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Greg's Useless Trivia #45 (1 Viewer)

GregR

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

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1) This Greek city-state had the first known democratic constitution in the world.

Sparta. Though many of us might think of Athens here rather than the militaristic Sparta, by most accounts Sparta's democratic constitution predates that of Athens by anywhere from 50 to 200 years. Athens lacked a monarchy, while Sparta retained one but sharply limited its powers.
 
 
 
2) Groundhog Day festivities had their birth in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In the original activities the groundhogs were not weather forecasters. What role did the groundhogs play?

The groundhogs were eaten. In the 1880s, teams of men would run up and down the hillsides, digging up groundhogs to cook for an early dinner. Many began to look forward to the tradition as a break from the winter doldrums. An editor at local newspaper The Punxsutawney Spirit named Clymer Freas began covering these events with over-the-top, literary descriptions about what he called "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club", and created the weather forecasting aspect.  On Feb. 2, 1886, the publication declared that, as of press-time, the groundhog — which it called "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary'' — had not seen its shadow in the "Weather Capital of the World." Newspapers started publishing his accounts nationwide. But originally... the groundhogs were just dinner.
 
 
 
3) True or False. Julius Caesar's last words translate to "You too, child?"

True. As far as we know. Those from the time who wrote it down picked it up from bystanders of the event. Caesar reportedly said the Greek phrase, "καὶ σὺ, τέκνον" or "Kai su, teknon?" which translates to "You too, child?". He was talking about Brutus, apparently, and Shakespeare famously went with a clearer "Et tu, Brute" ("And you, Brutus") in his play.
 
 
 
 
4) Which specific expanse of land is heavily involved in the formation of about 90 percent of major Atlantic hurricanes?

The Sahara Desert. This enormous desert sits in the right place, near the equator, with cooler, wet regions to the south and west. When you mix air that’s very hot and dry with air that’s relatively chilly and damp, you get an easterly wind known as the “African easterly jet” that forms tropical waves. These blow out to sea, and—with the right conditions and triggers—can turn into hurricanes. The Sahara also can sometimes stop a hurricane from forming. The “Saharan Air Layer” is a big packet of dry, sandy air that moves westward over the Atlantic from the desert, near the tropical waves. Sometimes it can destroy a developing tropical system by removing humidity or creating shear.
 
 
 
5) In 2005, German archaeologists discovered what is believed to the world's oldest known dildo. How many years old is it?

a) 2,000
b) 7,000
c) 11,000
d) 16,000
e) 26,000

e) 26,000 years old. The eight-inch long carved item is not the only evidence of the use of these toys throughout history. Women can be seen wielding them on some ancient Greek vases, and in Aristophanes’s play Lysistrata, the women of Greece go on a sex strike to end a war, in part because it has disrupted the trade in dildos.
 
 
 
6) True or False. The Upas tree on the island of Java is so poisonous that it kills most plants and animals within a 1-mile radius of it.

False. There was a 1783 account by a Dutch Surgeon to this effect, though he said a 15-mile radius. There really are Upas trees on Java, and while they do not kill everything in the vicinity, their latex is very poisonous and traditionally used on arrow points. In China the poison has been described as "Seven Up Eight Down Nine Death" meaning that a victim can take no more than seven steps uphill, eight steps downhill or nine steps on level ground before dying.
 
 
 
7) What US building houses the most gold in the world?

It is not Fort Knox as most people think. There is more gold held in the New York Federal Reserve Fault on Wall Street, than there is in Fort Knox. Half-credit for

@chet's house".
 
 
 
8) As the story goes, the Pied Piper was a piper who rid a town of rats. When the town failed to pay him, he used his pipe to lure the town's children away. He was a piper because he played pipes. But what makes a piper "pied"?

Wearing clothing of many colors. "Pied" means "having two or more colors".
 
 
 
9) True or False. South African internet speeds were once proven to be slower than delivering data by carrier pigeons.

True. Well, at least for one client.  In 2009, a Durban, South Africa, company called Unlimited IT was complaining about their data speed over their ADSL connection. To highlight the issue they arranged a race between their internet connection and a carrier pigeon. The pigeon, carrying a 4Gb memory stick, flew the 60 miles to the destination in an hour, and it took another hour to upload the data after it arrived. In the same amount of time, their internet connection had sent just 4% of the data.


 
 
 
10) This movie sequel was made by two of Hollywood's biggest names while they were both dealing with divorces. The men used the movie to vent, saying later, "We certainly took it to the extreme." The movie included monkey brains, child slaves, and a beating heart ripped out of someone's chest. The MPAA also thought the movie was too extreme for children and created the PG-13 rating in response. What movie?

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).  The divorced men, director Steven Spielberg and executive producer and co-writer George Lucas.



 
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GregR

Footballguy
Are we sure about the answer to that last one?
Whoops, had the wrong sequel.  Corrected now. 

I'm just going with the fact I put this one together about 1 am one night as my excuse. :)  

 
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Gr00vus

Footballguy
Whoops, had the wrong sequel.  Corrected now. 

I'm just going with the fact I put this one together about 1 am one night as my excuse. :)  
That's good news, I think it was the only of the questions one I knew the answer to.

 

GregR

Footballguy
Just figured out where Greg gets these from.

https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned

A lot of these facts were posted there in the last few days.
I don't usually read Reddit unless I follow a link there from someone else.

There's a number of sites I've found a lot on over the years, some better than others. I usually exhaust them and move on, but some like Mental Floss keep coming up with new content. Any of those sites could cross pollinate with Reddit I suppose. Google has an easter egg that gives you random facts, though a lot of them are kind of ho hum so it can take a lot of clicks to get a good one to include. Some things I just wonder about and google (Pied Piper was one of those), or are things I learned somewhere and think it'll make a good question (hurricane formation was one of those, with Harvey and Irma being topical).

 
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El Floppo

Footballguy
7/10.... Dildos that old? I don't remember the archaeological record having buildings/towns surviving from them, but figures women were figuring ways to pleasure themselves without a solid roof over their heads

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
OK, maybe I should have said 'Us old people remember Die Hard 3...GET OFF MY LAWN!!'

Always thought DH3 was odd being '95 and only 2 years after the first bombing at the WTC.
I'm probably older than you. I just didn't bother seeing DH3.

 

GregR

Footballguy
El Floppo said:
Mr. Ected said:
OK, maybe I should have said 'Us old people remember Die Hard 3...GET OFF MY LAWN!!'

Always thought DH3 was odd being '95 and only 2 years after the first bombing at the WTC.
I'm probably older than you. I just didn't bother seeing DH3.
I don't want to spoil it for you. But he fights terrorists.

 

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