Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekend Workout (week starting June 23, 2014)

Public Relations
(remember: larger versions of all visuals can be seen by clicking on them)

1. While this person was himself no great shakes – having finished bottom of his class at West Point – and even his famous death was probably the result of poor military strategy, the American public came to see him as a tragic military hero and exemplary gentleman who sacrificed his life for his country. A significant contribution to this image was the work of his wife Elizabeth, who did much to advance this view with the publication of several books about her late husband: 'Boots and Saddles: Life with _______ ______ in Dakota' (1885), 'Tenting on the Plains' (1887), and 'Following the Guidon' (1891). Who?

2. As far as Test cricket is concerned, what uniquely connects these two people?

3. Born in 1922 into a family of landless peasants in Azinhaga, Portugal, , his parents were Jose de Sousa and Maria de Piedade. His father's family was known by a nickname – the Portuguese word for the wild radish – which was accidentally incorporated into his name during the registration of his birth. Identify this author.

4. In 1919, Mahashay Chuni Lal started selling a certain product range at a small shop in Sialkot. His wares soon gained fame, and his family came to be known as "Deggi Mirch Wale" (the Pot Chilli People). After the Partition of India, Mahashay Dharam Pal (the man in the photo), the son of the founder, shifted to Delhi and opened up his shop at Ajmal Khan Road, Karol Bagh under the banner "_________ __ _____ of Sialkot (Deggi Mirch Wale)". What brand – now literally a household name – resulted from this enterprise?

5. Hopefully you know whose arm this is. If the first four coordinates stand, respectively, for places in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Namibia, what location do the last two (the most recent ones) represent? One point if you get the country right, two if you get the specific location.

6. What British tradition began in 1301 when Edward Caernarfon was invested with a certain title in London? Interestingly, he himself neglected to fulfill the tradition, but it was later revived by his son and has been followed ever since.

7. Which politician's wife is she, and which other politician's sister? [Half points for each]

8. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took on a federal case to fight a state injunction against this couple, Mildred and Richard Loving. Appropriately titled Loving vs Virginia, the federal case led to a landmark US Supreme Court ruling that state laws that discriminated against such cases were unconstitutional. As a result, what was legalised throughout the US in 1967 (until then it was illegal in 16 states)?

9. On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the largest collection of stars honouring one group of blood relatives is a widely-scattered set of seven representing the Y family: John Y, his brother Lionel Y (who has two), and sister Ethel Y, their uncle Sidney XY, John's son John XY and granddaughter XY. Name this last person.

10. This lady heads 'Gladrags' magazine and is one of the forces behind the Miss India annual beauty pageant. Her family is quite a bit in the news these days. Name her for the full point, or (for half a point) give just her surname.

1. Lt Colonel George Custer (he of the last stand)
2. The only two third-generation Test cricketers.
Dean Headley's father Ron also played for England, and his grandfather George represented the West Indies. Bazid Khan of Pakistan is the son of Pakistani batsman Majid Khan and grandson of Jahangir Khan, who played for India.
3. Jose Saramago 
4. MDH (which stands for Mahashian di Hatti) Masalas
You can see Mahashay Dharam Pal's photo above the logo on the box.
5. Nice, France
The arm is Angelina Jolie's, and the coordinates represent the birthplaces of her kids. The first four are those of her adopted children; her last two were twins born six years ago at a seaside hospital in Nice.
6. The tradition of naming the eldest son of the ruling monarch as the Prince of Wales. 
Edward Caernarfon was the son of King Edward I, and went on to become Edward II.
7. Sachin Pilot's wife and Omar Abdullah's sister Sara
8. Inter-racial marriages
9. Drew Barrymore
10. Maureen Wadia, wife of Nusli and father of Ness

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Workout (week starting June 16, 2014)

Heavenly Bodies
(remember: larger versions of all visuals can be seen by clicking on them)

1. "Thyn Astrolabie hath a ring to putten on the thombe of thi right hond in taking the height of thinges." Thus begins a description of the instrument in 'A Treatise on the Astrolabe', a medieval user's guide penned by an amateur astronomer better known for his writing. The author dedicated the treatise to his 10-year-old son Lewis, who, according to his father, had displayed a special "abilite to lerne sciences touching nombres and proporciouns." In order that little Lewis could understand the book, the writer set his instructions not in the usual Latin, but in "naked wordes in Englissh". Who was the writer of the treatise?

2. What 'first' was created by Lt. Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols) and Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) on the November 22, 1968, episode of 'Star Trek', titled "Plato's Stepchildren"?

3. What takes its name from the collective term comprising Tithi, Vasara, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana, which are considered its five 'limbs' or properties?

4. Sometime in the mid-19th century, this man, a British accountant named Edward Maunder (the guy shown here), observed something which changed his life completely. Delving into astronomy along with his mathematician wife Annie Scott Dill Russell Maunder, he dedicated his life to the study of the phenomenon that he had observed. They established that the number of such occurrences vary over an 11-year cycle, and that their rising and falling numbers create a repeating 'butterfly' pattern when mapped over the years. Sometimes the numbers fall, and don't recover for years.  Maunder discovered one such long period between 1645 and 1715, which was subsequently named the Maunder Minimum in his honour. Events such as that depicted in this 1683 illustration were possible because of this Maunder Minimum. Two questions (1 point for each): (a) What phenomena did Maunder and his wife record and analyse? (b) What happened during the Maunder Minimum?

5. This is the painting 'Immaculate Conception' by the famed Spanish artist Diego Velazquez. A certain element of depictions of the Virgin Mary in art such as this inspired Arsène Heitz, a French draughtsman, to come up with the design for what in the 1950s?

6. Where on earth was this video shot? Make sure you give me the name of the city.

7. This is a depiction of the largest-known TNOs. What does that expand to?

8. Between 1973 and 1978, the British Interplanetary Society ran a project to design a plausible interstellar unmanned spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use current or near-future technology and had to be able to reach its destination within a human lifetime. A related recent project is a theoretical design study aimed at designing a credible nuclear fusion-based interstellar spacecraft that will stand as a blueprint for a possible unmanned mission. Which high-flying father-son pair are these two projects named after?

9. This statue stands is in the grounds of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune. Since no description or representations of this person survive, this is perforce the sculptor's idea of what he might have looked like. Who is it supposed to be?

10. The International Dark-Sky Association, established in 1988, has been instrumental in setting up what are known as 'dark-sky preserves'. There are currently more than 35 of these, mainly in USA, Canada and Europe. What are these preserves?

1. Geoffrey Chaucer
I thought more people would get it from the nature of the spellings. This seems a good opportunity to add a word about how he also once in a while threw his son around so he could claim to have seen a flying Chaucer.
2. The first interracial kiss to be shown on a scripted TV show in the US. Enjoy:
3. The Hindu calendar (or Panchanga, literally meaning 'five limbs').
4. (a) Sunspots (b) The Maunder Minimum was a period of solar inactivity that corresponds to a climatic period called the Little Ice Age between 1645 and 1715. The illustration shows a frost fair held on the river Thames, which froze over.
5. The EU flag
Mary was often depicted in medieval and Renaissance art with a halo of 12 stars. 
6. Ujjain, one of the five places where Raja Jai Singh II built Jantar Mantars.
As the guide mentions in his commentary, Ujjain stands on the Tropic of Cancer.
7. Trans-Neptunian Objects
8. Daedalus and Icarus
9. Aryabhata
10. Areas, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that are kept free of artificial light pollution. 
The movement was the result of astronomers finding that interference from artificial lighting was making it difficult for them to observe heavenly bodies at nighttime.