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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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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The Conservatives Win The UK General Election!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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UK General Election 2015

 

Like the last election in the UK, this one was a close run thing – but nowhere near as close as the pollsters predicted. At least this time there is an outright winner, the Conservative Party, with David Cameron still as Prime Minister.

No hung Parliaments, no dodgy coalitions between parties that obviously did not really like each other, and no more general elections for another five years.

Stability is always good.

Indeed the Conservative victory is already being seen as a positive step for the UK economy, with both shares and the pound sterling rising in value.

But during the next five years, although a degree of stability has been achieved, the UK is still in for challenging times economically.

Like the Unites States, the UK has been living well beyond its means for far too long. Eventually these delusions end in harsh reality. America will find this out too, but not until after their election next year.

austerity measures sign

 

At the start of the campaigning there was an unexpected degree of sense in being shown the two main parties. Election messages were warning of the need to cut spending, that Britain was still living beyond its means, and that there would be ‘difficult’ choices ahead.

However, as the election campaign progressed and the pollsters warned how tight the result was likely to be, all the political parties regressed into doing what they do best, regardless of what country they are in. In their desperation to get votes they ignored reality once again, started hiding the truth from their voters, and promised more goodies that the country can’t afford.

You know the sort of thing, better education, better health service, more jobs, etc., and to pay for it all less taxes.

Huh?

Yes, elections are full of ‘spend more and collect less’ promises.

In the non-political world we call them lies, because that’s what they are.

The smaller parties never suffered from the same restraints. Even from the beginning of their campaigns small parties like the Scottish SNP promised massive spending. They knew they would never be in a position to have to follow through on these boasts, but their message got out and, as always happens, many voters fell for it. The Scottish National Party (SNP) had a landslide victory in Scotland, winning 56 of the 59 seats – and all they promised was extra £180 billion ($280 billion) more spending over the next five years.

The two main parties soon countered with their own promises – the Conservatives talking about things like 30 hours of free child care a week for parents of 3 & 4-year-olds, no tax for people earning the minimum wage, an extra £8 billion (US$12 billion) for the National Health Service, free access to a doctor seven days a week, and a freeze rail ticket price increases for five years.

debt

 

On the face of it, the past five years have seen the UK economy growing, unemployment down below 6% and a booming housing market, particularly in the South East of the country. All part of the reason why the Conservatives have their victory.

But, returning to reality for a moment, Britain is now in the most debt it has been in, relative to its economy, since 1967. The financial crisis hit the UK hard. From 2009 to date, British government borrowing has been at a higher level than at any time since World War II.

The scariest part is that, whilst the governments all talked about “cuts” and “austerity”, not a penny of this money has been paid back.

And like American politicians, and others, they use deliberate deceit to cover their lack of progress. Well-worn phrases like “cutting the deficit” are designed to make people think that the government is paying back its debt, but in fact all that has been happening is that they have been borrowing a little less money this year than they did the year before.

If you are any good at math at all, you will know that in reality this means that the debt burden is increasing, not decreasing. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Britain would, in all probability, not even begin to pay back its debts until sometime after 2020 – and that was even before all these new election promised of spending more!

eu referendum in uk

 

In addition to all that, one of the fundamental platforms that helped the Conservative Party to get elected was the promise of a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union. The result of that will have its own impact economically too.

Personally if I were them I’d drop the EU like a hot poker. For more than forty years Britain has been paying more into Europe than they have got out, a situation that is likely to continue as rafts of the poorer European nations continue to join.

So the next five years are shaping up to be very interesting for both Britain and America.

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General Confusion And Major Disaster.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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British General Election 2015

No, today’s post is not about matters military, although the term ‘SNAFU’ would be rather appropriate.

This one is about the General Election in Britain in May 2015 that will decide who will run the country for the next five years and who will be Prime Minister. This is a crucial election for voters because there is no real front runner. One party is as bad as the other. So a few votes here and there could make a crucial difference. Sounds a bit like Florida!

It may even end up with another coalition government in Britain, although I don’t know if the Conservatives could stomach another five years of being tied to the Liberals – but what am I talking about, of course they could, if it meant clinging on to power.

The election might be even closer than it should be because millions of people may be unable to vote. The secretive Whitehall department of stupid bureaucrats responsible for – wait for the irony, “efficiency” – refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programs that showed it had major problems with data matching.

data matching

It is very similar to the way the nerds at Microsoft didn’t believe their testers when they told them Windows 8 was a pile of doo-doo.

The bureaucrats first of all created new legal requirements for voter registration requiring them to verify information that was previously taken on trust.

The only thing is, about five and a half million voters went missing from the Electoral Register. The tests they carried out told them this was likely to happen, but they didn’t listen. Bureaucrats never do until it is too late.

According to government sources, “The digital service allows anyone to register to vote online, from any device connected to the web. It’s incredibly quick and simple – it takes less than five minutes.”

They forgot to add the crucial line that – it doesn’t work.

The problems became apparent as soon as the web service went live. The Electoral Register was a lot shorter than it had been. Not only that but strange things also began to happen.

cartoon boy

For example, a five-year-old boy in Crewe had been given the vote – but he couldn’t get off the Electoral Register, because he was not able to produce his National Insurance number, which of course he didn’t have – because he was only five. Duhh!!!

In another case a woman, who had been an eligible voter on the Electoral Roll for twenty years, failed to get on to the new one because her National Insurance number was in her maiden name which did not match with her married name which the system insisted she use now.

The whole thing has turned into a government-created mess. People are now filling in the registration form thinking that means they are registered to vote, but actually they haven’t. All they have managed to do is submit an application to register to vote.

It’s bit like filling in a form so that you are eligible to fill in a form. A bureaucrat’s dream!

So it’s looking like general confusion and major disaster for the election. Just more proof that government bureaucrats and computer systems just don’t belong together.

bureaucrats and computer systems

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February Facts Finish Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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February facts finish here, but not to worry, all being well there will be more next month.

Meantime have a look at this selection.

I hope you find something interesting.

Enjoy.

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did you know5

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Approximately seven hundred

tweets per minute contain a YouTube link.

twitter logo

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The most beer-drinking country in

the world is the Czech Republic.

With an incredible per capita beer consumption

of almost 40 gallons a year, the Czechs are way out

in front in the beer drinking world league table,

leaving the Irish, Germans, Americans and

other “beer nations” far behind.

most beer-drinking country in the world is the Czech Republic

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None of the soldiers wore metal helmets in 1914.

The French were the first to introduce them in 1915.

Future prime minister Winston Churchill wore a

French one during his time on the front in 1916.

WWI soldiers 1914

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The first known pyramid architect was Imhotep,

an Ancient Egyptian polymath, engineer and

physician who is considered to be the designer of

the first major pyramid – the Pyramid of Djoser.

Imhotep statue

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In 1783, then Yale University president Ezra Stiles

predicted that the population of the United States

would reach 300 million in the next two hundred years.

He based his prediction on his analysis of the

population growth in Europe.

Apparently, just a little over 200 years later,

the population of the country actually hit 300 million.

Ezra Stiles portrait

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Sean Connery,

the first and arguably the best James Bond,

began balding when he was only 21-years-old,

therefore in al his appearances as ‘Bond’

he is wearing a toupee.

Sean Connery as James Bond

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The phrase, “Bite the bullet”,

meaning to endure something painful,

was first recorded in Rudyard Kipling’s 1891 novel

‘The Light that Failed’ describing the barbaric era

before anesthetics were used in medical procedures.

Injured soldiers had to bite on a bullet to help them

endure the pain of an operation or amputation,

an action that usually also resulted in a few broken teeth

aside from the other pain.

Bite the bullet

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A normal heart valve is about

the size of a half dollar

size of a half dollar

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Payne Stewart was a prolific golfer

and a three-time major championship winner

who was extremely popular with spectators

for his exciting style of play and fancy clothes.

Sadly, in 1999 his career was cut short by an

airplane accident that cost him his life a few

months after his latest triumph in the U.S. Open.

Payne Stewart

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The Laser is an innovation made possible

by Quantum mechanics.

It was once thought to have no practical use,

however, innovation and development has

enabled laser technology to be applied to different

inventions from the CD player to

missile-destroying defense systems.

The Laser

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In  Port Lincoln, Australia, each January

they hold the ‘Tunarama Festival’ which is a

competition to see how far someone can

throw a frozen tuna.

Fortunately, the 2007 festival was the last one

in which real tunas were used for the throws

(because of their drastically dwindling populations).

Since then artificially made fake tunas have been used.

Tunarama Festival

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From 1850 to 1942, marijuana was

considered a useful medicine for

nausea, rheumatism, and labor pains

and was easily obtained at local general stores

or pharmacies throughout the U.S.

marijuana used to be for sale in pharmacies

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In Formula 1 motor racing,

there is no longer a car with the number 13.

The number has been removed after two drivers

were killed in crashes — both driving cars numbered 13.

Formula 1 no car with the number 13 now

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Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space,

was also a victim of a training jet crash.

He died on March 27, 1968,

along with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin,

when their MiG-15UTI plane crashed.

There has always been a lot of speculation and

conspiracy surrounds their deaths.

For example, documents declassified in April 2011

include a 1968’s commission conclusion that they

had to maneuver sharply to avoid a weather balloon,

whereas a KGB report concluded the aircraft

entered a spin. from which it subsequently could

not recover. to avoid a bird strike or another aircraft.

Yuri Gagarin funeral

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Alan Thicke,

the father in the TV show Growing Pains

wrote the theme songs for

The Facts of Life

and

Diff’rent Strokes.

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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

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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

 

Chocolate And Yoghurt, Just Two Of The Questions This Quiz Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to Quiz Day on the fasab blog.

Chocolate, yoghurt and a lot more make up today’s questions.

So why not pour yourself a cup of coffee too and have a go?

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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Q.  1:  What are the names of the two famous Star Wars robots?

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Q.  2:  How many muscles does your body use to balance itself when you are standing still?

            a)  100             b)  200             c)  300             d)  400              e)  500

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Q.  3:  What is the name of the largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S.?

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Q.  4:  ‘tcby’ now means ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’ but what did the letters ‘tcby’ originally stand for?

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Q.  5:  Who was the leader of the Macedonian Empire?

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Q.  6:  Time to rack up a lot of points, what were the names of the six principal actors in the long running hit TV series ‘Friends’?  (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the characters they played.)

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Q.  7:  What is the name generally used for the traditional curved blade Japanese sword?

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Q.  8:  Recently they seem to be trying to put it back up again, but in what year was the Fall of the Iron Curtain?

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Q.  9:  Approximately how many pieces of ‘space junk’ are orbiting around Earth?

            a) over 4,000          b) over 6,000          c) over 8,000         d) over 10,000

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Q. 10:  There’s a new one out this year, but how many ‘Planet Of The Apes’ based movies have there been? (Bonus points if you can name them and even more bonus points if know the years they were released.)

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Q. 11:  Which two rivers meet at Khartoum to make the Nile?

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Q. 12:  Who, in 2012, became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power?

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Q. 13:  During World War II approximately how many tanks were produced by American factories?

            a)  59,000           b)  69,000           c)  79,000           d)  89,000           e)  99,000

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Q. 14:  Who is the current Prime Minister of Canada?

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Q. 15:  Isadora Duncan, known as the mother of modern dance, was killed in an unusual way, how?

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Q. 16:  What is the recommended standard recreational diving limit for ordinary divers?

            a)  20 meters              b)  30 meters              c)  40 meters              d)  50 meters

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Q. 17:  In Las Vegas, what is the name of the ancient Egyptian themed hotel with a pyramid shaped casino?

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the mythical Roman god of war?

 

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Q. 19:  Who was ‘Dr Frasier Crane’ and his brother ‘Dr Niles Crane’? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 20:  What musician is known as “The Boss” and what was the name of the band he played with? (A point for each correct answer.)

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What are the names of the two famous Star Wars robots?

A.  1:  The two famous Star Wars robots are called 3CP0 and R2D2.

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Q.  2:  How many muscles does your body use to balance itself when you are standing still?

            a)  100             b)  200             c)  300             d)  400              e)  500

A.  2:  Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

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Q.  3:  What is the name of the largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S.?

A.  3:  The largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S. is Hershey’s. Founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894, this company produces over one billion pounds of chocolate products every year.

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Q.  4:  ‘tcby’ now means ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’ but what did the letters ‘tcby’ originally stand for?

A.  4:  The letters ‘tcby’ originally stood for ‘This Can’t Be Yogurt’, but the name was changed after the company was sued by a rival company called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt’.

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Q.  5:  Who was the leader of the Macedonian Empire?

A.  5:  Alexander the Great.

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Q.  6:  Time to rack up a lot of points, what were the names of the six principal actors in the long running hit TV series ‘Friends’?  (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the characters they played.)

A.  6:  The six ‘Friends’ were Jennifer Aniston as ‘Rachel Green’; Courteney Cox as Monica Geller; Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay; Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani; Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing; and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.

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Q.  7:  What is the name generally used for the traditional curved blade Japanese sword?

A.  7:  The traditional curved blade Japanese sword is called a ‘Katana’.

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Q.  8:  Recently they seem to be trying to put it back up again, but in what year was the Fall of the Iron Curtain?

A.  8:  The Iron Curtain fell in 1989.

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Q.  9:  Approximately how many pieces of ‘space junk’ are orbiting around Earth?

            a) over 4,000          b) over 6,000          c) over 8,000         d) over 10,000

A.  9:  The correct answer is c) over 8,000.

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Q. 10:  There’s a new one out this year, but how many ‘Planet Of The Apes’ based movies have there been? (Bonus points if you can name them and even more bonus points if know the years they were released.)

A. 10:  There have been eight planet of the apes movies so far, ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968); ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ (1970); ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ (1971); ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’ (1972); ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’ (1973); ‘Planet of the Apes’ (2001); ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011); and ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (2014).

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Q. 11:  Which two rivers meet at Khartoum to make the Nile?

A. 11:  It’s easier than you think, the two rivers that meet at Khartoum to make the Nile are the White & Blue Niles.

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Q. 12:  Who, in 2012, became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power?

A. 12:  Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power. In his record breaking stunt he reached speeds of up to 834 mph.

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Q. 13:  During World War II approximately how many tanks were produced by American factories?

            a)  59,000           b)  69,000           c)  79,000           d)  89,000           e)  99,000

A. 13:  The correct answer is d) 89,000.

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Q. 14:  Who is the current Prime Minister of Canada?

A. 14:  Stephen Harper.

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Q. 15:  Isadora Duncan, known as the mother of modern dance, was killed in an unusual way, how?

A. 15:  Isadora Duncan was pulled from the vehicle in which she was a passenger and violently slammed against the road when her long scarf got caught in the wheel. Her neck was broken and she died on impact.

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Q. 16:  What is the recommended standard recreational diving limit for ordinary divers?

            a)  20 meters              b)  30 meters              c)  40 meters              d)  50 meters

A. 16:  The correct answer is b) 30 Meters (98 feet), the average depth at which nitrogen narcosis symptoms begin to appear in adults.

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Q. 17:  In Las Vegas, what is the name of the ancient Egyptian themed hotel with a pyramid shaped casino?

A. 17:  It’s called the ‘Luxor’.

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the mythical Roman god of war?

A. 18:  Mars.

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Q. 19:  Who was ‘Dr Frasier Crane’ and his brother ‘Dr Niles Crane’? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 19:  They were Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce from the wonderful hit TV sitcom ‘Frasier’.

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Q. 20:  What musician is known as “The Boss” and what was the name of the band he played with? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 20:  In the music world “The Boss” is Bruce Sprigsteen and he played with the E Street Band.

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“So What Do you Think Of These?”, He Asked Quizzically!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Quiz day again folks.

Another random set of questions, some quite easy, others rather difficult and a couple of tricky ones thrown in for good measure.

But there’s no pass mark and no pressure so why not give them a go?

And, as usual, if you get stuck 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:  The name of which capital city is also contained in the title of a movie starring Frank Sinatra?

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Q.  2:  What was the surname (last name) and the nicknames of the father and son who controlled Haiti from 1957 to 1986? (A point for each correct answer, so three points up for grabs.)

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Q.  3:  On which mountain did Noah’s Ark come to rest as the Great Flood subsided?

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Q.  4:  Who was the biggest selling female singer in America in the 1990s?

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Q.  5:  There are many examples of countries in the world that are land-locked, that is surrounded by several other countries, but there are three countries that are completely surrounded by one other country only, a point for each that you can name and a bonus point if you can name all three.

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Q.  6:  Why was Louise Brown famous in 1978?

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Q.  7:  What is the longest river in Australia?

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Q.  8:  In which well known movie would you find the robot or android known as ‘Ash’?

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Q.  9:  In which country did the soup known as ‘Waterzooi’ originate?

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Q. 10:  Two South American countries have no coastline, name them. (A point for each.)

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Q. 11:  Who or what was ‘The African Queen’ in the movie of the same name?

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Q. 12:  What does the yummy breakfast treat ‘Eggs Benedict’ consist of?

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Q. 13:  Which Canadian newspaper magnate held important Government Offices in England during World War I and World War II?

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Q. 14:  Who played ‘Herman Munster’ in the long running CBS Sitcom?

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Q. 15:  Which former American President left behind an immortal souvenir – the teddy -which was named after him?

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Q. 16:  Orson Welles stated of him that his movie ‘The General’ was “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Of whom was he speaking?

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Q. 17:  According to Greek mythology whose box contained all the evils of the world?

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Q. 18:  He was born in Poland and emigrated to Palestine in 1906. He became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Who was he?

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Q. 19:  Who wrote 2001 ‘A Space Odyssey’?

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Q. 20:  What is the name of the largest river in Saudi Arabia?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  The name of which capital city is also contained in the title of a movie starring Frank Sinatra?

A.  1:  Rome, Italy and the movie ‘Tony Rome’.

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Q.  2:  What was the surname (last name) and the nicknames of the father and son who controlled Haiti from 1957 to 1986? (A point for each correct answer, so three points up for grabs.)

A.  2:  Dr Francois Duvalier known as ‘Papa Doc’ (1957-1971) and his son Jean-Claude known as ‘Bébé Doc’ (1971-1986).

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Q.  3:  On which mountain did Noah’s Ark come to rest as the Great Flood subsided?

A.  3:  Mt. Ararat.

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Q.  4:  Who was the biggest selling female singer in America in the 1990s?

A.  4:  Mariah Carey.

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Q.  5:  There are many examples of countries in the world that are land-locked, that is surrounded by several other countries, but there are three countries that are completely surrounded by one other country only, a point for each that you can name and a bonus point if you can name all three.

A.  5:  Vatican City, and San Marino, both surrounded by Italy and  Lesotho surrounded by South Africa.

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Q.  6:  Why was Louise Brown famous in 1978?

A.  6:  She was the world’s first test-tube baby.

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Q.  7:  What is the longest river in Australia?

A.  7:  The Murray River

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Q.  8:  In which well known movie would you find the robot or android known as ‘Ash’?

A.  8:  ‘Ash’ was the robot/android in the movie ‘Alien’.

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Q.  9:  In which country did the soup known as ‘Waterzooi’ originate?

A.  9:  Belgium.

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Q. 10:  Two South American countries have no coastline, name them. (A point for each.)

A. 10:  Bolivia and Paraguay.

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Q. 11:  Who or what was ‘The African Queen’ in the movie of the same name?

A. 11:  ‘The African Queen’ was a boat.

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Q. 12:  What does the yummy breakfast treat ‘Eggs Benedict’ consist of?

A. 12:  ‘Eggs Benedict’ consists of two halves of an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.

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Q. 13:  Which Canadian newspaper magnate held important Government Offices in England during World War I and World War II?

A. 13:  Lord Beaverbrook.

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Q. 14:  Who played ‘Herman Munster’ in the long running CBS Sitcom?

A. 14:  Fred Gwynne.

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Q. 15:  Which former American President left behind an immortal souvenir – the teddy -which was named after him?

A. 15:  Theodore Roosevelt

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Q. 16:  Orson Welles stated of him that his movie ‘The General’ was “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Of whom was he speaking?

A. 16:  Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton.

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Q. 17:  According to Greek mythology whose box contained all the evils of the world?

A. 17:  Pandora’s.

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Q. 18:  He was born in Poland and emigrated to Palestine in 1906. He became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Who was he?

A. 18:  David Ben Gurion.

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Q. 19:  Who wrote 2001 ‘A Space Odyssey’?

A. 19:  Arthur C Clarke.

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Q. 20:  What is the name of the largest river in Saudi Arabia?

A. 20:  A bit of a tricky one to end with, there are no rivers in Saudi Arabia. Score a point if you said zero or none.

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