Odd Ways of Learning Things

Tell your tales of bygone days and rank historical things here.

Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby cornfused » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:16 pm

I got through HS ancient history Qs with the knowledge from the guidebook to the original AoE.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Madagascar Serpent Eagle » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:43 pm

tintinnabulation wrote:I'm just waiting to get something historical off of an episode of Doctor Who. It's bound to happen sometime.


I'm pretty sure this has happened for me, although I can't remember any specific examples at the moment. However, terrible art player me did learn to associate van Gogh and Arles from that one.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby tintinnabulation » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:05 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:
tintinnabulation wrote:I'm just waiting to get something historical off of an episode of Doctor Who. It's bound to happen sometime.


I'm pretty sure this has happened for me, although I can't remember any specific examples at the moment. However, terrible art player me did learn to associate van Gogh and Arles from that one.

Gonna say "Van Goff" instead of "Van Go" now, too.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby ScoBo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:54 pm

In high school (back in the dark ages when pyramidal tournaments were practically nonexistent in Missouri) I once answered a question on Minnesota when it mentioned Mankato as a city in the state. I learned that from reading Best Buy newspaper ads, which at that time had fine print on several pages indicating that certain items weren't available in the store there.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby tintinnabulation » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:25 pm

ScoBo wrote:In high school (back in the dark ages when pyramidal tournaments were practically nonexistent in Missouri) I once answered a question on Minnesota when it mentioned Mankato as a city in the state. I learned that from reading Best Buy newspaper ads, which at that time had fine print on several pages indicating that certain items weren't available in the store there.

I think this wins.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby NickConderWKU » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:17 am

If we're going to go with learning weird things to get tossups on bad questions, I scored several points in middle school on outdated questions. My favorite was a question they used at least 5 times in my 3 year middle school career: "Name this basketball conference that includes schools such as Louisville, Virginia Tech, and UNC Charlotte." Right after Virginia Tech, I would buzz in with "Metro Conference. That question is no longer correct by the way." The Metro Conference broke up in 1995, but I know some of its history because the drawers of my dresser were lined with newspapers from the early 90s, which sometime in 5th or 6th grade I started reading when I got bored. Why this question was still being used as late as 2004 is a mystery, but I got points off of it several times.

As far as pyramidal questions go, I've answered multiple US geography questions in my career simply because I've always loved a good road atlas and have answered on clues (like geographic features, landmarks, and cities) that I saw on the map. (EDIT: This could be "academic" I guess)
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby marnold » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:04 am

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:As far as pyramidal questions go, I've answered multiple US geography questions in my career simply because I've always loved a good road atlas and have answered on clues (like geographic features, landmarks, and cities) that I saw on the map.


:monocle:
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby bmcke » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:56 pm

A teammate once first-lined "Whitehorse" because the tossup mentioned her grandfather.

(Plus if I remember these forums right, Ted Gioia has accomplished similar.)
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby itsthatoneguy » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:13 am

bmcke wrote:A teammate once first-lined "Whitehorse" because the tossup mentioned her grandfather.

(Plus if I remember these forums right, Ted Gioia has accomplished similar.)


This reminds me of something similar. I have gotten many tossups on the UAW because my high school quizbowl coach's grandfather participated in the Battle of the Overpass (see http://tinyurl.com/33kgfj if unfamiliar).
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Black-throated Antshrike » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:40 am

bmcke wrote:A teammate once first-lined "Whitehorse" because the tossup mentioned her grandfather.

(Plus if I remember these forums right, Ted Gioia has accomplished similar.)


I once got a question on Copenhagen because my great-great-great-great-great grandfather/uncle/some really old relationship was an artist and was mentally unstable and thought he was Jesus Christ and walked out into the Copenhagen Bay, thinking he could walk on water, and proceeded to drown
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:27 am

Ben Cohen powered a question on Hillary Clinton advisor Mark Penn at HSNCT a few years ago because Penn was married to one of his parent's cousins and had given Ben a signed copy of the book that was the question's first clue.

Steve Server powered a question on Tenderloin at the following HSNCT to defeat State College in overtime because his parents had to walk through the red light Tenderloin district during their honeymoon when their car broke down and talked about the incident repeatedly.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Gautam » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:35 pm

For me, learning things usually involves encountering the same topics in 3-5 different settings/application/contexts/etc. Nothing "odd" about it, I guess, just that I have to force myself to do a lot of problems/write a lot of questions/approach the same topic from different angles to truly understand it.

Among the more odd ways, I guess:

When driving back from NSC 2009, Rob, Bernadette and I heard an interview of a GMU professor who had recently written a biography of Osip Mandelstam, titled The Stalin Epigram. We were silent throughout the interview, and at the end of it we did a double take, a la "Whoa, so much ACF for an NPR interview!" Needless to say, I remember a lot more about Osip Mandelstam than I do about many other Soviet authors.

My roommates throughout college worked on a variety of different research projects in Biology, and I learned a lot by talking with them. Specifically about HIV proteins, DNA repair, and Xenopus. Helped me a bunch at various tournaments.

A lot of the Indian history/politics that I got at tournaments was from reading Indian newspapers on a semi-regular basis, and talking with my father about various events. A bunch of the content I learned in 6th-8th grade in India, but had mostly forgotten in by the time I got to college. Were it not for the news paper reading/conversations, I'd never have remembered it. I also did a fair amount map tracing of the various continents back in 3rd-5th grade and labeling the various physical features, which also helped understand physical geography of the world. I was obviously never dominant in it though.

A good chunk of the chemistry I learned from a molecule modeling kit I got in 6th grade. I used to have a fun time building stuff. :smile:

I'm sure a fair amount of the knowledge I had has atrophied by now, and I don't think I will ever bother trying to actively relearn it. Whatever I will learn from random watching of National Geographic/Discover or listening to podcasts, will be sufficient for me.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby The Superfluous Man » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:43 pm

Serious Games Showcase and Challenge wrote:Consequently I have nontrivial knowledge about those things. Tales of Symphonia is a great source of Norse myth answerlines.


Yep, that's how I first built my knowledge base in Norse myth.

EDIT: Also, :capybara: to Susan's choice of books.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby jonpin » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:11 am

On last month's American Mathematics Contest, there was a question that boiled down to "Charles Dickens celebrates his 200th birthday today, on a Tuesday. [Insert leap year rules here] What day of the week was Dickens born?" The idea being you'd solve it with modular arithmetic.

At least one person at my school noted solving it due to hearing on the radio, and another somewhere mentioned having recently read David Copperfield, which begins "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously."

Now granted, that's an autobiographical novel, but still a novel, so such details are not necessarily reliable, but I thought it amusing.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Unicolored Jay » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:09 pm

I first learned about the Air Traffic Controller strike during Reagan's presidency because my AP US History teacher's father was one of those who got fired as a result of it.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby ACPackers » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:25 am

I don't know if this fits in the category or not, but I was watching Braveheart and it inspired me to research the major characters and battles and the I saw the new captain america movie and for fun I researched the Red Skull and two days later the red skull and edward 3 came up in practice and i knew them.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby mhayes » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:10 pm

ACPackers wrote:I don't know if this fits in the category or not, but I was watching Braveheart and it inspired me to research the major characters and battles and the I saw the new captain america movie and for fun I researched the Red Skull and two days later the red skull and edward 3 came up in practice and i knew them.


The antagonist was actually Edward I.

But be careful, because Braveheart is loaded with historical inaccuracies. William Wallace probably wasn't Edward III's father...
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby ACPackers » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:59 pm

mhayes wrote:
ACPackers wrote:I don't know if this fits in the category or not, but I was watching Braveheart and it inspired me to research the major characters and battles and the I saw the new captain america movie and for fun I researched the Red Skull and two days later the red skull and edward 3 came up in practice and i knew them.


The antagonist was actually Edward I.

But be careful, because Braveheart is loaded with historical inaccuracies. William Wallace probably wasn't Edward III's father...


Anyway yeah I knew that, but I researched the major characters and one thing led to another and I stumbled upon Edward 3.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:06 pm

Internet appliance wrote:I learned a good amount of my norse myth knowledge from reading a guidebook for age of mythology :/


I'm glad I'm not the only one. Especially at DII SCT, ACF Fall, and EACN, there seem to be an inordinate number of myth bonuses that I have thirtied, by virtue of having been obsessed with that game about seven years ago. I think I've even first-lined a few in practice, based on this "knowledge."

I'll also add, in case it hasn't been mentioned, that the Alchemyst series, by Michael Scott, seems to drop some names that come up fairly frequently. However, here be dragons: the myth systems are completely mutilated, and those books are far from reliable in terms of concrete facts. My point is that the series is great for pointing out the important figures (and I've picked up more than a few points on Celtic myth bonuses from name-dropping), but I'd never rely on it for accurate clues.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:24 pm

Serious Games Showcase and Challenge wrote:
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:
Atlee Hammaker wrote:One of my better buzzes, powering Isambard Kingdom Brunel at Gunpei Yokoi, was actually an artifact of my deep Achewood knowledge.


EDIT: Oh, and the only reason I know who Cesare Borgia is is that he's mentioned in Killah Priest's "B.I.B.L.E." at the end of GZA's Liquid Swords, and I've managed to snag tossups at the end because I know he's the "second son of Pope Alexander." I should probably look him up for real, though.


Or you could play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and that'll give you a sufficient amount of Cesare Borgia knowledge.

Quoted for truth. AC is a game that has something worth learning about while playing. At the same time, I'd say Call of Duty 1, 2, and 3 were fun to play and playing them in middle school gave me a general idea of the eastern theatre of World War II, including the Battle of Stalingrad, Second Battle of El Aleiman and Operation Overlord, for instance.

I don't claim to know science, but I've gotten a question before somewhere (probably IRC/quizbowl central) on the Higgs Boson from hearing about it mentioned on Futurama.

I also got a question on Arkansas that mentioned the Battle of Pine Bluff, and I remembered Arkansas-Pine Bluff as being one of the crappy programs one would use to fill their schedule on dynasty mode from NCAA 05.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby AustinlSmith » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:36 pm

At the past two tournaments or practices I've gone to, I have gotten questions based off school names from this forum. For example, I read a sample NHBB packet and got a question about the state quarter with Caesar Rodney on it because of that school being on this forum.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

AustinlSmith wrote:At the past two tournaments or practices I've gone to, I have gotten questions based off school names from this forum. For example, I read a sample NHBB packet and got a question about the state quarter with Caesar Rodney on it because of that school being on this forum.

Sweet. The art teacher at our high school actually designed that quarter, too. When i went to CR as a student many moons ago, the students were given some of the first copies of the quarter before the public did.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Public safety diving » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:33 pm

I once got a tossup on Endgame in the playoffs at NSC because it was the name of one of the prelim brackets at that tournament and I decided to read the Wiki article about it on a whim.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:51 pm

Another thing: I've gotten early buzzes on British (especially Irish and Scottish) history from listening to more celtic rock music than is probably healthy (in order of usefulness: The Pogues, The Dubliners, The Young Dubliners, Dropkick Murphys, and a few others).

If you can get past the inaccessibility of some of the lyrics, they can clue you into some really important facts from 1500~1950. Also, Shane MacGowan is impossible to understand.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Cheynem » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:56 pm

A couple from ACF Nationals:

Andrew Hart recently went to Europe and when he came back he gave me a souvenir, a postcard with a picture of Joseph Wright of Derby's painting about the bird and the air pump. Now I had written on that dude/painting before, but hadn't really thought of it in a while, so this reminded me of what it looked like and what Wright's name was, so I buzzed on it at Nats.

I have never read The Organization Man. I could probably tell you the basic idea of what its argument is, but not much else. As I was writing my dissertation, I needed to get some choice quotes of sociologists talking about suburbia and there is a fine chapter in the book talking about an Illinois suburb, which I quoted extensively. Luckily, that chapter was used as a clue for Nationals.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Kyle » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:09 pm

Cheynem wrote:Andrew Hart recently went to Europe and when he came back he gave me a souvenir, a postcard with a picture of Joseph Wright of Derby's painting about the bird and the air pump. Now I had written on that dude/painting before, but hadn't really thought of it in a while, so this reminded me of what it looked like and what Wright's name was, so I buzzed on it at Nats.


Of course, some of us know this because it is the name of a defunct punk band based in London. Here's a video of them.

I went to Bristol a bit over a year ago and ended up killing time waiting for my train by having apple pie in a pub. It was one of those pubs that aggressively promotes live music, so they had flyers advertising all the awesome bands that had played there. You may know that the Bristol music scene is famous for producing Massive Attack. I looked and looked at this list of bands, and I realized that I hadn't heard of any of them. I decided to take the list and memorize some of the more bizarre band names. That way, if somebody asked what kind of music I liked, I could demonstrate my absolute superiority by explaining that I really like the Bristol music scene. Then I could deride that person for not knowing as much as I do about no.lay or Tim and Sam's Tim and Sam Band.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Fond du lac operon » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:59 am

This is pretty late to mention, but what the hell. I powered the Nation of Islam TU at Penn Bowl this year thanks to knowing Five-Percenter mythology because of Wu-Tang Clan songs. The lesson here is that Wu-Tang is for the quizbowl-playing children.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby List of Fighting Spirit characters » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:44 pm

I got a St. Francis of Assisi tossup because my brother attended a high school named after him. It had a yearbook called Poverello and Poverello came up as a clue in the first line of the tossup.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby fizzball » Fri May 04, 2012 6:05 pm

Got a question on Robbie Robertson based on his producing Neil Diamond's Beautiful Noise LP; for years my mom's favorite weekend house-cleaning soundtrack. Powered a question on Hollywoodland thanks to an acquaintance with a George Reeves biographer.

One of the few times my wife has quizzed, she 30'd a bonus on Sun Chips solely because her job at the time involved going to very tedious textbook focus groups. The chips would be served and she'd stare at the packages in boredom.

Also, everything Cheyne says upthread regarding MAD magazine. (also National Lampoon, to an extent).
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby itsthatoneguy » Tue May 08, 2012 10:13 am

I've been watching these lately:

Crash Course (found here: http://tinyurl.com/83t2tyq): These are 10 - 13 minute videos about biology or history. They are well produced and are usually pretty funny.

Numberphile (http://tinyurl.com/7wkayo2): These are pretty cool videos about mathematics. They aren't very technical, but are highly amusing. I really like the one about Graham's Number.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby grapesmoker » Tue May 08, 2012 12:37 pm

You can learn a lot from reading academic blogs. I did.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Scaled Flowerpiercer » Tue May 08, 2012 11:24 pm

itsthatoneguy wrote:Numberphile (http://tinyurl.com/7wkayo2): These are pretty cool videos about mathematics. They aren't very technical, but are highly amusing. I really like the one about Graham's Number.


I approve of this source of learning things, though I will admit that the knowledge has yet to help me in Quizbowl.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby pleasewalkforward » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:09 am

I've gotten buzzes on Pinter from watching the reverse-chronology Seinfeld episode The Betrayal, based loosely off his work of similar name.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Wackford Squeers » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:34 am

Learned about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and General Dyer (who was a third bonus part at NSC) from a rap song.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Boeing X-20, Please! » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:03 am

a joke about the use/mention distinction wrote:Learned about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and General Dyer (who was a third bonus part at NSC) from a rap song.

Dude, Das Racist like the black quarterback.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby blizzard » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:06 am

Watching The Amazing Race has helped me get geography questions. The song "Say You'll Go" by Janelle Monae first taught me what samsara is. Also, the cover of The Archandroid, also by Janelle Monae, led me to having a brief understanding of the plot of the film Metropolis. The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde has helped me with some literature questions.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Mr. Joyboy » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:55 am

blizzard wrote:Watching The Amazing Race has helped me get geography questions. The song "Say You'll Go" by Janelle Monae first taught me what samsara is. Also, the cover of The Archandroid, also by Janelle Monae, led me to having a brief understanding of the plot of the film Metropolis. The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde has helped me with some literature questions.


Her song "Cold War" gave me a brief understanding of the Cold War.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby merv1618 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:39 am

Most Count of Monte Cristo/Dumas buzzes I've had came from watching V for Vendetta.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Weighted Companion Cube » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:38 am

I've gotten a crap tone of Roman History tossups by playing the crap out of Rome Total War. Also, Civilization 4's civilopedia has given me a crap ton of History knowledge.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:51 am

At VCUO 2010, I remember getting the tossup on Parc Guell because I had recently purchased a Tony Hawk Xbox game for ten bucks and one of the levels had you skate all over the thing.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby merv1618 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:53 am

The FOX Kids show Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog from way back when is excellent for picking up some Welsh Myth tidbits. Also, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego (for PC) racked me up many history buzzes. These are both reasons why the 90's were just...just fantastic.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby JoelleJay » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:36 pm

I powered a question on tuberculosis one time because for my 10th grade Honors English class I'd written a story that included a guy with Munchausen's Syndrome who tried to convince his doctors he had liver disease by turning his urine orange, which he did by taking rifampin (a medication used to treat TB). I also learned a lot about the Negev Desert while writing the story, since the plot mainly revolved around a Miami doctor who accidentally took a time machine back to Biblical Israel and everyone thought he was Jesus because he was curing people.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:48 pm

The first time I eve heard Blake's "The Tyger" was in an episode of Batman the Animated Series.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby JoelleJay » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:51 pm

I also got a lot of questions on Solidarity because in 6th grade I was flipping through an encyclopedia looking for the article on Wales and went a page too far and read about Walesa instead.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Weighted Companion Cube » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:45 pm

My knowledge of Great Zimbabwe comes entirely from a book of African history that my father took from the forgotten items from a fired employee's office in Kazan, also got a sweet Icon of Alexander Nevsky.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby merv1618 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:14 pm

As Dan and Malis will never let me forget, I once got a nice science power from remembering a description I read once of 4th-gen Pokemon weather conditions.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:42 pm

As ashamed as I am to say, getting a tossup on "Kublai Khan"(Coleridge poem) early from listening to "Xanadu" by Rush.
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:42 pm

I have gotten at least one tossup related to Japanese Internment from the Fort Minor song "Kenji"
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Muriel Axon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:19 pm

I got a bonus part on a certain writer at a recent tournament because I used to volunteer at a local library, and I was once approached by an old lady who a fan of that writer, and asked me to help her find some of his books. (I can't name the author, as not all mirrors of the set are done.)
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Re: Odd Ways of Learning Things

Postby Muriel Axon » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:53 pm

I got the VCU Closed question on saving Jews during the Holocaust thanks to my obsessively deep knowledge of Hark, A Vagrant!: http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=144
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