Handcuffs Explains A Lot – More Fasab Facts!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You’ll understand the title of this post better in a moment when you read the latest collection of facts from the fasab archives.

A little bit of something for everyone I hope.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In Spanish the word

“esposas”

means both

“wives” and “handcuffs”.

That explains a lot.

handcuffs

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NASA was sued by three men from Yemen

for trespassing on Mars.

They claimed that they had inherited

the planet from their ancestors

thousands of years ago.

trespassing on Mars

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The Incas introduced the world to potatoes

via the Spanish conquistadors and

nearly a quarter of Europe’s growth

between the 1700s and the 1900s has been

attributed to the introduction of this crop.

potatoes

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According to scientists, about three quarters

of the species that make Australia home

have yet to be discovered.

wildlife in Australia

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When an unemployed painter named

Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Andrew Jackson,

his gun wouldn’t fire.

The 67 year old president began to

beat his would-be assassin with a cane

during which the assassin pulled out another gun.

This gun also misfired and the

disgruntled painter was dragged away.

Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Andrew Jackson

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There is actually high speed internet access

all the way up Mount Everest.

Everest

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In 2000, Congress passed the

National Moment of Remembrance Act

which requires all Americans to stop

what they are doing at 3pm on Memorial Day

to remember and honor those who have died

serving the United States.

National Moment of Remembrance Act

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At the start of World War I

the US Air Force only had 18 pilots.

A pilot checks his bomb placement after dropping a "flour bomb" during a target competition Sept. 22 at the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous World War I Fly-In on the grounds of the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Activities included period re-enactors in a war encampment setting, era automobiles on display and participating in a parade, flying exhibitions by WWI radio-controlled aircraft, and a collector's show for WWI items.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Joshua Strang)

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Rogue planets, also known as interstellar planets,

nomad planets or orphan planets, are

planetary-mass objects that have

broken from their orbits and

travel aimlessly through space.

The closest rogue planet to Earth yet discovered

is around 7 light years away.

Rogue planets

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You can get ice cream in lobster,

squid Ink, and caviar flavors.

lobster ice cream

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At 1,435 meters per second

the speed of sound in water is almost

five times faster than it is in air.

speed of sound in water

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Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones

attributed his popular song

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

to a dream.

He’s said to have recorded the acoustic riffs

just before falling back to sleep.

(The riffs were followed by 40 minutes of him snoring.)

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Hope You Know A Couple Of Fast Birds – It’s Quiz Time!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, today’s quiz questions include a couple about fast birds.

That and a lot more to test your knowledge.

But don’t worry, if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, however NO cheating please!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz_button 02

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Q.  1.  What proportion of the items kept at the British Museum are actually on display?

            a) 1%            b) 10%            c) 20%            d) 30%

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Q.  2. What was the name of the world’s first supercomputer and in what year was it installed? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q.  3.  In what modern country was the Aztec empire based?

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Q.  4.  What is the only animal with four knees?

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Q.  5.  What town in Manitoba, Canada, and named after perhaps the most famous English politician of all time, is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”?

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Q.  6.  What word to describe a large group of islands that are located close together?

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Q.  7.  Robert Southey wrote what famous children’s story in 1834?

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Q.  8.  What country spans the greatest number of contiguous time zones, and how many? (You get a point for each correct answer.)

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Q.  9.  What is the fastest running bird in the world?

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Q. 10. What does the acronym ‘UNICEF’ stand for?

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Q. 11.  The names of how many countries in South America end in the letter ‘a’ ? (A point for the correct number and an additional point for each one you can name correctly.)

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Q. 12.  What was the middle name of the founder of the store chain J C Penney?

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Q. 13.  By ferry, approximately how long will it take you to reach Africa from Spain?

            a) 30 minutes          b)  1 hour          c) 90 minutes          d) 2 hours

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Q. 14.  What nationality is the toy company ‘Lego’ ?

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Q. 15.  What was the first sport to be pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

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Q. 16.  What is the world’s largest retail chain store?

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Q. 17.  In what country is the prime minister known by the  name ‘Taoiseach’ ?

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Q. 18.  What were the names of the Captains of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek – The Original Series and Star Trek – The Next Generation; and the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer, so a total of four points up for grabs.)

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Q. 19.  What woman holds the all-time world record for the 100 meter dash?

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Q. 20.  How many ways did Paul Simon say there were to leave your lover?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  What proportion of the items kept at the British Museum are actually on display?

            a) 1%            b) 10%            c) 20%            d) 30%

A.  1.  The correct answer is a) 1%.

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Q.  2. What was the name of the world’s first supercomputer and in what year was it installed? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  2. It was called the Cray-1 (you get the point if you said ‘Cray’), and was installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States in 1976 at a cost of $8.8 million.

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Q.  3.  In what modern country was the Aztec empire based?

A.  3.  Mexico.

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Q.  4.  What is the only animal with four knees?

A.  4.  The elephant.

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Q.  5.  What town in Manitoba, Canada, and named after perhaps the most famous English politician of all time, is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”?

A.  5.  It is the town of Churchill.

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Q.  6.  What word to describe a large group of islands that are located close together?

A.  6.  Archipelago.

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Q.  7.  Robert Southey wrote what famous children’s story in 1834?

A.  7.  “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

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Q.  8.  What country spans the greatest number of contiguous time zones, and how many? (You get a point for each correct answer.)

A.  8.  The correct answers are ‘Russia’ and it has ‘9’ time zones.

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Q.  9.  What is the fastest running bird in the world?

A.  9.  The fastest running bird is the Ostrich, which has been clocked at 97.5 kilometres per hour.

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Q. 10. What does the acronym ‘UNICEF’ stand for?

A. 10.  The United Nations Children’s Fund.

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Q. 11.  The names of how many countries in South America end in the letter ‘a’ ? (A point for the correct number and an additional point for each one you can name correctly.)

A. 11.  There are 6 countries whose names end with the letter ‘a’, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana and Venezuela.

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Q. 12.  What was the middle name of the founder of the store chain J C Penney?

A. 12.  The founder of JC Penny had the very appropriate middle name of ‘Cash’.

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Q. 13.  By ferry, approximately how long will it take you to reach Africa from Spain?

            a) 30 minutes          b)  1 hour          c) 90 minutes          d) 2 hours

A. 13.  The correct answer is a) 30 minutes, they’re closer than you think.

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Q. 14.  What nationality is the toy company ‘Lego’ ?

A. 14.  Danish.

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Q. 15.  What was the first sport to be pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

A. 15.  Baseball.

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Q. 16.  What is the world’s largest retail chain store?

A. 16.  Wal-Mart.

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Q. 17.  In what country is the prime minister known by the  name ‘Taoiseach’ ?

A. 17.  Ireland.

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Q. 18.  What were the names of the Captains of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek – The Original Series and Star Trek – The Next Generation; and the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer, so a total of four points up for grabs.)

A. 18.  The correct answers are, Captain James T Kirk in the Original Series played by William Shatner, and Jean-Luc Picard in The Next Generation played by Patrick Stewart.

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Q. 19.  What woman holds the all-time world record for the 100 meter dash?

A. 19.  Florence Griffith-Joyner, aka “Flo-Jo” by her many fans, set the all-time world record in the 100-meter dash at 10.49 seconds set in 1988.

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Q. 20.  How many ways did Paul Simon say there were to leave your lover?

A. 20.  50.

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A Right Old Mess!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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political hypocrisy

It seems there is no end to the political hypocrisy that has taken over our well surveilled world.

I wrote a post a few days ago about the Belgian government wanting Skype to hand over confidential customer data. I called it ‘Taking A Swipe At Skype’ (if you want to read it click here )

In a previous post called, ‘What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?’ (if you want to read that one click here) I had a bit of rant against the hypocrisy of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel who professed great anxiety publicly about the Americans snooping in on her phone calls while she and her intelligence agencies were in cahoots with the US to spy on other European countries.

Now a week or so later the two stories have merged with yet another piece of hypocrisy, this time by the Belgians who have announced that they are starting an official investigation into allegations that Belgium’s telecommunications networks were spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies.

telecommunications network

In other words, it is okay for the Belgians to snoop on Skype users, but not okay when someone else wants to snoop on the Belgians.

If that’s not another good example of hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

Specifically the targets in Belgian sights are the United States National Security Agency and Germany’s Bundesnach-richtendienst (BND) and an operation that they referred to as ‘EIKONAL’.

The Belgians found out about the snooping when Austrian politician Peter Pilz blew his whistle at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, saying that EIKONAL had targeted European telecommunications carriers for at least four years, from 2005 to 2008.

Spokesmen for the Belgian government have said that if the alleged espionage is confirmed, it would have “not only legal implications, but will also affect relations between Belgium, Germany and the US”. It also threatened to “take appropriate action” but didn’t specify what that would be – they probably don’t know yet.

Switzerland and the Netherlands flags

Needless to say, the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands were not amused by the revelations either and immediately launched their own investigations into this thing called ‘EIKONAL’.

It’s all turning into what they call “a right old mess”.

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Lif Is Too Short.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Lif may be too short but thankfully there’s no shortage of puns.

Here’s the latest selection for you to…

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

I’ve just ended a relationship with a hair stylist.

We just never gelled.

hair stylist cartoon

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Say what you like about deaf people.

But not blind people,

they can still hear you.

deaf

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I went to the inventor of Optrex’s funeral today.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Optrex

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My wife says the passion has gone out of our relationship.

She really doesn’t know how much I hate her.

love hate

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I used to be a hypochondriac until

I eventually became sick of it.

hypochondriac

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What have Winnie the Pooh and

Atilla the Hun got in common ?…….

the same middle name

Winnie the Pooh

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Wouldn’t it be better if handmade shoes

were for your feet?

handmade shoes

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I’ll be making a movie

about the Greek alphabets.

It’s a Psi Phi film.

Greek alphabet

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What do you call

a quick circumcision.

A rip off.

cartoon circumcision

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According to scientists there is a

link between noise and obesity.

Probably the dinner bell.

come and get it

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Just bought a time machine from Amazon.

Well you have to when they offer

previous day delivery.

time machine

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Finally for today a health warning:

Mixing cannabis with cod liver oil

is bad for your joints.

weed joints

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Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire – Some Hot Facts!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We’ll get to one of the biggest liars America has produced later.

But ahead of that have a look at another selection of fasab facts.

And…

Enjoy.

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cartoon leader of the leader of the free world

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There is a lake in Australia called Lake Hillier

that is a bright shade of pink.

Unlike with other similar lakes,

scientists are still not completely sure why.

Lake Hillier Australia

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Bill Nye the Science Guy

originally wanted to be an astronaut,

but NASA kept rejecting him.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

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In 476 AD the Western Roman Empire fell

and the Eastern Empire survived

as what we know today as the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine Empire map

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Charlie Chaplin once lost a

Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest

Charlie Chaplin

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Although there have been emails floating about

for years containing many false facts about

Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy,

there were a few that are true and interesting.

Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846,

Kennedy in 1946.

Lincoln became president in 1860,

Kennedy in 1960 (though sworn in 1961).

And both were eventually shot in the head on a Friday.

Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

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Inca mail was delivered along their network of roads

by way of messengers who would hand mail off

to each other using a sort of relay system.

A bit like the Pony Express without the ponies!

Inca mail

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1% of the world’s population

eats at McDonalds every day.

McDonalds meal

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Named by a Japanese scientist after

a 3rd-century Japanese shaman queen, Himiko,

is a giant gas cloud and one of the largest

objects ever found in space.

With a length of about 55,000 light years,

the cloud is roughly the equivalent

mass of 40 billion Suns.

3rd-century Japanese shaman queen, Himiko

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The top ten feet of the oceans

holds the same amount of heat

as the entire atmosphere

ocean

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In the early 20th century, scientists thought

our nerves transmitted information electrically.

After a dream, Dr. Otto Loewi awoke during the night

and scribbled some thoughts on a paper.

Upon waking in the morning,

he realized  he had written about information

being transmitted chemically,

later proven to be true and

winning him the Nobel Prize in 1936.

Dr. Otto Loewi

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Justinian was the last emperor

to use the title ‘Caesar’.

Justinian

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A liar tends not to use contractions.

For example, “I didn’t do it”

statistically tends to be a more truthful

statement that “I did not do it”.

Remember Bill Clinton,

he didn’t say, “I didn’t do it”,

he said,

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

He lied.

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America, Asia and Australia – It’s A Global Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Questions relating to most continents today so truly a global quiz.

Twenty more questions to test your general knowledge.

As always if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating.

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz7

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Q.  1.  In Australia are there are more people than kangaroos or more kangaroos than people?

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Q.  2.  In America what commemoration day was in honor of the Union and Confederate soldiers fallen in the American Civil War, and known as the Decoration Day?

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Q.  3.  To be officially considered an astronaut by NASA you must travel how many miles above the surface of the Earth?

            a) 50 miles           b) 100 miles           c) 150 miles           d) 200 miles

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Q.  4.  In 755 AD the An Lushan rebellion in which over 30 million people died (almost a sixth of the world population) occurred in what country?

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Q.  5.  On what part of your body would you find Rasceta?

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Q.  6.  What is a young rabbit called?

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Q.  7.  What is the most translated book in the world, available in 2454 languages?

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Q.  8.  Approximately what proportion of the Earth is covered by the Pacific Ocean?

            a) one eighth          b) one fifth          c) one quarter          d) one third

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Q.  9.  In what year (excluding test flights) was the first Space Shuttle launched?

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Q. 10.  In what year (excluding test flights) was the last Space Shuttle launched?

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Q. 11.  What city is known as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’ ?

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Q. 12.  What is measured on the Beaufort scale?

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Q. 13.  What English naval commander reputedly refused to stop a game of bowls when an enemy fleet was sighted?

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Q. 14.  What famous novelists works include ‘Brighton Rock’, ‘The Quiet American’, and ‘Our Man In Havana’ ?

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Q. 15.  Which two figures are normally found in a Pietà sculpture?

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Q. 16.  What are the three main functions in trigonometry?

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Q. 17.  What word links a castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur and the presidency of JFK?

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Q. 18.  Who did Cassius Clay first defeat to win the boxing Heavyweight Championship of the World?

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Q. 19.  What are the 12 long triangles on a backgammon board called?

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Q. 20. In music what band is known by the acronym ELO?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  In Australia are there are more people than kangaroos or more kangaroos than people?

A.  1.  In Australia there are approximately 23.87 million people, but current Federal Government estimates puts the number of kangaroos at 50 – 60 million.

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Q.  2.  In America what commemoration day was in honor of the Union and Confederate soldiers fallen in the American Civil War, and known as the Decoration Day?

A.  2. Memorial Day.

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Q.  3.  To be officially considered an astronaut by NASA you must travel how many miles above the surface of the Earth?

            a) 50 miles           b) 100 miles           c) 150 miles           d) 200 miles

A.  3.  The correct answer is a) 50 miles.

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Q.  4.  In 755 AD the An Lushan rebellion in which over 30 million people died (almost a sixth of the world population) occurred in what country?

A.  4.  In China.

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Q.  5.  On what part of your body would you find Rasceta?

A.  5.  The lines on the back of your wrist are called Rasceta.

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Q.  6.  What is a young rabbit called?

A.  6.  A young rabbit is called a ‘kitten’ or a ‘kit’, not a bunny.

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Q.  7.  What is the most translated book in the world, available in 2454 languages?

A.  7.  The Bible.

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Q.  8.  Approximately what proportion of the Earth is covered by the Pacific Ocean?

            a) one eighth          b) one fifth          c) one quarter          d) one third

A.  8.  The correct answer is d) one third.

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Q.  9.  In what year (excluding test flights) was the first Space Shuttle launched?

A.  9.  It was launched in 1981, on April 12th.

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Q. 10.  In what year (excluding test flights) was the last Space Shuttle launched?

A. 10.  It was launched in 2011, on July 8th.

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Q. 11.  What city is known as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’ ?

A. 11.  Budapest.

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Q. 12.  What is measured on the Beaufort scale?

A. 12.  Wind speed. It’s full name is the Beaufort wind force scale, although it is a measure of wind speed and not of force in the scientific sense.

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Q. 13.  What English naval commander reputedly refused to stop a game of bowls when an enemy fleet was sighted?

A. 13.  Sir Francis Drake.

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Q. 14.  What famous novelists works include ‘Brighton Rock’, ‘The Quiet American’, and ‘Our Man In Havana’ ?

A. 14.  Graham Greene.

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Q. 15.  Which two figures are normally found in a Pietà sculpture?

A. 15.  The Pietà sculpture depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

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Q. 16.  What are the three main functions in trigonometry?

A. 16.  They are ‘Sine’, ‘Cosine’ and ‘Tangent’, often shortened to ‘sin’, ‘cos’ and ‘tan’.

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Q. 17.  What word links a castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur and the presidency of JFK?

A. 17.  Camelot.

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Q. 18.  Who did Cassius Clay first defeat to win the boxing Heavyweight Championship of the World?

A. 18.  Sonny Liston.

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Q. 19.  What are the 12 long triangles on a backgammon board called?

A. 19.  They are known as ‘Points’.

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Q. 20. In music what band is known by the acronym ELO?

A. 20.  The Electric Light Orchestra.

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Wonder When They’ll get Round To Making Blogging Illegal?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Dennis_Hastert

While he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the former Speaker, Dennis Hastert, used his political power and connections to enrich himself. No shocks there. He is just one among many politicians who routinely do likewise.

But unlike most of the others, Hastert was charged by the Feds with five felonies, each of them carrying a minimum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

But, before you get the wrong idea and start to cheer, Hastert’s use of political leverage for personal gain has nothing to do with the charges against him.

What he did when in office was merely corruption and we live in a corrupt political system that those in charge like to call ‘democracy’.

No, Hastert has apparently committed a far worse crime than political graft. And it wasn’t anything to do with the leaks doing the rounds that he had been paying off a high school student for alleged sexual abuse decades ago. He hasn’t been charged with anything related to that either.

Instead, he has been pursued and indicted for the heinous crime of

…wait for it…

“structuring” cash withdrawals from his bank accounts so as to avoid federal bank reporting requirements, and lying to the FBI about what he was doing with his money.

handcuffs dollar

Now, I could care less what they do to a corrupt politician like Hastert. There is a certain irony that he has been caught by a law that he probably helped to create.

But the problem is that many of us could be similarly indicted simply because most of us don’t even know we are committing a crime in the first place.

Stupid bureaucrats have enacted so many laws in recent years, using misleading cover titles such as ‘money laundering’, ‘terrorist threats’, or ‘national security’, that they have turned millions of law-abiding people into de facto criminals, without them even knowing it.

The piece of invasive and unnecessary legislation that Hastert has been caught breaking is the ‘Bank Secrecy Act of 1970’, which makes it compulsory for U.S. banks to file a “currency transaction report” for deposits or withdrawals of more than $10,000 in currency. Banks suspicious of specific transactions are further required to file a “suspicious activity report.”

If the banks don’t capitulate to this government nonsense then they face penalties. This means that the banks comply, over-zealously so as not to ever infringe the regulations – which many of them don’t even understand. Now as a matter of routine they report ALL large cash transactions as suspicious, whether they really are or not.

Hastert didn’t intend or commit any money laundering, fraud or tax evasion. But the authorities don’t care about that. He had a legal and legitimate agreement in place with another individual and he withdrew his money in smaller amounts because he didn’t want this private arrangement to become public knowledge. The Justice Department even admits as much. But the authorities don’t care about that either.

So why have they charged Hastert when they know he really did nothing wrong apart from infringe on a stupid law that was never intended to catch the likes of him?

They did it to terrorize the rest of us.

Soviet control

What most western governments are about nowadays is control. The type of control that used to pervade communist states in the Soviet era. They want to criminalize ordinary people by making trivial and harmless acts into major felonies.

Woe betide you now if you want to spend you own money or transfer it to someone else. It’s your money, you earned it, you saved it up, but touch it in a way not specified by the government and you’re in Federal Court, you criminal bad person you!

All these spurious and unnecessary laws give government law enforcement agencies the ability to punish anyone at any time because there are so many regulations that everyone is in breach of something.

Wonder when they’ll get round to making blogging illegal?

Think I’m joking???

Blogging illegal? Close up of wooden gavel at the computer keyboard

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I Made A Chicken Salad Today. It Didn’t Even Eat It.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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There’s no ingratitude like the ingratitude of a chicken when you specially prepare a meal for it.

Still I can always make some soup!

Want some more word play?

Try these.

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

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When someone says they are not in denial,

I never know whether to believe them…

 in denial

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What’s another name

for an angry feminist?

A feminist.

 angry feminist cartoon

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My girlfriend said I’m afraid of commitment.

Well…

I wouldn’t really call her my girlfriend.

 Cartoon afraid of commitment

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I haven’t slept for ten days,

because that would be too long.

 mitch-hedberg-comedian-i-havent-slept-for-ten-days-because-that-would-be-too

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Newspaper headline:

Air strike planned

Well I hope it doesn’t last long,

I can’t hold my breath for more than 30 seconds.

 holding breath

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I once went out with a girl called simile,

I don’t know what I metaphor.

 metaphor

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The grenade factory is the one place

where being able to hear a pin drop

is a bad thing

 hand-grenades

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I had a camera but,

whenever I photographed people,

they came out looking bald-headed…

it was then I realized that

I was using Kojak film.

 Kojak

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Are Dementia and Alzheimers

two separate illnesses

or are they one and the same thing?

I can never remember.

 Dementia and Alzheimers cartoon

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A minor background part actor

walks into a massage parlour and

asks if they are willing to provide sexual services.

The lady replies

“Sorry love, we don’t do extras.”

 Extras

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My Grandad’s so old

that he remembers

when X Factor was

just a Roman Sun cream

 X Factor Logo

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My girlfriend told me that

my Tom Petty obsession

is getting out of hand,

but I won’t back down on this one.

No I won’t

Back

Down

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Taking A Swipe At Skype

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Skype_logo

No, it’s not me who is taking a swipe at Skype. I use Skype a lot for communicating with people. I find it particularly good for contacting friends in foreign lands, which you can do for free, but also for making paid telephone calls too.

I have been using it for over a decade, almost from it started, and long before it was bought by Microsoft. Although other flavors have arrived on the scene I stick with Skype.

It’s the comfort of familiarity, something I wish the nerds at WordPress would pay attention to instead of continually making smart-ass changes that no one has asked for or wants. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it guys!

But getting back to Skype, it has now become a victim of the snoopers – again!

This time it has been told it has to appear before a court in Belgium because it refused to hand over customer data following a request for assistance by the Federal Computer Crime Unit of the Federal Judicial Police (FCCU) in a ‘criminal investigation’.

Microsoft acquires Skype

Microsoft has been very sensitive to appearing to buckle under when requested to release information about its Skype users ever since it was alleged that it had changed the architecture of the communications software to make it more “wiretap friendly”, something which it has always denied.

Despite Microsoft releasing transparency reports stating that it had not handed over the content of any Skype conversations in response to regular law enforcement requests, privacy and security analysts remain unconvinced.

Unfortunately, as usually happens when the lawyers get to work, the fundamental importance of this case – which is government’s mania for trying to remove the right to privacy of its citizens – gets lost in spurious legal arguments.

cartoon lawyers

Now, instead of defending the right to privacy, the court’s time is being taken up with deciding whether or not a VoIP service like Skype should be treated as a telecoms operator in Belgium. If it is then it would have to comply with Belgian regulatory requirements for telecoms operators and release data to the snoopers.

I said earlier that the request by the Belgian snoopers is in regard to a ‘criminal investigation’ but the alleged crimes under investigation have not been specified, nor has the identity of the suspect or suspects.

It’s another one of those government catch-all phrases like ‘terrorist activity’ or ‘national security’ that are used as a cover for intrusions into people’s privacy whenever they feel like it.

government Snooping

The result of this Belgian case will be an interesting marker for future attacks on the privacy of Skype users. My guess is that if the snoopers win their case then Skype should brace itself for a multitude of similar requests from governments all over the world. If on the other hand the courts rules in favor of the privacy of Skype users then the government will simply put their hackers to work and try to get the information illegally as they have done and are doing.

So it’s another one of those ‘heads’ privacy loses and ‘tails’ the snoopers win.

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