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Showing posts from December, 2011

Q.457

Dead Right was a quiz I did on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. The theme was people who said their goodbyes to the world in 2011. Below are some of the questions.

This might be a good way to say adieu to 2011, right?

(Grant yourself a "got it!" if you get at least 3 right!)


1. One of his two residences was in Pietermaritzburg, and calld “Straw Hat Farm”, probably because it was a trademark accessory. Who?
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2. This Middlesex off-spinner's last 1st class game was in '82 aged 50; he had come to watch the game, but seeing a turning pitch, Mike Brearley invited him to join the team. They duly won. He is also known for a different “test” named after him.
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3. Leonard "Len" Lesser was best known for his TV roles, especially on Seinfeld. What character did he play? (There's a clue in the name)
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4. This Kenyan runner, who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, died after a fall from his balcony after being 'surprised' by his wife while in a compromising position.
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5. This photo shows a soon to be ex-President on the left meeting a veg seller who perished soon after. Which country's events? (Image: Atlantic.com)


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6. Originally an NDA candidate for President of India, this former Governor of Maharashtra was eventually replaced by A P J Abdul Kalam. Who?
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7. “Flying on One Engine” is a documentary on the life of which Indian-American Dr. who was himself wheelchair-bound and couldn't speak.
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8. Musician Gerry Rafferty spent time in a friend's flat in this street and immortalised the name in one of which popular hit?
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9. Claude “Chuckles” Choules died in Perth aged 110. He was the last survivor to have played active part in which tragic event?
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10. This computer scientist described the programming language LISP in a CACM paper "Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machines”. Who?
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Q.456

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Q.455


Image: Wikipedia

This character emerged in 1991 and was first drawn by the artist Naoto ƌshima. Having completed twenty years of existence, it won an award for "Outstanding Contribution" at the 2011 Golden Joystick video game awards.

Which character?

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Q.453

Wikipedia has been running a series of ads as part of their fund-raising campaign. These feature various people, usually associated with or those who benefited from Wikipedia.

In this ad, you see Ward Cunningham who is somebody that Wikipedia owes a debt of gratitude to. What did he invent?

Image: Wikipedia

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Q.452

The Mullaiperiyar dam, the subject of so much controversy in recent times, is located in Kerala, but has been leased to Tamil Nadu after a 1886 treaty between the then Travancore State and the Madras Presidency.

For how many years is this lease?

From my Mood Indigo India 2011 quiz

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Q.451

2011's Nobel Prize of Medicine was awarded to Bruce Beutler (USA), Ralph Steinman (Canada), and Jules Hoffmann (France), for their work on the human immune system. However, the award to Steinman turned out to be more than a routine affair.

In awarding the prize, the Nobel committee had to break one of their most important rules. The reason they went ahead nevertheless was because this breach of rules was inadvertent.

Which rule?

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Q.450

Image: The Economist

The cover of The Economist's edition of Jun 17-23, 2000 (see image above), was memorable, not so much for the man but for the accompanying caption that read "Greetings, earthlings", succintly capturing both a sudden increase in media appearances as well as the other-worldly absurdity of the man in his 'kingdom'.

When he died, the same newspaper marked the occcasion with an article titled "Farewell, earthlings". Who?

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Q.449

Judy has been recently appointed captain of Britain's Federation Cup team (the Davis Cup equivalent for women's team tennis). She is from Scotland and has been a national champion, in the 70s. She took up coaching and has coached several players, including the Scottish team.

Incidentally, her son is a Grand Slam champion. Who is this son?

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Q.448

Click the image to see a bigger version

Images: Wikipedia, Guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, indiatalkies.com, iamspike.wordpress.com

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Q.447

5th November 2011 was declared a state holiday in Orissa by the state government to celebrate Presidential assent to two significant (and similar) changes that affect it. These changes met a long-standing demand; the process to meet the demand has been in progress in 2011. With the President's formal approval, the changes came into force.

What are these changes?

From my Mood Indigo India 2011 quiz

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Q.446

Jonathan Mak Long is a student of graphic design in Hong Kong. In August of 2011, he modified a logo after a change in a company's top management and posted it on his blog. He posted this again in October the same year, and this time, the design went viral, with a million-odd hits.

What did he modify and why did it become so famous the second time around?

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Q.445

This is a successful TV series based on an even more successful set of books (quite an understatement that), and was first aired on British television by the BBC in 2010. In typical fashion, the series was only three episodes long.

The next, and highly awaited, installment of the series (also three episodes long) will resume airing on the 1st of January, 2012. In this, Bohemia has been replaced by Belgravia, a London district, and "the woman" is, interestingly, a dominatrix.

What series?

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Q.444


The Hindu

Whose debut solo album is this?

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Q.443

A final reminder that at "Omniscience" is Mood-I's quizzing festival, with 4 big quizzes and several quizzettes (quiz-lings?) on the side. The festival ends with a General quiz by Dr. Navin Jayakumar, which should be great to participate or just watch. All the info at the Mood I site under "Competitions". (Disclosure: this blogger will be conducting a quiz at Mood Indigo)


This constitutional monarchy, unusually, has a rotation policy for its kings. Every five years, a new king is chosen from among the rulers of nine of its thirteen provinces, and each province gets a chance in turn.

Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah has become the king of this country in Dec 2011; in fact, he is the first to hold this post twice (he is 84 now, and had a chance earlier, 30 years ago).

Which country?

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Q.442

"Omniscience" is the quizzing festival at Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay's mega-fest, with several quizzes on the 19th to 20th Dec. Day 2 of Infinite Zounds's preview-promo feature for Omniscience is about India (Disclosure: this blogger will be conducting the India quiz at Mood Indigo). Quizzes are for college students and there's a wide variety of them. More info is available at the Mood I site under "Competitions".



Image: Indian Chess School.com

Union bank has been running a campaign captioned "Your dreams are not yours alone". It has recently launched a fresh version, featuring the likes of Aruna Anand, Ajit Tendulkar, Kareema Begum, and Manoj Singh (boxer Vijender Singh's brother).

The agency behind the campaign is Mudra West, who cite a 2009 award acceptance speech as being a major inspiration for thinking about the people behind an achiever's success.

Whose award speech?

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Q.441

"Omniscience" is the quizzing festival at Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay's much loved college jamboree, with several quizzes on the 19th to 20th Dec. Starting today, for the next three days, Infinite Zounds will run a promotional feature for Omniscience (Disclosure: this blogger will be conducting a quiz at Mood Indigo.)

Two of Omniscience's quizzes will be on Sports and Entertainment, to be conducted by Aditya Gadre and Suraj Menon respectively. Today's question is a mixture of these topics.

More information on the quizzes is available at the Mood I site under "Competitions".


Image: Magmedina.com

It's been a good year for sports documentaries (see previous questions on this blog: Q.206 and Q.328). Who is the subject of this documentary?

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Q.440

On December 19 2011, this Indian state will be commemorating fifty years of a defining event in its history. Various functions have been planned around the jubilee celebrations, one of these being the unveiling of a soldiers' memorial called "Vijay Smarak" by the Defence Minister A.K.Anthony. Both Houses of Parliament are also likely to mention this anniversary on Dec 19 (provided Parliament is functional that day).

Which state and what event?

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Q.439


Image: Daily Sports

This is Belinda Clark of Australia, who is the first person to achieve this feat (in 1997), and remained the only member of this exclusive club for about 13 years. Her achievement came against Denmark in Bombay. Since then, the club has grown to a membership of three, and has received a lot more attention in India.

What feat?

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Q.438

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has had a patent on a drug called "Atorvastatin" since 1997, which they sold under the brand-name of Lipitor. The drug soon became the most sold drug of all time (about 11 billion dollars a year) and thus, a major source of revenue for the company. The patent expired on November 30 in 2011, thus paving the way for generic versions of the drug to now be made available.

The drug is shown to benefit strokes, heart attacks, and even plaque. Its principal effect is to impact the quantities of which chemical?

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Q.437

ESPN Star is promoting their coverage of the upcoming India-Australia cricket series by prefixing a Hindi word to the series, which is also the title of a film due to release on Jan 26, 2012 (coincidentally or otherwise, National Days in both India and Australia). Naturally, this led to speculation about a possible tie-up between the channel and the film-makers.

So in promotional videos for the series, you have former Aussie captain Stephen Waugh delivering lines amidst fire. Which word or what film?

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"Dead Right" - a Twitter quiz by IZ

Way too many interesting people have passed away in 2011 for them not to be commemorated in a quiz of their own[1]. So Infinite Zounds will be hosting a quiz called "Dead Right" on Twitter, via the @kweezzz account. This will be held on the 11th of Dec (tomorrow; Sunday) at 8 pm IST.

This will be an informal and quick quiz and hopefully, we'll meet some of you there. Some earlier questions on this blog on notable people who passed away can be seen under the "Obits" label.


[1] ]Such questions are now called "TCQs" in Indian quizzing circles!

Q.436

"Squeezed Middle" has been anointed "Word of the Year" for 2012 by the Oxford English Dictionary . Somehow, this phrase beat the likes of #occupy, Arab Spring, and even the crowd-pleasing "bunga bunga".

This also sparked off controversy among linguists, with some claiming it wasn't even a proper word (the linguist Geoff Pullum said it was a "ordinary nominal with a participle functioning as attributive modifier of a noun". Just in case you wondered why).

OED defines it as "the section of society [...] particularly affected by inflation, wage freezes, and cuts in public spending during a time of economic difficulty, consisting principally of those people on low or middle incomes". OED picked it up from an interview by a leading Labour Party politician in the UK.

Which politician?

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Q.435

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Q.434

In November, the Guinness Book of World Records noted that it was considering a Pakistani entry in a particular category for a world record. Three months ago, a group of almost 6000 people gathered in Karachi to sing something, in an attempt to break the previous record held by a group in the Phillipines.

In November, perhaps spurred on by competitiveness and patriotism, an Indian group, made up mostly of school-children, attempted to go past the Pakistani numbers as well. Its status is still not clear.

What record are all these people trying to wrest?

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Q.433

This is a team competition in golf, very similar to the Ryder Cup. While in the Ryder Cup, a US team plays a team representing Europe, in this competition, the Americans play an International team. (Not surprisingly, "International" doesn't include Europe".)

This year's edition was held in Melbourne, Australia, and featured a tight finish with a notable last-day performance by Tiger Woods.

The cup was instituted in 1994 by the PGA Tour and its name probably explains why the inaugural edition was chaired by Gerald Ford; the role subsequently played by the likes of Bill Clinton, both Bush Sr. and Jr., and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

What's the name?

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Q.432

Image: Naachgaana.com

A follow-up to this film has always been spoken about, but never really materialised. An animated film based on the original (a marketing poster seen above) was announced in September 2011; it is touted to be a remake, rather than a sequel. It is to be directed by Anish Patel.

Apparently, a live-action 'official' sequel is also in the works, but that's still a rumour.

Which movie?

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Q.431

Microsoft has evolved a new "design language" i.e. a set of principles for signs, typography, and user interfaces, which is especially in use for its Windows Phone 7 product. The company also plans to apply to this to other existing products and upcoming ones like Windows 8 OS.

The design aims to emphasize data and its readability while de-emphasizing UI elements such as frames. The inspiration for this design system was partly derived from signage seen in public transport systems, especially in the Seattle area, which no doubt also influenced the name for this design language.

What is this system called?

Question based on a suggestion by Harsh Nene
Image: The Guardian

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Q.430

Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, has been on a series of fasts as part of his "Sadbhavna" mission. Predictably, there was controversy. On two occasions, he was offered a Muslim skull cap and later a scarf (seen above), and refused to accept both these symbols.

These characteristic scarves have a chequered pattern and are most identified with Arab regions. What are they called?

Image: The Times of India

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Q.429

The only time this had happened before was in a match between England and Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in 1996. The contest was even, and included a century by England's current coach Andy Flower. It all ended badly for the English and the tactics by the Zimbabwean bowlers didn't help, leading the then English coach David Lloyd to exclaim "We flippin' murdered 'em. Hammered them. Bloody steamrollered them. They know it and we know it."

The tabloids loved all this, but the authorities did not, with Lloyd getting rapped on the knuckles.

What had happened for the first ever time?

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Q.428

When it was announced, this 2007 Google project to build encyclopaedic articles was seen by some as competition to Wikipedia. The project did not allow anonymous edits and had different policies on authorship and content.

However, the project did not really catch on in a big way, and in November 2011, Google announced they were shutting the project down.

The name of the project is also what Google calls each entry in this project; the name was what they called "a unit of knowledge".

What's the name?

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Q.427

This scholarship is awarded to students from fourteen regions including the likes of India, Pakistan, Australia, Canada, Southern Africa (which covers South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland) and also the US. This year, five Indians (namely Sujit Thomas of St Stephen's College, Akul Dayal of IIT Delhi, Nikita Kaushal from University of Pune, Amit Kumar from IIT Roorkee, Vrinda Bhandari of National Law School).

These students can now pursue post-graduate education at the University of Oxford under this award, which was established in 1902.

How is this award better known?

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