Friday, September 21, 2012

Trivia Gibs #1

"Venera" was the Soviet space probe mission launched 1961 to 1984, which landed ten probes on Venus to study the environment there, much as our recent NASA missions to Mars have done.

The Carboniferous Period (359 to 299 million years ago) was caused largely by the gap between the advent of wooden trees and the appearance of fungi which could eat - and hence decompose - dead wood. Until then, wood from dead trees just piled up.

Since May of 2009, Wikipedia has had to ban all accounts and IP addresses of anybody associated with the Church of Scientology. Period. Their attempt to spam the Wiki with church propaganda got that bad. We can think of many more organizations that deserve similar treatment...

The word "nimrod" comes from a Bugs Bunny Cartoon. Bugs was referring to Elmer Fudd as the Biblical "Nimrod", meaning a hunter, but has since been taken to mean a gullible fool because audiences at the time didn't know who Nimrod was.

There is a separate Women's World Chess Championship, also run by the World Chess Federation, even though women can and do play against and beat male opponents. It has historically been dominated by Russian and Chinese women players.

Do you love the smell of freshly cut grass? That's a class of chemicals released by the plant, called "green leaf volatiles", which act as a "distress call"; if attacked by something that eats grass, like caterpillars, the smell attracts predators to eat them.

In Germany, you need to pass CPR training to get a driver's license. This ensures that anybody who can cause an accident can also assist in recovering from one.

"The Three Christs of Ypsilanti" was a psychiatric case study in which three mental patients, all suffering from the delusion that they were Jesus Christ, were placed in a room and encouraged to work out which was the true Christ. All three men argued for awhile, then each came to the independent conclusion that they were the true Christ while the other two were obviously insane.

Along with the other international displays of solidarity and support after the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the Maasai tribe of Kenya donated a gift of 14 cows to the United States.

Because the 2003 movie release of "The Cat in the Hat" was so terrible, the estate of Dr. Seuss has now forbidden anybody from ever making a live-action film adaptation of a Dr. Seuss work again. Ever.

Paranoia has a complimentary, opposite delusion. It's called "pronoia", the delusion that there is a secret conspiracy to aid you. "Guardian angels", anyone?

Along with the potent smell imparted to urine by eating asparagus, the vegetable also adds another attribute to your urine: It makes your pee attract fish.

Prince Edward of Wales' full name is "Edward Anthony Richard Louis", named so his initials would acronym-ize to "EARL".