Nov 30, 2010

Q.61

The actor Jason Isaacs has featured in some of the Harry Potter films. Since his character was imprisoned in an earlier film and given that the last book had not been released by then, he considered not returning for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - 1", assuming the character would have limited screen time only. He happened to run into J. K. Rowling at a dinner, where he fell to his knees and said "Get me out of prison, I beg you." Rowling told Isaacs he'd be out in the first chapter. Isaacs signed the film immediately.

What character does he play in the series?

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Nov 29, 2010

Q.60

"Towers of Midnight" is the latest (the 13th, to be exact) publication in a series of books written by James Oliver Rigney, Jr. who died in 2007. How is Rigney better known as?

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Nov 28, 2010

Q.59

During the opening ceremony of the just-concluded Asian Games in Guangzhou, the athletes of Kuwait marched in just before the host China, and under the banner of the Olympic flag. Why was this so?
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image courtesy The Buzz Fairy

Nov 27, 2010

Q.58

A character in the folk tales of Sheikh Chilli, some stories have it that his name is a reference to him accidentally scaring or killing away a band of thieves. The name has become a local idiom in parts of North India with negative connotations. Which upcoming film has the same name?

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Nov 26, 2010

Q.57

The latest release in the Call of Duty game series ("Black Ops") has come in for strong condemnations by Cuba. A Cuban media outlet also mocked the US by saying: "What the United States couldn't accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually". Why this fuss?

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Nov 25, 2010

Q.56

With the resignation of Ashok Chavan as Maharashtra Chief Minister, time to pull out this old chestnut. Believe it or not, thanks to changing political fortunes, corruption, death, and elections, only one Maharashtra CM has ever completed a full 5-year term. Incidentally, his nephew was once a Maharashtra CM.

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Nov 24, 2010

Q.55

Prof. Mathieu Deflem is a sociology professor at the University of South Carolina, whose main interests were terrorism, policing, and the internet. In a change of theme, he recently began offering a course that was initially called "The Sociology of Fame". But later, the course was changed to fully focus on his main case study. Given the fame (or infamy) of the subject in question, this has brought the course a lot of media attention. Who is the subject?

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Nov 23, 2010

Q.54

The inspiration for the Booker prize, this Prize (now sometimes referred to as the French Booker) is awarded to the "best and most imaginative prose work of the year". Awarded by an Academy established by Edmond de ___, it was instituted in honour of his brother Jules. What prize, which gets its name from the brothers' surname?

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Nov 22, 2010

Q.53

A statue of Jesus Christ was recently completed in (don't pronounce this without adult supervision) "Swiebodzin" in Poland. It claims to be the tallest statue of Christ in the world. The statue is 33 metres tall, a deliberate choice. Why was this height chosen?

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Nov 21, 2010

Q.52

On November 8 this year, the innards of what logo was "revealed" to be containing, among other things, a key, some bones, a rubber duck, and probably some marbles?

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Nov 20, 2010

Q.51

What is this a list of?

  • 2005: Bono, Edward Burtynsky, Robert Fischell
  • 2006: Larry Brilliant, Jehane Noujaim, Cameron Sinclair
  • 2007: Bill Clinton, Edward O. Wilson, James Nachtwey
  • 2008: Neil Turok, Dave Eggers, Karen Armstrong
  • 2009: Sylvia Earle, Jill Tarter, José Antonio Abreu
  • 2010: Jamie Oliver
  • 2011: "JR"

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Nov 19, 2010

50th day

Infinite Zounds completes its 50th day today, so if you liked what you saw here in the last couple of months, please let me know by clicking the "Got this!" for this post :). If you'd like anything improved, offered, or commended, please write to infinitezounds@gmail.com. Thanks!


Q.50

This is the "Menara Kuala Lumpur" or the "KL Tower". One of the twenty-most tallest buildings in the world, it is a telecom tower whose antenna significantly contributes to its height.

A smaller replica of this tower functions as a TV tower in Delhi, and is named after the Pitampura area. How did this feature in the news around a month ago?

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Nov 18, 2010

Q.49

The man on the left is Pierre ____, an engineering student turned race car driver, whose most famous achievement was winning the 25 hour Le Mans race in 1939 (along with Jean Pierre Wimille, seen on the right).

During World War 2, he became part of the French Resistance, eventually receiving national honours in 1945.

Who is he, or what eye-catching wallet-reducing thing is named after him?

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Nov 17, 2010

Q.48

TeliaSonera AB is a Scandinavian telecom company that has significant presence in Northern and Eastern Europe. NCell is one of their subsidiaries, in an Asian country. In October, NCell finished installing a new batch of base stations. Though not fully tested yet, which highly significant landmark will now provide network coverage to its visitors?

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Nov 16, 2010

Q.47

New Zealand passed a new set of amendments to labour laws that provides additional tax rebates to an American company to produce something there. This also now changes the status of locally hired people to 'contractors' and not 'employees', subject to conditions. The hurried passage of the bill has caused a lot of controversy in New Zealand. What is the bill being nicknamed as?

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Nov 15, 2010

Q.46

Traditionally, St. Lawrence is the patron saint of librarians, students, and tanners. Since legend has it that he was tortured to death by being roasted on a grill, he is also the patron saint of cooks and roasters. The story also goes that on the grill, he quipped: "This side’s done, turn me over and have a bite". This led to comedians adopting him too.

Another community reveres him as their patron saint. This led to his name also being associated with a recent operation that took less time than was previously estimated. What was this operation about?

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Nov 14, 2010

Q.45

This is a new documentary by David Guggenheim (the director of "An Inconvenient Truth"), about the state of public education in the US. (Not surprisingly, there have been fierce reactions of all kinds.) Among others, the film features an educationist called Geoffrey Canada, who runs a New York based organisation called "Harlem Children's Zone" which aims to increase graduation rates in Harlem. In the film, Canada talks about his favourite childhood TV show and how he often imagined the show's character coming to his rescue as a kid - this becomes a theme for the film. This is why the film is called "Waiting for '____'".

Which character?

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Nov 13, 2010

Q.44

Julian Treslove is a former TV producer at the BBC who meets two Jewish friends for dinner. While returning home, he is mugged by a woman, who seems to suggest he is Jewish. This sets in motion the events of a novel. One of his two Treslove's friends are Libor Sevcik, once his teacher. What is the other's surname?

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Nov 12, 2010

Q.43

This used to be the flag of this country during the last two years of World War II when under Japanese occupation. The same design has been re-adopted for the new flag (implemented from 21st Oct this year), except that the peacock has been replaced by a white star. Which country?
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Nov 11, 2010

Q.42

7. Panthera leo
6. Uncia uncia
5. Panthera pardus
4. Panthera tigris
3. Panthera onca
2. Puma concolor
1. Acinonyx jubatus

How does this list connect to the pomaceous fruit of the Malus domestica tree?

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Nov 10, 2010

Q.41

As part of protests (a few weeks ago) in France against the government's move to increase the retirement age, truck drivers indulged in 'escargot operations'. What have they been doing?

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Nov 9, 2010

Q.40

The Zigbee Alliance is an association of companies who have created and who maintain the Zigbee communication standard. This is a set of protocols that allow small low-power and low-cost devices to form a wireless network for high reliability. This also provides for monitoring wireless devices. The name is a reference to the communication seen in honey bees.

How has the Zigbee protocol become part of Indian pop-culture in recent times?

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Nov 8, 2010

Q.39

Israel's Antiquities Authority has recently begun a project in collaboration with Google in order to make a searchable database of something that was discovered between 1946 and 1956. High resolution images are already available, but this collaboration will make this more search-friendly. This will also decrease the need to bring the originals in to the open to researchers as is the current practice. What is being referred to here?

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Nov 7, 2010

Q.38

In October this year, this American apparel company changed its logo to a new one with changes to the colour and font (see the images above - the gap has the missing name). The change, which was only visible online, came in for severe criticism by customers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, the change was rolled back via an announcement on Facebook. There has also been some speculation that this was just a clever marketing stunt. Which brand? (Incidentally, the blue box in the logo usually changes to red during the Christmas holiday season).

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Nov 6, 2010

Q.37

This mathematician coined a new word in his publication "Les objets ______, forme, hasard et dimension", which was applied to such diverse areas such as the coastline of Britain, the darkness of the night sky, the structure of lungs, etc. Who is this mathematician, and what word did he invent? Incidentally, his middle initial is "B", which doesn't stand for anything!

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Nov 5, 2010

Q.36

His upcoming memoir is called "Decision Points". Unusually, for a political figure, the first line of the book reportedly is as follows:
It was a simple question, 'Can you remember the last day you didn't have a drink?'
Which former alcoholic?

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Nov 4, 2010

Q.35

Quoting from Wikipedia, a macron is a diacritic (typographical mark) placed above a vowel, that usually marks a long or heavy syllable. (The mark looks like a hyphen.) It's not very commonly used, unless to mark pronunciation. Recently, a home version of a technology product was launched, and the first part of its name is "ūmi". Speculation is that the name stands for "you-me", because of what the product does. However, technically, the macron above "u" means the pronounciation should be "oo-mi". Anyway, what product and which company?

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Nov 3, 2010

Q.34

Chanderi is a town in Madhya Pradesh, whose weaving tradition is very famous. The weaving community became associated with a recent event, by supplying something that was used in large numbers during the event, usually in groups of three. The design was by Mohammad Furqan, using a software application meant for creating weaving patterns.

What event and what was supplied?

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Nov 2, 2010

Q.33

A Cheteshwar Pujara double:

1. Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara (who made his debut during the Bangalore Test match), who was the other player from Saurashtra in the Indian Test Cricket squad during the recent India-Australia series?

2. In his second attempt, Pujara scored 72 against Australia in his debut Test. In the process, he became the 2nd highest scorer for India ever in the 4th innings of a debut Test. The man above him in the list is also India's only centurion in that situation. He was then India's youngest ever centurion too, and manager of the Indian squad for the '92 World Cup. Who?

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Nov 1, 2010

Q.32

Kinect is a product that was spearheaded by Alex Kipman, Director for Incubation at Microsoft. It will be launched in November 2010. Kipman is from Brazil, and so the codename of the project was a tribute to the capital of the north-eastern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte. Which city or what codename?

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