Sep 30, 2011


A very quick and easy one to mark 365 days of Infinite Zounds. The physicist Wolfgang Pauli imagined its existence and called it something (let's term this variable 'X'). James Chadwick was chasing something else; when he found it, he also called it 'X'.

The Italian Enrico Fermi decided to do something about this confusion. Since what Chadwick found was bigger than what Pauli thought about, Fermi added the Italian suffix that means "little one" to 'X', thus giving the word 'Y'.

So what are 'X' and 'Y'?

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Sep 29, 2011


Featuring a stellar British cast, this film sees Gary Oldman reprising a role that Alec Guinness made famous in a TV series. Both were based on a bestselling novel that derived its name from an English nursery rhyme.

What is the name of this Cold War spy thriller?

Image: Washington Voices

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Sep 28, 2011


Mewat is a region in North India that is spread across parts of northern Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. It has a large Muslim community that claims its lineage from Rajput clans. Members also practice some traditional Hindu customs.

The community came into recent attention after clashes with Gujjars in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. What is their name (which derives from the region's name)?

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Sep 27, 2011


In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks of 2001, insurance firms had paid out several claims to families of the victimes. In September this year, a syndicate belonging to Lloyd's of London, the British insurance market, had announced the filing of a lawsuit in an American court against a geopolitical entity, in which they accused that entity of funding the terrorists involved.

Later that suit was withdrawn without any specific comment as to its withdrawal. Which entity were they suing?

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Sep 26, 2011


This place in Delhi used to be a large pond in the old walled city area. Some time during the decade of the 1930s, the pond was filled up so that an annual event could be shifted to that place (from which it gets its name; this year's event is around the corner).

Over the decades, the place has also been used for other reasons; the Municipal Corporation of Delhi isn't very happy about all this and wants to turn it into a green area where people can relax, instead of being agitated.

Which place?

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Sep 25, 2011


Train number 17303/4, an express of the Indian Railways, plies between Yeshwantpur (Bangalore) and Mysore in Karnataka. This comes under the South Western Railway.

Recently, this train was given a more endearing name, something fitting to that particular section of the country. Perhaps a tiger or M.K.Gandhi will one day board the express.

What name?

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Sep 24, 2011


Opening to the public on the 12th of Sept this year, this has 2983 names. These are carved on bronze parapets around two pools (North and South). Each name is associated with a code, the code consisting of a letter and a number. The letter is either N or S, indicating the associated pool, while the number indicates the panel where the name is to be found.

Names are grouped, usually by affiliation. But based on some requests, certain names have been grouped together by family or friendship.

What is this describing?

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Sep 23, 2011


A.R.Rahman's next soundtrack release is the album for the film "Rockstar", directed by Imtiaz Ali. The album also features a track spoken out by the film's lead Ranbir Kapoor.

Called "The Meeting Place", it is based on a poem by the Persian and Sufi poet Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Balkhi, better known by another name. This name comes from his native area (which was termed so because it was once under the Roman Empire).

Which poet?

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Sep 22, 2011


In this picture, you see the presentation of an award to Professor Akhlaq Khan 'Shahryar', a noted ghazal writer in Urdu (whose work has also appeared in films like "Umrao Jaan"). A former recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Puraskaar, here he is receiving one of India's highest literary honours.

The award, instituted in 1961, is given out annually by a trust. There seems to be some backlog, with award announcements and ceremonies for past years being held this year. Both Shahryar, who won for 2008, and the Malayalam writer O.N.V.Kurup (2007) received their prizes this year. The next winner has also been announced: Chandrashekhara Kambara, a Kannada playwright.

Which award?

Image: The Hindu

Vibhendu writes in to say: "Kambar has won it for 2010, so technically he is not the next awardee. The same announcement also featured 2009 winners- Hindi authors Amar Kant and Shrilal Shukla. So the backlog has finally been taken care of."

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Sep 21, 2011


What business entity connects the following set of people:

  1. Manas Sarkar, a 17 year 'cadet' footballer
  2. Pawan Kumar, a senior associate for quality control
  3. A tribal beneficiary of the "Tejaswini" Project
  4. A Commonwealth Gold medallist in Archery
  5. Jyoti Pandey, A Departmental Ethics coordinator
  6. A Dutch researcher, formerly an employee of Corus
  7. Sadhan Baske, a tomato farmer
  8. The fifth woman to scale Mt. Everest

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Sep 20, 2011


Honda, the automobile company, is launching a new car in India in September, in the hatchback section. The four-letter name for this car is a word that comes from Italian and old Spanish, where it means "energy" or "determination". In English it is associated with "verve" or "vigour".

What word?


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Sep 19, 2011


This upcoming film is based on a well-known series in a different medium. That series began in 1987 while its author was at Stanford University. Unusually, the film will not be mass-released in theatres but will be screened in select campuses in the US (for now). The lead actor is Raj Katti, who, like most of the cast, is a student from the California Institute of Technology. Though not quite Clint Eastwood, he will also be playing a man with no name.

Which series?

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Sep 18, 2011


This year, it was the representative from Angola who won it. South Africa was the first country from Africa to win this (in 1978), while Namibia and Botswana have also had a triumph each.

This competition began in 1952, and the top three countries in order of number of victories are the USA, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

Which competition?

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Sep 17, 2011


This lady is an economist, a journalist, and a best-selling author. She holds a chair professorship in business journalism at Columbia University. This is the cover of her second and latest book and it's called "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius". The book is a history of economics and the people who served it in various ways.

No mention of the author goes without invoking her first book, published in 1994, because of a film that was made on the book. Who is this lady, or for lesser points, what was her first book?

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Sep 16, 2011


In "Kaun Banega Crorepati", it is a type of lifeline.

In the TV series "Seinfeld", it is a social and eating faux pas committed by George Costanza in the episode "The Implant".

This term can also be found in metereology, in taxation, and in politics. However, if you've seen it recently, it's probably to do with fears of a recession in the Western world.

What double-worded term?

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Sep 15, 2011


In this Doodle, Google is paying tribute to a giant of world literature on his 262nd birth anniversary on August 28th this year. He was a polymath, not just a great writer, with interests in many branches of arts and sciences.

He is best known for writing "Faust". Who?

Image: Google

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Sep 14, 2011


The nation that lifted the first ever Webb Ellis Cup in 1987 is hosting the latest edition of the competition for which the trophy is awarded. It is named after William Webb Ellis, an English clergyman, even though his contribution to the sport in question remains questionable.

Which currently ongoing competition is this? (the answer is in your own hands)

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Sep 13, 2011


ICM Registry is a company that is sponsoring and organizing a new top-level domain (the likes of ".com" etc.). Businesses and people will be able to buy domain names under this TLD soon. But before that, the company is administering what it calls a "sun-rise" period. During this fifty day duration, other companies and well-known people who do not want to be associated with this TLD can request that no domain name with their names be sold. There is a process that will look at the validity of such requests and if accepted, a fee is taken from the requester.

For what TLD is this happening?

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Sep 12, 2011


This company was started by the husband-wife team of Tim and Nina in 1979. The idea germinated over dinner with friends when they discussed the shortcomings of restaurant critics in the newspapers. Thus began the idea of surveying people on this topic on a variety of dimensions (today, the survey has a 30-point scale).

Google recently acquired this company, for their content and brand. The company's name is the same as the couple's last name. Which company?

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Sep 11, 2011


UNESCO celebrates the 8th of September each year as International Literacy Day, through which it promotes and raises awareness about literacy efforts around the world. As part of this, the body awards two prizes. One is the King Sejong Literacy Prize, instituted by the South Korean government, which is given to governmental agencies and NGOs for their efforts. This year's prize went to organizations in Burundi, Mexico, and Phillipines.

The other award is instituted by China, and honours groups working in rural areas and with youth. The winners this year were Room to Read (US), Collectif Alpha Ujuvi, Democratic Republic of Congo and a Honourable Mention for Dr. Punjab, (Pakistan).

This particular award is named after a famed Chinese philosopher. Who?

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Sep 10, 2011


A sitter of a poser about a poser. This resident of Pune was honoured with a bunch of eight commemorative stamps by Chinese postal authorities during a visit to promote and discuss the discipline he is famous for.


Image: A.M.Mohanan's blog

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Sep 9, 2011


This begins at the Tso Lhamo Lake in Sikkim and is one of the most important geographical features of the state. Its name probably comes from the fact that at one point it has three channels. A prominent Indian activist shares her name with this entity, and while the person has had a knack of being involved in controversy, the latter has been in the headlines in September for diplomatic reasons.

What name?

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Sep 8, 2011


"PIIGS" is a not-so-complimentary acronym used by some in the economics media and among some economists to denote a bunch of European countries that have been in economic turmoil for the last decade. This acronym was coined a few years ago, but has kept coming back into the news, especially in recent times because the troubles never seem to go away.

Earlier it was just "PIGS", and later it acquired an additional "I". Which five countries?

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Sep 7, 2011


This is the cover of The Economist's 13th to 19th August 2011 issue and features the headline "Reviving the world economy".

The artwork on the cover is a modification of a very famous 17th century Dutch painting called "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp was a famous physician of his times and in this painting, he is lecturing on the musculature of the arm to fellow doctors.

Who is the famous artist who made this?

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Sep 6, 2011


"Klout" is a website that seeks to measure social media influence (on a scale of 1 to 100; the higher your score, the more influential). (The jury is still out on the methodology and the results, but that's a different story.)

Klout has something called "Klout Perks" through which it offers new products or services to 'influencers'. This is now being used to promote a new short story by a leading author. This story (in eBook form) called "Mile 81" will first be available to Klout influencers a week before it goes on sale. The author has had a close relation with new technology vendors and websites, so this is entirely in keeping with that trend.

Which author?

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Sep 5, 2011


That Girl in Yellow Boots is director Anurag Kashyap's latest film. It has a thematic palette which is typically dark in keeping with Kashyap's filmography. The film is about a British girl who comes to India and also deals with issues relating to child abuse.

The film is mostly written by the director himself, but a few of the scenes (in particular, the opening scene of the film) are written by someone else who, from personal experience, better understood what was needed.

Who is the co-writer?

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Sep 4, 2011


The first time a Lokpal Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha was in 1968 and came out of the recommendations of a reforms committee earlier in the 60s. In fact, the bill was even passed by the Lok Sabha the next year. But the bill wasn't taken forward as the lower house ended its term in 1970.

The model was the Swedish idea of an "ombudsman". The corresponding Indian word "Lokpal" was, according to Arun Jaitley, coined during a debate on April 3rd, 1963, by an independent MP (who, much later, joined the BJP, and also had a distinguished ambassadorial record). The MP's son is now in the Congress, and as history would have it, is playing a key role in the current Lokpal formulation.

Who are this father and son?

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Sep 3, 2011


"Project 17" frigates are a class of ships being built for the Indian Navy that will have stealth capabilities. The class is also named the "Shivalik" class after the lead vessel, "INS Shivalik", which was commissioned in 2010.

In accordance with this naming system, the remaining two frigates are also named after mountain ranges. The third and final one will be called INS Sahyadri and is expected to be ready later this year. The second one was commissioned into the Navy's service in August this year. The name comes from a mountain range in the middle of India.

Which mountain range?

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Sep 2, 2011


This rule in a sport has seen a few changes over the years. Earlier, the maximum number of times every participant could do something was two. Apparently, the rule was modified after TV broadcasters complained about the delays it could cause. So in 2001, the rule changed to a system where the first person to do so got a yellow card and the next person to do this got a red card.

In 2010, this rule changed again, controversially, to a harsher 'one-strike' rule. A recent high-profile casualty of this rule has caused many to call for a change from this stricter rule.

What rule, and what recent event has brought this into the spot-light?

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Sep 1, 2011


According to "The Onion", after his promotion, he addressed a meeting of the press and some shareholders of the company and promised to focus primarily on printers, because that was "the one thing people will always need".

In real life, he is also on the board of Nike, but perhaps in a reflection of his personality, there is not much else quiz-worthy that this blog could dig up (except perhaps that he seems to resemble the English cricketer Bob Willis, also known for his dour blandness.)

Which in-the-news person?

Image: Wikipedia

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