Welcome, from sunny Australia!

The Big Trivia Page

I've collected some odds & ends in my travels through the Internet, magazines, and the world in general,  and so I thought that I'd make a page with some of the lesser known facts on it. There are plenty of trivia pages on the Net, but they usually contain huge amounts of trivia on the USA and little on the rest on the world, and hence to be different you'll find very little on the US here.
If you know of any use(less!)ful others, or of any errors, please mail me with them.

From the start of July 1999 onwards, all corrected entries will have a '*' in front of them. They may be anywhere in the page, so have a quick flick through it to find any.

This first page is a collection of some of the better trivia, in my humble opinion.
New Trivia is where you'll find my latest additions
Aviation Trivia contains a number of trivial and amazing facts about aviation.
Australian Trivia for the best country on earth, Australia. (New Zealand trivia, too)
Motorsport Trivia not very long right now, but I'm working on it.
And the remainder of the trivia archives are here -> <1> <2> <3> <4> <5> <6>

** Disclaimer - As far as I know, all the writings on these trivia pages are true. But don't rely on them for the basis of a university degree, and so on.

I, Bill Sherwood, invented the Chicken Pizza in late 1981. I'm aware that pizza scientists, pizza technicians, and pizza philosophers all over the world were working on such things, but as far as I'm aware I was the first. ;)

Everyone I know has more than the average number of arms and legs.

When you have a video player in 'pause' the head still spins on the tape, causing wear. In fact, for every minute you have the tape paused it's about the same as playing it about 1,000 times.

If there was such as thing as the 'Invisible Man', he would be blind - His retina would not pick up any light.

When driving around Australia, make sure that you circum-navigate the continent anti-clockwise, as it's about 900 metres shorter going this way than clockwise.

The first person(s) to actually sustain controlled, powered flight were not one of the Wright brothers; It was Richard Pearse of New Zealand a year and a half before in a more advanced flying machine of his own design & construction. On 31-3-1902 he flew about 350 yards, and on 11-5-1903 flew over 1,000 yards, out of ground effect & including several turns.

Air travel is very safe - If you took one trip per day on a major airline, statistically you would have to fly for 13,000 years to suffer a fatal crash.

Nikola Tesla, of Romania, invented radio, not Marconi. (Marconi made his discovery independently, a few years later) Tesla also invented alternating current (AC) power that we all use today. He also invented the AC electric motors to run from AC power. Also to his credit are -
- Radar
- Neon lighting
- Fluorescent lighting
- The electrical 'tube'
He also holds the record for the longest man-made lightening bolts, at 130' in length.

The new millennium actually started in the year 2001, not 2000. This is because we started counting from the year one, not the year zero - So most people have incorrectly celebrated the arrival of the new millennium a year early. Also, due to errors in the Gregorian calendar system, the year 2000/2001 was actually in about 1996 ...

If you are driving a car in New Zealand, you are roughly twice as likely to die from a car accident than you are in Australia. In the USA, you are roughly 1.4 times as likely than you are in Australia.

Wormholes are theoretical 'constructs' which may connect several Black Holes, possibly allowing faster-than-light travel. This was envisioned as early as late in the 19th century, by a Oxford mathematician called Charles Dodgson. He decided at the time that the more adult population may well frown on such notions, so he wrote it for children, in form of a story. He used the name "Lewis Carrol", and the story is well known as "Through the Looking Glass." It tells the story of how Alice steps through a looking glass (the wormhole) into another world, (parallel dimension) where strange things happen.

The term "Viet Cong" was an artificial one invented by the CIA, because they thought that the correct name, "Viet Minh" didn't sound 'communist' enough.

The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

Only 55% of all Americans know that the sun is a star.

"Evian" spelled backwards is naive.

The average twenty-year-old 747 has been pushed backwards from the 'gate' approximately 2,300km! Note that this would be roughly the same for most international airliners, with the higher-cycle domestic airliners being up to four to six times more than that.

The average adult makes about 1.5 litres of saliva per day. A cow makes about 8 litres. 

In 1966, the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) began a very successful program to eradicate the smallpox virus. It was so successful, that by 8-5-1980, they declared that smallpox was eradicated. However, two small vials of smallpox remain - One in room 318B in the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA, and the other in the Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk, Russia. In June 1999, they will be simultaneously heated to 121°C to eradicate smallpox from the face of the Earth.
* As I type this amendment, it is late August 1999, thus in theory the smallpox virus has been eradicated from the earth. I have read from several different sources that the Russians have secretly created a stockpile of 20 tonnes of the smallpox virus! It is believed to be intended for use in warfare.

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Page & contents where applicable © Bill Sherwood