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Greg's Useless Trivia #58 (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  
#56   #57   

1) Many jeans have a tiny pocket set at the top of the normal pockets. What is the pocket for?

It's for holding a pocket watch. Cowboys used to wear their watches on chains in their waistcoats. Levis introduced the small pocket as a place they could be kept without being broken. They continue to be included, as some people like the appearance apparently, according to Levis.
2) Did the color "orange" get its name from the fruit, or did the fruit get its name from the color?

The English word for the color got its name from the fruit. In ancient Sanskrit, the tree, not the fruit, was called naranga, which in Arabic became naranj. Old French adopted it as "pomme d'orenge" or "the fruit from the orange tree", from which English adopted the word. The first recorded use of "orange" to describe the color came almost 200 years later in 1512 in a will, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
3) True or False.  The figure known as Johnny Appleseed was a real person, who planted apple trees across large stretches of the Midwest to make healthy food available to settlers.

False. He was a real person, John Chapman. And he did plant apple trees from Pennsylvania to Illinois. But his actual motivations and those of folklore versions can differ greatly. At the time, land grants were being given to people willing to establish homesteads. Settlers were required to plant 50 apple trees and 20 peach trees in three years to prove the homestead was permanent. Chapman went ahead of settlers, establishing homesteads that he sold for profit and then moved on to more undeveloped lands. The apples that Chapman planted were not like the ones we eat today. These were bitter apples unfit for eating that were primarily used for making hard cider. Chapman's church had a belief system that explicitly forbade grafting which was used in orchards to produce apples suitable for eating. Many of his orchards were later chopped down by federal agents during Prohibition.
4) About how many different words do Scots have for snow?

a) 15
b) 55
c) 230 
d) 420
e) 580

d) Scots have 421 different terms from snow. Including "snaw" (snow), "sneesl" (to begin to rain or snow), "skelf" (a large snowflake), "feelfe" (swirling snow), "snaw-pouther" (fine driving snow) and "unbrak" (beginning of thawing snow).  It is often said that Inuit only have 50.  Another surprising fact about Scottish language, there are 369 words for marbles, more than there are for football/soccer.
5) The blue whale is the largest animal on earth. Scientists estimate a single diving lunge into a school of krill uses up 1900 calories, about as many as a grown man needs in a day. About how many calories do we estimate one mouthful yields on average for the blue whale when feeding?

a) 30,000
b) 90,000
c) 150,000
d) 500,000
e) 2,000,000

d) about a half a million calories. The whale's return compared to the energy expended is estimated at around 240x, believed to be efficient as animals go, and much better than other types of whales. The blue whale's mouth opens to 80 degrees and inflates like a parachute as water gushes in. The gulp of water they take in is about equal in mass to the rest of their body. Imagine taking a single gulp of beer that weighs as much as you do!
6) Previews of movies are called "trailers" for this reason.

Because originally they came after a movie rather than before it. The first trailer was shown in 1912, and was a one minute spot for an upcoming Broadway show, The Pleasure Seekers. It was mostly cut up clips from rehearsals.
7) True or False. Flush a toilet in North America and as the water circles as it drains, it will circle the opposite direction as a toilet flushed in Australia.

False. Ok, this one is pretty widespread, thanks in part to The Simpsons, and sounds good. It's based on some valid principles of physics, in that the spin of the Earth does create Coriolis forces that can cause water to rotate different south of the Equator compared to north of it. But... in the scale of a toilet or a bathtub, the Coriolis forces are not large enough to dominate what happens. They would normally be trumped by things like residual currents within a tub, by the shape of the drain, or especially for a toilet by the design of the flushing mechanism. The model of toilet would more likely control which direction it flushes, than would its location on the Earth.  Sorry, Simpsons.
8) If California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.  Name all four countries that would rank ahead of it. 

The US without California would still be #1 but half of the lead over #2 China would leave with California. Japan and Germany come in at numbers 3 and 4. The United Kingdom was just edged out this year by our hypothetical Californian nation for fifth place.
9) Every New Years Eve, tens of thousands gather in Boise, Idaho, to watch the descent of a giant foam rubber potato, which in recent years has been bedazzled into a GlowTato. By what punny name are the people called who watch the event?

They are often referred to as spec-taters.
10) What unusual thing did engineers do to the Chicago River in the late 1800s?

They changed the direction it flows. In 1887, in response to concerns arising out of an extreme weather event in 1885 that threatened the city's water supply, the state assembly decided to reverse the flow of the Chicago River through civil engineering by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed. The work was completed in 1900 via a series of canal locks, and increasing the river's flow from Lake Michigan, causing it to empty into a new Canal. In 1999, this system was named a 'Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium' by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

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Should call this thread, "Greg's Trivia that Kick's the Crap out of the Fanatic Every Week."

That being said. My best ever. 6/10 :bag:  


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