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Greg's Useless Trivia #9 (1 Viewer)


A collection of mostly useless but sometimes interesting things I've come across. There are bugs with opening a lot of spoiler boxes at once. Easiest to avoid if you close each box again once you read the answer. If that doesn't work, just reload the thread and they should work again.

Links to previous useless trivia:

1. What former hit song, popular with children, is about a girl who cheats on her boyfriend with two friends?

The Macarena. In the original Spanish version, she is not only cheating on him with 2 guys, but doing so while he's out enlisting in the army.
2. A sheep, a duck and a rooster were the first passengers on what form of transportation?

Hot air balloons. The animals flew in September, 1783 in a balloon made by Pilatre De Rozier. Two months later Pilatre de Rozier became the first human passenger in a balloon built by the Montgolfier brothers. He was killed 2 years later when the hydrogen in his experimental balloon exploded.
3. What celebrity was Canada's "Centennial Baby", the first baby born on July 1, 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canada's founding?

Pamela Anderson.
4. What iconic structure was supposed to have been torn down 20 years after it was built?

The Eiffel Tower. The original permit for the tower stipulated that it should be torn down after 20 years, in 1919. Part of the original design requirements said that the tower had to be easily dismantled or demolished.
5. Which famous American normally depicted with a beard grew it at the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl?

Abraham Lincoln. While Lincoln was campaigning to be President, a girl named Grace Greenwood Bedell Billings wrote Lincoln a letter saying, "if you let your whiskers grow […] you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President". Lincoln responded to the girl a few days later, and from then on always wore a beard.
6. Roughly how wide at its base was the widest tornado on record?

a) 500 feet

b) 500 yards

c) 1 mile

e) 2.5 miles

f) 5 miles

Based on official records, the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado of May 31, 2013 was the largest with a width of 2.6 miles (4.2 km) at its peak. Though a 1999 tornado in Oklahoma had an unofficial width of nearly 3 miles if going by wind speed measurements from radar. The average tornado is about 300-500 yards in diameter.
7. What was the most powerful volcanic eruption in human history?

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia was the most powerful in recorded history. The largest explosive event was heard 1600 miles away. It affected climate across the world, including being a cause of the 2nd coldest year in the Northern Hemisphere since 1400, and the coldest recorded decade.

The geologic record shows evidence of eruptions that predate human history that are as much as 6 times more powerful than Tambora.
8. Einsteins General Theory of Relativity was theoretical and required experimental proof to validate it. What famous experiment is regarded by the public as first proving the theory?

In 1919, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington proved Einstein's theory with star observations during a solar eclipse. According to relativity, light from a distant star passing near the Sun would be bent by the Sun's gravity, and so the star would appear in the wrong place. With the eclipse blocking out the Sun's bright light so stars on the other side of Sun could be seen, Eddington was able to measure the displacement of those stars and confirm the amounts matched Einstein's theory.

Einstein himself had set 3 conditions for proving the theory including Eddington's experiment. The theory had already explained discrepancies in the orbit of Mercury, and the third proof was the redshift of light due to gravity that was not measured with sufficient accuracy until 1959.
9. There is a metal that was once more valuable than gold, though no longer. Napoleon was reputed to have held a banquet where the most honored guests were given utensils of this metal, while the others made do with gold. The 100-ounce capstone of the Washington Monument, set in 1884, was made of this metal, the largest single piece of the metal that had been cast at the time. What metal is it?

Aluminum. Aluminum is so reactive it rarely is found in a pure form. Early methods of extracting it were extremely expensive until around 1888 when Charles Martin Hall developed a low cost process that is still in use today.
10. Which Olympian won 4 gold medals, including setting 3 world records and tying a 4th, over a 45 minute span?

Jesse Owens, in the 1936 Olympics. Shout out to the single greatest athletic performance thread for making me aware of the short time span of it.
11. What small animal has, pound for pound, the hardest and fastest punch in the world?

The mantis shrimp. While there are some insects who can strike slightly faster, they do so through air while the shrimp's impressive speed is done in water. It can strike with its claw so fast that it boils the water its claw passes through. The shrimp's claw hits with the force of a 22 caliber bullet. A biologist studying them once tapped his aquarium's tank to stir one of the shrimp for a journalist. The agitated shrimp attacked back by punching the aquarium's glass, shattering it and flooding the office with water.


Good stuff. I got 6/11. The only reason I knew the mantis shrimp one was because I used to watch Aquanauts with my kids when they were younger, and it was featured in one of the episodes.


Doug B

Regarding Item #10: the four world records were set at a collegiate meet, not at the Olympics. The athlete did win four golds in the Olympics, though.


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