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Showing posts from May, 2013


Since 2002, British social reformer Elizabeth Fry has been honoured by being depicted on the back of the British 5 pound banknote. In an announcement in April 2013, the Bank of England announced a redesign of the note, and that Fry would be replaced by one of the greatest Britons in history, who is also a Nobel Laureate.


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This day last year: Q.608


"Korobi Roy" is the name of the protagonist in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's latest novel "______ Girl", which is set in Kolkata. The choice of first name for this character reflects the title of the book: "Korobi" is the Bengali word for a type of flower, and the missing word is its common English translation.

What is the word, that completes the title?


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This day last year: Q.607


This popular American sitcom finally ended in 2013, after wrapping up its ninth season. This last season featured guest appearances by the likes of basketballer Julius Erving, broadcaster Stephen Colbert, and actor Steve Carell (in the very last episode).

Which TV series?

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This day last year: Q.606


This week's IZzie

In May 2013, this territory on one of Europe's tips became the 54th, latest, and smallest member of UEFA (the body that governs Europe's football). This territory has a rocky relationship with Spain, who had earlier threatened to pull out from all UEFA competitions if this happens.

Which territory?

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This day last year: Q.605


A sign of its geopolitical and economic clout rather than geography, India obtained "permanent observer" status in this inter-governmental group in May 2013, along with China, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. This group, which has been in existence since the 1990s, consists of Canada, the US, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

The group meets to debate and decide issues pertaining to which geographical region?

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This day last year: Q.604


"Once upon a time, a full stop met an exclamation. The exclamation decided to take over the full stop. This resulted in two exclamations."

This is a complicated way of explaining how, in May 2013, an uncouth being from "Gulliver's Travels" hooked up with a Lilliputian-type of online writing. Now explain this.

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This day last year: Q.603


In May 2013, Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to achieve this tall task. The first ever woman to do this was Junko Tabei (of Japan), in 1975. In 1978, the first European woman (Wanda Rutkiewicz of Poland) made it. The first Indian woman to achieve it was in 1984. Sharon Wood of Canada in 1986 was the first North American.

What achievement?

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This day last year: Q.602


The National Inventors Hall of Fame is an American organisation that recognises the achievements of American inventors. Garrett Brown was one of the inductees for 2013. He has won three Academy Awards in technical categories.

The invention that he is best known for was first employed in a film called "Bound for Glory", but created a more memorable impact in movies such as "Rocky".

Which invention?

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This day last year: Q.601


In 2009, the writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article called "How David Beats Goliath" about how underdogs could upend existing systems and win, because of their ability and willingness to break conventional rules.

Typically, he starts this article with an anecdote: this time about a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who coached his daughter Anjali's school basketball team, and took them from no-hopers to the national championship.

Who was this man?

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This day last year: Q.599


This week's IZzie

After the Indian National Congress's sweeping victory in Karnataka's Assembly polls in 2013, Siddaramaiah was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state. During the ceremony, he deviated from the usual script of oath-taking that accompanies such events.


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This day last year: Q.598


British sportsman Andrew Simpson won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. He died in May 2013, during a practice run near San Francisco, due to drowning after being trapped under water. This has cast a pall over the annual event for which he was practicising, due to be held later in 2013. This has also led to questions about the use of high technology equipment in the event.

Which event, for one of the oldest trophies in sport, is this?

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This day last year: Q.597


"The Orphan Master's Son" is a 2012 novel by Adam Johnson. In 2013, it picked up the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book is set in a country, which, according to Johnson is "perhaps the most difficult place on Earth to be fully human, a place where spontaneity is almost impossible".

An unusual choice of setting, this is which country?

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This day last year: Q.595


"Stop the Cyborgs" is a UK based advocacy group that campaigns against a culture of surveillance and invasion of privacy. They released a couple of 'ban signs' that can be used to communicate that something is prohibited in that area (one of which is shown here).


Image: "Stop the Cyborgs"

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This day last year: Q.594


Which person, now addressed as an 'Emeritus', shifted his residence from the Castel Gandolfo in Rome to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican City in May 2013?

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This day last year: Q.593


Assata Shakur, who is also known as Joanne Chesimard, lives in Cuba and largely keeps a low profile. In 1977, she was convicted for the killing of a New Jersey police officer, which took place in 1973. She broke out of prison in 1979, and found her way to Cuba, where she has been since.

What dubious 'first' in the history of American law enforcement has she achieved in May 2013, after an FBI announcement to the effect?

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This day last year: Q.592


In May 2013, Fortune magazine published the latest version of its "Fortune 500" list - which ranks American companies by revenue. In the past few years, two companies have usually been at the top two spots, exchanging places every other year. Which companies?

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This day last year: Q.590


This international sportsman has signed a deal to write books for children as part of a 5-book series called "Frankie's Magic Football", with the first one called "Frankie Versus the Pirate Pillagers". The series will centre around football-mad Frankie, and is derived from the sportsman's experiences of reading to his daughters and making up stories based on friends and colleagues.


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This day last year: Q.589


Time Out Magazine ran a poll among 101 film people to determine a list of the most romantic films of all time. The world war II classic "Casablanca" was placed 2nd, while Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love" was 3rd.

Which British film about a set of little meetings was placed on top of the list?

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This day last year: Q.588


President Hollande of France was presented this in April 2013 by the government of Mali, in gratitude for France's military assistance in repelling militant groups in that country. Hollande even quipped that this would come in very useful on the crowded streets of Paris.

Given the logistical complexities of taking it to France, it was left behind in Timbuktu. What was it, and why is it being replaced? (this time they plan to send it to Paris, come what may.)

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This day last year: Q.587


Considered somewhat of a water-management expert, he's been a member of several international fora on the topic. He's also a sports fan, once even participating in the New York Marathon under the name "W.A.Buren". He's been in the news in April 2013, for taking over the family concern from his mom (the first man in the family to do so in over a hundred years), and the youngest of his kind in Europe at this time.

Who and what has he inherited?

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This day last year: Q.586


This American political lobbying group has been founded by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Bill Gates, to press for changes in American immigration law and education to allow for more high quality scientists & technologists in the USA.

The name chosen for this group resembles a domain name: the first part is a common abbreviation in email programs, while the second can be an English word or a top-level domain name of a country. What is this name?

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This day last year: Q.585


This week's IZzie

The Indian National Awards for Films for 2013 were awarded by the President of India on May 3rd, 2013. In 2012, it had been announced that these awards would be given away each year on this date. What significant event in the history of Indian films is being commemorated by the choice of this date?

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This day last year: Q.584


Kathak dancer Aditi Mangaldas was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award in early 2013, in the category of Creative and Experimental Dance. However, in a surprise to the performing arts world, she refused to accept it.

Why did she do so?

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This day last year: Q.583


Peng Liyuan has been one of China's best known singers for a couple of decades, though she no longer performs actively. Somewhat of an early bloomer when it came to music, she soon progressed to becoming a top performer (with the rank of a general) in the Chinese army , entertaining the troops on important occasions in the eighties.

Lifestyle magazines believe she's still overshadowing her husband. Who is the husband?

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This day last year: Q.582


Which loopy author and professor of cognition co-authored the book Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking", which was published in 2013?


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This day last year: Q.581


Kevin Abosch is a noted Irish photographer, particularly known for his portraits. He is associated with an app which makes heavy use of his photos as the background to its text. The app was developed by a startup that made headlines in March 2013, and which has investors such as Yoko Ono and Stephen Fry.

Which app?

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This day last year: Q.580