Jun 30, 2011


At the Championships at Wimbledon this year, Venus Williams played the veteran Japanese tennis player Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round. The match was won by Williams and turned out to be a minor classic; the tense encounter ended 6-7, 6-3, 8-6 for the American.

In some sections of the media, the match was, rather uncharitably, dubbed the "Zimmer frame special". What is a Zimmer frame and why was it applied to this match?

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Jun 29, 2011


A new "supergroup". Shares their name with a section of the periodic table where atomic numbers are in three digits. Their first album comes out in September this year.

What's the name?

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Jun 28, 2011


Only a few guitarists have been done the honour of having a Fender Signature Guitar Series named after them (the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, and Eddie Van Halen are in this list). Recently, this Bollywood music composer and expert guitarist joined the pack, with a Fender Squier Signature Series Electric Guitar being created in his name.


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Jun 27, 2011


Lawrence Rowe, a former West Indian batsman, recently had a stand named after him at the cricket stadium of Sabina Park (Kingston, Jamaica) where the first Test between West Indies and India in this year's series was held. Rowe had made one of the most sensational Test debuts of all time, smashing both a hundred and a double hundred in his first match at the same ground.

However, his career didn't flourish much and one of the reasons was both medical and unusual: he had an allergy to something. This same allergy is suffered by footballer Mario Balotelli (currently at Manchester City football club), which caused him to miss a few games earlier this year.

Metaphorically, one could say that former tennis no. 1 Ivan Lendl also suffered from this ailment.

What are Rowe and Balotelli allergic to?

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Jun 26, 2011


The soon-to-be-released Zoya Akhtar film "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" seems to be making several locations and events in Spain popular in India. Scenes involving one such annual event have come in for criticism by the animal rights group PETA.

The event is the "Running of the Bulls" in which bulls are made to run through the streets of a city into a bull ring. Along the way, they are harassed by onlookers (who often get hurt in the process) and many die in the arena at the end. PETA has raised a petition asking the producers of the film to not include these scenes in the film.

Which city in Spain does this event take place in?

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Jun 25, 2011


Premier Leagues for sports in India have become the fashion in the last few years, beginning with hockey, then cricket, and now other sports (see this earlier IZ question on another sport here). The latest entrant was held in June this year in Vijayawada. The organisers claim this is the first time this sport was being played on a synthetic surface indoors and under lights.

The eight team league was won by the Hyderabad Horses who beat the Haridwar Hunters by a score of 31-20. The team of "Dr. Anand" Ongole Bulls finished third. The remaining teams were called Delhi Dashers, Rajasthan Riders, Lanco Lions, Krishna Kings, and Chennai Cheetahs.

So once again, which sport?

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Jun 24, 2011


The 2011 Stanley Cup (the prize for winning the National Hockey League in North America) was won by the Boston Bruins team. It took them all seven games to beat the other finalists the Canucks.

The last was a home game for the Canucks and their defeat was taken badly by some. Rioting began as the game's result was no longer in doubt and spread, resulting in hundreds of injuries and a death, as well as episodes of looting. (In response, the next day, several horrified volunteers - using social media channels to organise themselves - came out on the streets trying to clean up both the city and its self-image.)

Which city did these incidents take place?

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Jun 23, 2011


The most recent species to be discovered is a type of nematode (i.e. roundworms), and was discovered by two geoscientists (Borgonie and Onstott) earlier this year. It was detected in ore from deep within gold mines in South Africa.

Reportedly, these are the deepest living multicellular organisms found so far. Onstott remarked that "they look like black little swirly things" and that "it scared the life out of me when I first saw them moving.". Due to these reasons, the organism is named after this mythical German demonic character who prominently appears in the story of Dr. Faust.

Which character?

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Jun 22, 2011


Nintendo recently announced its newest game console product, which also succeeds the Nintendo Wii. Apparently, the new console is meant to expand the Wii's appeal to the more traditional (and 'hard core') gamer (the original Wii was primarily intended for the casual gamer).

The name of this new product adds a single letter to "Wii", thus extending the concept behind the name of the "Wii". What's the new name?

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Jun 21, 2011


A prototype for this artifact, intended for the 2012 London Olympics, was recently unveiled by British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. As is usually the case with such things, the design has received a mixed reception. This object is made of aluminium and has a gold finish. Significantly, it has 8000 holes.

This has led to several jokes about this thing looking like a giant cheese grater, a cigarette holder, an ash tray, a "bling" wastepaper bin, an ice cream cone and so on.

What object?

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Jun 20, 2011


Gary Shteyngart has become the first American author to win a British literary prize for comic fiction for his novel "Super Sad True Love Story". Since only the announcement has been made and the actual ceremony is yet to be held, the picture accompanying this question shows last year's winner, the author Ian McEwan.

He is seen here with his prizes: a bottle of champagne by Bollinger (a wine company that organizes the award) and the complete set of works by the author in whose memory the award is instituted. There is also a Gloucester Old Spot pig which is named "Solar" after the prize-winning McEwan book. Hence, this year, a pig will be named "Super Sad True Love Story".

After which author is this award named?

Image: Bollinger

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This question originally appeared in a quiz I did at Nihilanth 2011

Jun 19, 2011


Earlier this year, to what has the Australian government proposed the following changes be made mandatory:

  • No logos, no additional text, no attractive images
  • Brand name to be printed in a small font (same for all brands)
  • Olive Green coloured packaging (apparently olive green is the least appealing of colours)

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Jun 18, 2011


German basketballer Dirk Nowitzki recently led the Dallas Mavericks to their first ever NBA Championships (beating Miami Heat) and was also voted the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

One of Nowitzki's nicknames is "Diggler", which he gets from a character in a 1997 film by Wes Paul Thomas Anderson. The character, played by Mark Wahlberg, takes on the screen name of "Dirk Diggler" after becoming a star in a certain (unbecoming) genre of movies.

What's this film?

Image: Wikipedia

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Jun 17, 2011


This advertisement for Cadbury's "Bliss" range of Dairy Milk chocolates ran into hot water after the supermodel mentioned in the ad threatened to sue Cadbury as she found it "upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me but for all black women and black people".

Cadbury has issued an apology and has withdrawn the ad. Who's the 'diva' supermodel?

Image: Gawker

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Jun 16, 2011


Publisher David Davidar (who was with Penguin Books until a scandal forced his resignation) has recently launched a new publishing company along with Rupa Publications India. (The image above shows the logo of the new company.)

The name of this company is the first letter of the alphabet in ancient scripts (Canaanite and later Phoenician) and is said to have come from an ancient word for "ox". Eventually, it influenced the corresponding alphabets in languages such as Greek and Arabic.

What is this word?

Image: The publisher's Facebook page

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Jun 15, 2011


The tiny Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu has lately been involved in a diplomatic controversy. A territory in the former Soviet nation of Georgia had declared its independence in the 90s which is not recognized by Georgia and most countries in the world. Only Russia (which is deeply opposed to Georgia), Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru recognize this region as an independent state.

Recently, this "country" claimed that Vanuatu had also joined these four countries in formally accepting its independence and sovereignty, which was later denied by some Vanuatu officials.

So which territory is this?

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Jun 14, 2011


Little Cumbrae is the smaller of the two Cumbrae islands in Scotland. Thanks to a rocky terrain, it is sparsely inhabited and has seen a few changes in ownership. In 2009, the Poddars, a Scottish-Indian couple bought it with a view to using it as an international base to promote something. There were some rumours that the island would be renamed to "Peace Island".

Thanks to their affiliation with an organization, newspaper reports often incorrectly say Little Cumbrae is owned by someone. Who?

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Jun 13, 2011


The Webbies are an annual set of awards in various categories related to the Internet. The organizers recently announced the Webby Special Achievement Awards (as part of the 15th annual Webby Awards) which has categories such as Artist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and so on.

The choice of Webby Person of the Year is rather unusual and is somewhat similar to the choice of the TIME Man of the Year for 1982. Who has been chosen?

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Jun 12, 2011


This international organization boasts of over two hundred members (who represent various countries and territories). It is registered as a charity in Switzerland – this enables it to be exempt from paying tax there. Faced with certain issues, it has set up a "solutions committee" whose members include the likes of former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger and the opera tenor Placido Domingo.

Which organization?

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Jun 11, 2011


Copenhagen Suborbitals is a Denmark-based organisation attempting to be the first amateur group to achieve manned spaceflight. Towards that end, they recently (and successfully) launched an unmanned rocket.

The rocket is named "Heat-1X" and is also named for a famous Danish scientist; this scientist is known for having a nose for the bizarre.

Which scientist?

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Jun 10, 2011


This is the logo of a football club that became the first team from its country to qualify for the Barclays (English) Premier League (the top division league in England), for the 2011-12 season.

Which club?

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Jun 9, 2011


Until recently, The Philippines, the Vatican City, and this European country were the only three in the world to not have legislation permitting divorce (not surprisingly, all of them are of a Roman Catholic disposition).

In a referendum held recently, citizens of the third country have voted in favour of legalising divorce. Which country?

Image: The BBC

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Jun 8, 2011


This was relocated to a new government complex in the Omandarur Estate (off Anna Salai) in Madras in 2010. But with the recent change in administration, unsurprisingly and controversially, the new AIADMK government has decided to revert to the old location, which is also the first British fort in India.

Which is this location, and what is shifting back?

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Jun 7, 2011


It was initially launched in Brazil, but it was a South Asian nation that made it what it is. An Indonesian version may also be on the cards, while the first ever Indian version is due to become public in the middle of June 2011. Leslie Lewis seems to have taken on the role played by Rohail Hyatt.

What media property is this?

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Jun 6, 2011


This book is based on several corporate workshops conducted by the authors on the subject of teaching management lessons using examples from sports. The authors are married to each other and even went to the same B-school (IIM-A).

With a foreword by Mukesh Ambani and a "last word" by Rahul Dravid, identify the author-husband.

Image: Sify

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Jun 5, 2011


At one point in his life, Ram Sampath was dubbed the "next A. R. Rahman", because like Rahman, he was a prodigious composer of popular ad jingles from a young age. However his brief forays into the Hindi film industry have not yielded the same success. He became involved in a plagiarism suit against the Roshans when he successfully sued them for lifting two songs in "Krazzy 4" from his Sony Ericsson cellphone ad.

However, his fortunes seem to be turning thanks to his most recent film album, particularly for a song that he’s sung to the lyrics of Amitabh Bhattacharya.

Which movie, whose title has often been used in relation to touring English cricket teams in the 90s?

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Jun 4, 2011


Before resigning as Minister of Railways to become CM of West Bengal, one of Mamata Banerjee’s last engagements was to flag off "Rail Bandhu", something that will be available for free on the Durontos (a/c coaches only), Rajdhanis and Shatabdis. What is a "Rail Bandhu?

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Jun 3, 2011


A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2003, this poet and film lyricist won his sixth National Film Award for Best Lyrics this year (a record) for the Tamil film "Thenmerku Paruvakaatru". Incidentally, the title of the film shares its name with a song from a 1994 Tamil film "Karuthamma", a film for which he won his third National Award.

So who is this?

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Jun 2, 2011


A British-Malaysian of Chinese descent, his last name is actually a one-letter misspelling of his family name. He came into prominence in the late 80s thanks to a feature by Vogue magazine and an association with Princess Diana. He co-founded a fashion company but sold his stake after falling out with some of the others.

This company, which is still named after him, was recently sold to luxury goods maker "Labelux". Who?

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Jun 1, 2011


The American author Philip Roth recently won the Man Booker International Prize for 2011. This was a controversial choice with one of the three judges withdrawing in protest over the choice of his name. Past winners are Ismail Kadare (Albania), Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), and Alice Munro (Canada).

This prize is different from the better-known (and older) Man Booker Prize for several reasons. It is not awarded for a single book, but awarded for an author's achievements in fiction. It is awarded once every two years and not every year.

There is one more significant distinction between the two, with respect to nationality of eligible authors. What?

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