Friday, April 25

 

Wednesday, August 28

The Trivial Eye: State Capitols

by Jason Toon

Most state capitol buildings look like they were built with the same Neoclassical LEGO set as the U.S. Capitol. A white dome, some white columns, a flag on top, maybe some local flora on the lawn... ho-hum. But a select few take their own idiosyncratic path, from jazzing up the dome to departing from the whole pseudo-Acropolis trip altogether. Can you tell where these eight unusual state capitol buildings stand?

read more…

 

Friday, August 17

 

Tuesday, August 14

The Debunker: Does Water Really Drain Differently Below The Equator?

by Ken Jennings

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, August is, just like the human body, at least 60 percent made of water: vacations to the beach, weekend trips to the lake or pool, big pitchers full of refreshing ice water. August is also National Water Quality Month, as you probably know, and it’s when we all have our big get-togethers to celebrate World Water Week (August 26-31!) and Sea Serpent Day (August 7). It may be hot and dry where you are right now, but at least Ken Jennings can make it rain knowledge with his August Debunker column, deflating everything you think you know about H2O.

Water Myth #2: Bathroom Fixtures Drain the Opposite Way in the Southern Hemisphere.

Fans of TV’s The Simpsons may recall the 1995 episode in which ten-year-old Bart creates an international incident by calling Australia to confirm the commonly held belief that the rotation of the Earth makes toilets flush clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere but counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. (Fleeing corporal punishment from the Australian parliament, Bart later seeks refuge in the American embassy there, where he finds that plumbers have installed devices in the toilets to make them “swirl the correct American way...”)

read more…

 

Wednesday, May 02

The Trivial Eye: Transit Maps

by Jason Toon

When you're riding the subway in a strange town, you just need to know which line will take you to which station. Further detail is just a distraction. So metro route maps around the world have evolved into clear, simple diagrams, where the messy crags and bulges of geography are reduced to rational angles and clean lines. But their heritage shows in their station names, their design sense, their alphabets. Can you see the city behind the diagram?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

read more…

 

Wednesday, March 28

The Trivial Eye: Naked Cities 2

by Jason Toon

The first time I did a Naked Cities quiz, the most common complaint was that the unmarked satellite images of world cities weren't focused tightly enough on the cities themselves. So this time, I've zoomed way in on eight capital cities around the globe. Each one contains a famed monument, plaza, cathedral, or palace, or the capital building itself - and most of these images feature more than one of those landmarks. Will you fare better with this ALL CAPS edition than you did last time?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

read more…

 

Wednesday, December 28

The Trivial Eye: Naked Cities

by Jason Toon

Behold eight cities from around the world, shamelessly stripped of their map markings to stand naked before you. The satellite images below are oriented the usual way, with north at the top. But I varied the scale as necessary to include enough of each city's distinctive geography. Name them all and claim the title of Master Urban Cartophile. (But you'll have to pay tou have your business cards reprinted yourself.)

Need some hints? Would it help if I told you what continent each city is located on?

Answers can be found by clicking here. Please post your answers, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

read more…