January 4 – Trivia Day


Happy trivia day! Like most people, I love hearing bizarre facts about life, the universe and everything. Although admittedly with the existence of the Internet and consequently the power to share whatever you want with whomever you want tends to make me skeptical over the reliability of some of the more outlandish trivia offered to me. Below is some trivia I’ve collected that I believe trustworthy in origin – either from respectable, published books, or topics I’ve researched myself.

  1. Pearls will dissolve in vinegar
  1. The total number of spots that appear on the Dalmatians in the Disney film 101 Dalmatians,  is 6 469 952.
  1. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words
  1. The goldfish is the only animal thought to be able to see in both ultraviolet and infrared light frequencies
  1. Due to it’s ability to complete transform it’s cells from adult stage back to infant stage, the Turritopsis nutricula jellyfish has the potential to live forever.
  1. In 2007, approximately 0.54% of all people in Australia had the surname “Smith”, or about 1 in every 200 people.
  1. The top ten most venomous snakes in the world all live in Australia.
  1. The density of an average human body is about 62 pounds per cubic foot, which is less than quicksand’s 125 pounds per cubic foot. Your body is less dense then quicksand, so if you relax you’ll eventually float to the top, like in water.
  1. It costs more money to make a penny than a penny is worth.

10. The German word “Backpfeifengesicht” is a compound word that literally translates as “A face badly in need of a fist”.

Trivia is certainly popular in our society – it’s an icebreaker, a silence filler and a lot of fun. But where did the word trivia come from? While the origins are sketchy, some believe it to come from the pieces of news exchanged by tradesmen, merchants and travelers.

An alternative path leads back to the Latin “trivium” for the first three liberal arts studies, or from when Medieval places of higher education taught grammar, rhetoric and logic in a set called “trivium” as basic education.

It can also mean “three roads”, or in a  colloquial sense, “crossroads”. “Trivialis”, a word derived from “trivium” implied that something “of the crossroads” was ordinary or found anywhere. This is likely to have influence our modern day meaning of “trivial” as meaning something of little importance.

However useless trivia is, it doesn’t change how random insights into the peculiarities of our world draw our attention like moths to a light. Happy trivia day – go spread some trivia with others and see what they trade you in return. 🙂

Jeremy Perkins,  2008, “Origins of Trivia Facts and Stats”,


Unknown, 2006, “What is the origin of the word ‘trivia’?”


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