Saturday, April 11, 2015

10Q (April 10, 2015)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicked on them]

1. What are the people in this video clip, known as Foley artists, doing? The name comes from that of Jack Foley, a pioneer of this technique.

2. On December 15, 2009, this Google doodle marking L.L. Zamenhof's 150th birthday, honoured what invention of his?
3. Identify this person, Chairperson of the government-backed Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council.

4. Informally called "the Big Book", the title of this book came to be used for the organisation that published it. What organisation?
5. This word was originally used for a legendary creature or type of hobgoblin, its name derived from an old Celtic word for evil spirit or goblin. In medieval England, it was depicted as a creepy animal that lurked in the woods to scare children. In a modern context, the term serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating, a pet peeve. More rarely, it is used as another term for a scarecrow. What word?

6. In which city are international cricket matches played at the Keenan Stadium, named after John Lawrence Keenan, a former general manager at Tata Steel?

7. In 1985, Ugo Vetere, the then mayor of Rome, and Chedli Klibi, his counterpart in Tunis, signed a symbolic peace treaty to officially end which series of conflicts that had, due to lack of a previously documented ending, lasted 2,131 years?

8. His first film, in 1992, was a cult hit, and led to an unsuccessful sequel. His second big hit, made in 1997, resulted in two sequels. His third major role came in 2001 and led to a four-movie franchise. In commemoration of the second of these movie series, his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame was positioned in front of an adult store called the International Love Boutique. Who?

9. Connect these images to the name of a place.

10. These are some examples from across the world of what?
– Sweden: Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced “Albin”)
– China: @ (“Translated into Chinese, [the symbol] means ‘love him’.”)
– Sweden: Metallica
– New Zealand: 4Real
– Germany: Hitler
– Denmark: Anus

Sunday, April 5, 2015

10Q (April 5, 2015)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicked on them]

1. To begin with, a question in two parts. The person shown on the left below was the only important non-British general whose advice was constantly sought during wartime by Winston Churchill. He was invited to the Imperial War Cabinet in 1939, and appointed a Field Marshal of the British Army in 1941. On the right is a scene from a movie in which Athol Fugard played the man, perhaps the only context in which most of us would have heard of him. For 1 point each, who is this general, and which movie was this?

2. A communication within the Internet Engineering Task Force titled RFC ('request for comments') 920 sent in October 1984 resulted in a set of five of these. A sixth was added during the first implementation. This list remained static for about 15 years when several new items were added to the list. That opened the flood gates and since then new entrants have come in every so often. The whole business is currently maintained by something called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. What are these (1 point)? For additional points, what were the original six? (No additional points for getting less than four; half a point for getting four or five; 1 point for getting all six.)

3. For what purpose did India, in May 1959, introduced the 'External Rupee'?

4. What denomination is this US currency note, and who is the person depicted on it? (1 point for each answer)

5. The English word for this snake comes from the Latin 'natrix', meaning 'water snake'. Its modern form comes from what is termed in linguistics as 'faulty separation', a process that also gave rise to such words as 'apron', 'auger', 'nickname' and 'umpire'. What snake?

6. In Hindu mythology, who is referred to as Vajrabhrit (bearing the bolt), Vajrivat or Vajrin (armed with the bolt), Vajradaksina (holding the bolt in his right hand), and Vajrabahu or Vajrahasta (holding the Vajra in his hand)?

7. This bullet developed by scientists at QinetiQ and British Aerospace for use against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2010 has a hollow steel head giving it more range and effectiveness. By what nickname is it known, one which might give a potential target a distinctly unlucky feeling?

8. Listen to this audio clip of a concerto written by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi in 1725 and identify the unusual solo instrument (unusual for Western classical music, that is) it features. For those who don't know, a concerto in Western classical music – in contrast to a symphony which is composed for the entire orchestra – is written for a soloist playing a specific instrument, backed by the rest of the orchestra.

9. This is a 1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada titled 'La Calavera _____' ('The Elegant Skull'). The image has since become a staple of Mexican imagery, and often is incorporated into artistic manifestations of the Day of the Dead in November, such as altars and calavera costumes. The etching was part of his series of calaveras, which were humorous images of contemporary figures depicted as skeletons, which often were accompanied by a poem. The blanked-out word in the title is the feminine form of the Spanish word for 'elegant'. Which 'elegant' skull in Bollywood is attached to a second half that means 'pleasure' or 'high spirits'?

10. Born of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and the brainchild of Department of Justice attorney Gerald Shur, this programme has successfully worked with more than 18,000 people since it first began operations in 1971. What programme, central to numerous American movies and TV shows?

Answers
1. Jan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa for two periods (1919-24 and 1939-48), whom Mahatma Gandhi came up against during his early political activism in South Africa. The movie, of course, was 'Gandhi'.
2. Internet top-level domains, or TLDs – the first five were .com, .edu, .gov, .mil and .org; .net was added at the time of first implementation
3. For circulation in those areas outside India that used the Indian Rupee. Only the States of the Arabian Gulf used the Indian Rupee at this time, so the notes designated as External Rupees soon became known as 'Gulf Rupees'.
4. It's a 100,000-dollar bill, the largest ever issued by the US Federal Reserve, and it features President Woodrow Wilson. Since I had forgotten to mask out the name 'Wilson', I'm cancelling that part of the question.

5. An adder, which started off as 'a nadder'
6. Indra (sorry, can't give points for India and Indira, even though those are probably spelling errors)
7. It's called a 'Dirty Harry round' ("Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?")
8. It's the Mandolin Concerto in C major
9. Katrina Kaif. In the title of the painting, the word is spelt 'catrina'. 
10. U.S. Marshall Service Witness Security Program (WITSEC)

Friday, March 27, 2015

10Q (March 27, 2015)

[Most images can be clicked on for larger versions]

1. In the 18th century, 'redhand' was a legal term used in Scotland meaning 'in the act of crime', but it was this particular author who used that to coin the phrase 'caught red-handed'. He is generally credited as being second only to Shakespeare as an individual source of English neologisms, with such now-common phrases as 'cold shoulder', 'blood is thicker than water', 'go berserk', 'lock, stock and barrel' and a whole range of others emanating from his pen. Who?

2. In February 1840, the Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, named the new capital that he set up after the Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India. In what way – topical these days – does the family name of the Earl of Auckland connect the NZ city to the city that was the Earl's base in India?

3. This person has an avid interest in cosmology, and participated in BBC coverage of the opening of the Large Hadron Collider in September 2008. He has also played Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. This is a sound clip of him talking about the Emmy win that he was personally most pleased about (he has won six in all). Identify him.

4. According to legend, passing blacksmiths at work one day, this person found that the sounds emanating from their anvils being hit were beautiful and harmonious. He went to the blacksmiths to learn how this had happened by looking at their tools, he discovered that it was because the anvils were "simple ratios of each other, one was half the size of the first, another was 2/3 the size, and so on". This led to his applying scientific law to music. Who?


5. The Dvorak layout, patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey, was an attempt to improve what now-ubiquitous design?

6. This is the logo of the Mumbai branch of which organisation, established in 1969 by Meera Mahadevan after she witnessed "the plight of neglected children… on the site of the Gandhi Centenary Exhibition in Delhi"?


7. 'Fylfot' (meaning 'four-footed'), tetragammadion ('four gammas'), 'sun wheel' and 'tetaskelion' ('four-legged') are all alternative names for what symbol?

8. After calling Prince Charles a "little grovelling bastard" on live television in 1994, he later faxed the prince, "I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?" In reality he and the Prince were very close friends, and he was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) (honorary because of his Irish citizenship) in 2000. He had once quipped that he wanted his headstone to bear the words "I told you I was ill." He was buried at St Thomas's Church cemetery in Winchelsea, East Sussex, but the Chichester Diocese refused to allow this epitaph. A compromise was reached with the Irish translation, and additionally in English, "Love, light, peace" [see picture below]. Name this irreverent comedian.


9. In 2010, Stephen Hughes a physicist at the University of Queensland in Australia surprisingly uncovered an error in dictionary definitions that had stood uncorrected for almost a century. He found the word described thus in the Oxford English Dictionary – "noun: a tube used to convey liquid upwards from a container and then down to a lower level, the flow being maintained by atmospheric pressure" – but pointed out that the flow is maintained not by atmospheric pressure but by gravity. It's a very basic principle, but the definition had stood uncorrected for 99 years! What is the word in question?

10. This is a shloka from the Bhagavad Gita: "Ananyas chintayanto mam ye janaha paryupasathe thesham nithyabhiyukthanaam yogakshemam vahamyaham" (meaning: "For those who are always absorbed in thoughts of me, and who worship me with single pointed devotion by every means, I myself carry their necessities and take care of their well being"). What organisation takes its motto 'Yogakshemam Vahamyaham' ('I shall take care of the well being') from this verse?

Answers
1. Sir Walter Scott
2. The Earl of Auckland was George Eden, and his family name links Auckland's cricket ground Eden Park to Kolkata's Eden Gardens. 
3. Alan Alda, who won a writing Emmy for an episode of M*A*S*H to go with his five acting/directing awards.
4. Pythagoras
5. Typewriter keypad (and now computer keyboard) layouts. 
Dvorak proponents claim the Dvorak layout uses less finger motion, increases typing rate, and reduces errors compared to the QWERTY keyboard. 
6. Mobile Creches
7. The swastika
8. Spike Milligan
9. Siphon
10. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)