'Mental Floss' Magazine

NPR's Scott Simon talks to Will Pearson, co-founder of Mental Floss magazine, a new publication that gives you news you can use to impress someone.

Please Note Correction

Last week Will Pearson, a co-founder of the magazine Mental Floss, tried to explain why the sky is blue. He said it was because the Earth's atmosphere refracts the sun's light rays and blue light predominates the other colors. Class, he got it wrong, as many listeners pointed out. Here to set us straight is NPR's Joe Palca:

"The sky is blue because blue light from the sun bounces off air molecules in the upper atmosphere. Yes, I said blue light from the sun. Sunlight is a mixture of all colors, including blue. But blue is the most energetic light we can see. And the higher the energy, the more bouncing. And the more bouncing, the more blue light that enters our eye. So beholders of that bouncing blue light see a sky that is beautifully blue. Unless, of course, there are clouds. By historical note: This explanation was first put forward by British physicist Lord Rayleigh in 1871.



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