January 28, 2015 in Thoughts
For the first few years of this site’s existence its modus operandi was to be a repository (for me, mostly) of questions I had gotten wrong at quizzes. If I went to the bother of writing them down, not only would it give me content for a website but it should also reinforce the correct answers, hammering them into my brain for future use.
Almost all the time, it worked. Then again, that could be down to the way my brain works anyway.
However, within this grouping (let’s call them “John’s wrong answers”) there are several repeat offenders. Of course, it’s not the question/answer that’s commiting the offence, it’s me, but let’s not be too pedantic.
Why is it that certain facts will not stick? I presume everyone has some of these and they will vary from brain to brain but here are a few of mine*:
- Alfred Wegener, the man who proposed the theory of continental drift in 1912. This man should be as prominent as Charles Darwin but, invariably, I end up searching around with “he’s got a German name, I think” being the best thing I can come up with.
- Talc is is the softest known mineral and listed as 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. This actually came up on the Hot 100 recently. Could I remember it? No, I could not.
- The headquarters of OPEC is situated in Vienna. Whilst I know it’s (rather counterintuitively) in Europe, I always seem to plump for Paris or any one of several Swiss cities.
- Sucre, the real capital of Bolivia (as opposed to La Paz, the seat of government).
- Dexter and sinister. I can always remember sinister means left. Never the ‘right’ answer though…
- Catherine Howard, then Catherine Parr. Not the other way round.
- The various subgroupings within the periodic table. One of these days…
- Anything to do with horseracing. That probably isn’t going to change.
- Finally, Martin Cooper, the inventor of the mobile phone and someone I’ve actually met! Oh dear.
However, all is not lost. I know of one or two cases where I have turned it around. This one is quite stupid but for years, whenever I was asked about what animal is referred to by the word ovine, I would confidently put down pig. However, ovine refers to sheep. I eventually kicked this habit but reminding myself that the word porcine exists and that definitely (consider pork, Porky Pig etc.) refers to pigs. Once I remember that, I know that ovine mustn’t refer to pigs and, my haste to answer paused, I then arrive at sheep. Hurray! One point for me.
Feel free to let me know if you have any such ‘blind spots’.
* Obviously, the hope is that writing this article will cure me.