Posted by: Tyler Green | 05/25/2010

Lost in Knowledge

It strikes when I am least expecting it.  Before I know it, I am entirely consumed.  It may not be as intense as the Shark Week or Tornado Week survivor stories on the Discovery or Weather Channels, but “before I knew it I was pulled violently under water” and “it sounded like a train coming straight toward me” aptly describe my experience on Wikipedia.

I will be casually browsing the expansive encyclopedia when, all of a sudden, I realize I have once again ended upon a page of a similar topic.  There are certain parts of its contents that I simply feel I must know everything about and these are the pages on which I always end up.  Like I mentioned about always reading about Triple Crown winners in my previous post, I have several categories that are even worse.

Here is a list of my categories in which I do never-ending personal research:

1. Stadiums – Looking for several key features here: approximate capacity, tenants, and shape (dome, bowl, or horseshoe).  Interestingly enough, I am not nearly as interested in indoor arenas.  I can read about football and baseball stadiums all day long, but after glancing at Rupp Arena and wondering what is up with the new KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, I don’t have must interest in the basketball venues.

2. College Towns – This serves as a sort of always useful trivia.  Someone mentions Ithaca, I say Cornell.  Someone else says BYU, I say Provo.  I make sure I don’t mix up College Park with College Station with State College, and differentiating between University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech is a must.  Commentators love to use this one as an exclamation to end a broadcast during a late-night campus celebration and I make sure they don’t catch me by surprise.

3. World’s Largest

A. Buildings – Tough to keep tabs on because of those engineers in Dubai.  Always interesting to relate to the known world monuments and how today’s new buildings are around 4 times the height of the Washington Monument.

B. Cruise Ships – A naturally desired item combined with amazing engineering feats.  These floating towns are filled with interesting statistics to try and memorize as a new largest ship is christened every two years or so with an extra 1,000 passengers.

4. Sports Franchises – Growing because of the interest in stadiums.  Knowing the approximate history of the Colts in Baltimore, how the Oilers played a season in Memphis, and that nobody has heard of the Nationals or Expos or knows they were actually the same franchise is very rewarding.  It also helps understand the mindset and pastimes throughout history when visiting various cities.

I very well may think of more to add to this list, but these time consumers were all I could come up with for now.  It is also interesting to note that all of these are nouns.  This is fortunate, because if I were reading about ideas, then I probably picked the wrong major.  In the broad sense, in school I am learning how to use problem solving strategies in new ways to make things.  It only makes sense that in my free time I read about the results of others in this process, even when their creation is a town or sports team.  I am not interested in coming up with radically new ideas to be pondered on for centuries, but rather combine those already existing ideas to create fascinating new functions.  My schooling and my hobby represents this, and I am proud to be in engineering.

Until I start school again though, I will probably spend countless cumulative hours perusing pages with these topics.  This may be due to a secret desire to be able to get just one Trivial Pursuit question correct in my lifetime, or it may be just because it interests me.  Either way, once I land on Wikipedia for any reason, these topics better watch out.

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