Monday, October 3, 2016

Trivia Week: General Trivia

This week begins a week of Trivia. Unfortunately, if you’re not interested in Trivia, you will need to come back in a week’s time.

First up: General Trivia
History of Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The ancient Romans used the word triviae to describe where one road split or forked into two roads. Triviae was formed from tri (three) and viae (roads) – literally meaning "three roads", and in transferred use "a public place" and hence the meaning "commonplace."

Trivialities, bits of information of little consequence was the title of a popular book by British aphorist Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), first published in 1902 but popularised in 1918 (with More Trivia following in 1921 and a collected edition including both in 1933). It consisted of short essays often tied to observation of small things and commonplace moments. Trivia is the plural of trivium, "a public place." The adjectival form of this, trivialis, was hence translated by Smith as "commonplace."

In the 1918 version of his book Trivia, Smith wrote:
I KNOW too much; I have stuffed too many of the facts of History and Science into my intellectuals. My eyes have grown dim over books; believing in geological periods, cave dwellers, Chinese Dynasties, and the fixed stars has prematurely aged me.
In the 1960s, nostalgic college students and others began to informally trade questions and answers about the popular culture of their youth. The first known documented labeling of this casual parlor game as "Trivia" was in a Columbia Daily Spectator column published on February 5, 1965.[8] The authors, Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky, then started the first organized "trivia contests". Their book Trivia (Dell, 1966) achieved a ranking on the New York Times best seller list; the book was an extension of the pair's Columbia contests and was followed by other Goodgold and Carlinsky trivia titles. In their second book, More Trivial Trivia, the authors criticised practitioners who were "indiscriminate enough to confuse the flower of trivia with the weed of minutiae"; Trivia, they wrote, "is concerned with tugging at heartstrings," while minutiae deals with such unevocative questions as "Which state is the largest consumer of Jell-O?" But over the years the word has come to refer to obscure and arcane bits of dry knowledge as well as nostalgic remembrances of pop culture. The board game Trivial Pursuit was released in 1982 and was a craze in the U.S. for several years thereafter. 

Dolphins surf. They are frequently seen riding the bow wave of a ship and can ride the wake for more than an hour. They have also been regularly seen surfing waves to shore.

Dolphins riding the bow wave of a submarine

Dolphins and porpoises are mammals, not fish, with lungs instead of gills, so they breathe air. They also give birth to live young and nurse them after they're born. Differences between the two:

Dolphins live in large groups and show little fear of humans. They are outgoing and will often interact with humans and even swim alongside boats. Porpoises live in small pods of two to four animals and are shy, rarely approaching boats or people and rarely being seen at the surface unless they're coming up to breathe. Animals at marine shows are usually dolphins, not porpoises.

Vitruvian Man

Some notes about Lenoardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
  • One of his best known works, it was actually only a sketch in one of his notebooks, c 1490.
  • It is named after the Roman architect Vitruvius, who wrote in his treatise De Architectura:
"For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it."
  • In their mathematical explorations, Vitruvius and Leonardo were looking for not just the ratios of man but of all creation, believeing that man (and presumably woman) is a microcosm of the universe. Leonardo wrote in a notebook in 1492:
"By the ancients man has been called the world in miniature; and certainly this name is well bestowed, because, inasmuch as man is composed of earth, water, air and fire, his body resembles that of the earth."
In other words, man is a microcosm of the universe.
Lavazza coffee ad by photographer Annie Leibovitz

About 180 million to 200 million years ago, the entire land mass of the Earth was connected. This connected land mass is known as Pangea and is thought to have looked like this:

Over time the plates drifted apart and individual continents gained their identity. This idea of connected land masses goes a long way in observing various strong similarities in fossil characteristics in now quite disparate locations:


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