The Weekly Word: July 25th, 2012

Hey there Shmathletes,

How excited are we that the London Olympics are opening on Friday? Hint: We’ve moved on from “The Bugler’s Dream” to that inspiring Michael Bolton song about going the distance. Like a shooting star, in fact. Hey, if it can get Herculesfrom zero to hero, it can make us elite athletes, right?


This year’s Olympics and Paralympics feature 14,000 athletes from all over the world. Mount Olympus, for which the Games were named, wasn’t quite so populous—but the gods and goddesses who lived there might have given today’s Olympians a run for their money.* Want more scoop on the Real Housegods of Jersey Olympus? Read on.

Shmoop Featured Olympians: Zeus & Hera

Here you go, Shmoopers. It’s time to introduce the king and queen of the gods, Zeus and Hera. They may not have had a gold medal-winning marriage, but they certainly got things done. There’s nothing like a lightning bolt to the face to say you mean business.

Learn more about all the gods and goddesses fit to print here.

Featured Shmoop Video: PEMDAS

Acronyms are a B.O.M.B.** way to remember all sorts of things, from the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) to the order of operations (PEMDAS). We here at Shmoop HQ use them for everything. Take WIABED, for example, which stands for Wednesday Is Always Burrito-Eating Day. Moral of the story: If you need some help with math and love visual stimuli, watch our brand-new video here.

Didn’t know we had video? Be sure to check out our YouTube channel, where we feature all kinds of high-calorie brain food.

Shmoop Birthday: Aldous Huxley Born July 26, 1894

If you look up “dystopia” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World next to one of1984 and Fahrenheit 451.*** Just kidding! You’ll probably see a bunch of words.

However, the point stands. As a member of the famous Huxley-Arnold family, whose other luminaries include the poet Matthew Arnold and a whole posse of distinguished biologists, Little Aldy grew up to write a novel about what would happen in a society that biologically engineered its own citizens. (Spoiler alert: Nothing very good.)

His later novels went off and explored a few new worlds of their very own, what with the psychedelic drugs and everything, but Brave New World still stands the test of time.

In honor of Huxley’s 118th birthday, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t live in the world he envisioned. Cheers!

Shmoop Shout-Out: World’s First Artificial Jellyfish

It looks like a few mad scientists recently developed a jellyfish. But not from jellyfish parts—oh no, that would be too easy. They used rat muscle and a substance manufactured by chemical giant Dow Chemical to engineer a brand-new plastiratelly fish. That’s not what they’re actually calling it, but we thought it sounded cool.

Who knows what they’ll make next? Maybe humans out of lizard muscle? (Shout-out to the new Spider-Man movie.) Anyway, if you’d like to learn more about the building blocks of life that we as a species have been so keen to manipulate, check out our DNA page.

Shmoop Shout-Out 2.0: Sally Ride Passes Away at 61

Sally Ride was more than just the first American woman in space; she was also an inspiration to little girls everywhere. Even ones who maybe didn’t want to actually go into space but thought it was pretty cool that Ride did…not that we’re speaking from personal experience or anything.

Her founding of Sally Ride Science, an organization that encourages kids to explore careers in science and tech fields, certainly makes her a figure near and dear to our hearts. R.I.P., Dr. Ride.


To being on the podium,

Gold Shmedalists




*In events like “lightning bolt-hurling,” “debauchery,” and “melodrama,” maybe, but a run nonetheless.

**Best On Memory Boosting.

***Other candidates: Hunger GamesEnder’s Game, and The Road. Check ‘em out.

One thought on “The Weekly Word: July 25th, 2012

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