Sporcle Top 5: Playground Features You’re Too Old For

Sometimes at Sporcle HQ we get the chance to talk a little nonsense, and lo and behold, a Sporcle Top 5 is born. Keep checking back on the Sporcle Blog to see what we think of next.

Many things suck about growing up: you don’t get as many Christmas presents, the toys today are way cooler than when you were a kid, and you can’t eat loads of candy without getting sick.  But one of the worst things is that you can’t enjoy the playground anymore like you used to. We’ve collected the 5 most pressing reasons below.

1) Slides

The last time you tried to go down the slide it took a full five minutes. It was like a can of cranberry jelly slinking into a pile of wood chips.

2) Monkey Bars

While the novelty of being able to stand perfectly straight and still touch the monkey bars was awesome at first, most of the challenge now is not spraining your shoulder while reaching above your head.

3)  Merry-Go-Rounds

If you wanted to get the spins and feel nauseous, you could have just stayed at the local bar.

4) Plastic Playgrounds

Plastic crap everywhere.  Gone are the days of wooden splinters and metal burns. Congratulations: you’re old.

5) Swings

Just because you have a hairy back, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever get a push. Wait, yes it does.

If you have other playground features you can no longer enjoy because you’re too old, be sure to add them in the comments!

 

Sporcle Top 5: Reasons To Be Glad Samuel L. Jackson Is Not Your Dad

After our 100th viewing of the cinematic classic “Snakes on a Plane” a few days ago, we came to a startling revelation: It would really suck if legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson was your dad. While we certainly think  he is one seriously cool dude, we decided to come up with what we think would be the biggest downsides to having such a bad-ass dad.

1) Having a pet snake would be a no-go.

 

 

 

 

 

2) You would probably be forced to watch all of the Star Wars Prequels.

 

 

 

 

 

3) You might get shot for saying “What?” one too many times.

 

 

 

 

 

4) Your teachers just haven’t been the same since the PTA meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

5) Let’s put it this way, your little sister’s first word isn’t going to be “dada”.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have other reasons to be glad Samuel L. Jackson is not your dad, be sure to add them in the comment section!

Friday the 13th on Sporcle

If you’re reading this blog post and you’ve been on edge today, you might be one of the many people with paraskevidekatriaphobia, or rather, an unnatural fear or phobia of Friday the 13th.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Friday the 13th is a day that captivates many imaginations and locks into our superstitious fears, no matter who you are or where you are in the world. While its origins remain unclear, and a quick Google search will pull up millions of theories, one thing is sure: more people are superstitious towards this day than any other. It might have something to do with the unfortunate combination of the unlucky number 13 and the unlucky day of Friday (just a hunch),or the fact that we tend to pay more attention to misfortune on this day more than any other. Spilled coffee on Tuesday the 10th is just inconvenient, but spilled coffee on Friday the 13th carries the inevitable foreshadowing of doom and misfortune.

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When You Wish Upon a Star (Make sure it’s not being eaten.)

This article has made Sheldon very nervous.

No matter what you were doing March 28th, your day couldn’t have been as bad as a star in a distant galaxy that was recently eaten (EATEN!?) by a black hole.  I mean think about it this way, you’re just some awesome star, radiantly shining in the galaxy, minding your own business, and then you aren’t.

On that day Nasa’s Swift satellite captured footage of a gamma-ray blast (dubbed Sw 1644+57), that was brighter and has lasted longer than any other similar flashes ever seen by scientists. How bright? Oh, about the equal to a hundred billion of our own suns. I don’t think anyone makes sunglasses that can match that yet.  They believe the burst of light occurred the moment when the black hole began to wrap its tendrils around the star, about the size of our sun, slowly sucking it in another galaxy 3.8 billion light years away. While the star is slowly being ripped apart, energy is continuously being released. The show is still going on two and a half months later because, apparently, this black hole likes to play with its food.

The actual paper was published in Science , although if you’re like me and don’t understand astronomical terms very well – National Geographic has a good article summarizing it.

Scientists claim that events like this only occur every now and then, so we’re pretty much safe from this kind of phenomenon (Though 2012 is coming up…). If you’re like us, this whole article has probably left you intrigued (and a little hungry), so check out some related Sporcle quizzes below:

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Summer Movie Madness

lantern

Sorry Ryan, that magic ring won't help you unlock a Sporcle Safe Cracker

While you’re sitting inside, recovering from that 2nd degree sunburn because you *yet* again forgot to put on sunblock, you have a few options about how to spend your summer. You could stay at home and play Sporcle all day OR you catch some of the big hits coming out this summer and then go back to playing Sporcle. Not sure what is coming out? You’re the type of person that watches all their television programs on Netflix , immune from previews, aren’t you? I know how you feel.  When I realized the other day that a new X-Men movie had sneaked into theaters right under my very nose, I knew I had to take action. I mean, I can’t play Sporcle all summer. At some point I need to get out and, you know, do stuff…like go see a movie. Here is a not-nearly-complete list of some of the biggest, most anticipated movies of the summer, compiled by yours truly:

X-Men: First Class kicked off the summer movie madness on June 3rd. Again, how did I not know about this movie until the very last minute? I must live under a rock. The latest installment in the saga stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon and is directed by Matthew Vaughn. Pre-Wolverine and Storm, it tells the story of the origin of the X-men. Professor Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Fassbender) are the best of buds until they are forced to use their powers to save the earth, and in the process have a falling out about how to do that.

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O Oprah

Oh Oprah! I can’t believe that the end is almost here. On May 25th, the “Oprah Winfrey Show” will air it’s finale and the countdown is on. After 25 years we will be saying goodbye to the Queen of the Talk Show. Along with her beau Stedman Graham and her BFF Gail King, power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are scheduled to appear. So far though, that’s about all that has been revealed. I’m sure there will be a montage of some sort, although I think it would be awesome if Tom Cruise could come back and jump on the couch one more time, or perhaps Nelson Mandela could make another appearance?
Also – I’m curious if she plans on giving away any more gifts to her audience members. Although it’s getting harder and harder for her to top her past philanthropic acts  – how do you top cars or houses? …but a few hundred islands somewhere and pass them out? Vacations to space? (and if so, is anyone willing to sell me their ticket?)

There is no denying that she is real life 20th Century mover and shaker. Born into poverty in rural Mississippi and rising to become the richest African American in the 20th Century, she really represents the American dream. Arguably the world’s most powerful woman, she has been featured on TIME‘s “Most Influential People”  list eight times. As an actress, she’s moved us in various roles, like that of Sofia in Stephen Spielberg‘s “A Color Purple”. Her book club has millions of followers and one mention by her and any book hits the NY Times  Best Seller’s list. She revolutionized the Talk Show industry in the mid-90′s with her “Oprahfication”, starting the trend of public confession as a form of therapy. At one point her show was receiving 14 million daily views. Not only a woman with a razor-sharp mind who brings attention to social dilemmas, she is also highly compassionate and generous. Over the past 25 years she has put her heart into loving and healing the world, encouraging everyday people  to make their voices heard and believe in the power of positive thought, love and dreams.

So what’s next? Well, there is always her magazine “O” and now her own television network OWN, in between which she is still busy running her many philanthropic organizations like Oprah’s Angel Network, or her Academies for girls in South Africa. I have no doubt that although her show is coming off the air, it is by no means the end of Oprah. Maybe Professor Farnsworth of Futurama is on to something when he says “If only he had joined a mainstream religion like Oprah-ism or Voodoo.”…. ? Who knows.

Here Comes the Bride

Wannabe Princesses, this is your last hope.

April 29th is a big day for United Kingdom. That’s the day Prince William of Wales is set to marry the lovely Kate Middleton, his long-time college sweetheart. The couple, who have been together for eight years, became engaged this past November in Kenya. England has been in an excited uproar in preparation of the big day, which is proving to be one of the most exciting events to take place since the marriage of Prince Charles to Princess Diana 30 years ago. In fact – according to Reuters – it’s getting 90,000 mentions a day on the Internet (We’re jumping right on that bandwagon).

 

In this time of war, earthquakes, poverty and disease – it’s nice to have something positive to look forward to, and every where you turn you’re bound to run into gossip, trivia and new facts about the royal wedding. Some stuff is interesting – such as what the royal carriage will look like, who all is attending, what the family is doing etc. Some information isn’t as relevant (but still interesting) like the article I read in the supermarket about the avid fan who knitted a wedding cake for the couple. (at least it won’t spoil?)

It’s a little sad that another Prince is off the market. I love royalty, and will readily admit that as I young girl growing up I harbored secret fantasies about one day becoming a Princess. It’s not in my destiny, so I’m comfortable living vicariously through Kate Middleton. I wish them a long and happy marriage, and eagerly look forward to watching the procession April 29th… through a live stream on Youtube (oh Youtube, where would I be WITHOUT you?!).

And good luck Harry – you’re the last hope for thousands of young girls. My Advice? Double-up on your security.

Earth Day

It still ain't easy...

As you might have heard Earth Day is today, April 22nd. We’re thinking about a company hike up one of the local mountains… though honestly, we’re secretly hoping we can find one with WiFi so we can take our laptops with us. (That still counts right?).  Regardless of our love for Sporcle and all things computer-related, we  don’t live off of florescent lighting alone. Sporcle, Inc. houses many plants, the occasional canine or two and in the Seattle office, we have MANY windows to catch that ever elusive phenomenon called “ Seattle sunlight“. In fact, Seattle is very environmentally conscious, right down to all of our restaurants being required to use only recyclable and compostable containers for food and drink. (Sporcle also disposes of all expired quizzes in an environmentally friendly manner as well)

In preparation for Earth Day, check out it’s website and see what people all around the world are doing for a Billion Acts of Green and then brainstorm. It’s a global crusade and everyone has a part. Don’t believe me? Dig a little deep (no pun intended)  and you’ll discover events going in Kuwait, Columbia, and Italy, to name a few. In fact, whether you speak French or Spanish, Earth Day is a great reason (or excuse) to get outside, soak up some vitamin D and play in the dirt.

You can also test your knowledge about our planet. Not surprisingly, most of us here at Sporcle couldn’t figure out what the dirt and air around us was made of – even though we walk on it and breath it in regularly. If you need a new perspective, you can see what other countries are doing to stay green and that, although it’s great,  it’s not always easy as Kermit once infamously said.

We meet again GLaDOS….

This morning the much anticipated Portal 2, a game distributed by Valve Software, was released. Now, unlike most of my generation – I’m not a big gamer. I love Super Mario – but otherwise lack the coordination in my hands to play first-person shooters (or to perform heart surgery for that matter) like Halo, Half Life or Left 4 Dead. But like most sisters, I have a brother who is obsessed with the original Portal . He has the GLaDOS song “Still Alive” on his iPod and has played it so many times I can actually sing along with it  (maybe I should thank him for that street cred?).

If you’re uneducated about games like me, here’s the story in a nutshell: Portal 2 is a follow up to the successful Portal game that came out in 2007 and subsequently became a sleeper hit that has gone on to sell over 4 million copies. Portal, a puzzle-solving/first person shooter game, takes place in a scientific testing facility and the point of the game is to use portals to escape rooms and to teleport objects to help navigate obstacles. There are no armies or scary aliens that attack, instead your only nemesis is an ever-watching A.I. named GLaDOS who has gone “slightly” insane and enjoys trying to psychologically torture you through sarcasm, lying, and constant promises of cakeGLaDOS has a huge fan base based on her witty, humorous attacks and her serenade at the end is almost more popular than the game.

The new Portal 2 is about four times as long as the original and now boasts a cooperative mode, so you can solve puzzles together. GLaDOS is back, angry as ever and ready to stop you at every turn. Rumor has it that there is a new song at the end too. For those interested in learning more about the game, I’d advise checking out it’s website. Otherwise I’m not going to say anymore, unless I accidentally spoil something I’m not suppose to and then lose what little gamer street cred I have.

“This was a triumph….”

The American Civil War: 150 Years Later

Abraham Lincoln - America's 16th President

Today marks the 150 year anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. The war was fought between 1861-65 and it was on this day that the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina. Although no one was killed it was the first of many long battles over a 5 year period. The skirmish sent the fragile country that was struggling to hold itself together after Lincoln took office, into full-blown war. When the fighting ended in 1865,  over 620,000 soldiers lost their lives, 3.5 million slaves were freed and the United States was ready for a rebirth. There is still much debate about the causes of the Civil War, it’s relevancy today and the issues that surrounded it. Regardless of what can still be said, today is a day to honor the brave men and women who died during that time, fighting for what they believed in.

For those interested in learning more about the American Civil War, please check out  Civil War Info-Net.

Already a history buff, or rather, think you are? Here are a few more  interesting and educational quizzes about the American Civil War, as well at a few Civil War’s fought from around the world. Enjoy!

America is not the only country to see Civil War. While searching for interesting quizzes for this blog, I found a few others that deal with Civil War fought in other countries. Check some of these out and if you feel that something is missing, feel free to contribute a quiz about your own country and it’s heritage.