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Greg's Useless Trivia #57 (1 Viewer)


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

Links to previous Useless Trivia:

#1   #2   #3   #4   #5
#6   #7   #8   #9   #10  
#11  #12   #13   #14   #15
#16   #17   #18   #19   #20
#21   #22   #23   #24   #25
#26   #27   #28   #29   #30 
#31  #32    #33   #34   #35
#36   #37   #38   #39   #40
#41   #42   #43   #44   #45
#46   #47   #48   #49   #50 (100 questions)
#51   #52   #53   #54   #55  

1) At just under four hours long, this movie is the longest of all the winners of the Oscar for Best Picture.

1939 winner Gone With The Wind was 238 minutes.  The next longest winners are Lawrence Of Arabia at 216 and Ben-Hur at 212 minutes.  The Godfather: Part II is fourth at 202 minutes.
2) True or False. Most of the neurons known as "grey matter" within the human brain are utilized.

True. Thanks to science fiction many of us know that we only use 10% of our brains for thinking. However, sci-fi often misinterprets that as if the other 90% is available for thinking but is untapped. The reality is, only 10% of our brains are the grey matter neurons capable of thinking, and we use most of it. The other 90% is "white matter" that helps the grey matter survive but does not directly contribute brain power.
3) The band Three Dog Night had 21 songs make the Billboard Top 40.  What is a three dog night?

a) a very dark night
b) a very cold night
c) a very drunken night
d) a night so drunken that you blacked out
e) a night spent in travel

b) a very cold night. Band members adopted the name after reading the term in a magazine article about indigenous Australians. It was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and, if the night were freezing, it was a "three dog night".
4) True or False. Most polar bears are left-handed (left-pawed?).

False. Scientists observing the animals haven't noticed a preference. In fact, polar bears seem to use their right and left paws equally.
5) Elections in the US are usually held on Tuesday. This was chosen in large part to avoid two other days of the week which were considered special. One of those two days is Sunday, the Biblical Sabbath. What is the other day being avoided?

Wednesday, market day. Congress enacted the law setting the schedule of elections in 1845. The United States was largely an agrarian society. Farmers often needed a full day to travel by horse-drawn vehicles to the county seat to vote. Tuesday was established as election day because it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which was on Wednesday in many towns. People used to travel a full day to vote, but today many of us won't bother making a trip down the street to do it.
6) Italian Wedding Soup consists of green vegetables and meat in a clear chicken-based broth, sometimes containing pasta, lentils or parmesan cheese. How did the soup get its name?

a) Italian folklore of a bride's family too poor to provide anything for the wedding but some excellent soup that won reluctant groom's family over
b) Served at wedding of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus
c) Arranged marriages between neighboring villages, tradition of feeding soup to guests arriving after their journey
d) The flavor produced by the marriage of the greens and meat

d) Wedding Soup comes from the Italian phrase "minestra maritata" or "married soup" and refers to the the combination of flavors.  Another case of something being lost in translation.
7) True or False.  Chicago's nickname of "The Windy City" is a reference to the residents being windbags rather than to the weather there.

True. Journalists in the 1800s used it criticizing the city's residents as being full of hot air. The jab got widespread use during news coverage when Chicago beat out New York to host a World's Fair.
8) Most people are by now familiar with the taser gun.  What is the origin of the name "taser"?

a) Tangarines Are Sweet Eating Rations
b) Terrible #######s Suck Electric Razors 
c) Tactical Armament Special Electric Revolver
d) Tom A Swift's Electric Rifle 
e) Unintentional typo of "Laser" that took off

d) Tom A Swift's Electric Rifle.  The taser was invented in the 1970s by a man named Jack Cover after he witnessed a hiker survive a run-in with an electric fence. He recalled a fictional electric rifle in a favorite science fictional novel from his youth, Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, and adopted an acronym of it as the name for the new weapon.
9) True or False. Eating something high in sugar, like birthday cake, tends to make children hyper.

False, per research. The "sugar high" theory started in 1978, when one study found that kids with a hyperactivity disorder had low blood sugar. That conclusion was later discredited when more research found those blood sugar levels were normal levels. Since then, more studies have shown sugar doesn't make kids any more hyper than a placebo. If anything, it might be the parent's expectations. One 1994 study found that after five- to seven-year-old boys took a placebo, the moms who were told their sons had eaten a large dose of sugar were more likely to say their kid was acting hyper. Your kid might also just be excited to let loose with their friends at a party.
10) Kleenex were a war-time invention, originally developed as filters for what type of military equipment?

Gas masks. When there was a cotton shortage during World War I, Kimberly-Clark developed a thin, flat cotton substitute that the army tried to use as a filter in gas masks. The war ended before scientists perfected the material for gas masks, so the company redeveloped it to be smoother and softer, then marketed Kleenex as facial tissue instead.

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I got the first 3 right.  :pickle:

Then only got one more after that.  :kicksrock:

4/10 - my usual fare

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GregR said:
I was just thinking to myself, I should have put in a question with four types of stars and asked which is hottest.
This question, I could answer... unlike most of your trivia questions!

(actually 7/10 - I think this is my best attempt at one of these.)


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