The Weekly Word: July 3rd, 2012

Hey there Shmoopmericans,

Although we’re all exhausted from celebrating Canada Day,* the fun isn’t over yet. This week, we honor the good ol’ US of A with Independence Day, also known variously as the Fourth of July and National “Seriously, Guys, Illegal Firecrackers Are Really Dangerous” Day.

Shmoop Week in History: Declaration of Independence Adopted July 4, 1776

Back in the day, when we were wee Shmooplings navigating the stormy waters of elementary school social studies, we often wondered about the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

  • Which one came first?
  • When did the country actually make the transition from the Thirteen Colonies to the United States?
  • Did Ben Franklin really charm all the Parisian ladies when he was Ambassador to France?**

Here’s the deal: although the Constitution officially established the structure of American government, the Declaration was the document that told the British in no uncertain terms that their imperial services were no longer needed.

For more about the Declaration and the American Revolution, check out our guide here. And if you’re curious about what the Founding Fathers got up to at the Constitutional Convention a decade later, head over here for the real scoop.

Shmoop & Zinch Scholarship Winner: Arati Warrier

Arati Warrier is more than just a test score. How, you ask? For one, she’s a loyal Shmooper (that always gets people points in our book), but she also took the time to defend her favorite word in the English language for our Zinch Word Up Scholarship.

Arati’s passion for knowledge was evident in her essay about the power of the word “yes,” and we hope the $3,000 scholarship she received helps fund her dreams. Congrats, Arati!  Read her story here.

Shmoop Birthday: Dr. Watson Born July 7, 1852

Given the Sherlockian resurgence of late, we’re guessing all of you are at least vaguely familiar with oneDr. John H. Watson, war hero and long-suffering companion. Whether you’re all about the original novels or would like to see Jude Law and Martin Freeman (or Lucy Liu) battle it out for ultimate Watson supremacy, we can all agree that the character is pretty awesome.

And for that reason, we’d like to wish him (or her…we don’t judge) a happy, happy sesquicentennial. For anyone not versed in numerical terminology, that’s the big 1-5-0—a pretty huge deal, if we do say so ourselves.

Shmoop Debate: Summer Reading Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Last week, we posed a question: are you all about fiction or nonfiction when it comes to your summer reading?  We received responses from teachers and students across the country ranging from “Fiction FTW!” to “Nonfiction rules, fiction drools!” Wait, that was our cabin chant from summer camp.

We took a couple of our favorite responses and posted them on our blog. Read them here.

Shmoop Shout-Out: Smashing in the Name of the God Particle

Back when the LHC first started smashing particles together at super high speeds, there were some who thought it might lead to the creation of a massive black hole that would mean DOOMSDAY for us all. But that hasn’t happened…yet.

What has happened is that researchers have gotten closer to discovering some of the secrets of the universe, including the existence of something called a Higgs boson. To make a long and complicated story short, this find would give scientists an idea of how particles get mass, which is mucho importante in the scientific community. Learn more about the discovery here.


To America,

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