Mar 31, 2011


His name was Ravinder Kapoor, but most people knew his nickname better, because that's how he was credited in the films. He began acting in theatre, even appearing with then unheralded Amitabh Bachchan in a play. He was to act with Amitabh in films like Agneepath, and wasn't averse to spoofing his villainy in films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.

Which actor, who passed away recently?

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Mar 30, 2011


This company has returned to this sport after a couple of decades and plan to introduce an interesting colour code. During regular weather, the colours will be red (super-soft) and yellow (soft). White for medium and silver for hard. When there is rain, you'll see orange and light blue when it's mixed.

Which company and what will be marked thus?

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Q.181 India-Pakistan Oldie Special

A India-Pakistan World Cup question, to mark the day (yes, even the blog has succumbed to the mania). Sachin Tendulkar is obviously the only member of the 1992 Indian World Cup playing squad (when the two sides met for the first time). Expanding the definition of "squad" to include coaches and managers, who is the only person in the current Pakistani side to have been part of the 1992 tournament?

(this is one of those questions where I am only 90% sure of being right. Write in if you find any flaws.)

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Mar 29, 2011


This auto-maker's logo has changed drastically over the last hundred-odd years. First, the logo was a wheel with lime leaves that was said to represent Slavic nations. In the late twenties came the Indian headdress motif that has been constant till this day. To mark twenty years of association with VW, the lead colour black has given way to green (for the environment) surrounded by a blue ring (for the VW group).

Which car maker? (image courtesy: IN Auto News)

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Mar 28, 2011


They completed five years recently. In a blog post to mark the occasion, one of their teams spoke about what they called "The Great Migration, the Winter of 2011". This is a reference to how they made several significant changes to their systems (without affecting their users) in order to prevent sightings of a certain non-bird.

Who are they and what did they not want people to see?

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Mar 27, 2011


This 1964 children's classic book was made into a popular film featuring Dick Van Dyke in 1968. The book was inspired from a bedtime story the author made up for his son. It featured a "Paragon Panther".

The family of the original author have authorised writer Frank Cottrell Boyce to write a sequel, the first in a series of three. This time, it will feature a Volkswagen van. What book?

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Mar 26, 2011


Apart from a career as an actor, he's a keen musician and banjo player. His first few albums were comedy pieces but also included some instrumentals. 2009's The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo was his first ever full music album, and even won a Grammy (for Best Bluegrass Album).

He recently released his latest album, also ornithologically titled, called "Rare Bird Alert". Who is this comedian?

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Mar 25, 2011


2010:Suman Sridhar:Kalki Koechlin:Imran Khan
1973:Mohammad Rafi:Priya Rajvansh:?
Identify both the missing person and the connection between these two sets.

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Mar 24, 2011


This instrument system typically consists of a pressure sensor that is fixed and a 'companion' with which the sensor communicates. The companion can then pass on the message to a satellite. The sensor could also relay information using high-speed cables. The DART system had the first major installation of these instruments. India is supposed to have 18 of these, but acts of vandalism over the last few years have resulted in only three of them being fully functional.


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Mar 23, 2011


This Google Doodle seen in India on the 14th of March commemorates the 80th anniversary of India's first ever talkie, the film "Alam Ara". The doodle shows the leading pair of the film, the 'hero' being Master Vitthal. What is the name of the heroine, who coincidentally shares her name with another actress by the same name (who has a fictional biopic based on her)?

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Mar 22, 2011


Orange is an important colour for this product, with the website of this Indian product even sporting a orange background (from a long time). In addition, its popular mascot has usually had a orange body complexion. How did the orange connection get strengthened even further in recent times?

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Mar 21, 2011


This was a popular weekly column in the New York Times Magazine which discussed etymology, particularly of words in the news, the usage of words and grammar, and other related topics. It began in 1979 and was written by columnist William Safire. After his passing away in 2009, the mantle passed to the linguist Ben Zimmer.

The column breathed its last in Feb 2011, thanks to a change in editorship of the magazine. This has resulted in lots of protests by its loyal readers, and has resulted in the inevitable Facebook campaign to bring it back. The new editor has now indicated that there may be plans to revive the column in the future.

So what is the (simple) name of this column?

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Mar 20, 2011


This Chinook military helicopter is about to leave on a 'bombing' run of sorts and was part of a set of four used for this purpose. What is the helicopter carrying?

Image source: Bloomberg and Asahi Shimbun

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Mar 19, 2011


This writer is best known for her "faction" books and her bibliography is as follows:

1. "___ Story:the true account of a rape and its aftermath" (1998)
2. "Bitter Chocolate: child sexual abuse in India" (2000)
3. "Once was Bombay" (1999)
4. "Deaf Heaven" (2009)

Her first book was back in the news this year. Who is this, or what's the missing blank?

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Mar 18, 2011


On 5th of March this year, a team consisting of people from National Geographic, scientists, engineers, and a couple of balloon pilots launched something using about 300 weather balloons near Los Angeles. This flew for an hour, reaching a height of 10,000 feet, and thus set a new world record for the "largest balloon cluster flight". This was done as part of a new NG show called "How Hard Can It Be?" (probably not such a great title)

What was chosen to be lifted by these balloons, and why?

(Question inspired by this Telegraph article)

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Mar 17, 2011


Alberto Granado, who died in March this year, was an Argentinian (later Cuban) doctor and writer. He is best known for a 1952 trip (and a book he wrote about it) that began in Argentina and traversed several countries in South America. Given what became of his companion (for whom the trip was a formative experience), the book later became an important reference for films on the trip.

So who was his companion on this trip?

Question courtesy Harsh Nene

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Mar 16, 2011


This year's edition of this annual event was marked in many places around the world by a "Join me on the Bridge Campaign". Meetings were organised on bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge (in New York), the Golden Gate Bridge (in San Francisco) and the Millennium Bridge (in London).

This was in response to the slogan 'Stronger ____ Build Bridges of Peace'. Which event?

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Mar 15, 2011


Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has recently joined this list. This list also contains a predecessor of his from the 90s, as well as Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sheikh Zayed of the UAE is another. What list?

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Mar 14, 2011


Mazda, the Japanese automobile manufacturer, recently recalled over fifty thousand cars from its 2009-10 Mazda 6 model. The company found that certain (natural) intrusions in a vent line could eventually cause cracks in the fuel tank. As mitigation, the company is working on ways to prevent such intrusions.

What kind of intrusions, commonly seen in houses and removed by simple cleaning, was at fault?

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Mar 13, 2011


This Amul advertisement appeared in January this year. The subject is a media campaign by the Hindustan Times newspaper on Jan 29 in Mumbai. What was to be avoided that day?

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Image: Amul

Mar 12, 2011


His was the last talk at the recent TED Conference. Technically it was his wife Chaz, his friends John Hunter and Dean Ornish, and "Alex" who spoke. The talk began with a clip of the computer HAL from the film "2001: A Space Odyssey". The talk ended with a joke by "Alex" (just to see if "he" could get some laughs), as follows:
A guy goes to a psychiatrist, who tells him, 'You’re crazy.'
He says, 'I want a second opinion.'
'You’re ugly.'

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Mar 11, 2011


Reportedly Broadway's most expensive musical, "Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark" is an ambitious theatrical adaptation for the stage, involving a lot of technical gizmos. It has been plagued by accidents as well as scathing previews, and its opening has been postponed several times (it is finally scheduled to open on 15th March).

The music and lyrics are by two very influential rock stars. According to the New York Post (via Wikipedia), once when musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber joked "I’d like to thank rock musicians for leaving me alone for 25 years – I’ve had the theater all to myself", they "decided to give Andrew a little competition" and began work on this.

Who are these two gentlemen?

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Mar 10, 2011


The bank Credit Suisse has an ad campaign featuring this sporting star, the tagline of which is "Helping __ __ Relax Since 1981." (A new photo series in this campaign was launched recently). According to them, the star's parents Robbie and Lynette opened a savings account with them (or rather, their predecessors) a few weeks after his birth.

So who is in this campaign?

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Mar 9, 2011


Why are these scientific publications of recent interest?
Hurley, I; Hershlag, N; Woodward, J (October 1998). "A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar". Journal of Chemical Education 75 (10): 1270.

Baird, AA; Kagan, J; Gaudette, T; Walz, KA; Hershlag, N; Boas, DA (August 2002). "Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy". NeuroImage 16 (4): 1120–6. doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1170. PMID 12202098.

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Mar 8, 2011


By now, most readers of this blog would have learned of the passing away of Anant "Uncle" Pai, creator of the Amar Chitra Katha series and the Tinkle comics, and someone that Indian quizzers fondly remember for making history and culture worth reading about.

Recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at India's first ever Comics Convention, Anant Pai was working with ACK media who now publish the Amar Chitra Katha books. Apart from "Editor Emeritus", what was 'Uncle' Pai's other designation at the company?

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Mar 7, 2011


Ofcom is the independent regulator for the communications industry in the UK, which also includes TV programmes. Recently, Ofcom removed certain restrictions related to TV programmes, but also issued a set of guidelines to regulate the use of something.

So now, if a TV programme shows this "P" sign at the beginning and end of the show, what will it indicate the show contains?

(Image: Ofcom)

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Mar 6, 2011


Iran has made an official complaint to the International Olympic Committee, claiming that something related to the upcoming London Olympics (in 2012) is part of a Israeli conspiracy. They have even threatened to ensure Israeli athletes pull out of these Olympics.

So what are the Iranians complaining about?

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Mar 5, 2011


Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee recently released a commemorative Rs. 150/- coin to mark 150 years of the establishment of the Income Tax Department of India. The coin (seen in the image) features the outline of a person, and a honeybee sitting on a lotus. The choice of these symbols is because this person opined that the process of taxation shouldn't be painful for the taxed, and that governments should collect taxes like a bee, sucking just the right amount of honey from the flower allowing both to flourish.

Who was this person? (The name of his most famous work can be translated into English as "Economics".)

Image: The Telegraph

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Mar 4, 2011


This trophy is contested for by only two countries. A annual event, it has seen 7 such contests, beginning in Dec 2004. Usually the series consists of 3 to 5 matches, but this year's contest saw just one match. Unusually, the contest was also part of a larger unrelated event.

What trophy and which countries?

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Mar 3, 2011


The phrases "a civil union" and "a domestic partnership" have been added to a well-known list of options. The list already has 9 other options. This updated list is only available in countries such as the US, Australia, France, U.K. and Canada.

What list?

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Mar 2, 2011


According to their Facebook page, the first part of the name "stands for an independent [...] team that will go ahead to win a billion hearts". The second part "stands for an elite fighting squad, renown for attacking with speed, stealth and deadly power".

Later, perhaps to address certain criticisms, a third part to the name was also announced. What is the name?

Update (18 Mar 2011)
A follow-up to this question: after these protests, the name has once again changed, and incorporates one of the key symbols of Kerala. What's the new name now?

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Mar 1, 2011


On 18th February this year, airports around India were decorated and lit up, to mark hundred years of civil/commercial aviation in India, which began with a flight in 1911. What exactly was the purpose of this flight, to Naini from Allahabad?

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