Aug 31, 2011


The recent addition to the "Spy Kids" franchise is "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World". It's also billed as a "4D" film, meaning it is not only available in theatres in 3-D, but it also has another dimension of effects. To experience this effect, viewers need to use a set of cards at appropriate times during the film.

This effect is not new to films - variants of this have been tried as far back as the 1960s. But this has never really taken off and has remained an unnecessary innovation at best.

What effect is this?

Image: Wikipedia

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Aug 30, 2011


This is a series of books. The 9th is the latest in the series. Each book has a name common to its title. The name is followed by a word. The following are clues to the nine words, one per title. Today's question is: what is this series, and what is the latest (ninth) title?
  1. (The first title) One meaning of this word is what 1 is in multiplication or what 0 is in addition.
  2. The second word is why kings used to perform the Ashwamedha or Rajasuya Yagna - to prove their "___" over other kings.
  3. The third title is what political parties often give each other and it comes with a deadline.
  4. The fourth is what famous people want to leave behind (no, not an old computer system).
  5. The fifth is what double agents often do to their parent country.
  6. The sixth is what the United Nations often imposes on countries that are naughty.
  7. The seventh is what a good spinner (especially one who can't spin the ball) should have in his kitty.
  8. The format that KBC and most competitive exams have in common.
  9. (this is the latest title) What India was between 1947 to 1950.

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Aug 29, 2011


Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia decided to draw the curtains on his international soccer career in August this year, after a fairly illustrious outing in Indian colours. What milestone, the only Indian player so far to achieve this, did he reach in a match against Kyrgyzstan in 2009 (during the Nehru Cup)?

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Aug 28, 2011


'Hurricane Irene' struck the East Coast of the USA and the West Indies in August this year causing widespread damage. One more casualty was the postponement of a ceromony to mark the opening of a new American memorial.

This memorial has been built in the West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C, and is in honour of someone. The centrepiece is a 30-foot tall statue of that person and is named the "Stone of Hope". To get to it, you have to walk past the "Mountain of Despair" (two pieces of granite).

A ceremony to mark the opening of the monument was to be held on 28th Aug (on the 48th anniversary of a famous event involving the person at a nearby site). This has now been postponed.

Which person?

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Aug 27, 2011


The previous holder of this title died in June this year, after a tussle with his arch-rival. The replacement, the second ever to hold this title, is half-Hispanic and half-black. His name is Miles Morales (just like his predecessor, he has an alliterative name).

What title?

Image: Wikipedia

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Aug 26, 2011


In the Libyan uprising, this place seems to be taking on a similar significance to Tahrir Square in Egypt. This is the commercial centre of Tripoli, and has landmarks such as the Red Palace in addition to shopping markets.

Because of its location and symbolic importance, its name has always changed along with political circumstances. First, it was the "Italy Square". Then "Italy" became "Independence" after a monarchy replaced the Italians. Now, after rebel forces took over (in August 2011), it has unofficially become "Martyrs Square".

What name was it previously known by, a name that is deeply associated with the Gaddhafi regime?

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Aug 25, 2011


Wolff Olins is an international branding firm that is responsible for the logo's redesign. The change in the logo (and indeed in the firm's name) was necessitated by the dissolution of a twenty-plus year partnership.

A breakup of the new logo could be said to yield a triangle, a parallelogram, and a trapezium. The colours are retained from the previous logo.

What corporate rebranding, announced amidst much fanfare, is this?

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Aug 24, 2011


Very much like "Fire in Babylon", this is a documentary made in 2010, is based on a legendary sporting icon, and had its public theatrical release this year. The film has garnered a lot of acclaim for its pulsating style, put together from existing footage of the now dead sportsman.

Two of the film's principal crew members are Britishers of Indian origin: Asif Kapadia is the director and Manish Pandey the writer.

This is a biopic of which sportsman?

Image: Wikipedia

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Aug 23, 2011


Sitaram Yechury, Ahmed Patel, Smriti Irani, Dileep Pandey, Debabrata Bandhopadhyay, Derek O’ Brien, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Srinjoy Bose, and Pradip Bhattacharya have recently joined this body (in fact, the first two are simply continuing on). This group can have a maximum of two hundred and fifty members.


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Aug 22, 2011


He was a 17th century warrior and leader, in the Bundelkhand region (which is spread across present day UP and MP). He was in constant revolt against the Mughals and partnered the Marathas in their struggles against them.

Modern-day Delhi has a sporting venue named after this King, which also saw some track and field events during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. This came back into the news thanks to its association with the Anna Hazare campaign.

So what's the name of this warrior?

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Aug 21, 2011


Time for the obligatory Shammi Kapoor tribute question. What first name is common to Shammi Kapoor's characters in the following four films:

  • "Prince" (1969)
  • "Parvarish" (1977)
  • "Desh Premi" (1982)
  • "Baadal" (1985)
(Incidentally, this is also the name of his co-star Dilip Kumar in the 1982 film "Vidhaata")

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Aug 20, 2011




You see two maps. The first one is the "before" picture, the other is the "after" picture. There are seven distinct colour codes.

The colouring is based on data provided by a US-based company. (There are more than seven categories in the data, but in the map above, some of the lower ones have been collapsed into one group for ease of representation.)

This company has been issuing this data since 1916. A recent change to this data, which gives rise to these "before" and "after" maps (there is only difference between them), caused much hullabaloo. What change?

Images: Wikipedia

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Aug 19, 2011


In 2011, there has been a spate of Google Doodles commemorating Independence and National Days of various countries (also see Q.296). Among the most elegant was the one on August 14th, to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day.

As can be seen in the accompanying image, the colours reflect the Pakistani national flag, while the L is a reference to a prominent monument situated in Lahore. What is its name?

Image: Google

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Aug 18, 2011


To mark the fiftieth anniversary of this landmark book's publication, The University of Alabama School of Law and the American Bar Association Journal have instituted a prize for Legal Fiction. According to the official website, "the Prize will be given annually to the published book-length work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change".

Fittingly, John Grisham's book "The Confession" won the inaugural prize this year.

The Prize is named after the author of the landmark book. Who?

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Aug 17, 2011


The chosen name would seem incongruous to many, especially with its connection to such a modern sport. Some say it comes from the district in which this is located. Some say it is to keep the current administration happy.

Its logo is the one you see above, representing the initial "B" of the name and the Indian connection.



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Aug 16, 2011


"Endeavour" is the name of a new British TV series. This will be a prequel to a well-known detective TV series based on books written by Colin Dexter set in the deceptively calm environs of Oxford.

That TV series (which aired from the late 80s through to 2000) was named after the surname of the eponymous CID officer. Appropriately, this one is called "Endeavour" after his first name.

Which TV series or character?

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Aug 15, 2011


A recent publication in the journal Biosystematica by a team of Indian researchers announced the discovery of ten new frog species from Western Ghats sections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Most of these are in the genus "Raorchestes", the name being a tribute to the herpetologist Prof. C R Narayan Rao.

The frog seen in the image is one of those discovered. It’s name is Raorchestes thodai and was found around the hill station Ooty. What is "thodai" a reference to?

Image: The Hindu

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Aug 14, 2011


In July 2011, this statue was unveiled at Grosvenor Square in London in memory of a man who had close ties with Britain in the 80s. His statue joins those of two of his predecessors.

The choice of the location is because the American Embassy has been located at the Square for ages. (The embassy will move out in the next decade to a different location.)

Whose statue?

Image: The Telegraph

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Aug 13, 2011


This debuted in The Economist in 1986 and has been a popular albeit farcical method of making a certain comparison. It appears annually, though it is updated several times a year. This year, India appears in the list for the first ever time, but the results must be taken with a pinch of salt, since the Indian version isn’t the same as it is elsewhere.

There have been calls to try out other objects, but so far, this has been resisted. However, this year, The Economist collected the source data via crowdsourcing and not, as it were, from the cow’s mouth.

What is all this about?

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Aug 12, 2011


NASA has a program called "New Frontiers" which is aimed at exploring some of the planets in the solar system. As part of this effort, a mission to explore Jupiter was launched in August 2011.

Today’s question is about its name which is the same as the Roman God Jupiter’s wife (talk about keeping an eye on the husband). And his sister (that’s how Roman Mythology works sometimes).

Also the name of a 2007 Best Screenplay Oscar winning film. What?

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Aug 11, 2011


"The Wombles" are an iconic British creation and are a creation of Elisabeth Beresford in the 60s. First a series of books, then a TV series made them famous in the UK.

These creatures are furry and burrow-dwelling, and believe in the motto "Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish". The books are about how the Wombles creatively recycle waste in the Wimbledon Common area in London.

Recently, their name was used in association with a Twitter campaign in the UK, thus bringing them back into memory and into international attention. How?

Image: The Guardian

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Aug 10, 2011


As a teenager, she was part of a synchronized swimming team which even won a bronze medal at the French national championships. According to her:
"It was synchronised swimming that taught me: 'Grit your teeth and smile'. In exactly the same way, [politics is] a sport of resistance and endurance. You're in tension and control."
After a controversial proposal to amend some of France's labour laws, especially those related to the cherished number of working hours, she was even dubbed Madame La Gaffe by the local press.

Which lady, who's set a 'first' at a major organization?

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Aug 9, 2011


This office has been in the news recently for several pronouncements and is currently headed by Vinod Rai. Articles 148 to 151 of the Constitution of India provide it its duties and powers.

In Hindi, it is termed as "bharat ke niyantrak-mahaalekhaapariikshak". The English term is equally heavy sounding. The first part of this term is derived from the French word for "account" and a term for a professional who checks a scroll's copy.

What office?

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Aug 8, 2011


This is a 'connect'. Solve each clue to get a corresponding term. These terms taken together form a set of items in a specific context. This set began in 1981 and ended in July May 2011. What set?

1. The capital of the American state of South Carolina. Alternatively, the name of the federal district which the American capital of Washington is part of.

2. A series of ranking tournaments for professional tennis players that is one level below the ATP World tour.

3. A popular TV channel whose logo features the earth and has a slogan called "The world is just awesome".

4. A lost continent in legend.

5. A word that means "to attempt" or "to take effort in something".

Thanks to W.P.Fey for pointing out the error in the end date

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Aug 7, 2011


At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Tata Motors revealed a "concept car" targeted towards the European market. Reportedly based on the Nano, the car showcased designs such as a "Zero Turn" (very low turning radius), "scissor doors", and smart phone-based controls ("My Tata Connect").

The name is appropriate for a small car and refers to a unit more commonly associated with displays. What's the name?

Image: Tata Motors

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Aug 6, 2011


Two people from Indonesia. A group from the Phillipines. Someone from Cambodia. And two people from India (namely, Nileema Mishra and Harish Hande). What recent achievement, summarised in the image above, links all of them?

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Aug 5, 2011


Justice N. Venkatachala was the predecessor (served until August 2006). Justice Shivaraj Patil is the successor (from August 2011). The specific post that is being referred to was instituted in the mid-80s.

Who is the person who is demitting office?

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Aug 4, 2011


Chaat! is the in-house magazine of the British Curry Club, an organization that promotes the "British curry industry". Chaat! recently held a poll to determine the most popular dish in Indian restaurants in Britain. "Chicken tikka masala", considered in some quarters to be Britain's most favourite dish, ranked only 8th.

Top spot went to a kind of curry dish, which is described by The Telegraph as:

A hot curry with green chillies, peppers, onion and tomatoes. Marinated meat is fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. Dating from the time of the Mughals, its name comes from [a] Bengali word ___, meaning spicy hot.
What dish is this?

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Aug 3, 2011


In July, Richard Parks (who is also a former Welsh rugby player) became the first person to achieve the "Explorers Grand Slam" in a single calendar year. Wikipedia notes that about twenty others have accomplished this extremely daunting task.

The "Explorers Grand Slam" consists of scaling all the "Seven Summits" (i.e. the highest peaks on seven continents). Additionally, what two milestones (that are, in a sense, contrary to each other) must an intrepid explorer reach to achieve this feat?

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Aug 2, 2011


Preparations for the 2012 London Olympics are underway in rather full gusto (inspiring such questions: Q.278, Q.264, Q.157, and Q.112). The sporting goods maker Adidas recently announced the winner of a naming competition that saw more than ten thousand entries, with even British sportsmen such as diver Tom Daley and cricketer Steve Finn entering with "The Stratford Bouncer" and "The Record Breaker" respectively.

The winner however was simply "Albert". The explanation is as follows: "Albert" refers to the Royal Albert Hall, an enormously well-known concert venue. The venue name is then transformed in typical Cockney fashion (in which locals in the East End section of London use rhymes and associations with words instead of the words themselves) to indicate the sporting good in question.

What sporting good has thus been officially named?

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Aug 1, 2011


John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher of the 19th century who was a leading advocate of unitarianism "utilitarianism". This is defined by Wikipedia as:

"an ethical theory holding that the right course of action is the one that maximises the overall "good" consequences of the action."
Mill wrote several books and essays; one such essay is called "On Representative Government", in which he writes:
"One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests."
...which is also the quote generously paraphrased above in this snapshot of a Twitter account. This was the only tweet on the account. Despite the fact that the account is likely to not be updated for a while, over 3000 people are "following" this account.

Whose Twitter page or what incident?

Image: ABC News

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Thanks to Arnold for pointing out a couple of errors


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