Stefan HSQBRankovich wrote:cornfused wrote:All of my Isambard Kingdom Brunel knowledge comes from Hark! A Vagrant.
I'm pretty sure these are the only reasons I'm aware of anything that's actually useful in any way.
I can attest to the amount of knowledge one gets from webcomics, being an avid reader of Harkavagrant and xkcd myself.
I first-lined the tossup on Utah at the 2014 HSNCT off the name of their former attorney general John Swallow. I had previously looked him up because a separate (and far less important) person with the same name had developed a neutrally-buoyant float used in Lagrangian current analysis, and because that's the kind of thing you have to study in Ocean Sciences Bowl. As the John Swallow I was looking for had no Wikipedia article I remembered his name to be the same as the encumbent attorney general of Utah. When I got that buzz, I found out he was removed from office though.
I also got the question on the Chesapeake Bay in the last few games of the 2015 HSNCT because I went there for an OSB award trip that summer and I ate blue crab.
That, and I spent a lot of time poring over US fishing statistics from 2012, divided both by state and by type of catch (in 2011 blue crab over took dungeness as the gross earner, but every other year, including all the years since, it's been a close second).
A few more things I remembered:
I powered a question on Hillary Clinton after it reused a clue I had negged on three years prior, because it mentioned the name of her book "It Takes a Village". I had buzzed because it shared its name with a fan-fiction I had read recently.
I have owned Theodore Gray's book "Elements" since like, seventh grade, and I've read it several dozen times. There are a ton of great clues for elements and specific compounds in that book, but that's not really appropriate for this thread. There is a much more convoluted way of getting questions right than just learning the clue outright.
On the page in "Elements" about neon, Theodore Gray plugs his friend Oliver Sacks' book "Uncle Tungsten" by mentioning how he walked through Times Square with a spectroscope. Since I enjoyed Gray's book so much, I went out of my way to check that book out of the library, along with a few other of Sacks' books. One of those was his "Oaxaca Journal", which detailed his visit to the Mexican province. One of the events he describes is getting one of his shirts dyed in a massive vat of cochineal pigment that had been harvested in the area, creating a deep red color. Five years later in senior English, we read Emily Dickinson's poem "Hummingbird" whose first lines are "A route of evanescence. With a revolving wheel; A resonance of emerald, A rush of cochineal". I powered a question on Dickinson on that clue.
Also I first-lined the tossup on the Vasa dynasty in STIMPY because the day we read it in practice there was a comic on the frontpage of /r/polandball that talked about the sinking of ship, and that was the clue they used.