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  • Captain America

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Captain America

    Way back in 2014, when gay marriage was illegal in half the country, True Detective and the iPhone 6 were brand new, and Donald Trump was still just a reality TV punchline, my friend Paul Bailey asked if I might want to represent my country in the first “Quiz Olympiad,” an international quizzin...

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    April 19, 2017

  • To the map we go

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    To the map we go

    In this week’s Maphead piece for Condé Nast Traveler, I write about the weird history of Westwego, Louisiana, which bills itself as the only town in America whose name is a complete sentence. I was unable to find any other burg making a similar claim, so I let it slide. But then, checking out...

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    April 19, 2017

  • Carrying the torch

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Carrying the torch

    I’m off to Greece this week for the inaugural Quiz Olympiad. (Cue NBC Olympics anthem! But only in your head so we don’t get sued.) Here’s the press release I just got sent about the event. Wish us luck! Team USA competing at Quiz Olympiad, Nov. 3 – 6 in Athens, Greece Author and Jeopardy...

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    April 19, 2017

  • Citius Altius Trivius

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Citius Altius Trivius

    I just got back from the first ever Quiz Olympiad, organized by the International Quizzing Association and held in the Olympic cradle of Athens, Greece. It was an historic weekend! Some background: the IQA has been holding these European and international quiz tournaments for many years, but ...

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    April 19, 2017

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  • Where are they now?

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Where are they now?

    Jeopardy! is running a series of stories this season called “the J!Effect,” about how the quiz show has changed lives over its 30-year-plus run. This is very exciting to hear because it means Jeopardy! is embracing the hip millennial-friendly abbreviation “J!” for its brand, replacing its ’90 ...

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    April 19, 2017

  • To the fleetest

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    To the fleetest

    Jeopardy! plows through two new contestants every weeknight, as implacably as a shark. But that means your odds, as a random American, of getting on the show this year are still no better than 1 in 800,000. Sad! Enter FleetWit! It’s a mobile “brain race” site where players compete in live q...

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    April 19, 2017

  • The worst man in the world

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    The worst man in the world

    When Time magazine named President-elect (!!!) Donald Trump its “Person of the Year” last week, I tweeted Trump is the only Time Person of the Year who was also Spy magazine's worst person of the year (1995). — Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) December 7, 2016 That’s not a joke, as you might ha...

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    April 19, 2017

  • Hits within hits

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Hits within hits

    The final question on my weekly Tuesday Trivia email quiz a couple weeks ago was one of the hardest in the quiz’s ten-year history. Only two respondents guessed the correct answer. The gimmick was: artists who had two well-known songs, one of which contains the full title of the other. The ex...

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    April 19, 2017

  • (W)ΟΡΝΤΠΛΑΙ (W)ΕΝΤΝΕΣΝΤΑΙ

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    (W)ΟΡΝΤΠΛΑΙ (W)ΕΝΤΝΕΣΝΤΑΙ

    (W)hy not? I was in Athens in November for the first international Quiz Olympiad. The hotel that hosted the event was just a short walk away from the marble Panathenaic Stadium, built in 330 BC, which has hosted events for the modern Olympic Games twice. A monument out front lists the host cit...

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    April 19, 2017

  • Big Blue buddy

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Big Blue buddy

    Hey, here’s another thing that I never blogged about because it launched during the great summer blog drought. My friend Rob Kutner, who wrote for The Daily Show and is now at Conan, had an idea for a comedy podcast in which my silicon arch-nemesis Watson and I were forced to go on the lam af...

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    September 30, 2016

  • The only thing we have to fear

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    The only thing we have to fear

    In my new “Debunker” column posted today on Woot.com, I track the lineage of the bizarre trivia factoid that holds that “arachibutyrophobia” is a medical term meaning “the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.” I can find no evidence for this in any clinical literature, but ...

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    September 30, 2016

  • Trigger warning: racist leaves

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Trigger warning: racist leaves

    This site, like a lazy Frenchman, took the summer off. That was partly due to some database crashes and spambot attacks that happened when I was out of town, and which I’m just getting around to fixing now. Thank you for your patience. I write a weekly Monday column called Maphead for Condé N...

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    September 9, 2016

  • How many trivia questions exist?

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    How many trivia questions exist?

    A reader named Anthony writes: I hope this message makes it to you. My friend and I are debating how one might estimate the number of trivia questions that exist. Or more precisely, how many distinct questions could be asked to the American participants on Jeopardy or in any trivia game, where...

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    July 11, 2016

  • The other Junior Genius

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    The other Junior Genius

    Let’s face it: the seven Junior Genius books I spent the last few years writing would have been maybe one-quarter as good without the funny, charming artwork of Mike Lowery. You know what kids don’t want? Big unbroken blocks of text about 19th-century presidents. You know what kids do want? ...

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    May 4, 2016

  • Old news

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Old news

    Since 2012–almost four years!–I’ve been writing a weekly news quiz for Slate magazine. But I told Slate last month that I was giving up the assignment. Last week, for the first time ever, the Slate Quiz was written by someone else. I was sorry to have to step away, because the quiz is always...

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    May 4, 2016

  • Old fossil

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Old fossil

    I’m very happy to announce that the seventh Junior Genius book is available online and in bookstores today! The official Junior Genius Guides website has some preview pages to peruse and various retail links for when you decide just how many copies you want to buy. Ten? Twenty? It’s up to y...

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    April 12, 2016

  • Continental divide

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Continental divide

    Here’s a geography question if you have a few minutes to kill, and want to spend them thinking about geography for some reason. The fifty U.S. states vary widely in area, obviously. Even if you list the states in descending order of area, there are some big gaps. The largest state, Alaska, ha...

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    April 12, 2016

  • (500) Days of Trivia

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    (500) Days of Trivia

    I’m pleased to announce that the 500th installment of my weekly “Tuesday Trivia” quiz went out over the email last night. Five hundred weeks of free trivia, appearing in 16,000 inboxes every Tuesday morning without fail. I’ve wasted my life. If you want to play next Tuesday, and for the next ...

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    April 12, 2016

  • Childhood pet

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Childhood pet

    I found this photo today while looking for something else. I wish it had turned up earlier–it’s perfect for the new Junior Genius guide, about Dinosaurs! That’s right, millennials. We had a pet T. Rex when I was a kid. As was the style at the time.

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    April 12, 2016

  • Welcome to the working week

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Welcome to the working week

    I don’t usually link to the steady stream of stuff I’m writing elsewhere instead of on this blog, but here’s a quick recap: Mondays: my “Maphead” column for Conde Nast Traveler Tuesdays: my “Debunker” column for Woot Wednesdays and Saturdays: “Kennections” puzzles for mental_floss Friday...

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    April 12, 2016

  • Nightstand

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Nightstand

    Reading: I recommend it! In fact, I specifically recommend the books I’ve been reading recently. They are not new books. (Wait, with one exception.) Here’s the last month or so: The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty. Did you know Welty’s first novel (well, short novel) was a Southern upda...

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    April 12, 2016

  • The year of daily blogging (…was 2005, sorry)

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    The year of daily blogging (…was 2005, sorry)

    Happy new year, everyone! My resolutions for 2016 do not include blogging here more, but they do include wistfully looking back at a distant time when I didn’t really have a job and just the one vague writing deadline and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist and I posted something h...

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    January 15, 2016

  • Greece is the word

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Greece is the word

    Paul Bailey asked me a few months ago if I wanted to captain the U.S. team for the inaugural Quiz Olympiad, to be held in Athens next fall. I had a great time at the European Quiz Championships the one year I got to go, and TCONA is a blast every year. But this is something bigger! Olympian...

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    December 13, 2015

  • Christmas is getting so commercial, Charlie Brown

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Christmas is getting so commercial, Charlie Brown

    A quick beginning-of-December reminder: I have ten books in print, each one better than the last! (Except for the one really disappointing one that stands out like a sore thumb. Not going to say which one.) They are exactly the kind of light non-fiction sort of thing that makes an excellent ...

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    December 4, 2015

  • Endangered Lapp tribe really should have seen this coming

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Endangered Lapp tribe really should have seen this coming

    I’m newly fascinated with the Skolt people of Lapland, and the (apparently well-accepted) idea among 20th-century sociologists that they were all telepaths! See this wire-service story from April 5, 1952, for example. I feel like there’s a book in here somewhere, but this is the kind of thing ...

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    November 19, 2015

  • Repackaged

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Repackaged

    Good news, I’m releasing more endlessly repackaged material than George Lucas or the Beach Boys! First up, there’s a new boxed set of the first three Junior Genius books (Maps and Geography, Greek Mythology, U.S. Presidents) available now at a discount price! It came out on Tuesday and actuall...

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    October 28, 2015

  • Missing swimmers

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Missing swimmers

    Noooo, today’s “Tuesday Trivia” e-mail went out with an unfinished sentence. Luckily, the missing information was one of last week’s answers, not this week’s questions. So it was more of an unfortunate cliffhanger than a fatal glitch. Still, first time I’ve straight up omitted an answer in a...

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    October 7, 2015

  • Love Kennections?

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Love Kennections?

    For almost three years, I wrote a quiz for Parade magazine called “Kennections.” The format was simple: five not-too-tough trivia questions and one final gimmick: guessing what the five answers have in common. But last year the beloved Sunday supplement was bought out and jettisoned its edit...

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    October 7, 2015

  • To the old gods and the new

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    To the old gods and the new

    For the first time in seven months, there’s a new Junior Genius Guide on bookstore shelves today! The Junior Genius introduction to Ancient Egypt costs just a few bucks and it’s jam-packed with cute illustrations and crazy trivia about the land of the pharaohs. Did you know that, in ancient ...

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    October 7, 2015

  • Map love

    Ken Jennings posted a blog post

    Map love

    Hey, this is nice. There’s a new Junior Genius Guide on store shelves, and I just found out that the first book in the series, the Maps and Geography one, is a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards! You probably follow the Washington State Book Awards scene pretty closely, so you d...

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    October 7, 2015

  • kenjennings

    Ken Jennings is now a member of Berrett-Koehler Community

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