Listomania – Over 1,200 fun facts organized by lists

I’m a sucker for trivia, and Listomania is on my top-ten list of fascinating facts books. As the title reveals, the book is loaded with fun tidbits of information (over 1,200 of them) that are organized by lists. Most items or lists are explained in a short paragraph, and every list is playfully and boldly illustrated.

My top 10 favorite examples:

  1. 8 Awful Jobs in History (sperm collector, nitpicker…)
  2. 14 Cool Things to View on Google Earth (giant pink bunny in Italy, Mount Everest…)
  3. 10 Places on Earth that are Still Unexplored (Makira Forests in Madagascar, Lake Vostok in Antarctica…)
  4. 9 Extreme Abodes (house on a volcano, airplanes converted into houses…)
  5. 14 Beauty Queen Scandals (Spain’s Miss Universe chucked her crown out of a window, Miss England punched another beauty queen…)
  6. 18 Things that Fell From the Sky (colored rain, cows…)
  7. 8 Dastardly Ponzi Schemes (Charles Ponzi, Bernie Madoff…)
  8. 7 Things Made from Insects (red dye from ground-up cochineal bugs, antibiotic herbal remedy from cockroach brains…)
  9. 14 Unexpected Odds (117:1 that you’ll fly with a drunk pilot, 6,250:1 that you’ll be struck by lightning…)
  10. 10 Best Countries to be a Geek (US, Belgium…)

Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail

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Notable Replies

  1. The Galápagos Tortoise was one of the species Darwin got to nibble on, and that was at the time they were still really available. That's true even though they were already being harvested to keep aboard ships as live food for whalers and pirates. The Beagle took 30 tortoises with it to Polynesia upon leaving the Galápagos islands.

    In fact, the tortoises' downfall was that they were so big, meaty, and tasty. They were so yummy that they didn't survive trips to be brought back to Britain for display in zoos. We humans ate them into apparent extinction in a very short time - only traces of them remain in genetic hybrids still alive on the Galápagos.

  2. I thought that one of Darwin's just died in Australia?

    Ah, here she is -- Harriet probably was not Darwin's:
    She was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey expedition, transported to England, and then brought to her final home, Australia, by a retiring captain of the Beagle. However, some doubt was cast on this story by the fact that Darwin had never visited the island that Harriet originally came from.
  3. smile Harriet is one of the subspecies tortoises from an island that Darwin didn't visit himself. I was writing about Chelonoidis elephantopus (the largest of them) which went extinct as a pure species just a few years after Darwin visited.

    Hybrids still exist in the Galápagos islands.

  4. One of my favourite clips from QI is about them.

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