Playing Trivial Pursuit last night with my friends reminded me of how annoying the game can be at times. There were several questions that didn't make sense, and whose answers were matters of opinion and/or weren't correct.

And example of the first was from the "Innovations" category -- billed as "inventions, medical breakthroughs, and electronics": "What do you do when you fail to stifle a sternutation?" They could have just asked for the definition of the word directly rather than being coy, but the obvious answer is still sneeze. But how does that have anything to do with "innovation"? It doesn't. So my team wasted several minutes trying to think of another answer that made sense; failing to do so, we answered with the obvious response and got it correct. That's stupid.

As for my second complaint, questions that are just plain wrong: "What country discovered in 2000 that it had underestimated its coastline by 16,000 miles?" Oh please, that's absurd. 16,000 miles is enough to take you two-thirds of the way around the earth's equator. The answer was Norway, presumably because they hadn't bothered to measure all those tiny indentations in their fractal coastline, but the back of the card gave no explanation and I was skeptical. Rightly so. According to the CIA World Factbook, the coastline of Norway is only 13,623 miles in total, and I doubt their earlier estimation was -2,377 miles. Plus, there are only 10,000 miles of indentations -- which coincidentally is about 16,000 kilometers, so maybe that's what the game meant. Anyway, there are lots of questionable cards like that, and the fact that the answers have no explanation is doubly irritating.

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