Thursday, September 6, 2018


I recently joined a competitive, invite-only online trivia game called LearnedLeague.* For every weekday in the month-long season, you play against one other person in your division, and you each answer 6 questions. However, guessing the right answers doesn't always mean you win. You can see your opponent's stats, and you use those to determine which defensive points you're going to assign. For example, if you see that your opponent has never missed an art history question, and you have an art history question that day, you'd probably assign 0 points to that question so they gain nothing by answering it. These questions are incredibly difficult--on a good day I get three correct answers. One day I got five! And I still lost that day--though I was playing the highest-ranked person in my division.

But I'm not here to discuss the logistics of the game. I'm here to discuss science, and how I apparently don't know anything about it. I have missed every single science-related question since the competition began. Every. Single. One.

This is frustrating, because I thought I knew some stuff about science? Like photosynthesis! Photosynthesis is the thing where plants turn sunlight into food. Via...magic, I guess. Science is magic, right? I know that Pluto's not a planet anymore. That is definitely science. We are all made of cells and cells are very tiny. White light is actually made of many colors. Water is made of hydrogen and oxygen.

I'm no expert, obviously. But I do read a decent amount of pop science articles online, and I had to study biology and chemistry in high school like everyone else--I even took honors bio! I think the problem is that it goes in one ear and out the other. My poor friend Austin has explained the theory of relativity to me at least twice, and I just...can't remember what it means. Something about curved space-time, maybe?

The issue is not that I don't use science in my daily life. That's true, but there are loads of things I don't use in my daily life that I remember in great detail. Like the wives of King Henry VIII:

  • Catherine of Aragon (divorced)
  • Anne Boleyn (beheaded)
  • Jane Seymour (died in childbirth)
  • Anne of Cleves (divorced)
  • Catherine Howard (beheaded)
  • Catherine Parr (outlived Henry)
It's strange that I can recall the important women of Tudor England, but not the basic building blocks of life itself. 

I think I'm going to start listening to some science podcasts during my commute--maybe it will stick that way. Please comment with your favorite science trivia, and I'll try to memorize it. And wish me luck for LearnedLeague--I will most certainly need it. 

*Sorry, trivia fans--because I'm in my rookie season, I have no invites available at this time! Let me know if you're interested, though, so I can reach out later.

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