Tag Archives: trivia

Facts Are Interesting!

Every so often a book will come through in the delivery or a new book will come in that needs processing and, even though we’re not supposed to, I judge it by its cover. One such book was 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop. From its cover, I judged that it would be an interesting book and I was right!

As the authors point out in the introduction, the most fascinating aspect of the book isn’t the facts themselves, but how the facts had an inherent desire to bond with other facts. For instance, the facts on page 177 are all about fingers and then the facts on page 178 are about thumbs. It’s done in such a way that you aren’t even aware of the connections, but the connections make sense.

While I was quite impressed with myself for knowing some of the facts (The Beatles classic “Yesterday” was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs”; George W. Bush was a college cheerleader; If a cockroach touches a person, it immediately runs away and washes itself) others did, in fact, make my jaw drop.

Here is a minuscule sampling of these facts:

Simons, Georgia, has a window shop called “A Pane in the Glass.”

There is a cult in Malaysia that worships a giant teapot.

In 1879, the Belgian city of Liège commissioned 37 cats to deliver mail to nearby villages. The project was a complete failure.

Baikal seals live in Lake Baikal, 2,500 miles from the sea. Nobody knows how they got there.

Having a younger brother or sister can increase your blood pressure by more than 5%.

Early Arabic texts refer to cannabis as “the bush of understanding” and “the shrub of emotion.”

“Alcohol” is from the Arabic al-kuhl, meaning “the essence of things.”

Covering Nebraska with wind turbines would meet half the world’s energy needs.

Spotted animals can have striped tales, but stripy animals can’t have spotty tails.

In 2010, a British man spent 121 days in a room with 40 snakes, only to be told that Guinness no longer maintains the world record he was trying to break.

In 19th-century versions of Cinderella, her sisters called her “Cinder-slut.”

Winnie-the-Pooh’s real name is Edward Bear.

“President Clinton of the USA” is an anagram of “to copulate, he finds interns.”

There are two people in the USA called Dick Pecker.

The most popular name in China is Wang: there are 93 million Wangs in China.

The oldest bridge in Paris is the Pont Neuf, or “New Bridge.”

95% of the spiders in your house have never been outside.

No one has ever seen a giraffe swimming.

There are whales alive today that were born before Moby-Dick was written in 1851.

Motdièse (or “sharp-sign word”) was coined by the French in 2013 to avoid using the English word “hashtag.

Wichita, Kansas, has a body piercing shop called “Holier than Thou.”

New York gets 15 times as much snow as the South Pole.

Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service on the day he was shot.

The Swiss are the only Europeans who eat dog meat.

We live in a time when people are constantly duped by articles from The Onion, Empire News and The Daily Currant, so I was skeptical of some of these facts.  The book addresses this by directing readers to this site where you can research the validity of any of the facts.

I highly recommend it. I actually might have to buy a copy for myself.

Okay, one last fact for Pittsburghers:

The first-ever player drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers was named William Shakespeare.

 

–Ross

 

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We Are the Champions!

Team SignIt was a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of the first nice days of spring so far this year. 39 teams met to battle it out on the trivia field. It promised to be a battle for the ages. It was a battle where only one team would emerge victorious. That team was… the CLP Dewey Decimators!

The battle was the 6th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council Trivia Bowl, which was held on April 7th at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The Decimators were at the top of the pack for most of the competition, never falling below 4th place. Going into the final question, they were in second – 5 points behind the leader and last year’s champion. With the bravado of someone who knows they have to “go big or go home,” the Decimators bet all of their points on the final question.  (The final question was “Although they have since been disputed, according to recent reports Columbia University students are consuming up to 100 lbs of what food per day?”  Scroll down for the answer.) They finished with 640 points, earning them the win!

Without further ado, let me introduce to you the winning team from the GPLC Trivia Bowl,GPLC Trivia Bowl Winning Team the CLP Dewey Decimators:  Lisa from the Finance & Administration Dept., Denise from our Homewood Library location, Mykal from Shelving & Stack Services at Main, and Megan from Children’s Dept. at East Liberty. (That’s our cardboard Andrew Carnegie standing with the team. He was there to inspire them.) Two of the winning team members were on Pittsburgh Today Live to talk about the Trivia Bowl and their victory.

It was a great victory, but it was ultimately a fundraiser for a worthy cause. The mission of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council dovetails nicely with the mission of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Many of our neighborhood library locations serve as sites for GPLC classes, workshops and tutoring sessions. The Library supports literacy and learning in all its forms and we always want the best for the individuals in our community. GPLC is one organization that helps our neighbors become the people they want to be, the people they can be.

The Library also has resources for ESL students, those looking to improve their literacy skills or get their GED. If you need us, the Library is here for you. We’ll get you the contacts and tools you need to succeed.

-Melissa M.

P.S. Here’s my favorite picture from the event…

Andy wears the Championship Belt!

Andy wears the Championship Belt!

P.P.S. The answer to the final question? Nutella.

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Trivia night at the library!

Do you love trivia?  My guess is yes! Do you love the library? Of course you do!  Well, you are all ready then, to come down to Oakland for Trivia Night at the Main Library.  This Thursday, May 26th, from 6-7:30, the hosts of the Pub Quiz at the Brillobox will be guest-hosting a library-themed trivia night in the [not so] Quiet Reading Room on the First Floor.  I’m sure you’re hoping that these folks won’t be in attendance, although I can’t guarantee it.  Were it not library-related trivia, you could use some of these suggestions to get ready.  However, I do have some suggestions that may or may not help you out:

Libraries in the Ancient World Libraries in the Ancient World, by Lionel Casson 

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Library: An Unquiet History Library: An Unquiet History, by Matthew Battles

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The Story of Libraries The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age, by Fred Lerner

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The Most Beautiful Libraries in the WorldThe Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, by Guillaume de Laubier and Jacques Bosser

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Carnegie Libraries Across AmericaCarnegie Libraries Across America: A Public Legacy, by Theodore Jones

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Good luck!  And see you Thursday!

-Kaarin

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Research Databases Are No Trivial Thing

Last week, some library staff got together for a pub quiz.  We spend much of our work day helping you find information and we also like to spend our leisure time answering questions.

In previous years of the trivia contest, I’ve been a competitor, studying almanacs, atlases, encyclopedias and the books of Ken Jennings, beforehand.  This year, I helped create questions and fact-check for the quiz.

Did I use Wikipedia?  No.  Did I do random Google searches?  No.  Did I ask Yahoo Answers?  No.

A reputable source from days gone by. Much of this sort of information, old and new, is online now and the library is still the best way to get to it.

I used the library’s research databases because that is where accurate, reliable information resides.

Library databases contain information that you can’t access with Google or other search engines because it is proprietary and the publishers don’t make it freely available on the web.  This is where journal articles that are peer-reviewed can be found.  This is where specialty encyclopedias with expert, editorial oversight can be found.  This is where scholarship in almost any subject can be found.  This is where you can avoid personal rants and commercial sites.

Libraries pay for database subscriptions so you and I can freely get to quality information for serious research.  Or, sometimes, just for trivia.

— Tim

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Library Trivia

We have a copy of Dial M for Murder on VHS that has been checked out 527 times since 1993!

Some tapes refuse to go quietly.

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What a difference a day makes…

Every day’s a special day to someone, for some reason. Many authors, including Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, have used the chronological framework of one “normal” day to capture the incandescent moments that make up even the most ordinary of lives. Clarissa throws a party. Leopold goes for a walk. And yet, under the surface of these simple situations, the extraordinary is brewing.

If you’re having a hard time finding anything special about March 18th, keep in mind that any given day is usually somebody’s birthday.  In this particular instance, it’s a cake-and-candlefest for Queen Latifah, John Updike, and Grover Cleveland, to name just a few of the multiple celebrants. Why not bake a cake in somebody’s honor?

March 18th is also Flag Day in Aruba and National Biodiesel Day. On a chilly pre-spring day in Pittsburgh, who wouldn’t want to spend some time daydreaming about Aruba? And since biofuels are a timely topic, why not browse the catalog to learn more?

Twenty-four little hours can mean different things to different people, but regardless of what meaning you attach to it, you cannot help but find something wondrous in your day if you’ll only look. Don’t believe me? Flag down a reference librarian and ask for a peek at Chase’s Calendar of Events, the source of today’s trivia tidbits.  Better yet, keep your eyes open as you walk down the street, and expect a miracle. Who knows what could happen?

–Leigh Anne

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