Public: Education: Course
Factoids 101   (+11, -1)  [vote for, against]
Formal education in trivia

I was lucky enough to end up on one of those modular mix-n-match degree courses. I could do a bit of anthropology, some political history, some philosophy and still somehow end up with a degree in "Economics". I still value the broadness of the course, if not its rigour - I learnt a lot of stuff which I now enjoy knowing, useless though it may be.

I would also have taken a trivia module, had one been available. Ideally this course would have no focus whatsoever except to fill your head with interesting facts, presented in total isolation from their context. It would be fun to attend, make you everyone's friend on pub quiz night and make you everyone's enemy on Trivial Pursuit evenings.

It is debatable whether you could make an entire three year degree course out of trivia, but then again there are degrees in "Surfing and Beach Management", "Astrobiology" and "Wine Studies" so you probably could (and therefore should).

Did you know that apples are actually part of the rose family?
-- wagster, Apr 17 2008

Puni-versity Puny-versity
include it here as a post-doctorate. [xenzag, Apr 17 2008]

Pretty much baked in the old General Studies 'A' level.
I got an 'A' and won a school prize for the highest mark in the county*, despite only ever going to two lectures in two years.

*Did you know that in the year 1977 Lancashire had the lowest average mark in General Studies in England? Not many people know that.

Oh, and the stuff about pub quizzes and Trivial Pursuit? Perfectly true.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 17 2008

What's the only station name on the London underground to contain no letters from the word "mackerel"?
-- hippo, Apr 17 2008

Who keeps coins on their feet?
-- wagster, Apr 17 2008

[hippo] Tooting? (Bec)
-- zen_tom, Apr 17 2008

It's Kate Moss's stop.
-- wagster, Apr 17 2008

Yup. And for bonus points, how many 4-letter station names are there on the London underground?
-- hippo, Apr 17 2008

One. Bank.

I don't think wagster course should just be an endless stream of trivia. I think there should be a bit more meat to it. Train yourself to remember insignificant facts, learn the best sources for information. Learn the most likely topics to come up in pub quizzes. Common misconceptions that, when mentioned in conversation, can give you an opportunity to show off your big brain etc. All the tools you need to become an irritating know-it-all.

Did you know that the annual 'Toad in the Hole' World Championship is staged in Lewes, England each April?
-- DrBob, Apr 17 2008

Bank ... and Oval.
-- hippo, Apr 17 2008

//Did you know that you can't catch kippers in the English Channel east of Dover if you're wearing blue underwear?//
Nor for that matter, at any point on Earth, irrespective of the hue of your undercrackers.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 17 2008

//Bank ... and Oval.//

Oh bum!

//Nor for that matter, at any point on Earth//

Not true. I once caught a kipper when it fell off my breakfasting plate.
-- DrBob, Apr 17 2008

The main problem with running a three year degree in trivia is that our brains learn knowledge structures much better than discrete bits of information, and trivia is unstructured by definition. You'd at the very least have to break it down into Trivial Pursuit type categories for the facts learning, and then add a few [DrBob] style courses to waste the middle year with. Maybe you could spend a placement year doing quizzes and trying to get on 'Millionaire'.
-- wagster, Apr 17 2008

St. John's Wood.

[AWOL], I thought I was the only person who took General Studies A-level. (I got an E.)

The longest pub name in England used to be "The Thirteenth Mounted Cheshire Rifleman Inn" until the brewery un-mounted him. The longest village name is "Sutton under White Stone Cliff".

(-) for the idea, I'm afraid; trivia shouldn't be learned in class, it should be learned in the pub. (I assume you're not intending that the class be held in the pub.)
-- angel, Apr 17 2008

//trivia shouldn't be learned in class, it should be learned in the pub// Yup, that's how I got the A level.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 17 2008

California’s Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle in 1905 when he was 11-years-old.

China’s Beijing Duck Restaurant can seat 9,000 people at one time.

btw-I think it's a great idea and here's a croissant towards my degree. +
-- xandram, Apr 17 2008

Memory theatre could be involved, and perhaps a way of identifying probable urban legends, a classification system for trivia and an analysis of the degree of trivia in terms of psychological appeal. Maybe also something about memes.
-- nineteenthly, Apr 17 2008

3. Acne
-- Ling, Apr 17 2008

-- robilode, Apr 17 2008

No, that has both an 'r' and an 'l'. And more than four letters.
-- wagster, Apr 17 2008

How many hairs are there? (+)
-- xenzag, Apr 17 2008

[Ian T] //But the word 'trivia' actually only dates back to about the 1920s.//

Are you sure? I thought the trivium and quadrivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic) and (arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy) respectively, were the liberal arts and came from the middle ages.
-- csea, Apr 17 2008

I can think of two musical instruments that can be played without touching them.
One is easy and the other makes you a megalomaniac.
-- gnomethang, Apr 17 2008

"Sutton under White Stone Cliff"

Lucky White Stone Cliff.
-- baconbrain, Apr 17 2008

Aeolian Harp? Theremin?
-- hippo, Apr 18 2008

Ah! - Three then, the other was the light switched synth played by Jean-Michel Jarre in Houston
-- gnomethang, Apr 18 2008

Four - pan-pipes.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 18 2008

I bet a really skillful archer could play a cello by firing bow-arrows (if that's not a contradiction in terms) across the strings.
-- lostdog, Apr 18 2008

//Four - pan-pipes.//
You hold pan-pipes don't you?
-- gnomethang, Apr 18 2008

You don't have to. You could wedge them into a stand or something. (Same deal for a Jug, right?)
I can play the Piano without touching it. But I've only learned one piece so far - John Cage's 4'3".
-- jutta, Apr 18 2008

5. Does your voice count?
-- RayfordSteele, Apr 18 2008

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