I Think I’ll Call This One The Vestal Virgin Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hello and welcome to the latest fasab quiz.

I’ve called it the “Vestal Virgin Quiz”, you’ll find out why later, but even if you’re not a vestal virgin please feel free to take part.

As usual you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1.  What number does the Roman numeral ‘D’ stand for?

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Q.  2. What are the young of Squirrels called?

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Q.  3.  In which country are the Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake?

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Q.  4.  This word can mean a card game, a structure spanning a river or other chasm, the place where you usually find a ship’s captain, an artificial replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, or a thin, fixed wedge or support raising the strings of a musical instrument above the sounding board. What is it?

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Q.  5.  What would a galvanometer be used to measure?

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Q.  6.  Whose “Laughable Lyrics” included “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat” and “The Dong with a Luminous Nose” ?

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Q.  7.  What  was the name of the star-packed movie depicting World War II’s ‘Operation Market Garden’, an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany?

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Q.  8.  Which astronomical distance is about 3.26 light years?

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Q.  9.  How many Vestal Virgins served as Priestesses of the goddess Vesta at any one time?

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Q. 10.  Tashkent is the capital of which one of the Asian “stans”?

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Q. 11.  By what name is a meal consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes better known as in the UK?

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Q. 12.  What is the currency used in the Dominican Republic?

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Q. 13.  How many movies did John Wayne star in with the word ‘Rio’ in their title? (A bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

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Q. 14.  What city is also known as ‘The Little Paris’ ?

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Q. 15.  What sort of structure is DNA?

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Q. 16.  What is the name of the main actress who played ‘Olivia Walton’ (Mammy Walton) in seasons 1 thru 7 of the long running TV series?

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Q. 17. If you multiplied the number in the title of George Orwell’s most famous novel, by the highest number you can score on a dartboard with one dart, and divide that total by the number of nickels in a dollar, what number would you be left with?

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Q. 18.  What is a ‘ziganka’ and what nationality is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 19.  ‘General Mariano Escobedo’ and ‘General Abelargo L Rodriguez’ are international airports in which country?

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Q. 20.  What is the surname or last name of the actors who played the ‘Shooter’ and ‘Det. Danny Reagan’ in the TV series ‘Blue Bloods’ ?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  What number does the Roman numeral ‘D’ stand for?

A.  1.  500.

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Q.  2. What are the young of Squirrels called?

A.  2. Kittens

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Q.  3.  In which country are the Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake?

A.  3.  Canada.

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Q.  4.  This word can mean a card game, a structure spanning a river or other chasm, the place where you usually find a ship’s captain, an artificial replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, or a thin, fixed wedge or support raising the strings of a musical instrument above the sounding board. What is it?

A.  4.  Bridge.

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Q.  5.  What would a galvanometer be used to measure?

A.  5.  Detecting and measuring small electric currents. (electricity).

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Q.  6.  Whose “Laughable Lyrics” included “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat” and “The Dong with a Luminous Nose” ?

A.  6.  Edward Lear.

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Q.  7.  What  was the name of the star-packed movie depicting World War II’s ‘Operation Market Garden’, an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany?

A.  7.  A Bridge Too Far. (The cast included Dirk Bogarde, Ryan O’Neal, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Hardy Krüger, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell and Liv Ullmann.)

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Q.  8.  Which astronomical distance is about 3.26 light years?

A.  8.  A parsec.

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Q.  9.  How many Vestal Virgins served as Priestesses of the goddess Vesta at any one time?

A.  9.  The correct answer is ‘six’ (although they served along with 6 in training and 6 retired ones as tutors).

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Q. 10.  Tashkent is the capital of which one of the Asian “stans”?

A. 10.  Uzbekistan.

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Q. 11.  By what name is a meal consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes better known as in the UK?

A. 11.  Bangers & Mash.

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Q. 12.  What is the currency used in the Dominican Republic?

A. 12.  It is the Dominican Peso (DOP), although you can have the point if you just said ‘peso’.

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Q. 13.  How many movies did John Wayne star in with the word ‘Rio’ in their title? (A bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

A. 13.  The correct answer is three (Rio Grande  (1950), Rio Bravo (1959) and Rio Lobo (1970))

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Q. 14.  What city is also known as ‘The Little Paris’ ?

A. 14.  Bucharest.

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Q. 15.  What sort of structure is DNA?

A. 15.  It is known as a ‘double helix’.

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Q. 16.  What is the name of the main actress who played ‘Olivia Walton’ (Mammy Walton) in seasons 1 thru 7 of the long running TV series?

A. 16.  Michael Learned.

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Q. 17. If you multiplied the number in the title of George Orwell’s most famous novel, by the highest number you can score on a dartboard with one dart, and divided that total by the number of nickels in a dollar, what number would you be left with?

A. 17.  5952.  (1984 x 60) = 119040 / 20 = 5952

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Q. 18.  What is a ‘ziganka’ and what nationality is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 18.  A ‘ziganka’ is a Russian country dance.

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Q. 19.  ‘General Mariano Escobedo’ and ‘General Abelargo L Rodriguez’ are international airports in which country?

A. 19.  Mexico (in Monterrey and Tijuana respectively).

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Q. 20.  What is the surname or last name of the actors who played the ‘Shooter’ and ‘Det. Danny Reagan’ in the TV series ‘Blue Bloods’ ?

A. 20.  Walberg, specifically Mark Walberg in ‘Shooter’ and his older brother Donnie Walberg in ‘Blue Bloods’.  

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Need To Spend A Penny? Find Out Where You Can’t In Today’s Fact File.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Spending a penny is becoming more and more difficult these days, especially if you are in the US military as you will see. But then they are trained to take the pressure.

More fabulous facts below.

Enjoy.

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US penny

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Stores on US military bases around the world

don’t accept pennies as currency because they are

“too heavy and are not cost-effective to ship”.

Stores on US military bases

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A person’s pupils will dilate if they are lying.

In fact, because this is an involuntary behavior

it is usually a good indication.

dilated pupil

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The world’s first female American self-made millionaire,

Madame C.J. Walker, made her fortune

in the early 20th century cosmetics industry.

A black man appeared to her in a dream

and told her the mixture which would help

her falling-out hair grow back in.

It worked, and she enjoyed a lengthy career

selling her cosmetics products.

Madame C.J. Walker

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Australia’s National Science Agency

claims to have basically invented wi-fi

and has even sued over it.

But sure we all know it was Al Gore,

or was that the internet he didn’t invent?

Australia's National Science Agency CSIRO_headquarters

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Still on the subject of the internet,

when Montenegro gained its independence

from Yugoslavia its top level internet

domain went from .yu to .me

Montenegro

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And yet more Internet goodies,

in 1993 there were only 623 websites.

Today, more than 100,000 domain names

are registered every single day

List-of-Internet-top-level-domains

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The Incas constructed buildings without mortar,

the huge stones they used fitting together

so perfectly and tightly that

nothing could get between them.

machu-picchu-masonry - Incas constructed buildings without mortar

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In China reincarnation is illegal.

Unless you have permission from the government.

(But how would they know if you came back

as an American or maybe a dog?)

China reincarnation is illegal

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The first submarine attack in history

took place in New York Harbor in 1776.

The colonists attempted to attach gunpowder

to the hull of the British ship HMS Eagle

using a submersible they called ‘The Turtle’.

Turtle_submarine_first submarine attack in history took place in New York Harbor in 1776

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NASA will send you a text message

whenever the International Space Station

passes over your location.

International Space Station

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Is there such a thing as a jinx?

Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln

was by his father’s side as he passed away.

He then went on to witness the assassination

of President James Garfield.

Twenty years later, in 1901,  President William McKinley

invited him to the Pan-American exposition in New York

and on that day President McKinley was also assassinated.

Robert decided to decline any presidential invitations

from that day forth.

Robert Todd Lincoln

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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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FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

.

Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

Want A Little Latitude? Okay, It’s Quiz Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You’ll get the title when you read the first question.

And there are nineteen more to test your general knowledge.

As usual if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q  1: Which line of latitude is at 66º33’ N?

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Q 2: What is ‘nacre’ commonly known as?

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Q 3: Which two countries comprise the island of Hispaniola?

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Q 4: What does a ‘spelunker’ explore?

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Q 5: The New Shekel is the currency of which country?

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Q 6: What is the fatty substance found naturally on sheep’s wool and used in ointments and cosmetics called?

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Q 7: This one might make you gasp, which gas makes up approximately 21% of air?

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Q 8: Used in jewellery, what’s the fossilized resin of pine trees called?

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Q 9: What is the world’s largest animal-made structure?

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Q 10: From which country do Proton cars come?

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Q 11: Mosul, Arbil and Basra are among the principal cities in which country?

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Q 12: What is the common name for loss of peripheral sight?

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Q 13: Dry ice is a frozen form of which gas?

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Q 14: Which capital city has a name that means “good airs” in English?

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Q 15: What is the opposite of a ‘Concave’ lens?

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Q 16: On which canal can the Gatun and Miraflores Locks be found?

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Q 17: When would you use VOIP, and what do the letters ‘V – O – I – P’ stand for?

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Q 18: What does a lepidopterist collect?

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Q 19: What is the largest fish in the world?

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Q 20: London born Miss Adkins is better known by which name?

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ANSWERS

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Q 1: Which line of latitude is at 66º33’ N?

A 1: Artic circle

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Q 2: What is ‘nacre’ commonly known as?

A 2: Mother of Pearl

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Q 3: Which two countries comprise the island of Hispaniola?

A 3: Dominican Republic and Haiti

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Q 4: What does a ‘spelunker’ explore?

A 4: Caves

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Q 5: The New Shekel is the currency of which country?

A 5: Israel

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Q 6: What is the fatty substance found naturally on sheep’s wool and used in ointments and cosmetics called?

A 6: Lanolin

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Q 7: This one might make you gasp, which gas makes up approximately 21% of air?

A 7: Oxygen

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Q 8: Used in jewellery, what’s the fossilized resin of pine trees called?

A 8: Amber

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Q 9: What is the world’s largest animal-made structure?

A 9: The Great Barrier Reef off the Australian coast.

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Q 10: From which country do Proton cars come?

A 10: Malaysia

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Q 11: Mosul, Arbil and Basra are among the principal cities in which country?

A 11: Iraq

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Q 12: What is the common name for loss of peripheral sight?

A 12: Tunnel vision

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Q 13: Dry ice is a frozen form of which gas?

A 13: Carbon Dioxide

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Q 14: Which capital city has a name that means “good airs” in English?

A 14: Buenos Aires

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Q 15: What is the opposite of a ‘Concave’ lens?

A 15: Convex

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Q 16: On which canal can the Gatun and Miraflores Locks be found?

A 16: The Panama Canal

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Q 17: When would you use VOIP, and what do the letters ‘V – O – I – P’ stand for?

A 17: To make a telephone call on the internet, the letters stand for Voice Over Internet Protocol

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Q 18: What does a lepidopterist collect?

A 18: Butterflies (and moths)

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Q 19: What is the largest fish in the world?

A 19: The whale shark

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Q 20: London born Miss Adkins is better known by which name?

A 20: Adele

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Do You Know What Day It Is?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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If you do know what day it is then you’re off to a good start.

Yes, today is Quiz Day. No points for that answer, but lots to be had below.

And as usual the answers are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below – but NO cheating, please!

Let’s get started.

Enjoy.

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quiz 8

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Q.  1:  What was the name of the blind Benedictine monk who allegedly invented Champagne?

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Q.  2:  Which cartoon dog spars with Tom and Jerry?

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Q.  3:  What was the first war in which jet airplanes fought each other?

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Q.  4:  Who first played James Bond in the cinema?

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Q.  5:  Which civilization built Machu Picchu?

Q.  6:  The small Russian buckwheat pancakes that are often served with caviar are called what?

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Q.  7:  What is a part of the digestive system and the currency in Costa Rica?

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Q.  8:  In which 1964 movie did Clint Eastwood play ‘The Man With No Name’?

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Q.  9:  Who played the title role in the TV series Cannon?

Q. 10:  Parker and Barrow were the surnames, what were the Christian names?

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Q. 11:  Louisette was the original name for a famous decollator. What is the more common name for this device?

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Q. 12:  Which bird is said to embody the souls of dead mariners?

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Q. 13:  Which Japanese city was devastated by an earthquake on January 18th, 1995?

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Q. 14:  Which famous horror movie takes place in the sleepy little coastal town Bodega Bay?

Q. 15:  Which detective character used the catch-phrase “Book ‘um Danno”?

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Q. 16:  Plus or minus 1, how many centimeters in height does a woman lose (on average) between her 40th and 70th birthday?

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Q. 17:  Who was famously assassinated with an Ice Pick in Mexico?

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Q. 18:  What was codename of Bob Woodward’s Watergate contact?

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Q. 19:  In which city would you find the bar Cheers?

Q. 20:  Which astronomical occurrence popularized in a song title never occurs in February? (2 words)

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What was the name of the blind Benedictine monk who allegedly invented Champagne?

A.  1:  Dom Perignon

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Q.  2:  Which cartoon dog spars with Tom and Jerry?

A.  2:  Spike

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Q.  3:  What was the first war in which jet airplanes fought each other?

A.  3:  The Korean war

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Q.  4:  Who first played James Bond in the cinema?

A.  4:  Sean Connery

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Q.  5:  Which civilization built Machu Picchu?

A.  5:  The Incas

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Q.  6:  The small Russian buckwheat pancakes that are often served with caviar are called what?

A.  6:  Blini

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Q.  7:  What is a part of the digestive system and the currency in Costa Rica?

A.  7:  Colon

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Q.  8:  In which 1964 movie did Clint Eastwood play ‘The Man With No Name’?

A.  8:  A Fistful Of Dollars

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Q.  9:  Who played the title role in the TV series Cannon?

A.  9:  William Conrad

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Q. 10:  Parker and Barrow were the surnames, what were the Christian names?

A. 10:  Bonnie and Clyde.

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Q. 11:  Louisette was the original name for a famous decollator. What is the more common name for this device?

A. 11:  Guillotine

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Q. 12:  Which bird is said to embody the souls of dead mariners?

A. 12:  Albatross

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Q. 13:  Which Japanese city was devastated by an earthquake on January 18th, 1995?

A. 13:  Kobe

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Q. 14:  Which famous horror movie takes place in the sleepy little coastal town Bodega Bay?

A. 14:  The Birds

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Q. 15:  Which detective character used the catch-phrase “Book ‘um Danno”?

A. 15:  Steve McGarrett – Hawaii Five-O

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Q. 16:  Plus or minus 1, how many centimeters in height does a woman lose (on average) between her 40th and 70th birthday?

A. 16:  5 cm.   (3 cm. for men)

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Q. 17:  Who was famously assassinated with an Ice Pick in Mexico?

A. 17:  Trotsky

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Q. 18:  What was codename of Bob Woodward’s Watergate contact?

A. 18:  Deep Throat

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Q. 19:  In which city would you find the bar Cheers?

A. 19:  Boston

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Q. 20:  Which astronomical occurrence popularized in a song title never occurs in February? (2 words)

A. 20:   Blue Moon 

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How Smart Do You Feel Today?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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So how smart do you feel today?

Smart enough to try your hand at today’s quiz?

I hope so. And remember if you get stuck the answers can be found waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below – but NO cheating!

Begin any time you are ready – and enjoy.

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quiz 09

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Q.  1:  What superseded the autogiro (or autogyro) in the late 1940s?

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Q.  2:  What kind of leaves were often used as currency in 18th century Siberia?

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Q.  3:  In the USA, what is (you can have a point for each correct answer)

  a. the nickname for the president’s limo

  b. the nickname for the brief case with the nuclear codes

  c. the name of the helicopter that transports the US President

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Q.  4:  What kind of star is our sun?  (2 words)

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Q.  5:  Which Pink Floyd album is also a chapter in ‘The Wind in the Willows’?

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Q.  6:  Which national dance can apparently cure a spider’s bite?

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Q.  7:  In Paris, where would you find Franklin D Roosevelt, Victor Hugo and George V?

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Q.  8:  What do many men collect in an ‘omphalo’?

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Q.  9:  The original ‘two bits’ (quarter coin) looked like a cake or pie shaped wedge and was one quarter of what?

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Q. 10:  General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (of Alamo fame) had two funerals. The first one took place while he was President of Mexico and he himself was a mourner. What was put to rest in this pompous ‘funeral’?

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Q. 11:  After the investigation, why was all the Challenger Space Shuttle wreckage buried under 50 tons of concrete?

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Q. 12:  On a ship, what is a ‘dead head’?

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Q. 13:  A Scottish woman was nominated six times for the Oscar for best actress and came away empty handed each time. A record. Who was she?

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Q. 14:  The name for which vehicle probably stems from a World War I phrase for a dirty weekend in Paris?

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Q. 15:  Which TV family lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane?

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Q. 16:  Which suave and sophisticated actor played the role of Beau Maverick, Bret Maverick’s English cousin in the US television series Maverick?

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Q. 17:  Paris attracts the most visitors in France each year. Which French town attracts 5 million visitors a year and has more hotels than any other French city except Paris?

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Q. 18:  Which large vehicle is also a name for Krishna meaning ‘Lord of the Universe’?

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Q. 19:  Why did many radio stations around the world observe two minutes of silence in late July, 1937?

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Q. 20:  Citizens of which country coined the term ‘Molotov Cocktail’ or ‘Molotov Bread Basket’ to describe their incendiary weapon used against the Soviets in 1939?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What superseded the autogiro (or autogyro) in the late 1940s?

A.  1:  The Helicopter

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Q.  2:  What kind of leaves were often used as currency in 18th century Siberia?

A.  2:  Tea leaves

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Q.  3:  In the USA, what is

  a. the nickname for the president’s limo

  b. the nickname for the brief case with the nuclear codes

  c. the name of the helicopter that transports the US President

A.  3:  Three Answers

    a. “The Beast”

    b. “The Football”

    c.  “Marine One”

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Q.  4:  What kind of star is our sun?  (2 words)

A.  4:  Yellow dwarf

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Q.  5:  Which Pink Floyd album is also a chapter in ‘The Wind in the Willows’?

A.  5:  The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

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Q.  6:  Which national dance can apparently cure a spider’s bite?

A.  6:  The Tarantella

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Q.  7:  In Paris, where would you find Franklin D Roosevelt, Victor Hugo and George V?

A.  7:  In the Paris Metro. They are all Metro stations.

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Q.  8:  What do many men collect in an omphalo?

A.  8:  Fluff (The omphalo is the belly button)

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Q.  9:  The original ‘two bits’ (quarter coin) looked like a cake or pie shaped wedge and was one quarter of what?

A.  9:  The Spanish silver dollar, the dollars were called pesos de ocho (pieces of eight).

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Q. 10:  General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (of Alamo fame) had two funerals. The first one took place while he was President of Mexico and he himself was a mourner. What was put to rest in this pompous ‘funeral’?

A. 10:  His amputated leg.

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Q. 11:  After the investigation, why was all the Challenger Space Shuttle wreckage buried under 50 tons of concrete?

A. 11:  To prevent the parts being sold as souvenirs.

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Q. 12:  On a ship, what is a ‘dead head’?

A. 12:  Some people think it’s a broken toilet but actually it is a non paying passenger.

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Q. 13:  A Scottish woman was nominated six times for the Oscar for best actress and came away empty handed each time. A record. Who was she?

A. 13:  Deborah Kerr

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Q. 14:  The name for which vehicle probably stems from a World War I phrase for a dirty weekend in Paris?

A. 14:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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Q. 15:  Which TV family lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane?

A. 15:  The Munsters

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Q. 16:  Which suave and sophisticated actor played the role of Beau Maverick, Bret Maverick’s English cousin in the US television series Maverick?

A. 16:  Roger Moore

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Q. 17:  Paris attracts the most visitors in France each year. Which French town attracts 5 million visitors a year and has more hotels than any other French city except Paris?

A. 17:  Lourdes

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Q. 18:  Which large vehicle is also a name for Krishna meaning ‘Lord of the Universe’?

A. 18:  Juggernaut

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Q. 19:  Why did many radio stations around the world observe two minutes of silence in late July, 1937?

A. 19:  A tribute to Marconi after his death. 

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Q. 20:  Citizens of which country coined the term ‘Molotov Cocktail’ or ‘Molotov Bread Basket’ to describe their incendiary weapon used against the Soviets in 1939?

A. 20:  Finland

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