Nov 30, 2011


Michael Hart passed away in September 2011. The Economist in its obituary for him, noted that on the night of the American Independence Day in 1971, Hart, a student at University of Illinois in Urbana, began typing out the American Declaration of Independence on a computer. He then sent a link to friends saying they could download it for free.

Eventually, this voluntary act led to more books being written out, and more volunteers joining what could now be termed a project. What appropriate name did Hart give to this project?

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Nov 29, 2011


This comic actor conducted proceedings for the first time in 1990 and continued doing so for the next three years in a row. He returned in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004, usually to popular acclaim.

Apparently, he always carried a toothbrush with him to these events as a lucky charm. As a kid, he would often practice speeches in front of the mirror at night with a toothbrush in hand standing in for a coveted award.

He'll have a chance to carry it once again in 2012. Who?

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Nov 28, 2011


Halloween is when a lot of websites put out special pages dedicated to the spooky. In 2011, Bing, Microsoft's search engine that has a background image each day, had the darkest of the lot.

What you see on the right is a well-known architectural figure, seen in many cultures. Apart from their decorative animal shapes, these figures also helped in the draining of water away from building walls.

The name of these figures comes from a French word for "throat". What are they called?

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Nov 27, 2011


The 2nd 'Pearls' World Cup Kabaddi tournament (there have been two non-Pearl cups earlier) was held in November 2011 in Punjab. (This is the second year running that this tournament has been conducted, further strengthening the case that these are being organised by the state government with an eye on elections next year.) Fourteen countries participated in an event severely hit by doping scandals.

Eventually (and expectedly), India won both the men's and women's titles. In the men's title, India faced a not-so fancied opponent, who knocked out the other favourites Pakistan in the semis.

Which country was the other finalist? (The answer may seem odd, but would make sense if you think about why.)

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Nov 26, 2011


2011 will mark the event's first edition after his passing away. Though he was not actively involved in organising it since 2002, he made appearances almost every year since. The event began in 1953 as a way to pay homage to his guru. The organisers have now appended his name to the event as well.

Who and what event?

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Nov 25, 2011


This question is about the English cricket writer Peter Roebuck, who recently passed away. Before turning into a widely read and much acclaimed writer-commentator, Roebuck was a cricketer who rose to become captain of his Somerset team in the 80s. Himself a caustic character, he had several run-ins with some of his superstar team-mates in that time.

He often batted at no. 4 for Somerset. He once described his job as staying in long enough to prevent the batsman at no.3 & the batsman at no.5 from batting at the crease together, because #5 would try to hit the ball further & higher than #3.

Who were these two batsmen?

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Nov 24, 2011


A question on the "Ig Nobels" seems like a natural succession to yesterday's question, especially given today's question number. The "Ig Nobels" are awarded by the magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" and is a spoof of the Nobels, rewarding real 'achievements' that "that first make people laugh then make them think".

This year's winners for Mathematics won it "for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations". The list below gives their names and the year associated with whatever put them in the spotlight:

  • Dorothy Martin, USA, 1954
  • Pat Robertson, USA, 1982
  • Elizabeth Clare Prophet, USA, 1990
  • Lee Jang Rim, Korea, 1992
  • Credonia Mwerinde, Uganda, 1999
  • Harold Camping, USA, Sept 6-7, 1994 and later Oct 21, 2011
What did they do?

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Nov 23, 2011


Who is the latest addition (in 2011) to this list? (the list is in chronological order)
  1. Theodore Roosevelt (USA)
  2. Woodrow Wilson (USA)
  3. Anwar Al-Sadat (Egypt)
  4. Óscar Arias Sánchez (Costa Rica)
  5. Mikhail Gorbachev (Soviet Union)
  6. Klerk (South Africa)
  7. Kim Dae-jung (South Korea)
  8. Barack Obama (USA)

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Nov 22, 2011


The Dance of the Black Hats is often performed in this country on special occasions and religious festivals, particularly to purify the surroundings and dispel evil spirits. This dance commemorates the assassination of a king named Langdarma in the first century AD, by a monk.

What was the occasion for a high-profile performance of this dance in October 2011?

Image: Getty Images and Daylife

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Nov 21, 2011


Quoting from Wikipedia, the definition for this two word term from aeronautics is:
an aerial maneuver in which an airplane makes a complete rotation on its longitudinal axis while following a helical path, approximately maintaining its original direction. It is sometimes described as "a combination of a loop and a roll".

This term became part of an internet sensation in November 2011. What term and why the hooplah?

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Nov 20, 2011


The Lady is an upcoming biopic by Luc Besson (the French director who's made movies such as Leon and The Fifth Element). The "lady" in the film's title is played by Michelle Yeoh; the film is also about the lady's husband.

Luc Besson made an interesting statement about the film:

I actually hope the film will be pirated in ___. In fact, they have my blessing to pirate the movie there, because they’re not allowed to see anything. If that is the only way they are able to see that film, then that will be okay with me.”
Who's The Lady?

Image: IMDB

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Nov 19, 2011


UNESCO, the UN agency that works in areas such as science and culture, has over 180+ members. Its most recent member was admitted in October 2011 amidst some controversy. The admission of this state (which is not a member of the UN) triggered a US law that automatically cuts American aid to the agency (UNESCO is likely to lose about 20% of its budget as a result).

Which new member is this?

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Nov 18, 2011


The sixth edition of the G-20 Summit was held in Cannes (France) in November 2011. The G-20 is a group consisting of the twenty most leading economies of the world and the summit provides for their representatives to have pow-wows about the state of the world. In addition, a few non-member countries are also invited.

19 of the G-20 members are countries. Which is the only non-country member?

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Nov 17, 2011


This competition, named after the number of national teams that participate in it, is held annually and began in 1996. In all likelihood, the competition will be expanded in 2012, with the addition of one more country (yes, the name of the competition will also change). This will also add a new continent to the two continents already represented.

What sporting competition, and who is the latest addition?

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Nov 16, 2011


This has been in the works for many years; delays of all sorts have resulted in it coming into commercial operation at least three years late. Finally, the first ever commercial flight in this series was for "All Nippon Airways" from Narita in Japan to Hong Kong. As seen in the image above, it was greeted with much fanfare.

Which aircraft?

Image: AFP/Reuters

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Nov 15, 2011


After a recent incident involving a high priestess of (unreal) pop culture, someone on Twitter challenged Salman Rushdie to make a tweet on the matter. The writer rose to the occasion, penning this:
The marriage of poor __ __ was krushed like a kar in a krashian./

Her kris kried, not fair! why kan't I keep my share?/

But __ fell klean outa fashian."

(Quote from the NY Post)

What was the incident, and fill in the dash-ian.

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Nov 14, 2011


The sixteenth edition of this sporting event was held in Guadalajara in October this year. Like other events of a similar nature, it follows a four-year cycle. The next edition will be in Toronto, in 2015.

So what multi-sport event is this?

Image: Wikipedia

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Nov 13, 2011


This TV series won the 2011 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Drama Series". It began in 2007 and is set in the 1960s, featuring a (fictional) advertising agency called "Sterling Cooper" located at Madison Avenue (which probably lends the show its name). Much of the praise won by this TV series has been for its depiction of American life in the 60s, as well as its art direction and cinematography.

What is it called?

Image: Wikipedia

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Nov 12, 2011


In October 2011, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, inagurated a park called the "Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden" in Noida. Befitting its name, the 30-plus acre park has lots of trees and lawns, but what made the headlines were the many statues.

The park has statues of leaders such as B.R.Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram, and Mayawati herself. In addition, there are twenty four statues of what other symbol?

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Nov 11, 2011


"The House of Silk" is a new novel by Anthony Horowitz, a novelist who has written several mystery books for children, as well as several screenplays for TV such as Agatha Christie's Poirot, Midsomer Murders, and Foyle's War.

"The House of Silk" is very much up Horowitz's alley, but is remarkable for being the official return (once again) of a character to print.

Which character?

Image: Mulholland Books

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Nov 10, 2011


The city of Darmstadt, the scientist Wilhelm Roentgen, and the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus are three recent (and official) additions to a list that numbers just over a hundred. This decision was taken at an institute in Darmstadt (which is in Germany).

Other members of this list include such scientists as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Madame Curie, and places such as California, Copenhagen, and Germany.

What list?

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Nov 9, 2011


ETA is a militant group created in 1959 that is considered by many countries in Europe and the rest of the world as being a terrorist organization. The group has been conducting a violent struggle against a country in order to establish an independent state for a region it claims to represent, with several bombing campaigns to its name.

It has announced and broken several ceasefires in the past, but has been observing a ceasefire since 2010 and this year announced a halt to its armed struggle.

Which country was ETA trying to split? (bonus: and for which region?)

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Nov 8, 2011


This series began in 1962 (if you discount some inadvertent predecessors). The latest (the 23rd in the series) has just been announced, and will be called "Skyfall". It is to be directed by Sam Mendes, better known for his Oscar-winning helming of "American Beauty" and other films such as "Road to Perdition" and "Revolutionary Road". Thus it will be quite a departure for Mendes as well.

To be released in 2012, fifty years after the very first, what is this the latest film of?

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Nov 3, 2011

Nov 1, 2011


vIZuals Week - 1
Starting today, for the next one week, Infinite Zounds goes highly visual. Hope you will fill in the blanks, literally and figuratively.

Image: Wikipedia

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