Jul 31, 2011

Q.304

This is the latest (also successful) test-firing of an Indian missile. It is a short range missile (in the same category as the likes of the Prithvi missile) and has been indigenously developed by the DRDO, and is part of the Indian Army's "Cold Start" doctrine.

The name of this missile means "to strike" in Hindi, and is also known as the name of a 1991 Hindi film featuring army life, the directorial debut of a noted actor. What name?

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Jul 30, 2011

Q.303

Some would say she sprung to attention out of nowhere. Others have ironically congratulated her parents for naming her "Wenge" after China's notorious "Cultural Revolution". Some more have even invoked the memory of such things as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Tiger Mom" to called her a "Tiger Wife".

Who?

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Jul 29, 2011

Q.302

"The __s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll" is a book written by Eric Segalstad and illustrated by Josh Hunter. This is a visual guide through the lives of a certain select group of musicians with something in common. Recent events may probably mean that an update to the book is inevitable.

The blank is a number. What number?

Image: the book's website

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Jul 28, 2011

Q.301

This is an image from a match in the recently concluded Copa America football tournament. You see the referee holding something. This is a recent innovation that has been used in South American football for the last couple of years and was introduced to such an international tournament for the first time.

It was invented by the Argentinian player-turned-businessman Pablo Silva who has a company called "9.15 Fair Play Limit" that produces it. Some reports claim that since its introduction, the number of goals in matches has gone up.

What does the referee usually use it for?

Image: Yahoo! and Getty Images

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Jul 27, 2011

300 - THIS IS, well, Infinite Zounds!

We'll leave the shouting to the Spartans, but today is the 300th question on Infinite Zounds. If you're reading this, many thanks for doing so.

If you've liked most of the questions and would like to tell your friends about this blog, please consider "liking" us on Facebook (below or on the right) or on Google Reader or re-tweeting this on Twitter. As ever, your feedback is welcome - please write in at infinitezounds - at - gmail - dot - com. if you have anything to comment on.


Q.300

This newly elected government has been pondering over a nominal modification in its state. One motivation put forth for making this change is that usually, at the conclusion of any national seminar, there are very few people left to hear representatives of this state.

Others would argue that the change is long overdue as the current name ceased to remain relevant from 1971.

Which state and what name change?

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Jul 26, 2011

Q.299

He often made films based on literary works. From some of these works, identify this director who adapted them into movies in his own unique way:
  • 'Ashadh ka Ek Din' - a play by Mohan Rakesh
  • 'Duvidha' - a play by Vijaydan Detha
  • 'The Idiot' - a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • 'A Gentle Creature' - a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Jul 25, 2011

Q.298

"Quadriga" is a German prize awarded since 2003. Each year, it is awarded to four leading personalities (or projects) "for their commitment to innovation, renewal, and a pioneering spirit through political, economic, and cultural activities." (source: Wikipedia). The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin has a four-horsed chariot on top of it - such chariots are called quadrigas.

Past winners include the likes of Tim Berners-Lee, Hamid Karzai, the magazine Der Spiegel, and even Wikipedia. Three of this year's awardees were Salam Fayyad (the Palestinian PM), Betul Durmaz (a German author), and Patricia Espinosa (Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs). The fourth name plunged the whole thing into controversy. Former winners Vaclav Havel and Jimmy Wales threatened to return their award. Some board members of the non-profit that gives the prized protested and resigned. Eventually, the award for 2011 has been cancelled.

Who is this controversial figure, who is currently serving as the Prime Minister of a European country?

Image: Wikipedia

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Jul 24, 2011

Q.297

In the Ramayana, it is the third segment of the epic and one that is pivotal to the story as it deals with the experiences of the exiled trio in the forest (as indicated by the name) and the eventual abduction of Sita.

The same name has been used by a recent Tamil film, a complex tale set in the underworld of Madras. It ran into trouble with the censors (the film even features Jackie Shroff in the buff) ; after its release, it has gained much acclaim.

What's the name?

Image: Wikipedia


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Jul 23, 2011

Q.296

This South American country formally achieved independence on July 5th, 1811, and thus has been celebrating two hundred years of that momentous event for the last one year. Google also commemmorated the event on July 5th this year with a special doodle for users from that country.

The flower in the middle is a type of orchid known locally as the "Flor de Mayo" ; it is the country's national flower.

Which is this country, whose name literally means "Little Venice" and whose football team seems to have got into the act by taking them to their best ever performance in an international tournament by making it to the semis of the Copa America?

Image: Google

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Jul 22, 2011

Q.295

She was Elizabeth Ann Bloomer by birth, but she is better known by her nickname and her (second) husband's surname. Her candour, especially in openly discussing her personal problems, distinguished her from most of her predecessors (this was not an elected post, by the way, and neither was her husband elected to the post he held).

She admitted to being addicted to alchohol and prescription drugs and successfully recovered from them. In response, she co-founded a clinic (which continues to be in her name).

Who is this lady, who passed away in July this year?

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Jul 21, 2011

Q.294

Bonnie Wright, Devon Murray, Alan Rickman, Geraldine Somerville, Joshua Herdman, James and Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, and Warwick Davis are among the very few to be involved in all editions. There are at least three more.

What are we talking about? (and yes, some of you can show off by naming the other three, and telling us if there are any more.)

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Jul 20, 2011

Q.293

This is a screenshot of a search on Google Trends for a specific keyword. For those not familiar with such a trend graph, this image shows the amount of Google searches (and the amount of news coverage) for the keyword over time. You will notice that there was a highly significant spike of searches for this keyword in June 2011 - in fact, the peak (indicated by "A") was on June 9th.

This search term consists of two words and was related to a person called Lester Polsfuss. What term and why the unusual spike?

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Jul 19, 2011

Q.292

"Foreign Policy", an American magazine, along with "The Fund for Peace" (an American research group) publishes an annual index which ranks countries on twelve factors comprising various social, economic, and political dimensions. Usually, countries would not want to be ranked high on this list.

This year's list came out in June and its top ten has seven African countries; Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq make up the rest. Somalia is the unfortunate #1. India ranks #76 (while Pakistan is #12). Expectedly, Scandinavian countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark) and Switzerland are at the very bottom.

Such high ranking countries are described by a two-word geopolitical phrase that indicates the inability of their governments to govern effectively. This is also the name of the Index. What term?

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Jul 18, 2011

Q.291

This is a map depicting something. Each marked unit shows a date and points to an associated place.

The latest addition to this map (shown in red) is Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the associated date will be 2018. This addition was announced in early July this year.

So what is this a map of? (clue: see the geographic spread of the locations)

Image: The Full Wiki

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Jul 17, 2011

Q.290

This is a billboard which was opened in the Phillipines in July and was created by Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Federation. As seen in the image, it makes the claim that "this billboard absorbs air pollution".

How?

Image: Forbes.com

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Jul 16, 2011

Q.289

This is Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Hamid Karzai, the current President of Afghanistan. A controversial political figure in the area of Kandahar, he was assassinated on 12 July this year.

What aspect of his assassination is common to the killing of other leaders such as:

  • Laurent Kabila (President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; killed in 2001)
  • Carlos Castillo Armas (President of Guatemala; killed in 1957)
  • Indira Gandhi (PM of India; killed in 1984)

Image: Wikipedia

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Jul 15, 2011

Q.288

What 168 year old bowed out of public life in England on Sunday, July 10, 2011 amidst controversial circumstances? While doing so, it even quoted from an essay of English writer George Orwell (supposedly endorsing it) and Jeanne Hobson, a lady from Hampshire (supposedly a long time fan).

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Jul 14, 2011

Q.287

2011 is turning out to be an even more eventful year for this in-demand English actor. In May, he released his first album "Let Them Talk" in which he sings well-known blues songs (such as "St James' Infirmary" ), while also performing on the guitar and piano.

Then, in July, he was added to L'Oreal's list of celebrity male brand ambassadors, endorsing their beauty products. He was described as "the perfect example of a modern man: genuine, uninhibited, strong and willing to pursue his passions to the end."

Which actor?

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Jul 13, 2011

Q.286

"Hugo" is the name of director Martin Scorsese's next film and is based on the award-winning book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by American author Brian Selznick. Due for release later this year, it is a fantasy adventure about an twelve-year old orphan in Paris.

The book, in turn, is partly about the French filmmaker and magician Georges Méliès, who invented several film special effects and made some of the earliest science fiction movies.

"A Trip to the Moon" (1902) is perhaps his best known work, and features a famous scene in which a spaceship on its way to the moon runs into something on the moon. What?

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Jul 12, 2011

Q.285

A slightly different format for a question this time. The rock group "Coldplay" recently released a single and the use of colour is a prominent theme in both the accompanying music video and on the album art.

This image (one of the album covers) shows the name of this single. Two words are highlighted - but instead of the original words, you see their anagrams. Figure out the name of the single by working out what these words are. (There's a little but obvious hint in the image that you can use.)

Image: Wikipedia

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Jul 11, 2011

Q.284

In his final years, whose active projects involved the following themes?
  • A history of Indian civilization
  • A history of Arab civilization
  • 100 years of Indian cinema

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Jul 10, 2011

Q.283

"Monty Python's Life of Brian" was a funny and irreverent movie about a man named Brian, who had the misfortune of being born next-door to Jesus Christ, leading to tragicomic consequences. The 1979 film by the Monty Python team was the subject of huge controversy in Britain at the time of its release, with church representatives taking offence to many naughty bits in the movie.

These events are now the subject of a new BBC television programme called "Holy Flying Circus". It won't feature any of the original Pythons, but God will be played by someone who belongs to the great Pythonic traditions of comedy. He posted this picture (of him in costume) on Twitter.

Who will be playing God here?

Image: Twitter and Metro

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Jul 9, 2011

Q.282

Irrespective of whether this refers to the male or the female title, the phrase remains "Son Altesse Sérénissime". On the female side, two of the last few members to acquire this title have been actresses.

What was the previous profession of the latest addition to this set of people?

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Jul 8, 2011

Q.281

While the first version (in May 2010) consisted of Challenger 1 (US), MS Eleftheri Mesogios (Greece), Sfendoni(Greece), MV Mavi Marmara (Comoros), Gazze(Turkey), and Defne Y(Kiribati), the second version (July 2011) consists of:

  • Dignité - Al Karama (France)
  • Eleftheri Mesogeios (Greece, Sweden, Norway)
  • Gernika (Spain)
  • Juliano (Greece, Sweden)
  • Louise Michel (France)
  • Stefano Chiarini (Italy)
  • Tahrir (Canada)
  • The Audacity of Hope (United States)
What two word phrase connects these two?

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Jul 7, 2011

Q.280

This activity (or rather an absence of one) consists of being photographed while lying prone in a less than common location; hence it has been dubbed "lazy parkour" ("parkour" being the intense free running sport). These photos invariably make their way to the Internet, which has fuelled this viral craze. It is said to have been invented by two Britishers in the late 90s, and has since spread to much of the Western world.

Its best known name originated in Australia, which was also the site of its first known casualty (in May 2011). A man fell to his death attempting the fad on a 7th floor balcony, prompting all manner of health advisories to be issued by top officials.

What's this best known as ?

Image: Wikipedia

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Jul 6, 2011

Q.279

This political strongman from the Muzzafarnagar district of UP passed away in May this year. Apart from being the president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (which he created), he was also the "chaudhury" of a khap panchayat. Not surprisingly, his political and social views were at odds with more urban and mainstream thought.

In the late 80s, he shot to prominence for a series of high-profile agitations on farmer issues; the most famous being held at Meerut and a sit-in at the Delhi Boat Club, with a large force of unrelenting farmers.

Who was this politician?

Image: Jatland.com :-)

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Jul 5, 2011

Q.278

The international association (established in 2007) for this "sport", along with some of its leading exponents, has made a petition to the International Olympic Council earlier this year asking for this discipline to become a test event at the 2012 London Olympics. They hope this might pave the way for it to become a full-fledged Olympic sport by 2016. (National championships for the sport have already been held in countries like the US, and a couple of international events have also been held.)

The petition states that "like the horizontal bar (in gymnastics), the vertical bar should have a place in international sport."

What "sport"?

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Jul 4, 2011

Q.277

Bob Christo, who passed away in March earlier this year, had managed to complete his biography before his demise. The Australian civil engineer had turned to Bollywood after a chance encounter with Bolly-folk.

The book is called "Flashback: My Life And Times In Bollywood And Beyond" and was released in Bangalore in June. Today's question is: which Hindi film actor wrote a foreword for the book (an apt choice)?

Image: Flipkart

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Jul 3, 2011

Q.276

The artist Albert Bierstadt was born in Germany and later moved to the US. He became famous for his landscapes. His painting "Emerald Sea" (also known as "The Shore of the Turquoise Sea") which shows a giant wave about to crash down on the shore and nearby ships is the subject of this question.

This painting is seen on a mural on the wall of a floor in a company building; this was the secretive location of a new project by that company. "Emerald Sea" also became the code-name for that project, referring to its critical "sail or drown" nature.

What project?

Image: AlbertBierstadt.org

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Jul 2, 2011

Q.275

As anyone who has the fortune (or otherwise) of watching his earlier movies such as "Days of Heaven" or "The Thin Red Line", writer-director Terence Malik's fare does not usually resonate with mainstream audiences and often polarises critics and viewers alike.

His latest film (about such weighty topics as the creation of the earth) won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes International Film Festival. Like his other films (he has directed only six so far), it is exquisitely shot and has an interesting cast of performers, but its narrative and plot are hard to grasp. In fact, it led to a theatre in Stamford, Connecticut (in the US) putting out this unusual letter to its patrons: Which film?

(Image: Film School Rejects blog

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Jul 1, 2011

Q.274

As part of the marketing for a 3D film releasing in July this year, buildings in the Spanish town of Juzcar were recently painted blue. Residents dressed up in costumes based on the characters of the comics upon which the film is based.

The series was originally created in French by Belgian cartoonist Peyo in 1958 and later became popular in Europe and America.

Which comic series?

Images: Reuters

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