in History: Frankenstein Published March 11, 1818

Who would have guessed that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was the result of one part double-dog dare, two parts rainy day, and three parts friendly discussion about potentially reanimating dead matter? What? You and your friends don’t get together to talk bioethics? Mary Shelley disapproves.

Learn more about the fantastically frightening tale here.

This Day in History: Sir William Herschel Discovers Uranus March 13, 1781

The jokes sort of write themselves for a headline like this, but you know what? We’re above talking about the seedier side of Uranus. Will Herschel wasn’t, though. He found Uranus with a telescope*** and was more than happy to make the announcement to the astronomical community about its existence.

Hooray for Herschel and his inquisitive nature, which led him straight to…his discovery.

Science Birthday: Albert Einstein Born March 14, 1879

Any physics teacher who doesn’t have the classic tongue-out Einstein portrait is missing some seriously prime classroom decor. We’re pinning a birthday hat on ours tomorrow and rocking out. To help you celebrate Albie’s big day, here are a few fun facts:

  1. Einstein rarely wore socks.
  2. If stopped on the street and asked to explain his theory of relativity, he would excuse himself, saying that he was mistaken for Einstein all the time.
  3. The guys who designed Yoda used Einstein’s eyes for inspiration. Wise men they were.
  4. Einstein only wore briefs, except on the day he came up with relativity. That day, he went commando. (Okay, this one might not be true.)

Learn more about the brilliant mind here.

Shmoop Shout Out: Angry Birds…in Space

If you’re the kind of Angry Birds player who just stabs wildly at the screen and hopes for the best—hi, Grandma!—this might be the straw that kicks you into high gear.**** In what probably qualifies as one of the geekiest moves in recent memory, the “Dot Physics” blog at Wired deconstructs the physics of the upcoming Angry Birds game…which happens to take place in space. Obviously, we love it. Check it out.

Also on our love list? Our spanking new guide to AP Physics B, which includes everything you need to beat Angry Birds in Space…except for the angry birds themselves.

Shmoop Shout Out 2.0: Paper Apps

Ever wanted the poster of your favorite band to sing to you? Very Harry Potter***** if you ask us, which means it’s super cool in our books.

Due to some snazzy science with conductive ink, British scientists have made posters and postcards that can be scanned through a “paper player.” The process plays the musical data encoded in the ink. Pretty nifty!

Don’t get backstabbed,


*Technically, just the halfway point of a month. Or anything, for that matter.

**Okay, that’s not the reason. But the big basketball schools are severely underrepresented at Shmoop HQ, and some of us are having a hard time picking a horse to back in this race…

***The first time a planet had been found with the tool.

****Yes, we know we’re mixing idioms. No, we’re not going to take it back. Save the figurative camels!

*****”Yer poster’s singing to ya, ‘Arry!”

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