Boffin Bollocks!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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mad scientist cartoon

I would love to have been a scientist.

Not a real one, I’m not clever enough or dedicated enough for that. Rather, I would have loved to have been one of those idiots who try to make a name for themselves off pronouncements on things about which they know absolutely nothing.

I saw another one of their headline grabbers (that I like to call “boffin bollocks”) recently. The headline went something like “Shock Warning Aliens Are Coming.” And it wasn’t about more Mexicans making their way north across the US border.

It was from NASA’s Chief Scientist, Ellen Stofan, and claimed that first contact with alien life will happen “very soon” – very soon being not tomorrow, but within the next decade or two.

“We know where to look,” she confirmed.

Yes, “UP” would be my non-scientific guess at the best direction.

“We know how to look,” she added.

Again I am forced to agree. Personally I’d use a telescope, and a great big one, but that’s only me!

astronomer cartoon www.davidreneke.com

Ms Stofan was ably backed up by a colleague, John M. Grunsfeld, who came out with good sound bite words and phrases like “solar system”, “galaxy”, “the icy crusts of Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and Europa” (my favorite I think) and “the internal water within Saturn’s moon Enceladus”.

Mars and the Martians also got mentioned, but only with suggestions that life may have at one time been present on the planet. H. G. and Orson Wells had beaten them to visits by the ‘real’ Martians many, many years ago.

War of the Worlds

More scientists, this time at the Parkes Observatory in Australia, have been carefully studying peryton-a type of radio signals similar to Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) which are known to come from somewhere else in the galaxy.

For years, they had been puzzled by these brief but intense bursts of radio waves that in some ways appeared to be coming from deep space. There have been dozens of reported perytons, some dating back to the 1990s, and theories about the signals’ origin included ball lightning, aircraft, and components of the telescopes themselves.

Then this year they made a break through. They discovered the source of the rogue signals. They were coming from – no, not somewhere deep in the galaxy – but instead from the microwave oven in the next room.

In what has to be the understatement of the year, Emily Petroff of Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology admitted, “It was quite surprising that it ended up being microwaves.”  I bet it was!

microwave aliens

I must add that I’m a big fan of space exploration, always have been, since I was a kid and was captivated by the television coverage of the Apollo missions. My only regret is that it all takes so very long that I will have gone ‘supernova’ before we see any tangible results of that exploration. There’s never a handy wormhole around when you need one, is there!

I am also a big fan of TV sci-fi series like the Star Treks, the Stargates and so forth, and of movies from ‘War of the Worlds’, thru ‘E.T.’ to ‘Independence Day’ and beyond. But I also have the wit to realize I’m being entertained and these things are not real.

So is there life out there?

I wouldn’t rule the idea out for a second. But what I would rule out is that intelligent life is ever going to be found within our Solar System, maybe not even within our Galaxy. But it could be out there somewhere.

The question we should be asking is, assuming it is benign and not hell bent on conquering all in its path, or maybe viewing us as a culinary delicacy, would that intelligent life really want anything to do with a planet full of people who, for almost their entire existence, seem to want nothing better than to continually wage war on each other?

I think having observed us for a while they would probably pass us by without calling in to say hello.

If I were in their shoes – or space boots – that’s what I would do – and at warp speed too!

alien observers

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Twenty Questions – Are You Up For It?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi and welcome to another fasab quiz day.

If you know about history, geography, politics, technology, music, movies, cars and a lot of other stuff then you should do okay.

And as always, if you get stuck , you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 10

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Q.  1:  Who or what is a ‘FLOTUS’?

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Q.  2:  Most of you will have heard of the company called ‘3M’ but what do the three ‘M’s stand for?

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Q.  3:  Everyone has heard about the Titanic and probably seen at least one of the movies depicting its fateful inaugural voyage, but to which shipping line did the Titanic belong?

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Q.  4:  What waterway did Britain buy a share of in 1875?

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Q.  5:  In 1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by which male member of his family?

            a) son            b) grandson            c) nephew           d) father

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Q.  6:  What are the terms ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ abbreviations of? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q.  7:  In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was working on a ‘death ray’ that would destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. What did he invent instead?

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Q.  8:  General Leopoldo Galtieri was president of which South American country in 1981 and 1982?

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Q.  9:  When did the construction of the Berlin Wall begin and in what year was it demolished? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 10:  What makes of car were featured in the following movies? (A point for each correct answer, and a bonus point if you get them all correct.)

            a)  Herbie, The Love Bug                                  b)  Back To The Future

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit                              d)  Bullitt

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Q. 11:  In which year did South Africa have its first all-race elections?

            a) 1990            b) 1992            c) 1994            d) 1996

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Q. 12:  One of the best television mini-series ever made was the western ‘Lonesome Dove’, but what were the names of the two lead characters and who were the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all four names correct.)

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Q. 13:  Held by Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor, what is the current Men’s High Jump World Record?

            a)  2.37 m             b)  2.39 m            c)  2.41 m            d)  2.45 m            e)  2.47 m

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Q. 14:  ‘Operation Barbarossa’ was the codename used by the Germans for their plans to invade which country in 1941?

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Q. 15:  What is considered to be the hottest desert in North America?  (A bonus point if you know in which State it is located.)

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Q. 16:  Who was ‘Mork’ and who was ‘Mindy’ in the hit TV sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ originally broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name both correctly.)

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Q. 17:  From which country did Norway secure its independence in 1905?

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Q. 18:  Approximately how many rifles did American factories produce during World War II?

           a)  1 million        b)  3 million        c)  5 million        d)  7 million       e)  9 million

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Q. 19:  It is the name of a hybrid between a mandarin and a sweet orange and Winston Churchill’s wife, what is it?

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Talking To The Moon’ in 2011?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  Who or what is a ‘FLOTUS’?

A.  1:  FLOTUS is the First Lady Of The United States, or currently Mrs Obama.

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Q.  2:  Most of you will have heard of the company called ‘3M’ but what do the three ‘M’s stand for?

A.  2:  ‘3M’ is an abbreviation of ‘Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing’.

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Q.  3:  Everyone has heard about the Titanic and probably seen at least one of the movies depicting its fateful inaugural voyage, but to which shipping line did the Titanic belong?

A.  3:  The name is mentioned in the movies, it is the White Star Line.

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Q.  4:  What waterway did Britain buy a share of in 1875?

A.  4:  The Suez Canal.

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Q.  5:  In 1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by which male member of his family?

            a) son            b) grandson            c) nephew           d) father

A.  5:  Answer c) his nephew.

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Q.  6:  What are the terms ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ abbreviations of? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  6:  ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ are abbreviations of ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Wireless Fidelity’.

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Q.  7:  In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was working on a ‘death ray’ that would destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. What did he invent instead?

A.  7:  Robert Watson-Watt’s ‘death ray’ evolved into RADAR, otherwise known as ‘radio detection and ranging’.

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Q.  8:  General Leopoldo Galtieri was president of which South American country in 1981 and 1982?

A.  8:  Argentina.

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Q.  9:  When did the construction of the Berlin Wall begin and in what year was it demolished? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  9:  Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961 (August 13th) and it was demolished in 1989.

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Q. 10:  What makes of car were featured in the following movies? (A point for each correct answer, and a bonus point if you get them all correct.)

            a)  Herbie, The Love Bug                                  b)  Back To The Future

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit                              d)  Bullitt

A. 10:  a) Herbie, The Love Bug featured a Volkswagen Beetle    

            b) Back To The Future featured a DeLorean DMC-12

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit featured a  Pontiac Trans Am

            d)  Bullitt featured a Ford Mustang GT fastback

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Q. 11:  In which year did South Africa have its first all-race elections?

            a) 1990            b) 1992            c) 1994            d) 1996

A. 11:  The correct answer is c) 1994.

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Q. 12:  One of the best television mini-series ever made was the western ‘Lonesome Dove’, but what were the names of the two lead characters and who were the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all four names correct.)

A. 12:  The two lead characters in the Lonesome Dove TV miniseries were ‘Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae’, played by Robert Duvall, and ‘Captain Woodrow F. Call’, played by Tommy Lee Jones.

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Q. 13:  Held by Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor, what is the current Men’s High Jump World Record?

            a)  2.37 m             b)  2.39 m            c)  2.41 m            d)  2.45 m            e)  2.47 m

A. 13:  The correct answer is d) 2.45 m (8 ft 1/2 in), achieved in Salamanca, Spain on July 27th 1993.

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Q. 14:  ‘Operation Barbarossa’ was the codename used by the Germans for their plans to invade which country in 1941?

A. 14:  It was the codename for their plans to invade Russia.

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Q. 15:  What is considered to be the hottest desert in North America?  (A bonus point if you know in which State it is located.)

A. 15:  The Mojave Desert, located primarily in southeastern California is considered to be the hottest desert in North America.

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Q. 16:  Who was ‘Mork’ and who was ‘Mindy’ in the hit TV sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ originally broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name both correctly.)

A. 16:  The series starred Robin Williams as Mork and Pam Dawber as Mindy McConnell.

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Q. 17:  From which country did Norway secure its independence in 1905?

A. 17:  Sweden.

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Q. 18:  Approximately how many rifles did American factories produce during World War II?

           a)  1 million        b)  3 million        c)  5 million        d)  7 million       e)  9 million

A. 18: The correct answer is d) approximately 7 million rifles were produced in American factories during WWII.

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Q. 19:  It is the name of a hybrid between a mandarin and a sweet orange and Winston Churchill’s wife, what is it?

A. 19:  Clementine.

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Talking To The Moon’ in 2011?

A. 20:  Bruno Mars. Here he is……

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