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ODU prof offers answers to misleading trivia in entertaining book, 'Sorry, Wrong Answer'

Where were Venetian blinds invented?

What color is the black box on a commercial airplane?

Where did India ink originate?*

Most of us know more than we think we know. We also think we know more than we actually do - because some of what we think we know simply "ain't so." We all harbor misconceptions that are accepted not only because they are popular but also because they make sense.

In his new book, "Sorry, Wrong Answer," Rod Evans takes readers on a tour of misleading trivia, debunking commonly held assumptions and sharing surprising "right" answers. A lecturer of philosophy at Old Dominion University, Evans is the author or co-author of 16 books, including "The Gilded Tongue," "Getting Your Words' Worth," "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge: The Book of Mnemonic Devices" and "The Artful Nuance: A Refined Guide to Imperfectly Understood Words in the English Language."

His latest book will be released June 1 by the Penguin Group, under the Perigree imprint. Though informative, it was written "principally to entertain people," Evans says.

In the preface he notes: "If you love trivia and pride yourself on being well informed, you should enjoy this book. If you like to engage in friendly bets, you may find this book profitable. If you like to discover the true or probable origins of words, quotations, and inventions, you'll most likely find much to interest you. Finally, if you like deflating the egos of know-it-alls, you should have ample ammunition."

It makes sense to believe, for example, that German chocolate originated in Germany rather than the truth: that German chocolate is so named because it was created by Sam German. And it seems logical to believe that Mercury is the hottest planet because of its proximity to the sun, or that Danish pastry is from Denmark. But you may not want to always let logic be your guide or jump to conclusions until you first check "Sorry, Wrong Answer."

Evans' book is available at the University Village Bookstore.

*Answers: Japan; Orange; China

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This article was posted on: May 27, 2010

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