National Trivia Day
Here’s an interesting piece of trivia — January 4 is National Trivia Day! There are a number of ways to celebrate:
- Call someone and relay a useless piece of information. I plan to call my friends and tell them, “Did you know that in right triangle ABC with points D, E, and F lying on lines BC, CA, and AB, respectively, that AD, BE and CF are concurrent if and only if AF/FB × BD/DC × CE/EA = 1? Have a great day.” [click]
- Play Trivial Pursuit, Wits & Wagers, or some other trivia board game.
- Stand on the corner of a busy street and shout trivial math facts like a town crier. I recommend correcting misconceptions: “Hear ye, hear ye! Be it known that Henry the Eighth did not invent fractions; that the Pythagorean theorem was not discovered by Pythagoras; that, for the milionth time, (a + b)2 ≠ a2 + b2; and, that a junk yard is not 3 feet of trash.”
- Find a time machine and use it to locate the people who thought to put slotted holes in pancake flippers and ask them what the @#$% they were thinking. Then search for the designers of bell-bottomed pants, plastic wrap that sticks to nothing but itself, and doors for which it is not intuitively obvious whether you should push or pull.
- Take the math purity test.
- Take a roll of pennies and several $20 bills with you to the local grocery store. Put them in your left pocket. Then ask every adult patron in the store, “What do you call the line that separates the numerator and denominator of a fraction?” Each time someone answers, “Fraction bar,” which is correct yet unsophisticated, move a penny from your left pocket to your right pocket. Each time someone says, “I don’t know,” move a penny from your right pocket back to your left pocket. Each time someone answers, “Vinculum,” which is the most correct answer, move a $20 bill to your right pocket. And if someone responds with the question, “What’s a fraction?” leave the store immediately, concede that public education is in need of all the help you can offer, and give the money from both pockets to a local school. After surveying every patron in the store, go buy yourself a treat with the money remaining in your right pocket. (At best, I suspect you’ll have enough for a lollipop or perhaps a piece of chewing gum.)