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Showing posts from March, 2013


Just like their male counterparts, Women's Rugby also play a Six Nations Championship - the countries being Italy, France, England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.

The 2013 tournament was won comprehensively by the Irish team, who also achieved a rare Grand Slam in the process. What do you need to do to achive a Grand Slam?

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This day last year: Q.548


The Sai Paranjpye film "Chashme Baddoor" is being re-released by PVR in April 2013 (we will snootily ignoring the dumb remake releasing the same day), twenty-one years later. The film was produced by Gul Anand who also made movies such as "Hero Hiralal" and "Jalwa".

A good friend of Anand's made cameos in these three films. Incidentally, his wife makes a "referential cameo" (i.e she is named in the film) as well.


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This day last year: Q.547


In February 2013, the double Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel made a speech at an event organised by the London Review of Books. It plunged her into controversy for comments she made about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge ("Kate Middleton, as she was, appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished").

(In fact, Mantel makes several observations about the rest of the English monarchy as well, but as this Guardian article points out, most people seem not to have read the actual speech. No surprises.)

Back to today's question: the speech starts with Mantel recounting how she was once asked to pick a famous person and suggest a book for them to read. She chooses Middleton and recommends Caroline Weber's Queen of Fashion: What ____ ____ Wore to the Revolution" as being relevant to the Duchess. Who is this book about?

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This day last year: Q.545


Australia pioneered this monetary innovation: some other countries have also adopted it. India will trial this by introducing it via Reserve Bank of India offices in five cities (Cochin, Jaipur, Shimla, Mysore and Bhubaneswar), choosing the Rs. 10/- denomination.

Thus, if you have it in your pocket, you can use a phrase that is usually applied to credit cards. What innovation is this?

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This day last year: Q.544


The weather around the Atlantic has been terrible in March 2013, with the American East Coast and the United Kingdom being hit by snow and rain. Which iconic weather forecaster has been indicted by a prosecutor in Ohio for 'predicting' that spring will be early this year in the US?

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This day last year: Q.543


A vIZual about an artist:

Image: CIMAArt
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This day last year: Q.541


The Folio Society (a publisher of illustrated versions of classic novels) has announced it will sponsor a new literary prize called simply "The Folio Prize". The first such prize will be awarded in 2014. In part, its creation was a reaction to the Man Booker Prize's perceived leaning towards awarding popularity rather than literary quality.

In terms of geographic eligibility, what will be its biggest difference from the Booker Prize?

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This day last year: Q.540


As the result became more and more certain, Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian and fellow South American, hugged him and entreated him to not forget the poor. This made him think of someone associated with the service of the poor.

This is the story of how he came up with the name. Who, and what name?

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This day last year: Q.539


Who is seen here, at the opening session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in his capacity as a newly appointed political advisor? Image:

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This day last year: Q.538


The world's health community has been following news of cases involving a potentially deadly virus in the Middle East. Many of the cases have originated from Saudi Arabia.

The virus has been compared to the one that causes SARS and belongs to the same family of viruses. This family gets its name from the Latin word for "crown" because of how they appear when viewed through an electron microscope. What's the name?

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This day last year: Q.537


One of this director's next film projects is tentatively called "Kolkata" and is based on a character made famous on Doordarshan twenty years ago. Incidentally, the director bears a facial resemblance to the actor who became famous for that role, and has often been mistaken for him.

Who is the director, and what is the character?

From a quiz I did at IIT Kanpur

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This day last year: Q.536


This week's IZzie

This application began life as "JavaCollect" and was started by Chris Wetherell: the initial idea was to collect headlines from various web sources. After he joined Google, the project was reimagined, ultimately evolving into the form we know it by.

Not for too long though. Which project is this?

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This day last year: Q.535


He asked for one rupee for providing permission to the project. The makers added a touch of symbolism by finding a rupee note printed in 1958 - in many ways, this was a golden and breakthrough year not just for him, but also for Indian athletics because of the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Who is he, and what did he thus bless?

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This day last year: Q.534


At the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards (announced in a ceremony in March 2013), Jamaican Usain Bolt picked up his third award for "Sportsman of the Year", and Britisher Jessica Ennis won "Sportswoman of the Year".

A new category was introduced this time: it's called the "Exceptional Achievement Award". This went to someone who once again shone at the Olympics and holds several hard-to-beat records. Who?

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This day last year: Q.533


In March 2013, this territory conducted a referendum amongst its citizens: should they continue being a part of the United Kingdom, or should they look for alternatives? In the end, 1513 out of 1517 voters chose to continue. Just three people voted against (one vote was invalidated) surprising many, who thought the number would be higher.

All this happens thirty one years after the last military conflict involving the territory. Which one?

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This day last year: Q.532


Today's question is a VIZual

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This day last year: Q.531


Five people from India, by virtue of being under the age of eighty on a certain date, qualified to participate in this event. They are:

  • Oswald Gracias from Mumbai
  • Telesphore Placidus Toppo from Ranchi
  • Ivan Dias from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
  • George Alencherry from Ernakulam
  • Baselios Cleemis from Thiruvananthapuram
In what?

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This day last year: Q.530


This three-time Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is celebrating its sesquicentennial i.e. 150 years of existence in 2013, and marked its founding day on February 17th. Two of the five founders were doctors (Louis Appia and Theodore Maunoir), one was a General (Guillaume-Henri Dufour) and one a lawyer (Gustave Moynier). The fifth, a businessman, also won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Which organisation?

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This day last year: Q.529


This week's IZzie

In February 2013, Google unveiled their laptop product, the latest in their Chromebook series. These laptops run Chrome OS, their cloud-based operating system.

The name chosen for this laptop is a fundamental term associated with display screens and may be in part a reference to the high resolution screen that it comes with. What name?

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This day last year: Q.528


The magazine announced its list for 2013. A glance at the top ten reveals this country-wise distribution: Mexico (1), The United States (5), Spain (1), Hong Kong/Canada (1), and France (2). Continuing to be on top of the charts is Mexico.

What list and who is on top?

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This day last year: Q.527


At their third screenwriters conference held in late February 2013, the Film Writers Association, a Mumbai-based association, felicitated Manohar Shyam Joshi. Joshi (who passed away in 2006) was remembered for his contribution to Indian television.

Which two pioneering TV serials (considered the first two soap operas on Doordarshan) is he famous for having written?

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This day last year: Q.526


"House of Cards" is a new American TV series that premiered in early February of 2013. A political drama, it features the likes of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Netflix, the DVD-rental-turned-streaming service, is distributing the show.

What innovative model is Netflix using in distribution, which media experts called an idea whose time has come?

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This day last year: Q.524


In his Rail budget speech for 2013, the Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced a new type of luxury railway coach that will have such items as ergonomic seats, modular toilets, and LCD screens.

The name for this kind of coach can be translated into Hindi as "sensation" or "realization". What's this name?

Bonus question: the first train to receive such an addition will be a Rajdhani express; in fact, the Rajdhani that links the Minister's parliamentary constituency to New Delhi. Which place?

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This day last year: Q.523


Time for this week's IZzie

Today's question is a vIZual, from a recent TIME magazine cover. Identify the person featured on it.


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This day last year: Q.521


At the TED2013 conference in end of February 2013 (the annual meeting of TED), he quipped that he was now at the Academy Awards for smart people. He spoke of his work and interest in Eastern Congo and how to change lives for the better in that conflict-ravaged region.


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This day last year: Q.520