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Greg's Useless Trivia #35 (1 Viewer)


A collection of mostly useless but sometimes interesting things I've come across.

Links to previous Useless Trivia:







1) Which all of the following does Drano do to break up a clog?

Create heat.
Turn grease into soap.
Coat pipe with lubricant.
Create bubbles.
Dissolve proteins.

It does all of those except coat the pipe with lubricant. Drano is made of lye (sodium hydroxide), mixed with little bits of aluminum metal. Lye crystals mixed with water produce a lot of heat. The hot water softens lumps of grease in the drain. The sodium hydroxide reacts with the softened grease, turning it into soap. The bits of aluminum metal also react with the sodium hydroxide, releasing more heat, but also releasing a lot of hydrogen gas, which makes bubbles that further loosen the fat and grease in the clog. The hot water dissolves the soap. The bubbles of hydrogen break up the lumps of grease and make them float up away from the clog, so more hot water and lye can react with the grease and fat. And the lye dissolves proteins like hair.
2) The following animals (and the foot powder) all share what in common?

Boston Curtis, a brown mule from Washington state
Cacareco, a rhinoceros at the Sao Paulo zoo
Pulvapies, a brand of Ecuadorian foot powder
Bosco, a Labrador-Rottewiler mix from Sunol, California
Stubbs, a cat in Talkeetna, Alaska
Duke, a Great Pyrenees dog in Cormorant, Minnesota.

They have all won political elections. Cacareco the rhino was not put on the ballot for Sao Paolo city council elections, but his 100k write in votes was still more than any other party. Most of the others, including the foot powder, won mayoral elections. The Pulvapies foot powder that was elected mayor in the Ecuadorian town of Picoazà was such a popular candidate that voters in other municipalities in the region wrote it in as well.
3) The Alpine Swift holds the avian record for this.

The longest recorded non-stop flight, lasting over 200 days. The bird was one of six that were tagged, revealing it had stayed aloft for the entirety of the non-breeding seasons. Scientists implanted EEGs to study another species, Frigatebirds, which may stay aloft for two months at a time, and found they sleep for 10 seconds at a time with half of their brain in order to be able to get rest while staying aloft.
4) This living creature is so good at creating hydrogen that it can convert 1 gram of paper into 10 liters of hydrogen.

The termite. Or more accurately, the bacteria that live within a termite's digestive tract. Such biological processes as a means of hydrogen production have the highest production rates and could be the most energy and cost efficient.
5) If a man pees on a home pregnancy test and the result is that he's pregnant, there is a good chance he has this condition.

Testicular cancer. Pregnancy tests will record a positive result upon the detection of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is produced not only by pregnant women but also by some men with testicular tumors. Though the American Cancer Society has noted this would reliably apply only to a small minority of testicular cancer cases, so is not considered as a recommended method for early detection.
6) The Spanish word for "handcuffs" also has what other meaning?

"Esposas", the word for handcuffs, also means "wives".
7) From a Yale study on smell recognition, what consumable was the most recognizable aroma?

Coffee. Peanut butter was #2, Vicks VapoRub was #3, and chocolate was #4.
8) What do the following have in common?

AC current
ATM machine
HIV virus
LCD display
PIN number
UPC code

They are all common phrases that are redundant as the associated word is already part of the acronym (i.e. ATM machine = Automated Teller Machine machine). One humorous name for this is RAS syndrome, or "Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome".
9) What causes "light pillars" like these:

The effect is created by the reflection of light from numerous tiny ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere or clouds. The crystals usually consist of flat, hexagonal plates, which tend to orient themselves more or less horizontally as they fall through the air though with slight deviations. Unlike a light beam, a light pillar is not physically located above or below the light source. Its appearance of a vertical column is an optical illusion, resulting from the collective reflection off the ice crystals, only those of which that appear to lie in a vertical line direct the light rays towards the observer (similar to the reflection of a light source in a body of water).
10) An environmental historian once opined that Thomas Midgley Jr. "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history."  What did Midgley do?

Midgley discovered that adding lead to gasoline would prevent engines from knocking. His work led to the release of large quantities of lead into the atmosphere which has been linked with serious long-term health problems. Midgley followed that work up with the invention of chlorofluorocarbons such as Freon, which have serious ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas effects. Do not worry that history is judging him unfairly though. After he had to take a prolonged vacation to recover from lead poisoning, and after ten deaths and several cases of lead poisoning at processing plants, he participated in a press conference where he poured the lead additive over his hands and inhaled fumes for 60 seconds, declaring that he could do this every day without succumbing to any problems whatsoever. It would be 60 more years until the public accepted that the lead additive was so bad that it was finally phased out. #######.
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4/10.  One of my better showings.  Got "1" wrong because I said all of the above. Guessed 3 and should have known the "esposas" one. 



Wasn't really intending to not have any true/false or multiple choice in this one, but it's ok, maybe a little bit tougher than normal for it.



4/10 but I'm giving myself credit for #6

I said 'married' figured it was close enough

If Greg overrules me, I scored 3.got 5,8,and 9 right. 

Good stuff as always, Greg. Thanks. 

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1,5,7,&9.  Good stuff as usual.  Fwiw, I've started sending these out to family/friends.  Their opinion of me has increased.



Angry Bovine
I got 5/10 (3, 5, 6, 7, 8), although the only one I was sure about was 8.  I answered all of the above for 1, but I guess soap isn't a lubricant.  I typed "Is soap a lubricant" into google, and now I'll have to explain my search history to my wife.



For those who didn't get #7, I'm curious what your guesses were.

I originally found that one from some claims that crayons came in #3. But in reality they were #18.



I guessed bacon.
Mmmm.... bacon. :homer:

It didn't make the top 20 though:

1. Coffee
2. Peanut butter
3. Vicks VapoRub
4. Chocolate
5. Wintergreen oil
6. Baby powder
7. Cigarette butts
8. Mothballs
9. Dry cat food
10. Beer
11. Ivory bar soap
12. Juicy Fruit gum
13. Orange
14. Cinnamon
15. Lemon
16. Tuna
17. Banana
18. Crayons
19. Cheese
20. Bleach
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Angry Bovine
For those who didn't get #7, I'm curious what your guesses were.

I originally found that one from some claims that crayons came in #3. But in reality they were #18.
I guessed and got it but my other choice (popcorn) wasn't even in the top 20 you posted later.



1/10 - Only got question eight

As far as consumables, I guessed bleach, messing up the meaning of the word.  



I thought 'consumables' meant food or drink. 

Wouldn't have changed my answer, which was wrong anyway. 



I thought 'consumables' meant food or drink. 

Wouldn't have changed my answer, which was wrong anyway. 
Yeah, I just messed it up. Didn't know what it applied to. I think most people knew, too, so it's not really a flaw in the question, but my own knowledge. 


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