Aug 31, 2012


An extract from a book about a movie, with some edits. Identify the person who is being talked about:
He had prepared extensively for his role [...] using what he calls "psycho-technique". He imagined the feelings [...] by going back millions of years to the beginnings of evolution, when all life [...] was contained in sightless single-celled organisms swimming in the dark waters. Once there, he would grope and search for sight.

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This day last year: Q.335

Aug 30, 2012


The tenth world championship in this performing art form (which UNESCO has included in its list of intangible treasures of world heritage) concluded in Buenos Aires in August 2012. The championship was attended by dancers from around the world, but fittingly, an Argentinian pair called Facundo de la Cruz and Paola Sanz won.

Which performing art?

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This day last year: Q.334

Aug 29, 2012


Most people, especially in India, associate this piece of folklore with only two people; in fact, the story is referred to by the names of the duo. This is partly due to how the story was told in post-Persian empire times. In fact, the story is more of a love triangle, with King Khusrau being the third vertex.

So some versions of the story place Khusrau as the male protagonist with Irene of Armenia being the female lead. The sculptor that we know better enters the story later.

Which story?

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This day last year: Q.333

Aug 28, 2012


This plane is called the "Solar Impulse", and an experiment being conducted at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, financed by several private entities.

In June 2012, it completed a trip from Madrid to Rabat, thus being the first of its kind to successfully complete an inter-continental flight. What is unusual about this aircraft?

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This day last year: Q.332

Aug 27, 2012


Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated her diamond jubilee in 2012, having ascended to her throne in 1952. Various commemorations were issued as a mark, including emblems such as this one recorded in IZ 515.

Which country issued this emblem for its queen?

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This day last year: Q.331

Aug 26, 2012


In 1998, Louis van Gaal was coach of FC Barcelona. The current Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, was assisting him. For a Copa Catalunya match versus a little club called UE Lleida, van Gaal let Mourinho take charge.

The player from Lleida who scored the opening goal in the match now is a bitter rival, and some may say, irritant-in-the-eye, of the "Special One". Who?

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This day last year: Q.330

Aug 25, 2012


Enacted in 2004 in the American state of California, this statute came into force on July 1, 2012. As a result, Californians will not be able to make or sell this item of haute cuisine. This sparked a mad rush on the days before to have a bite.

Many such bans have come into place in other parts of the world, after years of protests against the obvious cruelty that the principal ingredient of the dish has to endure.

Which dish?

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This day last year: Q.329

Aug 24, 2012


About fifty years ago, this was all the rage in India. Today, you hardly hear a mention. The first 'summit' meeting was held in Belgrade in 1961, and India has hosted it too, in 1983. The previous one was in Sharm El Shaikh, Egypt.

Usually held three years apart, the latest edition will be held in Tehran in August 2012. (Fittingly, the US has complained about the UN Secretary General's visit to the summit and thus Iran.) What?

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This day last year: Q.328

Aug 23, 2012


Najma Heptullah has held this post for the longest duration: over fifteen years. The former President Pratibha Patil was in the seat for two years. The previous post-holder was Dr. Rehman Khan.

The latest is Prof. P.J.Kurien. Which post?

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This day last year: Q.327

Aug 22, 2012


England lost the 3rd and final Test match against South Africa in August 2012, bringing to an end its reign as World Test cricket champion. Two run-outs were decisive in the England fourth innings, leading to its narrow loss. One run-out involved Jonathan Trott and James Taylor. This extract from the Cricinfo report for the match describes it as:
When Trott clipped Steyn wide of mid-on, and Amla chased towards long-on, the lack of running urgency suggested that both batsmen had settled for a dawdling three. In fact, were it not for an outfield slowed by repairs after the _____ _____, it would have been four. The final arrow was about to plunge deep into England's ambitions that they might square the series.

Steyn, the bowler, was so convinced all meaningful action was complete that he collected his sun hat from the umpire before the call of "over." But Trott turned in invitation of a fourth. Taylor, who was running to the danger end, accepted with alacrity only for Trott to turn his back and leave Taylor stranded as Steyn transferred to the wicketkeeper.

Why had there been repairs on the field?

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This day last year: Q.326

Aug 21, 2012


"World Tomorrow" is a TV programme that began airing in 2012; it airs online and is broadcast on TV by "Russia Today", a Russian government-funded TV news network. It's a series of interviews, of which twelve have been shot and aired so far. All interviewees are political, and mostly of the subversive/opposition kind. Examples are Imran Khan, Noam Chomsky, and Anwar Ibrahim.

The participants usually meet via Skype; it probably suits the interviewer as much as the interviewees. Who is the interviewer?

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This day last year: Q.325

Aug 20, 2012


This Harley-Davidson motorcycle showed up on the Pacific coast of British Columbia in Canada in May 2012. Media reports about this rather unusual find helped trace the owner of the bike.

Other items, such as footballs, bottles, etc. have also shown up the western coast of North America, and are from the same place. A large wave of stuff is expected to show up in 2013 and 2014.

So what's common to where all this stuff is coming from?


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This day last year: Q.324

Aug 19, 2012


What connects these two special people and this special one, with these countries?

Ernst Happel (of Austria): Austria, Netherlands, Brugge,Germany

Giovanni Trapattoni (of Italy): Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria

Jose Mourinho (of Portugal): Portugal, England, Italy, Spain

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This day last year: Q.323

Aug 18, 2012


Two research papers were made public in 2012:

1. The Applications of Probability to Crypt
2. A Paper on the Statistics of Repetitions

The British department "GHCQ" (Government's Communications Headquarters) wasn't sure exactly when these were written, but figured it was about seventy years old because one of the paper's makes a reference to Adolf Hitler's age.

Who wrote these papers?

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This day last year: Q.322

Aug 17, 2012


This bluesy number was itself a derivative work from a traditional twenties' song. But it's better known for the two famous entities that took their names from the song.

One of these entities turned fifty in 2012; though the people involved are of the "I'm-seventy-going-on-twenty" variety. Which entity, and which song?

Image: Wikipedia

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This day last year: Q.321

Aug 16, 2012


1972's "Bombay to Goa" was made by the actor-director Mehmood. He recruited an eclectic ensemble of actors for his many madcap characters, including those who would become future stars. In the movie, Mehmood plays the bus's conductor, while his brother, Anwar Ali plays the driver.

Their names in the movie (only single name given for each) together pay tribute to something super. What?

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This day last year: Q.320

Aug 15, 2012


No one who knows cinema really takes them very seriously, but they are are good fun nevertheless. These are lists about the greatest films ever made. The British Film Institute does a Greatest Films list every decade since 1952, which is conducted by "Sight and Sound" magazine.

From 1962 till the last poll in 2002, "Citizen Kane" has topped this list. This year's result was dizzyingly different. Which Hitchcock classic topped the poll?

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This day last year: Q.319

Aug 14, 2012


Nora Ephron was a talented writer and humourist, and occasional director who made warm-hearted movies such as "When Harry Met Sally", and "You've Got Mail", making even grown men admit to have a thing for fluffy and predictable romances. She passed away in June of 2012.

In 2005, she had written an article called "___ ___ and Me: Now It Can Be Told, and Not for the First Time Either", in which she wrote of her indiscreet revelations about someone connected to a major US political event. But no one really took her seriously. The article showed ho wshe was one of the few people in the world to know something.

What did she know?

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This day last year: Q.318

Aug 13, 2012


There are four versions (excluding lithographs): two as paintings, two as pastels. The two paintings are in the National Gallery of Oslo and in a museum named after the artist. The museum also holds one of the pastel versions.

Leon Black, an American businessman, bought the other pastel version in May 2012 for a 120 million dollars, making it the most expensive sale at a public auction ever.

If you've recovered from shrieking in pain at this display of Mammon, can you identify the work of art?

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This day last year: Q.317

Aug 11, 2012


After the fire that gutted a major portion of the Mantralaya precincts in Bombay, this other building estate came in for review and failed several parameters. Built between 1921-27, it has been in continuous use for the last ninety years. A comprehensive report of the structural problems revealed many problems such as loose tiles in the ceiling and lack of adherence to fire safety norms.

Some authorities have also made the radical suggestion of moving out from the place, but other dignitaries have shot this down.

Which iconic building estate is this?

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This day last year: Q.315

Aug 10, 2012


Until recently, Jonah Lehrer was a columnist with "The New Yorker" magazine, where he specialised in writing public science about topics in neuroscience and psychology. His latest book "Imagine: How Creativity Works" (published in 2012) not only fetched mixed reviews, it cost him his job.

In this book, among other topics, Lehrer analyses the creative process of some famous artists. Journalist Michael Moynihan then discovered that some of the quotes attributed to one singer were either incorrect or, worse, concocted. Lehrer first lied about the veracity of these quotations, but later admitted to making them up.

Which singer's quotes were these?

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This day last year: Q.314

Aug 9, 2012


Hollywood biopic season usually starts towards the end of the year, in time for the Oscars. This vIZual is about a Nov 2012 release:

Source image: Boing/

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This day last year: Q.313

Aug 8, 2012


NASA successfully landed "Curiosity", an exploratory rover, on the surface of Mars on 6th August 2012 after a journey of more than half a year. One of the interesting bits about its design is that it has larger wheels than previous rovers. The wheels also have a pattern that provides better grip with a secondary purpose of leaving tracks can be used by cameras on-board to calculate how much distance was traveled by the rover.

The pattern is Morse Code for the letters "JPL". Why JPL?

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This day last year: Q.312

Aug 7, 2012


At most Olympic medal ceremonies, a medallist can expect to get a medal, a handshake, and congratulatory words from the august personage handing out the trinkets. But in this case, why is this silver medallist getting more than that, with a hug and a kiss?

Image: Hello Magazine

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This day last year: Q.311

Aug 6, 2012


The city of Aurora in Colorado unfortunately shot into international prominence in July 2012 thanks to an episode of mass shooting inside a theatre during a premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises". Before this incident, the only likely reason for Indians to have heard of this place was because of a famous Indian who had moved to Aurora, and is now back, showing more than a glimpse.


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This day last year: Q.310

Aug 5, 2012


Image: First Day Cover

2012 marks the eight hundredth 'wedding' of this saint. To mark the occasion, India Post has released two stamps, one of which you see here. This year's event happened in May 2012.

Which saint?

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This day last year: Q.309

Aug 4, 2012


A suffix (part of an acronym) is common to the following cities in the world of business with respect to something that usually happens at around 11 am of a business day in their respective timezones.

They are: Tokyo, Johannesburg, London, and Singapore. Paris, Helsinki, and Frankfurt used to have this too, but later merged into "Euro".

One of these cities was dragged into disrepute in June 2012. What's common, or what is the suffix?

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This day last year: Q.308

Aug 3, 2012


As far as this blog can tell, he is the only person to feature in the cast of both Ramanand Sagar's "Ramayana" (1986-1988) and B.R.Chopra's 'Mahabharata" (1988-1990). Who?

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This day last year: Q.307

Aug 2, 2012


The website "StockTwits" introduced this idea a few years ago to make stock symbols easy to spot in tweets. Twitter has picked up the idea (no, StockTwits isn't very pleased about this) and it can now be seen in regular tweets as well. Essentially, a "$" sign is prefixed to a stock symbol (such as "$GOOG"), which makes the symbol clickable, just like a #hashtag.

What are these things dubbed as?

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This day last year: Q.306

Aug 1, 2012


This news of cosmic importance was received with a bang around the world: could it be, everyone asked. The team that made the discovery said they had checked everything, shone light on each dark crevice, and when everything else had been ruled out, whatever was left, however improbable, must be right.

This made headline news everywhere, not just on Twitter.

But not when they found the problem in June 2012: two, in fact, and as mundane as you can get. One was an improperly attached fiber optic cable, the other, a speedy clock oscillator.

What was the discovery that ended in a whimper?

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This day last year: Q.305


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