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Showing posts from January, 2013


The 2013 Filmfare Awards for Hindi films were held in early January. Which real-life Bollywood husband and wife both won a Filmfare Award each during this event?

[+ Show Answer] This day last year: Q.488


Skinks are a type of lizards found only in Madagascar. Their genus name is "Sirenoscincus". In December 2012, some researchers announced the discovery of a new type of skink, which lives underground. As a result, it has evolved to lose all its skin pigmentation, its eyes, and has only forelimbs; the latter making it look more like a sea creature with flippers.

The scientists have named this skink "Sirenoscincus ____", the species name coming from literature and referring to an animal that has some attributes in common to this creature. What's the name?

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This day last year: Q.487


Jagbir Singh, the manager of the Punjab Warriors match, was suspended for a match in the 2013 Hockey India League tournament for an unusual violation of rules by his side during their match against the Mumbai Magicians. What was this violation? (I often wonder why this doesn't happen more often, given hockey rules.)

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This day last year: Q.486


This week's Izzie

"Kai Po Che!" is the name of an upcoming Hindi film (to release in Feb 2013) based on a Chetan Bhagat book called "The Three Mistakes of My Life". Each year, particularly during the period of Sankrant, you will hear this exclamation from the rooftops of Gujarat.

With what cutting-edge activity is this cry associated with?

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This day last year: Q.485


Suman Sridhar is a singer whose latest Bollywood foray came towards the end of 2012 with "Muskanein Jhoothi Hai" (Talaash). Earlier she sang a remix of "Khoya Khoya Chand" (Shaitan) in 2011.

She has a long-standing musical collaboration with someone who was also in the news in 2012 and had won or been nominated for a clutch of awards.


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This day last year: Q.484


"Reduplication" is a linguistic phenomenon defined in one source as: "a morphological process in which a root or stem or part of it is repeated"

This phenomenon is seen commonly in many language families, and is often used in languages like English, Romance languages, Persian, African languages, East Asian, and South Asian languages.

What has all this got to do with a lady named Vaishali who runs a pickle business from Pune, whose life inspired something in 2012?

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This day last year: Q.483


In 2012, Nike (which is not an Olympic sponsor) launched its "Find your Greatness" campaign that featured amateur sportsmen around the world (in places like Jamaica, Ohio, Qatar, Nigeria, and Norway).

This made the IOC mad as it was yet another example of Nike's clever strategy that just fell short of ambush marketing.

What was in the campaign that slyly associated itself with the Olympics without overtly saying so?

From my Mood Indigo quiz at IIT Bombay, 2012

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This day last year: Q.482


Bush House was the iconic headquarters for the BBC World Service for over fifty years. In 2012, the lease ran out and the BBC moved out.

It also had a literary connection: an author, who was briefly part of the Eastern Service (and reportedly hated his time there) was inspired by some of the rooms (including a canteen) and included them in one of his best known books.

Which author, and which book?

From my Mood Indigo quiz at IIT Bombay, 2012

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This day last year: Q.481


These are clues to the last few entries in a list. These entries are chronologically arranged. The list is:
  • (1995) Urbs Prima in Indis, especially before it reverted to "bharataacha sarvapratham shahar"
  • (1997) Two of them
  • (1998) From the heart
  • (2000) When Oothukadu Venkata Subbier's mind rolled like the waves
  • (2002) What happens if you receive a peck on the cheek?
  • (2004) Youth or a triple-bored Tamil letter
  • (2007) A (corporate) sage of sorts
  • (2010) A noted devotee of Shiva (did he play the veena ten times better than most?)
The latest addition (in 2013) is "Ocean". What is this list?

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This day last year: Q.480


The Hollywood actress Jodie Foster recently received a honorary award at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in January 2013, and made a stirring speech that made headlines. This award, honouring contributions to entertainment by a person over his/her career, is named after the first person (a movie moghul) to receive it.


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This day last year: Q.479


Mahindra & Mahindra's two-wheelers company has a fondness for brand names ending in "-O", with products such as Rodeo, Duro, Stallio, and now Centuro and Panturo.

Later in 2013, the company will be launching its 300cc bike. The name for this vehicle is a word that primarily came from African folk culture, and is now English slang for a form of personal confidence. What word is this?

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This day last year: Q.477


To mark Indian cinema's hundredth year anniversary in 2012-2013, the directors Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, and Zoya Akhtar are making a feature film consisting of four tales revolving around cinema. Each of them will direct one story.

The film, to be released in mid-2013, shares its name with one of Hindi cinema's best known production houses, that in its heyday introduced the likes of Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar to the industry. What is the name?

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This day last year: Q.476


The previous Primate was referred to as "Rowan Cantuar". From March 2013, the new Primate will be called "Justin Cantuar".

What is this all about?

From my quiz at Conundrums, IIT Bombay, 2012

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This day last year: Q.475


Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that angry philosopher of our times, has a new book, the title of which he describes thus:
"Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of ____. Let us call it anti____. Anti____ is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the anti____ gets better.
What word completes the blanks to give the title of the book?

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This day last year: Q.474


This is the logo of the latest venture from this foundation. Which foundation, or what quick word will complete the name of this venture?

Image: Wikipedia

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This day last year: Q.473


"We the People" is a platform that allows Americans to petition the White House on various issues, provided there is enough support for the petition. In December 2012, a less than serious (or so we imagine) petition was made that eventually garnered over twenty five thousand signatures, forcing the White House to take cognisance of it in January 2013.

The White House, declining the request in the petition, wrote:

"The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a ___ ___ isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

The construction of the ___ ___ has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it. The Administration does not support blowing up planets. Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a ___ ___ with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

What did the petition demand the US Government build?

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This day last year: Q.472


This week's Izzie

Founded on 26 November 2012, this is the logo of which political party whose initials conveniently come together to mean "you"?

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This day last year: Q.471


From the world of sports, if Abby Wambach of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden were voted winners in their respective equivalent categories for women, who were the male counterparts?

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This day last year: Q.469


The Indian National Awards for Films for 2011 were awarded in 2012. The award for Best Book on Cinema (which had an introduction by Shammi Kapoor) was awarded to a biography written by Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal. Ironically, the subject of their book never won a National Award himself, much to the disappointment of his fans.

Who is the subject?

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This day last year: Q.468


According to the lady who had written to the authorities, the compromise that has been worked out is thus: when held in India, it will be referred to by the name of a former President and founding secretary of the board, and when held in England, it will be named after her husband's family name.

What uneasy compromise is this a reference to?

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This day last year: Q.466


This film is one of the first to release in 2013. Advertised with a tagline of "Classic Tale, New Twist", what is the classic tale that this film is based on, and is (fictionally) set fiftteen years after the tale's events?

Image: Wikipedia

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This day last year: Q.461


Which Irishman was in the business news in India during the last days of 2012, for taking over as head of a conglomerate that was founded exactly a hundred years before he was born?

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This day last year: Q.460


Anusha Rizvi made a much heralded writing and directing debut with "Peepli Live" in 2013. Her current film project is a film version of a well-regarded book by an Indian author. Tentatively titles reported in the media have included "Afeem ka Sagar" and "Opium", this film was also be partly written in Bhojpuri.

Which book?

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This day last year: Q.458