When it comes to Sporcle, curators truly do know best. In this blog series, some of the great curators of Sporcle share their expert opinions on curating, top-notch quizzes, up-and-coming Sporclers, and a wee bit of trivia.
How did you first get involved with Sporcle?
I followed a link to the Countries of the World quiz several years back from some forum. I played it, and loved the idea and format of quizzes like this (i.e. the kind we now call Classic), so I stuck around. I played quizzes on Sporcle off and on for a while, but became committed to it once I finally decided to start making quizzes.
Why did you decide to be a curator for your subcategory?
After I had been making quizzes regularly for most of a year, I noticed that the Geology subcategory had been around for a good while with no curator, so I applied for it and was thrilled to actually get it. Later there was a call to fill open curatorships, and I saw that Translation was open. It’s such a broad subcategory with such a wide variety of fun, creative quizzes that I jumped at the chance to apply for that too. I’ve always enjoyed learning about and trying to figure out how to take apart unfamiliar languages. Translation is wonderful because, while it overlaps with several of the other language subcategories, it also encompasses a really broad range of quizzes that might not be general-interest enough to sustain their own subcategory, but deserve some attention nonetheless.
What’s your favorite trivia fact having to do with your subcategory?
Geology: A site in Gabon’s Oklo region appears to have been a natural nuclear reactor some 2 billion years ago. That’s because the less common, less stable isotope of Uranium that is needed for a fission chain reaction has a shorter half-life than the more common isotope, and at that time, it would have been about eight times as common in any sample of uranium as it is now, which is why uranium must be “enriched” to increase this proportion before it can be used for fission reactors. Under the right conditions, this could (and apparently did) sustain a fission chain reaction occurring in the ground. The site is now known as the Oklo reactor.
Translation: I love the variety of ways people have of expressing laughter in different languages. While “hahaha” or variations on that are pretty common worldwide, there are some really distinctive ones. Basques write “kar-kar-kar”, Indonesians write “wkwkwkwk”, and Brazilians (but not people from Portugal) write “rsrsrs” or “kkkk”. Sometimes specific types of laughs don’t translate well. In French, for example, there is a particular laugh written “gnac gnac gnac” (pronounced something like “nyuk nyuk nyuk”) which is apparently intended to come off as sinister or evil rather than stoogely.
What are some of your favorite published quizzes from your subcategory?
Geology: No set of geology quizzes could be complete without the Mohs Hardness Scale. The scale itself may be a bit arbitrary in some ways, but it’s still a good introduction to a very useful tool for geologists identifying minerals in the field, and it’s something a lot of people will remember from their science classes. Find the Tectonic Plates by markassonne gives a nice alternative way to look at world geography.
Translation: Clickable Country Names in Other Languages by mrsmith is a perfect example of what makes a good Translation quiz, as it forces people to combine their knowledge and reasoning to figure out which country is written in which language. And nbsixer‘s Unexpected Translations: English-Spanish has a great list of examples of English and Spanish words with nothing in common except their spelling.