Quiz show-off


I remember how, back in the day, at Charlottesville High School in Mrs. Ruffner’s ninth grade World History class, my favorite part of every week was our current events quiz. Whereas most everyone else would groan and make generally painful expressions, nine times out of 10 I aced those quizzes; nothing felt better to my nerdy little adolescent ego than being able to name where exactly in the world that week Pope John Paul II had accidentally insulted some significant cultural group.

Ever since those current events quizzes, I have been an admitted trivia geek. (My sister likes to refer to me as “Nellanerd.”) And the Internet has made being this particular brand nerd so much easier because the most random, useless facts are available now, quicker than ever (and in high definition!). One of the most nerd-enabling sites out there is without a doubt Damn Interesting, and it is, yes, damn interesting. Basically, the site publishes about two articles a week on pretty much any topic out there—past, present, or the anticipate future—that strikes the editors’ fancy. You can read articles in the order in which they are posted, chronologically, or by searching a particular word. (Example: I typed in “fingernail” and got an article entitled “Mutant Killer Seaweed of Doom.”)

Plus, nerds are the new sexy. Trust me—there was even a New York Times article chronicling the trend last spring. Just imagine it: foreplay of sweet nothings that could go a little something like, “Ooo, yeah, baby, tell me more about Herman Sörgel and his plan for hydroelectric dams across the Mediterranean! Or what about that freshwater lake underneath Antarctica? That’s hot. So, so hot…” Or so I wish.