Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Workout 02 (week starting January 26, 2014)

Beyond the Limelight

1. After achieving his most famous conviction in 1931, Elliot Ness was promoted to Chief Investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago and in 1934 for Ohio. Later, he was appointed Safety Director for the city of Cleveland, which put him in charge of both the police and fire departments. In this capacity, he oversaw the hunt for the Cleveland Torso Murderer, a vicious serial killer operating in the Cleveland area from 1935 to 1938. Some historians suggest his failure to solve the torso murders may have contributed to his exit from what was otherwise a remarkably successful career in Cleveland. What famous 1987 movie depicted the earlier, more famous part of Ness's career?
A. 'The Untouchables'
Ness headed the crack unit which took an unusual route to put gangster Al Capone in jail by going after his bootlegging operations and eventually having him convicted on tax evasion.

2. Versions of 'Guerrillero Heroico' have been painted, printed, digitised, embroidered, tattooed, silk-screened, sculpted or sketched on nearly every surface imaginable, leading the Victoria and Albert Museum to say that it has been reproduced more than any other image in photography. What or whom does it depict?
A. Che Guevara
Here's the original photograph by Alberto Korda.

3. In 2009, which international drug major was asked to pay a record $2.3 billion penalty over unlawful prescription drug promotions? The penalty included the largest criminal fine in U.S. history – $1.2 billion. Authorities called it a repeat offender, noting that it was the fourth such settlement of government charges in the last decade.
A. Pfizer

4. After the death of Walter Cronkite, whose voice replaced his doing the CBS Evening News intro? [Listen to the audio.]
A. Morgan Freeman.
I'm surprised more people didn't get this – I almost didn't put it thinking the voice was too distinctive. I just played it back for Anjali as a test, and the VO barely got past the first few words before she identified the voice.

5. It is often claimed (sometimes as a quiz question) that Isaac Asimov is the only person to have books published in all the categories of the Dewey Decimal System. This is not true – his books have been published in nine out of the ten categories. Given the list of categories – 000: Generalities; 100: X; 200: Religion; 300: Social Sciences; 400: Languages; 500: Pure Sciences; 600: Applied Sciences & Technology; 700: Arts; 800: Literature; 900: History & Geography – what is 'X', the only category under which Asimov never published a book?
A. Philosophy

6. Identify this member of the 1990s British national diving team, who placed 12th in platform diving at the 1992 World Championships.
A. Jason Statham

7. Lying on the Silk Road, it was a site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy and art. It was particularly known for the cliffside caves where monks lived as hermits. Many of the caves were embellished with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes. The most famous of these were built in the 6th century CE by the Kushans, under the guidance of local Buddhist monks. Name this place, which shot into the news in March 2001.
A. Bamyan.
The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, measuring 55 and 37 metres (180 and 121 feet) high respectively, the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were blown up by the Taliban in March 2001. Here are before-and-after photos of the area.

8. In December 2006, he convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm building green affordable housing on a large scale to help those families most in need after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which went on to become the Make It Right Foundation, a non-profit organisation. Who is he?
A. Brad Pitt

9. Which vessel was commanded by Christopher Pike in "The Cage", the original pilot episode of a famous television series? The pilot was never used once the series launched, though the character of Pike has surfaced a couple of times.
A. The Starship Enterprise from 'Star Trek'

10. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the Pentapolis are five cities also collectively referred to as "the Cities of the Plain" since they were all situated on the plain of the River Jordan, in an area that constituted the southern limit of the lands of the Canaanites. Three of the cities were Admah, Zeboim and Bela. What were the names of the other two?
A. Sodom and Gomorrah

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Workout 01 (week starting January 19, 2014)

What's In A Name?

A conspiracy in 1787 against the Portuguese, led by the Goan priests Fr. Caetano Vitorino de Faria; Fr. Caetano Francisco do Couto; Fr. Jose Antonio Gonsalves; and one other person, is generally referred to by what clan name of the main conspirators?
A. The Pinto conspiracy. 
The 'other person' left unnamed in the question was José Custódio de Faria, better known as Abbé Faria.

2. In 1960-61, which real-life person did Alec Guinness play in Terence Rattigan's 'Ross', which controversially explored the sexual ambiguity of that person?
A. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)
After the end of the First World War, quite famous and in a senior position by then, Lawrence was put in various high advisory positions. But he longed for action, and re-enlisted in the Royal Air Force under the false name John Hume Ross. Forced out of the RAF on being found out, he joined the Royal Tank Corps using the name T.E. Shaw. 
His sexuality has always been a mystery, and there were many rumours – but no evidence – surrounding his relationship with an Arab companion whom he worked with during pre-war days.

3. The name of which region means 'Beyond the _____ river', the river in question being the one in the photo, whose name is Dutch for 'drab' or 'dull', referring to its muddy colour?
A. Transvaal

4. It was introduced into India in the 11th century by al-Biruni, who wrote extensively about it and who claims to have composed two works on it in Sanskrit verse. The manufacture of the first local one commenced at Delhi in the latter half of the 14th century under Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Though several of them are said to have been constructed, all that remains of the endeavour is a manual in Sanskrit composed by Mahendra Suri in 1370, in which it is referred to as Yantraraja, meaning 'king of instruments'. What device is this?
A. The astrolabe

5. The Religious Society of Friends developed out of a movement of people who were dissatisfied with the existing denominations and sects of Christianity in England in the 17th century, and wished to return to a way of life based on their interpretations of early Christian communities. In 1650, when George Fox, one of the Society's early leaders, was brought to trial on a charge of blasphemy, he admonished the gathering in court and "bid them tremble at the word of God". What mocking name given by the judge to the group as a result of this incident eventually came to be a term commonly used for them, even by themselves?
A. Quakers

6. Born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served a six-month tour of duty as a gunnery officer in Korea following the Korean War. Later, in the 1970s, he became the first person to win Emmy Awards for acting, writing and directing for the same TV series. What stage name, derived in a complicated way from his real name, do we know him better by?
A. Alan Alda (the surname came from parts of his real first and last names)

7. In 1929, a Czech entrepreneur named František Janeček bought over the motorcycle division of the German transport company Wanderer, and formed a company to manufacture motorcycles. The name he devised for the company (from a combination of his name and that of the original German motorcycle manufacturer) became well-known in India due to a Mysore-based company which licensed the right to manufacture the vehicles in India. What name?
A. Jawa

8. To evoke the batting burden he bore for the West Indies at the time, what nickname did C.B. Fry famously bestow on George Headley?
A. Atlas

9. In addition to the traditional Petrarchan and Elizabethan, John Milton is considered to have created a new sonnet form, the Miltonic, with his sonnet number 19, “When I Consider How my Light is Spent”. What is the subject of this poem?
A. Milton's blindness

10. The name of which type of pasta is Italian for 'little twines'?
A. Spaghetti (from 'spago', meaning 'twine')

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Question Set: Breeds of Dogs

[All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them]

Q01. What generic type of 'gun dog' is sub-divided into Curly-Coated, Flat-Coated, Golden, Chesapeake Bay, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling and Labrador?
A. Retriever

Q02. What breed of dog is Tinkerbell, Paris Hilton's dog that she famously carries around in her handbag?
A. Chihuahua

Q03. What is the breed of dog shown above, that gets its name from the typical behaviour that this one is displaying?
A. Pointer

Q04. Named for the region in Croatia from which they are believed to have originated, which breed of dog is known as a 'firehouse dog' in the US because of their habit of running alongside horse-drawn fire carts used by early firefighters?
A. Dalmatian

Q05. One of the most famous dogs in comics, Snowy (or Milou in his original French avatar), was based on what breed of dog that belonged to the owner of a cafe where Herge was a regular?
A. Fox Terrier

Q06. The flag of the Tyrolean Alpine Guard (above) shows on it the patron saint of skiing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking and mountaineering. Which breed of dogs gets its name from his?
A. St Bernard

Q07. Modelled on a bitch called Cherie on Birkenhof, what breed of dog was Waldi, the first official Olympics mascot, used in Munich in 1972?
A. (Long-haired) Dachshund

Q08. Considered a descendant of the Saluki, the sleek, beautiful breed in the picture above gets one of its names from a town in Bagalkot district of northern Karnataka. Name the town.
A. Mudhol

Q09. Which dog breed's name comes from its similarity to works of art such as the one above, the guardian lion of the ancient Chinese culture?
A. Shih Tzu

Q10. One of the much-in-demand designer breeds in the US these days is a creature called the Cava-poo-chon, which is being labelled as "the perfect puppy". If two parts of this mix are the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle, what is the third – a breed whose name means 'curly lap dog' in French?
A. Bichon Frise

Q11. Watch this video and identify this rara canis, discovered by 'the outside world' by Sir William Macgregor during a 1897 expedition to Mount Scratchley.
A. New Guinea Singing Dog

Q12. The only named member of Navy Seals Team Six which killed Osama bin Laden was Cairo, a dog like the one shown above. What breed is he?
A. Belgian Malinois (or Belgian Shepherd Dog)

Q13. Jan van Eyck's painting 'Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife' (shown above) includes the couple's dog. It is considered to be an early version of what dog breed?
A. Brussels Griffon