Is This Collection of Historical Trivia Fact or Fiction?

  • Thread starter Astronuc
  • Start date
In summary: I don't want to know.In summary, various facts and trivia are shared, including the origin of certain phrases such as "rule of thumb" and "goodnight, sleep tight," the invention of golf, and the use of whistles in English pubs. The conversation also touches on topics such as the invention of various objects and the percentage of wilderness in different parts of the world. However, the originator of the conversation has not verified any of the information presented.
  • #1
Astronuc
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Forwarded from a family member. The originator claims not to have verified any of this.

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb"
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Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.
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The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
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Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.
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Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
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Coca-Cola was originally green.
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It is impossible to lick your elbow.
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The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska
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The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)
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The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
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The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400
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The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
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Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
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The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
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The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
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Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
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111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
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If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
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Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
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Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace
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Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession
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Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand
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Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.
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Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey
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Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day
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In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase... "goodnight, sleep tight."
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It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
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In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down."
It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"
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Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

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For the one on Golf - I went to Wikipedia -
The word golf was first mentioned in writing in 1457 on a Scottish statute on forbidden games as gouf,[1] possibly derived from the Scots word goulf (variously spelled) meaning "to strike or cuff". This word may, in turn, be derived from the Dutch word kolf, meaning "bat," or "club," and the Dutch sport of the same name. But there is an even earlier reference to the game of golf and it is believed to have happened in 1452 when King James II banned the game because it kept his subjects from their archery practice.[2] It is often claimed that the word originated as an acronym for "gentlemen only, ladies forbidden", but this is an urban legend.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golf#Etymology

Never the less, golf is a boring game and I don't play it. My brother and father on the other hand love the game. I'd rather play football (soccer) or go hiking, running or kayaking/canoeing, or gardening.
 
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  • #2
I thought "rule of thumb" came from using the distance between your knuckle and tip of your thumb as a rough approximation for an inch. But, I have no more to verify that than the claim above has.

I know I can't lick my own elbow...I tried really hard last time someone posted about that, and my shoulder was sore for a few days from the effort. But, I couldn't say for certain that there isn't someone, somewhere with an unusually long tongue, or especially flexible shoulder who can do it.

Haven't gotten any further through the list than that.

Edit:
Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand
Hmm... I only had to count up to "quatro." :biggrin:
 
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  • #3
I can lick the side of my elbow, does that count? Or do I have to lick the back? I bet that kid that can contort himself to fit in that little box can do it. :eek:
 
  • #4
I heard somewhere that rule of thumb is derived from what is given above. I can't remember where though. Could have been QI. There are indeed other claims to where the term rule of thumb came from but noobody knows for sure which it is.
 
  • #5
Here is the "rule of thumb" answer, Moonbear wins. kurdt, which of the two explanations above were you referring to, I'm guessing Moonbear?

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000512.html
 
  • #6
Well, supposedly, the most four-letterish word in English is a contraction of "Fornication Under Consent of the King".
 
  • #7
I meant QI debunked the wife beating law. Sorry should have been more clear. :smile:
 
  • #8
All the word/phrase origins, except possibly for the 'wet your whistle' one and the honeymoon origin (never heard either explanation, but find the latter more plausible) but including arildno's "fornication..." are urban legends.

The letters 'p' and 'q' are just easy to confuse, because of how they look. 'Sleep tight' just means 'sleep well'. 'Tight' was synonymous with 'well' or 'soundly' in Elizabethan English.
 
  • #9
I remember being told the horse-statue explanation by an uncle - a Colonel in the army - when I was a wee lad.
 
  • #10
Gokul43201 said:
The letters 'p' and 'q' are just easy to confuse, because of how they look.

Yes, particularly when one was typesetting letters in mirror image of what they would look like when printed.
 
  • #11
Moonbear said:
Yes, particularly when one was typesetting letters in mirror image of what they would look like when printed.
That's right! I remember now, it was about typesetting.
 
  • #12
Evo said:
That's right! I remember now, it was about typesetting.

And yet, I'm the one who failed miserably on the pointless trivia test. Apparently they just didn't make the questions pointless enough. :biggrin:
 
  • #13
I remember reading about the 'honey month' that honey is an aphrodisiac (it increases hormone levels), and the time period (month) was, that IF the woman got pregnant, the man would know for certain that it was his child.
 
  • #14
rewebster said:
I remember reading about the 'honey month' that honey is an aphrodisiac (it increases hormone levels), and the time period (month) was, that IF the woman got pregnant, the man would know for certain that it was his child.
Silly men. :-p
 
  • #15
rewebster said:
I remember reading about the 'honey month' that honey is an aphrodisiac (it increases hormone levels), and the time period (month) was, that IF the woman got pregnant, the man would know for certain that it was his child.

Obviously that should be the natural conclusion. If your partner gets preganant during the month that everyone is running around under the influence of an aphrodisiac then that guarantees the child is yours.

Is there any consensus over whether it is 'whet your whistle' or 'wet your whistle'? Not that it would make too much difference but if it were the former then the story Astronuc gave may not be true.
 
  • #17
Evo said:
Silly men. :-p
Hey, whatever works. :wink: :-p

Honeymoon sounds better than meadmoon, alemoon or beermoon.
 
  • #18
"whet" is related to the Norwegian word "kvesse", meaning "to sharpen".

The transition from "kv" in Norse to "wh" in English is very common, as in whelp/kvalp, where/kvar, wheat/kveite (or hvete), whale/kval (hval), white/kvit (hvit) and so on.

In modern Norwegian, "kv"-s have usually been substituted with "hv"-s.
 
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  • #19
arildno said:
Well, supposedly, the most four-letterish word in English is a contraction of "Fornication Under Consent of the King".
Generally acronyms are always myths - they weren't common outside the army before the 1950s.
Focken is a low German / Dutch word for hit or 'bang'
 
  • #20
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
Only french playing cards have different kings, English ones are the same.
 
  • #21
mgb_phys said:
Generally acronyms are always myths - they weren't common outside the army before the 1950s.
Focken is a low German / Dutch word for hit or 'bang'

Great!
We have that word in Norwegian, too!
But in a very special sense:

The verb "fokke" is used exclusively about how snow blowing in the wind amasses in hard, growing piles. The snow is "hitting" itself into rest.

I am not joking; this is true.
 
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  • #22
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
Boeing claim that there are 1500, 737s airborne at any time. With 150 passengers each and half the 737s being used in the US that's probably right.
 
  • #23
arildno said:
Great!
We have that word in Norwegian, too!
But in a very special sense:

The verb "fokke" is used exclusively about how snow blowing in the wind amasses in hard, growing piles. The snow is "hitting" itself into rest.

I am not joking; this is true.

I made an excursion into the dictionary, and the following interesting trail revealed itself:

The verb "fokke" concerning primarily snow originally referred to how snow particles (and other tiny objects) whizzed through the air in strong wind (the snow slamming into the ground/surroundings later on).

This meaning is directly related to the verb "fyke", having the general meaning of "moving very swiftly/whizz".

Furthermore, the banging aspect (after very swift movement) is retained in our verb "fike", usually reserved to expressions like "å fike til noen", i.e, "to slap someone".

And the German verb "ficken" has the same meaning as that four-letterish English word..
 
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  • #24
arildno said:
And the German verb "ficken" has the same meaning as that four-letterish English word..
It's interesting how slang survives 1000 yars of language separation better than polite terms!
 
  • #25
arildno said:
"whet" is related to the Norwegian word "kvesse", meaning "to sharpen".
It should be 'whet' and dates from the C14.
"Had She oones Wett Hyr Whystyll She couth Syng full clere Hyr pater noster"
From whet = prepare/sharpen as in whetstone.
 
  • #26
Gokul43201 said:
I remember being told the horse-statue explanation by an uncle - a Colonel in the army - when I was a wee lad.
Apparently the horse code only holds for statues depicting Gettysburg.

Also

[Q] From Anita Finley: “Can you tell me the origin of honeymoon?”

[A] Those of you with romantic constitutions had better look away now. There are many invented stories about the origin of this word, mostly so sickly that I cringe at repeating them. There is, for example, the suggestion that at some time in some place there was a custom for newlyweds to drink a potion containing honey every day for the first month after the nuptials. But the word only turns up in English in the middle of the sixteenth century. Let me quote you a passage from Richard Huloet’s Abecedarium Anglico Latinum of 1552 (in modernised spelling): “Honeymoon, a term proverbially applied to such as be new married, which will not fall out at the first, but the one loveth the other at the beginning exceedingly, the likelihood of their exceeding love appearing to assuage, the which time the vulgar people call the honey moon”. Putting it simply, it was that charmed period when married love was at first as sweet as honey, but which waned like the moon and in roughly the same period of time. Cynical, I know, but that’s etymology!
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-hon1.htm

And

It was wet your whistle when first recorded in Canterbury Tales ~1400 then about 300 years ago it became whet your whistle then more recently reverted back to wet again.
 
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  • #27
Art said:
Apparently the horse code only holds for statues depicting Gettysburg.
This appears to come from straightdope.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_074.html

We then got down to the guts of the investigation. I got photos of 18 equestrian statues featuring historical figures (Napoleon, George Washington, etc.) in cities ranging from Chicago to Leningrad (well, that's what it was when I looked this up--now it's St. Petersburg). I then checked to see whether the individuals depicted had been wounded or killed.

This involved some guesswork. Does getting grazed by a bullet count as a wound? If the guy was assassinated, does that mean he was killed in action? Does it count the same if the horse has both front feet off the ground versus having one front foot and one back foot? I wrestled with these questions late into the night. Giving the code the benefit of the doubt, I determined as follows:

Code corresponds with subject's fate: 8
Doesn't correspond: 8
Not enough information to tell: 2

That "debunking" is completely discountable. For one thing, the ability to succesfully cast equestrian statues with the horse balanced on its hind feet was developed only in the early 1800s. Any code that required such a display could not have predated this time. So, looking at statues of George Washington and Napoleon erected before the middle 1800s will only generate false negatives.

Moreover, given that there are 3 different configurations, the likelihood of accidentally getting the outcome right is closer to 1/3 than to 1/2. So, if Cecil found an incidence of about 1 in 2 following the code, despite many false negatives, that is stronger support for the existence of the code than for the lack of one.

Significantly, in the two equestrian statues I turned up by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the most famous sculptors of his day and someone who surely would have respected a code had there been one, I found that one piece did correspond with the code and one didn't. Granted, in this world of doubt and pain, one can be certain of nothing. But I say the code is BS.
The two statues involved are of Gen. Logan and Gen. William Sherman - both have one foreleg raised. Logan died of complications related to his injuries. Sherman's death was much more mysterious. I just read pages from Sherman's daughter's diary where she describes his last days. The doctors had no idea what was causing his illness, so the cause of his death was unknown. Given that Sherman was twice injured during battle, a prudent sculptor might err on the safe side.

And when I was told about the code, I was in India, near a statue of some Englishman - can't recall who.
 
  • #28
Astronuc said:
Forwarded from a family member. The originator claims not to have verified any of this.

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand

I hate to do this but I can't stop myself. Zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, a
 
  • #29
Gokul43201 said:
This appears to come from straightdope.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_074.html



That "debunking" is completely discountable.
Seems Snopes doesn't believe that there is any code either, that it's more coinicidence than anything else. I always thought it was true, but perhaps not.

http://www.snopes.com/military/statue.asp

And more claiming urban legend for the horse legs.

http://ask.yahoo.com/20010112.html
 
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  • #30
Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day

This one is true, or at least once was. Mother's Day is second and Valentine's Day is third. Love means never being able to refuse the charges? With unlimited long distance and cell phones, I'm not sure it's true anymore.

The busiest day for any type of long distance call is the Monday after Thanksgiving. People calling work to report they're stranded en route at an airport, perhaps?

The busiest holiday for any type of long distance call is Mother's Day.

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/fathersday/collect.asp
 
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  • #31
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
What does that mean for bald people?

Actually, this one is probably true when analyzing groups. Nutrition during childhood will affect development, including brain and neurological development. The statement is about as meaningful as saying people with lead or cadmium in their hair are less intelligent. True, but it's the toxic chemicals during childhood that reduced brain capability, not an indication that less intelligent people produce more lead and cadmium.
 
  • #32
Gokul - Re horses - I was told it was only legend with the possible exception of Gettysburg by a curator whilst in a museum in Washington.

The problem with many statues of Napoleon and the legend is that they do depict him on a horse with both forelegs raised whereas he did not die in battle.

Based on the link Evo supplied it seems only 1/3 of sculptors know of this code :biggrin:
 
  • #33
Some other commonly believed modern myths gleaned from the Web,

No two snow flakes are the same shape.

Warm air rises, cool air is sucked into replace it.

Heat is caused by molecules moving.

Earth rotates exactly once in 24 hours

Venus is the only planet with a day longer than its year

Without the Bernoulli effect, airplanes couldn’t fly

Columbus proved that the Earth is round

Butterflies emerge from a cocoon

The taste map of the tongue

The sun is the main source of heat on Earth

The reason clouds form when air cools is because cold air cannot hold as much water vapor as warm air.

The water in a sink rotates one way as it drains in the northern hemisphere and the other way in the southern hemisphere due to the Coriolis Effect, caused by the rotation of the Earth.
 
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  • #34
Art said:
Gokul - Re horses - I was told it was only legend with the possible exception of Gettysburg by a curator whilst in a museum in Washington.

The problem with many statues of Napoleon and the legend is that they do depict him on a horse with both forelegs raised whereas he did not die in battle.

Based on the link Evo supplied it seems only 1/3 of sculptors know of this code :biggrin:
I'm not denying that it's very likely just bogus - the veracity of most stories varies inversely with their interestingness - but the "debunking" performed at the first site was terrible. At least snopes got the math right.

Also, I came across this in the course of my wanderings:

For equestrian monuments: If the horse has its four legs on the ground it means that the rider was not killed in action. In this case the rider must have his head covered and must not be holding his weapons. When the rider was wounded in a battle, the horse is depicted with one of its fore legs rose. The rider should hold his weapons in combat ready position and must have his head covered. A horse standing on its hind legs means that the rider was killed in combat. In this case the rider's head must be uncovered and the figure must be represented as if engaged in action.

http://www.periferia.org/publications/statuary.html
 
  • #35
BobG said:
What does that mean for bald people?

I don't know, but currently I'm acquiring more silver and platinum in my hair. :biggrin:
 
<h2>1. Is trivia always based on facts?</h2><p>No, trivia can also include false statements or myths that are commonly believed to be true. The key is to determine whether a statement is true or false, regardless of its factual accuracy.</p><h2>2. How can I improve my performance in trivia games?</h2><p>One way to improve in trivia games is to expand your general knowledge by reading books, watching documentaries, and staying updated on current events. It also helps to practice with trivia quizzes and games to sharpen your skills.</p><h2>3. Can I trust all sources of trivia information?</h2><p>No, it is important to fact-check and verify information from different sources before using it as trivia. Some sources may have biased or inaccurate information, so it is best to cross-check and use reliable sources.</p><h2>4. Is there a limit to the topics covered in trivia?</h2><p>No, trivia can cover a wide range of topics including history, science, pop culture, sports, and more. It all depends on the interests and knowledge of the person creating the trivia questions.</p><h2>5. Is there any benefit to playing trivia games?</h2><p>Yes, playing trivia games can improve memory, cognitive skills, and general knowledge. It can also be a fun and entertaining way to learn new things and challenge yourself.</p>

Related to Is This Collection of Historical Trivia Fact or Fiction?

1. Is trivia always based on facts?

No, trivia can also include false statements or myths that are commonly believed to be true. The key is to determine whether a statement is true or false, regardless of its factual accuracy.

2. How can I improve my performance in trivia games?

One way to improve in trivia games is to expand your general knowledge by reading books, watching documentaries, and staying updated on current events. It also helps to practice with trivia quizzes and games to sharpen your skills.

3. Can I trust all sources of trivia information?

No, it is important to fact-check and verify information from different sources before using it as trivia. Some sources may have biased or inaccurate information, so it is best to cross-check and use reliable sources.

4. Is there a limit to the topics covered in trivia?

No, trivia can cover a wide range of topics including history, science, pop culture, sports, and more. It all depends on the interests and knowledge of the person creating the trivia questions.

5. Is there any benefit to playing trivia games?

Yes, playing trivia games can improve memory, cognitive skills, and general knowledge. It can also be a fun and entertaining way to learn new things and challenge yourself.

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