Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trivia Tuesday

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Starbucks was originally to be called Pequod by cofounder Gordon Bowker, after the whaling ship in the Herman Melville novel Moby-Dick. The name was rejected after one of Bowker’s partners complained “No one’s going to drink a cup of Pee-Quod!” The new name was Starbucks, after the first mate aboard the Pequod.

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Moby-Dick (the book has a hyphen in the name) is based on an albino sperm whale that lived in the waters off the Chilean island of Mocha. Known as Mocha Dick, he reportedly survived over 100 attempts to kill him and had more than 20 harpoons in his back. He was finally killed in 1838 after coming to the aid of a distraught cow whose calf had been killed by whalers.

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Since 11991 there have been regular sightings in Australian waters of an albino whale named Migalo (pictured above), the only known all-white humpback whale. The word “Migaloo” means “white fella” in indigenous Australian.

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Australia’s language contains around 400 words in common usage which come from 80 different Aboriginal languages. Most of these words are used to describe flora and fauna, with a survey of newspapers in July 2007 finding that the most common Aboriginal word is ‘kangaroo’, followed by ‘wallaby’ (which might be influenced by the rugby team of the same name), ‘waratah’ (also a rugby team), ‘koala’, ‘billabong’, ‘kookaburra’, ‘dingo’ and ‘wombat’. All of these words come from a language spoken in the area of Sydney and surrounds where they were adopted early on in Australia’s history. The uniform spelling was established in the 1830s.



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