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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A Few Of Today’s Facts Really Stink.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Sorry, but today a few of the facts really do stink.

But you might find them interesting nonetheless.

I hope so anyway.

So here they are.

Enjoy.

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did you know3

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There are 13 ways to spell

the “o” sound in French.

Oh?

 parlez-vous

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In the TV series Star Trek,

The Enterprise’s often seen access tunnels

that they called ‘Jeffries Tubes’

were named after original series

prop master Walter M Jeffries.

 JefferiesTube Star Trek

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Vitamin A is important for vision,

the immune system function,

reproduction and support for the

heart, lungs and kidneys.

According to National Institutes of Health (NIH),

around 28%–37% of the general population

take supplements with vitamin A,

however,

just one sweet potato baked in the skin

has 28,058 international units (IU) of

vitamin A per serving,

which is 561% of the daily recommended value.

 sweet potato baked in skin

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In 2002, a man was hit by a truck in Finland

as he was trying to cross highway 8 on his bike.

2 hours later his twin brother was also hit by a truck

while trying to cross highway 8 on his bike.

They died within 1.5 km of each other, 2 hours apart.

 cartoon twins

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The US Air Force once experimented with a

Boeing 747 mounted with an anti-missile defense system

that they hoped could track and shoot down

enemy missiles from hundreds of miles away.

Technically called the YAL-1 Airborne Laser

the project was eventually cancelled.

 Airborne-Laser-Weapon_photo_medium

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The Aztecs are the Aztecs at all.

The name Aztec was actually made up by Europeans,

the name they called themselves was the ‘Mexica’.

 Aztecs

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It is estimated that the inhabitants

of medieval London, both human and animal,

produced fifty tons of excrement a day.

As a matter of fact, during the fourteenth century,

Sherborne Lane in East London was so disgusting

that it was officially known as Shiteburn Lane.

 sherborne lane Nigel Clark Publications

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The reason around 99% of the population

tend to need glasses, especially for reading,

as they get older is not because

their arms get shorter, but because

the lens in the eyes slowly loses

its focusing ability with age.

 A classic example of being in reading glasses denial.

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Translated as the “Swimming Car”

the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen is an

amphibious four-wheel drive off-roader,

used extensively by the German Wehrmacht

and the Waffen-SS during WWII.

The Type 166 is the most numerous and

mass-produced amphibious car in history.

 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen

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Think you have a bad job?

It could be worse.

You could be a Breath Odor Evaluator.

These are people hired by mint and

toothpaste companies to keep smelling

bad breath until the minty freshness appears.

 Breath Odor Evaluator

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But these people have it made

compared to Dog Breath Sniffers,

who do the same job, only for dogs.

Phew!!!

 dog's breath

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Stanley Kubrick hated traveling and

was a little afraid of airplanes.

For that reason,

even though set mostly in Vietnam,

Full Metal Jacket was fully shot in London.

The abandoned Beckton Gas Works that were used

to shoot the major battle scenes are still there today.

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Don’t Beam Me Up Just Yet, Scotty!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You will get what the title is all about later. Let’s just say for now I’ll still be buying my airplane tickets and enduring the rigors of airport security for a few years longer.

As for now it’s Fact Day so have a look at the current offerings.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In cold weather keeping your cell phone

as close to your body as you can,

or in the inside pocket of an insulated base layer

will help keep it warm and prolong battery life.

 warm cell phone case

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In the West women usually start shopping for baby things

as soon as they discover they’re pregnant

but in China a pregnant Chinese woman will avoid

getting a stroller before her baby is born because

according to Chinese tradition it’s considered

bad luck to have an empty stroller in the house

while you’re pregnant.

 stroller

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The world’s oldest-known formula for toothpaste

was created by the ancient Egyptians

who used crushed rock salt, mint, dried iris flowers,

and pepper and mixed them to create a cleaning powder.

Research suggests this ancient toothpaste was more

effective than formulas used as recently as a century ago,

although it did have the unfortunate side effect

of causing bleeding gums.

 toothpaste

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A scientific study has suggested that if you

are stressing over an important test or exam,

writing down your feelings on a piece of paper

before an exam will allow you to achieve higher scores.

 writing down your feelings on a piece of paper

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Contrary to many theories,

the tongue does not have specific receptor areas

for bitter, sour, salty, and sweet flavors.

In fact, there is a fifth taste (umami, for savory/meaty flavors)

and all zones of the tongue can sense all flavors.

 all zones of the tongue can sense all flavors

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After banning the Nobel Prize,

Adolf Hitler developed his own version

– the German National Prize for Art and Science.

Ferdinand Porsche was one of the awardees

for being the man behind the world’s first

hybrid car and for the Volkswagen Beetle.

 German National Prize for Art and Science

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In a statement he gave to the New York Times in 1909,

Nikola Tesla predicted that it would soon be possible

to transmit messages via personal devices.

Today, we have wireless communication devices

that we bring with us anywhere we go.

 Nikola Tesla

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A month after the USSR sent Sputnik 1 into space,

they sent Sputnik 2, which was the first spacecraft

to carry an animal (a dog named Laika) into space.

However, despite the Soviets initially claiming that

Laika had survived in orbit for a week,

decades later official Russian sources revealed

that Laika lived only a few hours

before dying from overheating.

Brave little doggie though.

 Laika

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During WWI “Hello Girls,” as American

soldiers called them, were American women

who served as telephone operators for

Pershing’s forces in Europe.

The women were fluent in French and English

and were specially trained by the American

Telephone and Telegraph Company.

In 1979, the U.S. Army finally gave war medals

and veteran benefits to the few Hello Girls who were still alive.

 WWI Hello Girls

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In its early days YouTube’s founders used

Craigslist to try to popularize the site

by offering $100 to attractive girls who would

post ten or more videos of themselves.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get a single response.

 craigslist logo

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The phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’

goes back to at least the mid-nineteenth century

as found in George Eliot’s ‘The Mill on the Floss’ (1860),

where Mr. Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing

Daniel Defoe’s ‘The History of the Devil’,

saying how it was beautifully bound.

Its general meaning today, of course, is that

we shouldn’t judge or make a decision about

someone or something based on a brief

impression or outward appearance.

Wise advice.

 Don’t judge a book by its cover

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Just as true champagne must hail from France,

tequila has Denomination of Origin,

meaning that it has to be produced in Mexico,

mainly in the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit,

and Tamaulipas are also acceptable.

 taquila bottles

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Located in the city of Taipei in Taiwan, the

D.S. Music Restaurant has nothing to do with music at all.

In fact, it is a bizarre hospital-themed restaurant

where waitresses are all dressed as nurses,

tables are made from metal hospital beds,

drinks are served in IV bottles and

walls are decorated with X-ray scans.

 D.S. Music Restaurant Taiwan

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Remember the teleporter Star Trek?

Well, it’s no longer science fiction because now

matter can be dissolved into particles, transported

and reassembled at another location.

However, it won’t be available for use on humans

in the near future because at the moment,

whilst it is indeed possible to scan every molecule

in the human body and reassemble it in another area,

according to Quantum physics, scanning and

reassembling changes the entire object.

You can’t make an exact copy.

So don’t beam me up just yet, Scotty!

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What Day Is It? – It’s Quiz Day, And That Wasn’t One Of The Questions!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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No, sorry, no points if you said it was Quiz Day, even though you are right.

Twenty more challenging questions for you to ponder over.

So get a pot of coffee going and try you hand at these.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  You’ve heard of tasers, you’ve probably seen videos of them on TV or YouTube, but what do the letters ‘T-A-S-E-R’ stand for?

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Q.  2:  Out of the 40,000 men who served on U-boats during World War II, approximately how many returned safely?

            a) 100%            b) 75%            c) 50%            d) 25%            e) 15%

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Q.  3:  When did the Cold War end?

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Q.  4:  On which side of a venetian blind is the cord that adjusts the opening between the slats?

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Q.  5:  To which country do the Galapagos Islands belong?

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Q.  6:  What member of Britain’s Royal Family was assassinated whilst sailing from Mullaghmore in Ireland in 1979?

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Q.  7:  Harry Potter is a very famous and successful series of seven fantasy novels, who wrote them?

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Q.  8:  Does a merry-go-round turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?

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Q.  9:  Which popular dried fruit is named after a port city in Greece?

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Q. 10:  Currently the highest priced painting in the world with a sales price equivalent to something in the region of $300 million, ‘The Card Players’ was painted by whom?

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Q. 11:  The old name for this island country stems from the Latin word for beautiful, what is it called today?

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Q. 12:  Complete the title of each of the following Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. (And yes, you get a point for each correct answer.)

           a) The Red …..    b) The Emperor’s …  …….    C) The Steadfast …  …….

           d) The Princess And …  …    and,  e) The Wild …..

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Q. 13:  Some wills are strange, which very famous man left his wife his second best bed?

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Q. 14:  It’s the name of a dessert, the largest city in North Carolina, USA, and the wife of King George III – what is it?

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Q. 15:  Which of the following was NOT the name of a Chinese dynasty?

            a) Qing     b) Xin     c) Ming     d) Jin      e) Ching     or, e)  Tang

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Q. 16:  What huge sporting tournament begins June 14th this year?

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Q. 17:  Who was the first US President to have electricity in the White House?

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Q. 18:  What are very small clouds that look like they have been broken off of bigger clouds called?

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Q. 19:  He was the mythical founder of the city of Rome and the slayer of his twin brother. His name was also used for a war-like race of aliens in the series Star Trek. What was his name? (And a bonus point on offer if you can also correctly name his twin brother.)

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Q. 20:  It was the end of Napoleon’s career and the start of ABBA’s, what was it?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  You’ve heard of tasers, you’ve probably seen videos of them on TV or YouTube, but what do the letters ‘T-A-S-E-R’ stand for?

A.  1:  ‘Taser’ – Stands for ‘Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle’.

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Q.  2:  Out of the 40,000 men who served on U-boats during World War II, approximately how many returned safely?

            a) 100%            b) 75%            c) 50%            d) 25%            e) 15%

A.  2:  The correct answer is d) 25%. Out of the 40,000 men who served on U-boats during WWII, only approximately 10,000 returned safely.

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Q.  3:  When did the Cold War end?

A.  3:  This year (2014) is the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War, so take a point if you said ‘1989’.

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Q.  4:  On which side of a venetian blind is the cord that adjusts the opening between the slats?

A.  4:  It’s on the left.  

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Q.  5:  To which country do the Galapagos Islands belong?

A.  5:  Ecuador.

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Q.  6:  What member of Britain’s Royal Family was assassinated whilst sailing from Mullaghmore in Ireland in 1979?

A.  6:  Earl Mountbatten.

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Q.  7:  Harry Potter is a very famous and successful series of seven fantasy novels, who wrote them?

A.  7:  The Harry Potter series was written by the British author J. K. Rowling.

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Q.  8:  Does a merry-go-round turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?

A.  8:  Counter-clockwise.

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Q.  9:  Which popular dried fruit is named after a port city in Greece?

A.  9:  Corinthians (after the port city Corinth).

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Q. 10:  Currently the highest priced painting in the world with a sales price equivalent to something in the region of $300 million, ‘The Card Players’ was painted by whom?

A. 10:  Paul Cézanne.

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Q. 11:  The old name for this island country stems from the Latin word for beautiful, what is it called today?

A. 11:  The old name was ‘Formosa’, but the island nation is now known as Taiwan or officially the Republic of China.

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Q. 12:  Complete the title of each of the following Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. (And yes, you get a point for each correct answer.)

           a) The Red …..    b) The Emperor’s …  …….    C) The Steadfast …  …….

           d) The Princess And …  …    and,  e) The Wild …..

A. 12:  The five answers are     a) The Red SHOES    b) The Emperor’s NEW CLOTHES

           c) The Steadfast TIN SOLDIER   d) The Princess And THE PEA    e) The Wild SWANS

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Q. 13:  Some wills are strange, which very famous man left his wife his second best bed?

A. 13:  There was a clue in the question, the answer is Will Shakespeare.

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Q. 14:  It’s the name of a dessert, the largest city in North Carolina, USA, and the wife of King George III – what is it?

A. 14:  Charlotte.

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Q. 15:  Which of the following was NOT the name of a Chinese dynasty?

            a) Qing     b) Xin     c) Ming     d) Jin      e) Ching     or, e)  Tang

A. 15:  They are all the names of Chinese dynasties except for e) Ching which I just made up! Take a point if you answered e).

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Q. 16:  What huge sporting tournament begins June 14th this year?

A. 16:  The football (soccer) World Cup.

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Q. 17:  Who was the first US President to have electricity in the White House?

A. 17:  Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House. However, he was so scared of getting electrocuted that he would never touch the light switches himself.

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Q. 18:  What are very small clouds that look like they have been broken off of bigger clouds called?

A. 18:  Very small clouds that look like they have been broken off of bigger clouds are called ‘scuds’.

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Q. 19:  He was the mythical founder of the city of Rome and the slayer of his twin brother. His name was also used for a war-like race of aliens in the series Star Trek. What was his name? (And a bonus point on offer if you can also correctly name his twin brother.)

A. 19:  His name was ‘Romulus’. His twin brother’s name was ‘Remus’.

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Q. 20:  It was the end of Napoleon’s career and the start of ABBA’s, what was it?

A. 20:  Waterloo.

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Feeling Smart? Good, Coz It’s Quiz Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another random selection of questions in today’s quiz.

This has become quite a long running feature on the fasab blog. I enjoy putting them together, I hope you all continue to enjoy trying them out.

As always you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below – but NO cheating! 

Enjoy.

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puzzle

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Q.  1:  What is Bugs Bunny’s catchphrase?

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Q.  2:  Where in the USA is the Sonoma wine growing region?

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Q.  3:  Which sad word stems from the combined Greek words for goat and song?

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Q.  4:  In ‘Star Trek’, from which planet did Spock’s mother come?

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Q.  5:  Which animal is not a Chinese year? 

    a. Ox    b. Crow    c. Hare    d. Goat

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Q.  6:  Who is the only American President to have served non-consecutive terms in office?

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Q.  7:  Thomas Selfridge was the first fatality in a plane crash. Who was the pilot?

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Q.  8:  In which American town or city was the ‘Little House On The Prairie’ TV series set?

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Q.  9:  If you saw ‘canard’ on a French Menu, what type of meat would be on offer?

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Q. 10:  Which historical character did Errol Flynn play in the 1941 movie ‘They Died With Their Boots On’?

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Q. 11:  Whose face is said to have launched a thousand ships?

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Q. 12:  Who directed ‘Jaws’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘ET’?

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Q. 13:  What are the three styles of port? (a point for each)

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Q. 14:  Which country has special tea houses and is famous for it’s elaborate tea ceremonies?

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Q. 15:  Jack Bauer and Aaron Pierce are the only two characters that have appeared in seven seasons of the TV series ‘24’. What does Aaron Pierce do for a living?

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Q. 16:  Alan Shepard was the first man to do what?

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Q. 17:  Plus or minus 10, what percentage of the life forms on earth live in the oceans and seas?

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Q. 18:  The car in the ‘Knightrider’ series was called ‘KITT’. What does this acronym stand for?

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Q. 19:  Who sucked apple sauce to become the first American to eat in space?

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Q. 20:  The Academy Award winning song ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ was written for which classic 1940 movie?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What is Bugs Bunny’s catchphrase?

A.  1:  ‘Whats Up Doc?’

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Q.  2:  Where in the USA is the Sonoma wine growing region?

A.  2:  California

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Q.  3:  Which sad word stems from the combined Greek words for goat and song?

A.  3:  Tragedy

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Q.  4:  In ‘Star Trek’, from which planet did Spock’s mother come?

A.  4:  Earth

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Q.  5:  Which animal is not a Chinese year? 

    a. Ox    b. Crow    c. Hare    d. Goat

A.  5:  b. Crow

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Q.  6:  Who is the only American President to have served non-consecutive terms in office?

A.  6:  Grover Cleveland

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Q.  7:  Thomas Selfridge was the first fatality in a plane crash. Who was the pilot?

A.  7:  Orville Wright

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Q.  8:  In which American town or city was the ‘Little House On The Prairie’ TV series set?

A.  8:  Walnut Grove

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Q.  9:  If you saw ‘canard’ on a French Menu, what type of meat would be on offer?

A.  9:  Duck

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Q. 10:  Which historical character did Errol Flynn play in the 1941 movie ‘They Died With Their Boots On’?

A. 10:  General Custer

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Q. 11:  Whose face is said to have launched a thousand ships?

A. 11:  Helen of Troy

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Q. 12:  Who directed ‘Jaws’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘ET’?

A. 12:  Steven Spielberg

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Q. 13:  What are the three styles of port? (a point for each)

A. 13:  Ruby, tawny and vintage

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Q. 14:  Which country has special tea houses and is famous for it’s elaborate tea ceremonies?

A. 14:  Japan

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Q. 15:  Jack Bauer and Aaron Pierce are the only two characters that have appeared in seven seasons of the TV series ‘24’. What does Aaron Pierce do for a living?

A. 15:  Secret Service agent

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Q. 16:  Alan Shepard was the first man to do what?

A. 16:  Hit a golf ball on the moon

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Q. 17:  Plus or minus 10, what percentage of the life forms on earth live in the oceans and seas?

A. 17:  Circa 90%

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Q. 18:  The car in the ‘Knightrider’ series was called ‘KITT’. What does this acronym stand for?

A. 18:  Knight Industries Two Thousand

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Q. 19:  Who sucked apple sauce to become the first American to eat in space?

A. 19:  John Glenn

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Q. 20:  The Academy Award winning song ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ was written for which classic 1940 movie?

A. 20:  Pinocchio

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Crikey! Not Another Quiz?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, I’m afraid so. Another Monday quiz to get the brain working for the rest of the week.

As usual we have a varied and random selection of questions, some easy, some tricky, but most of them difficult enough.

Especially if you don’t know the answers, which as ever are given waaaaaaaaaaay down below.

But NO cheating please!

Enjoy.

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Quiz 5

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Q  1:  Who invented Basketball and what was his nationality?

Well, okay, that’s a pretty tough one to begin with, so you get a point just for getting the nationality right. 

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Q  2:  What are three consecutive strikes in bowling called?

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Q  3:  By what name is the Red Cross known in Arab countries?

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Q  4:  What is most household dust is made up of?

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Q  5:  Who was the first person on the sci-fi TV series Star Trek to say the words, “Beam me up, Scotty”?

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Q  6:  Two legendary Americans were among those who died at the battle of The Alamo.

Can you name at least one?

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Q  7:  Who lives longer on average, right handed people, or left handed people?

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Q  8:  In the U.S, which one of these four items outsells the other three combined?

Baseballs

Basketballs

Frisbees

Footballs

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Q  9:  You have seen this many many times but have you noticed it?

What is the time displayed on most watch advertisements?

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Q 10:  What is peculiar, unusual or noteworthy about the words “facetious” and “abstemious”?

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Q 11:  It is well known that the Apollo 11 mission was the first to land men on the Moon.

But the crew from which Apollo mission were the last men to set foot on the moon?

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Q 12:  On a ship what is a toilet called?

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Q 13:  What is the name of the squiggly line “~” on keyboards?

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Q 14:  By what name is actress Caryn Elaine Johnson better known?

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Q 15:  What was the first country to issue postage stamps in 1840?

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Q 16:  What was the former name of the country now known as Iran?

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Q 17:  In 1783, the hot air balloon was invented where?

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Q 18:  What are the markings that are found on dice called?

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Q 19:  Water that is safe to drink is referred to as what?

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Q 20:  What is the second largest French speaking city after Paris?

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ANSWERS

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Q  1:  Who invented Basketball and what was his nationality?

A  1:  James Naismith in 1891. He was Canadian. 

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Q  2:  What are three consecutive strikes in bowling called?

A  2:  A turkey

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Q  3:  By what name is the Red Cross known in Arab countries?

A  3:  The Red Crescent

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Q  4:  What is most household dust is made up of?

A  4:  Most household dust is made up of dead skin cells.

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Q  5:  Who was the first person on the sci-fi TV series Star Trek to say the words, “Beam me up, Scotty”?

A  5:  Nobody. Contrary to popular myth, they NEVER said “Beam me up, Scotty” on Star Trek.

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Q  6:  Two legendary Americans were among those who died at the battle of The Alamo.

Can you name at least one?

A  6:  Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett

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Q  7:  Who lives longer on average, right handed people, or left handed people?

A  7:  Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left handed people do.

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Q  8:  In the U.S, which one of these four items outsells the other three combined?

Baseballs

Basketballs

Frisbees

Footballs

A  8:  In the U.S, frisbees outsell footballs, baseballs and basketballs combined.

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Q  9:  You have seen this many many times but have you noticed it?

What is the time displayed on most watch advertisements?

A  9:  In most watch advertisements the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.

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Q 10:  What is peculiar, unusual or noteworthy about the words “facetious” and “abstemious”?

A 10:  The words “facetious” and “abstemious” contain all the vowels in the correct order.

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Q 11:  It is well known that the Apollo 11 mission was the first to land men on the Moon.

But the crew from which Apollo mission were the last men to set foot on the moon?

A 11:  Apollo 17

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Q 12:  On a ship what is a toilet called?

A 12:  The head

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Q 13:  What is the name of the squiggly line “~” on keyboards?

A 13:  A tilde

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Q 14:  By what name is actress Caryn Elaine Johnson better known?

A 14:  Whoopi Goldberg

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Q 15:  What was the first country to issue postage stamps in 1840?

A 15:  Great Britain

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Q 16:  What was the former name of the country now known as Iran?

A 16:  Persia

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Q 17:  In 1783, the hot air balloon was invented where?

A 17:  The hot air balloon was invented in France.

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Q 18:  What are the markings that are found on dice called?

A 18:  The markings found on dice are called “pips.”

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Q 19:  Water that is safe to drink is referred to as what?

A 19:  Potable

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Q 20:  What is the second largest French speaking city after Paris?

A 20:  Montreal

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May The Fourth Be With You – And This Time I Mean It!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I remember on this day last year starting out with great intentions of doing a Star Wars based post in tribute the day that has become known to many as ‘Star Wars Day’ because of the pun on the memorable phrase coined in the movie series “May the force be with you”.

Unfortunately I failed miserably last year because the post ended up as one about a guy who had built himself a really cool looking laser gun based on the phasers from Star Trek, not Star Wars. (Here’s the link if you missed it –  click here)

So time to make amends.

may the 4th be with you

Taken together the Star Wars series of movies has to be one of the most watched and highest grossing ever in the history of the cinema, if not THE greatest. The original 1977 movie itself has been estimated to have taken $2,710,800,000 in today’s inflation adjusted terms.

On top of that it has spawned a plethora of merchandising material from t-shirts to robots to gadgets to almost everything that could be seen in the movies themselves, and then some!

Top of everyone’s list has to be a lightsabre – I have never met anyone who has seen Star Wars who didn’t want to be the proud owner of a light sabre, including me.

From the first time you saw the flash of light and heard that ‘hummm’, way back in 1977, in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s bungalow, even though you didn’t really know what it was, you still knew you wanted one – needed one!

Well for a bit north of $100 now you can own one, the Star Wars Force FX Lightsaber! It has the light, it has the sound, and it looks the part – well almost.

lightsaber_extended

From the sublime, however, we also have the ridiculous.

Somewhere out there is that great Universe you just know that at least one moron has subjected their poor dog to the indignity of a Star Wars suit. Poor mutt, even the look on its face says it all.

star-wars-at-at-dog-costume

And there are lots of other stuff in between, including these

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Finally, an interesting little piece of trivia that would just as easily have taken its place in one of my ‘Did you know factoids’. 

Star Wars fans were not the first to introduce the line “May the fourth be with you”. When the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher was elected Britain’s first female Prime Minister on May 4, 1979, her party placed an advertisement in The London Evening News that said “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.” This reading of the line has also been recorded in the UK Parliament’s Hansard.

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Twenty-Three 23

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They’ve been ‘beautiful’,  they’ve been ‘big’  and they’ve been ‘unusual’.  Today we have ‘significant’ number, twenty-three, 23, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

 

Twenty-three

23 sign

Until the recent Jim Carey movie that highlighted the Discordian fascination with the idea that everything that happens on earth and in all of existence is somehow related to the number 23, that number was really only of significance to a few conspiracy theorists.

Jim Carey movie '23'

Discordia is a rather rare belief that is based on the study of random events and numbers. The number 23 is sacred because it belongs to a Greek Goddess named Eris. She is the Goddess of Chaos and her followers practice a form of ritual worship called chaos magic.

 

In Religion

  • Although the Old Testament is unspecific, it is widely held that Adam and Eve had 23 daughters;
  • The 23rd verse of the first chapter of Genesis brings the act of creation to a close;
  • the 23rd chapter of the book of Genesis deals entirely with death, namely that of Abraham’s wife, Sarah;
  • The 23rd Psalm alao known as ‘the psalm of David’, and even better known to many by its first line ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’ is the most famous and most quoted of the Psalms;
  • The Ancient Egyptians hailed the New Year on July 23 – the day Sirius rises behind the sun;
  • According to ancient Mayan prophesy on December 23, 2012 the world will end;
  • In Islam, the Qur’an was revealed in a total of 23 years to Muhammad;
  • Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, on the 23rd night of the 9th Islamic month.

 

 

In Maths

  • 23 is the lowest prime that consists of consecutive digits that are also primes;
  • Prime numbers have been described as being the building blocks of the world of numbers and therefore also the building blocks of the reality that we experience;
  • The Birthday Paradox states that a group of 23 randomly-selected people is the smallest number where there will be a probability higher than 50 per cent that two people will share the same birthday.

 

Graphical representation of the Birthday Paradox
Graphical representation of the Birthday Paradox

In Metaphysics

  • The number 23 has also been studied by many great metaphysicists, including Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson who wrote three books about the number. The number is seen by these authors as being the key to illumination and they also claim that major shifts in collective consciousness and world events can be seen in each cycle of 23 years.

 

In Love

  • Twenty three is also a significant number in love. This is because in ancient China, the number two was assigned a feminine role and the number three was given a masculine role. The number 23 then became to symbolize marriage, procreation, and progeny.

 love 23

In Psychology

  • The great psychologist and anthropologist Carl Jung also thought that the number 23 was special and defined it as a number of synchronicity.

 

In Politics

  • The 23rd President of the United States was Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901). Served as President from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.   Party – Republican.  VP – Levi P. Morton;
Benjamin Harrison 23rd President of the United States of America
Benjamin Harrison 23rd President of the United States of America
  •  The Twenty-third Amendment (Amendment XXIII) to the United States Constitution permits citizens in the District of Columbia to vote for Electors for President and Vice President. The amendment was proposed by Congress on June 17, 1960, and ratified by the states on March 29, 1961. The first Presidential election in which it was in effect was the presidential election of 1964. Prior to the passage of the amendment, residents of Washington, D.C. were forbidden from voting for President or Vice President as the District is not a U.S. state. However, they are still unable to send voting Representatives or Senators to Congress.

 

In Space

  • The tilt of Earth’s axis is roughly 23o accounting for the changing seasons and the procession of the Zodiac;
  • The first Apollo landing on the moon was at 23.63 degrees east; the second was 23.42 degrees west;
  • On July 23, 1996 the “Mysterious Eyes” of comet Hale-Bopp are first sighted.

 

In Militaria

  • The most famous aircraft with the 23 designation is the Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 also known by the NATO reporting name ‘Flogger’.
  • It is a third generation variable-geometry fighter aircraft, and was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to design look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles. It was also the first MiG production fighter aircraft to have intakes at the sides of the fuselage.
  • Production started in 1970 and reached large numbers with over 5,000 aircraft built. Today the MiG-23 remains in limited service with various export customers.
Mig-23
Mig-23
  • In America, the Northrop YF-23 or Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23 was a less commercially successful single-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft designed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The design was a finalist in the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition, battling the Lockheed YF-22 (developed by Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics) for a production contract. Two YF-23 prototypes were built with the nicknames “Black Widow II” and “Gray Ghost”.
  • Although the YF-23 was stealthier and faster, but less agile than its competition. After a four-year development and evaluation process, the YF-22 was announced the winner in 1991 and entered production as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
  • The U.S. Navy considered using the production version of the ATF as the basis for a replacement to the F-14, but these plans were later canceled. As of 2009, the two YF-23 prototypes were museum exhibits.
Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23, nicknamed Gray Ghost (foreground), flying with YF-23 Black Widow II
Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23,  nicknamed Gray Ghost (foreground), with YF-23 Black Widow II

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  • On the ground the Soviet ZU-23-2 anti-craft gun was developed in the late 1950s. It was designed to engage low-flying targets at a range of 2.5 km as well as armoured vehicles at a range of 2 km and for direct defense of troops and strategic locations against air assault usually conducted by helicopters and low-flying airplanes.
  • In the Soviet Union, some 140,000 units were produced. The ZU-23 has also been produced under licence by Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt and the People’s Republic of China.
  • Development of this weapon into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) led to the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. (see below)
The ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg
The ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg
  • However, the best known piece of ground militaria is probably the  ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system. The acronym “ZSU” stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, meaning “anti-aircraft self-propelled mount”. The “23” signifies the bore diameter in millimeters; the “4” signifies the number of gun barrels.
  • It is named after the Russian Shilka River. Afghan soldiers nicknamed it maszyna do szycia (sewing machine) due to the sound of firing guns and because of the similarity of the name “Shilka” to the Russian word meaning “to sew”). It is also referred to by its nickname of “Zeus”.
The ZSU 23-4 Shilka
The ZSU 23-4 Shilka

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In Sport

  • The New York Yankees won the World Series 23 times;
  • Devin Hester, whose jersey number is 23, becomes the first person to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl ( XLI );
  • Basketball legend Michael Jordan wore 23 for the Chicago Bulls; his dad was also murdered on July 23, 1993, during a botched robbery;
  • World record-breaking basketball boy wonder LeBron James also wears the number 23 shirt;
  • English soccer star David Beckham took the number 23 when he joined Real Madrid; he said it was in deference to Jordan;
  • 23 was the shirt number worn by tragic soccer player Marc-Vivien Foe when he was at Manchester City; the Cameroon international died after collapsing on the pitch during a Confederations Cup semi-final;
  • In darts, 23 is the lowest score that cannot be gained with the throw of a single dart.

 

Michael Jordan action shot in the famous # 23 shirt
Michael Jordan action shot in the famous # 23 shirt

 

In Movies and TV

  • In the film Airport, the mad bomber has seat 23;
  • In the film Airplane II, the name of the spaceship is XR-2300;
  • The original Star Trek, as well as Babylon Five are set in the 23rd century;
  • In Star Wars Princess Lea was held in cell AA-23;
  • The German movie 23 explored an obsession with the number, based on a real-life story;
  • In the Beatles film Yellow Submarine, The Butterfly Stomper, who destroys all things of beauty, wears a shirt with the number 23;
  • In Die Hard III the train derails in subway station 23.

 

 

The Darker Side

  • In the Kaballah, the Hebrew studies of gematria, the number means severity or judgment. It is associated with apocalypse. In fact, the date to beware of in the future would be the year 2023, according to that system of predictive numerology;
  • Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated;
  • 230 people died in the conspiracy plagued TWA flight 800 disaster;
  • There are 23 chapters of the Cult Awareness Network;
  • THE average smoker gets through 23 cigarettes a day;
  • The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15am (8+15= 23);
  • The United States set off 23 atomic bombs at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific;
  • The Unibomber killed or wounded 23 people;
  • Rock star Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 and died in 1994. Both years bizarrely add up to 23 if counted as individual digits: 1+9+6+7=23. 1+9+9+4=23;
  • The date of the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001 (9+11+2+0+0+1) add up to 23.

 

9/11 Memorial (AP photo by Mark Lennihan)
9/11 Memorial (AP photo by Mark Lennihan)

 

Other things about 23

  • Homo sapiens are given 46 chromosomes from their parents, 23 male and 23 female;
  • The human Biorhythm cycle is 23 days;
  • It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body;
  • There are 23 joints in the human arm, and 23 vertebrae in the human body;
  • A full turn of the DNA helix occurs every 23 angstroms;
  • The first Morse code transmission is reported to have been “What hath god wrought?”, a Biblical quote from Numbers 23:23;
  • In telegraphers code 23 means “break the line”;
  • There are exactly 23 characters, numbers and letters, on the face of all U.S. coins;
  • Every 23rd wave crashing on a beach averages twice the size as normal;
  • The Latin alphabet has 23 letters;
  • Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859 – 1+8+5+9 = 23;
  • AOL chat rooms only allow 23 people at a time;
  • The address of the Freemasons lodge in Stafford, England, is 23 Jaol Road. In New York City it’s on 23rd street;
  • The letter ‘W‘ is the 23rd in the alphabet and has 2 points down and 3 points up;
  • US Cavalry legend General Custer was promoted to the senior military rank at the age of 23;
  • William Shakespeare was born on April 23,1556 and died on April 23, 1616; the two 23’s obviously equals 46 which was Shakespeare’s age when the KJV was published; in Psalm 46 in the KJV Bible count 46 words and you arrive at the word ‘shake’; count 46 words backwards from the end of the chapter and you end on is ‘spear’;
  • The author William Burroughs was obsessed with 23. While living in Tangiers, he met a Captain Clark who ran a ferry between Spain and Morocco. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route for 23 years without incident. Later that day, the ferry sank, killing the captain. While Burroughs was thinking about the incident, a radio bulletin announced the crash of a Flight 23 on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark. The events prompted an obsession which saw Burroughs record every occurrence of the number 23 for the rest of his life.

 

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May the Fourth Be With You

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I must confess to always having been more of a Trekkie than and Star wars enthusiast, although I have enjoyed both.

This blog post is actually based on Star Trek, not Star Wars, so apologies to the purists who were captured by the headline. I know it’s a bit of a cliché and a lot of other people may be doing it too, but it is May 4th and I just couldn’t resist. I try to get it worked in somewhere every year!

And strangely enough this blog post is not about someone stupid either. A little eccentric perhaps, but I love people who are just that little bit off center. You could also call him a nerd or a geek. But whatever you call him, the guy is clever. He has just made himself something that has left me very envious, and that doesn’t happen too often.

You see, this guy has created a real-life, functional version of a Star Trek phaser.

Oh yes he has!

He has taken what looks like a ‘toy’ phaser casing and inside that fitted a laser unit, possibly one of those high powered laser pointers or maybe the laser from inside a Blu ray machine or something similar. However exactly he did it is less important at the moment than to view the result.

I won’t waffle on. Suffice to say is that I WANT ONE!

And there’s a good chance you might too once you see the video.

As ever, enjoy!