2015, a trivial retrospective

A year in trivia—the absurd, whimsical, amusing, and beguiling:

ibn-Al Nafis described the circulation of blood through the heart hundreds of years before Western science, but his work was lost to history until the early 1900s. He also tried to write a 300-volume medical encyclopedia. More on hunger, starvation, bleeding, the handless, and the handed in opposites trivia roundup.

Anthony the Abbot is the patron saint of swineherds, motorists, basket-makers, and gravediggers. More saint-related trivia in the venerated trivia roundup.

Over the course of 22 years, Robert Peary and crew conducted five separate expeditions to the north pole. The last might have been a success. More in the polar trivia roundup.

There was once a trivial pursuit pringles where trivia questions were printed right on the chip. More in the ingles trivia roundup.

Celebutante and amazing hat-haver Aimee Crocker once entered a party dressed as a milkmaid riding on an elephant. More in the peculiar life of aimee crocker.

During the Rebecca riots, Welsh farmers dressed in women’s clothing then attacked and destroyed toll gates throughout the country. More in riotous trivia roundup.

The descendants of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty make up the majority of the population of remote Pitcairn Island. More on remote islands and true stories in the island trivia roundup.

The Egyptians, Sumerians, Mesopotamians, and Celts all had beer goddesses. More on beer and tv stars in the april trivia roundup.

Most of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not factoids were culled by Norbert Pearlroth, who held that estimable job for nearly five decades, but never received any royalties from book sales. More in the credulous trivia roundup.

Danish polymath Ole Worm earned fame for proving that birds of paradise have regular bird feet. More about runes, rocks, volcanos, and scenic byways in the rocky trivia roundup.

YKK is a Japanese zipper concern that controls roughly half the world’s market, and was recently fined more than 150 million Euros due to a price-fixing scheme. More about zippers, cheese, and chicken mines in the leftovers trivia roundup.

US Grant’s 1868 campaign slogan was “Vote as you Shot!” More in the groupish trivia roundup.

When Paul du Chaillu brought the first gorilla specimens to England in the mid-19th century, he castrated the stuffed animals, to avoid offending Victorian morality. More in The Victorian Search for Gorillas, Evolution, and Humanness.

The union suit was patented in 1868, and was initially called the “emancipation union under flannel.” More in the haberdashed trivia roundup.

For most of the 18th century, the French so feared potatoes as Protestant vegetables and leprosy vectors that they were outlawed, until Antoine-Auguste Parmentier rehabilitated that tuber. More about potatoes and tunnels in the tubular trivia roundup.

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi, cast in 1484, weighs more than double the 2nd largest bell in history. That is, if it ever existed. More in the belled trivia roundup.

Fop, dandy, macaroni, and dude, despite their similarities, all have distinct meanings. More at the dandy trivia roundup.

There is a national hoagie day, national eat a hoagie day, and national sandwich day. More in the salad days trivia roundup.

While shipwrecked and starving to death, Georg Steller and crewmates were beset by Arctic foxes, who constantly stole their food. More in the star-crossed trivia roundup.

Great lakes pirate Dan Seavey once absconded with a boat by plying the crew with alcohol, then tossing their drunk selves overboard. More in the pirated trivia roundup.

After its introduction, European and American doctors were often reluctant to administer anesthesia, in part because they felt “heroic manly fortitude” rendered it unnecessary. More in a history of anesthesia.

For centuries, folk wisdom has held that rain often follows great battles, leading the US government to fund tests of whether firing many cannons into the air could induce a downpour, in the late 1800s. More in rainmaking, or a history of pluviculture.

The 1936 John Ford film The Prisoner of Shark Island is about a real island. More in island trivia roundup, volume 2.

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