Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Question - 21

Today's question is courtesy Mekhala.

Answer: These are the semaphores for N and D. ND stands for nuclear disarmament and the Peace sign derives from these semaphores. Yours truly, Iam, samrat and hirak got it. Well done. I will post today's question after a couple of hours or early in the morning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Question - 20

This is a painting in a medieval church near Stockholm. What did this inspire?

Answer: This inspired the scene in Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal where Death plays chess against a medieval knight. Adi, anurag-thecrouchingtiger, Ramji, Raghu, Iam, samrat, QoD, Divya and 2 anons got it. Well done.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Question - 19

Artist's conception of what?

Answer: This is Virgin Galactic's "White Knight Two" carrying "Spaceship Two". The spaceship in the middle will be launched from the plane at an altitude of 50,000 feet and will climb to an altitude of around 110 km. The first commercial flights are expected to start in late 2009. Iam, Adi (who in fact gives the precise phrase that needs to be googled for the answer), Raghu, Mekhala, QoD, Trevor Burnham, an anon and Divya got it. Well done.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Question - 18

The circled island's name translates as "Son of X" and has been studied extensively since 1930. Identify X.

Answer: X is Krakatoa and the circled island is Anak Krakatoa which broke water permanently for the first time in 1930. Adi, Mekhala, Anurag-thecrouchingtiger, iam, an anon, samrat, divya, imitator and indiandreamer all got it. Well done.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Question - 17

Shown are two subspecies of a certain species. They are considered a classical example of a certain concept and have been cited repeatedly as proofs of a theory that explaines that concept. What theory/concept is it? I apologize for the slightly vague phrasing of the question. As an aside, let me reemphasize that googling is allowed and in fact is probably necessary for most questions.

Answer: The concept is "Industrial Melanism" and the theory is evolution. The name of the species is peppered moth. It used to be light in color but the soot deposits from the newly opened coal factories during the industrial revolution favored adaptation towards a darker color. iam, adi, divya, mekhala, anurag-thecrouchingtiger, raghu, an anon and imitator got it. Well done.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Question - 16

Painting depicts which notorious event in Europe's 17th century history?

Answer: Defenestration of Prague. As someone commented, this is possibly the most useless word in English but there are several interesting stories associated with the event. Trevor Burnham and 2 Anons got it. Well done. Adi's comment got swallowed by blogspot.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Question - 15

Identify the scientific organization whose logo is shown.

Answer: CERN. The logo shows particle accelerator type images. Anurag, Raghu and 3 Anons cracked it. Well done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Question - 14

Identify the city and the superstition associated with the various building heights in this skyline.

Answer: The city is Philadelphia and the superstition is the curse of Billy Penn. If you look to the right of the skyline, you see a building with a statue atop it. This is the Philadelphia city hall with the statue of William Penn on top. Legend has it that the four major sports teams (Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and 76ers) have failed to win a championship ever since the statue was surpassed in height by other buildings. Adi was the only one to get it. Well done.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Question - 13

Front and back views of what? There will probably be no updates tomorrow since I will be traveling. Regular updates will resume from Wednesday.

Answer: Kon-Tiki, the raft used by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl to go across the Pacific ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. Mekhala, Raghu, an Anon, Hirak and Manix got it right. Well done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Question - 12

What does the map show?

Answer: The route of Lewis and Clark expedition, the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back. Suchitra, Trevor, an Anon and Adi got it. Well done.

Question - 11

Identify the movie being spoofed.

Answer: 2001 : A Space Odyssey. Requiem for a dream was a popular guess because of the eyes. But the first visual is based on the reflection of lights on Bowman's space helmet and the second one is based on the famous star gate scene. Trevor Burnham was the only one to get it. Well done.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Question - 10

What event is being depicted in the painting? There are clues if you know where to look for them. Hint: Mythology.

Answer: The painting is "Landscape with the fall of Icarus" thought to be by Pieter Bruegel, the elder. The bottom right of the painting shows a figure drowning. This is Icarus from Greek mythology, the son of Daedalus who stuck wings to himself using wax but then ignored his dad's advice and flew too close to the sun. The painting inspired a poem by Auden in which is suggested the idea that the plights suffered by even characters of epic are as nothing to the common man. Cracked by Suchitra and an Anon. Well done.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Question - 9

What concept is this cartoon strip based on? I have blanked out some words in the panels and the title panel itself.

Answer: The Hilbert Hotel or Grand Hotel. It is a nice visualization of the properties of countably infinite sets and is due to the great German mathematician David Hilbert. Anurag - the crouching tiger and an anonymous entrant cracked it. Various other entries flirted with the concept of infinity but didn't get the exact answer. Well done. An answer to Ranga's question from yesterday is also available in the comments. Again not all of them are showing up now but I think they would in a couple of days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Question - 8

Identify the character.

Answer: The Joker from Batman. He starts off as a chemical engineer but decides to be a stand-up comedian. He fails miserably as a comedian, participates in a heist that goes horribly wrong, loses his wife and kid, falls into a vat of chemicals and becomes the Joker as we know him. Suchitra, Mekhala, Adi and Trevor Burnham got it right. Well done. Ranga has a question along similar lines in the comments. Check it out.

Question - 7

Identify the artist.

Answer: Banksy, the anonymous British graffiti artist. He was in the news a couple of days back when some newspaper claimed to have uncovered his identity. Hirak and Suchitra got it. Well done.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Question - 6

Satellite image of what event? Be as specific as possible.

Answer: Forest fires along the California coastline. This specific photo is from the fires in October 2007. The islands seen off the coast are the channel islands national park. Raghu, Mekhala and Ranga got it. Well done.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Question - 5

Shown is the entrance to a facility that was opened on February, 2008. Where is it located and what is it used for?

Answer: Svalbard global seed vault located close to the North Pole. It is used as a storage facility for a wide variety of seeds and grains as backup in the event of a global catastrophe. Raghu and Mekhala got it right. Well done. Again, 1 comment by Mekhala awarding Adi a pi/10 was swallowed up by blogspot. I am travelling over the weekend. Regular updates will resume on Monday.

Question - 4

What supposedly started at the place shown in the left and ended at the place shown in the right?

Answer: Journey to the center of the earth. The Jules Verne novel has Prof. Lidenbrock and his nephew entering the earth's crust through the Snæfellsjökull (pictured on the left) and coming out of Stromboli (pictured on the right). Mekhala and Raghu got it right. Well done. For a much better answer, check out Adi's comments.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Question - 3

This is an anarchist poster commonly used in the Great Britain during the early 20th century. Identify the person shown.

Answer: Guy Fawkes of the gunpowder plot fame. His intentions were to blow up the parliament. Madhu Srinivas, Suchitra, Hirak, Trevor Burnham and Adi got it right. Well done. As many of you pointed out, Guy Fawkes' story features prominently in the movie "V for Vendetta". Did you know that the word "guy" as used to refer to a person comes from the first name of Guy Fawkes? Look here for more details. I published 7 comments but only 6 are showing. Apologies. I don't know why this keeps happening. Any suggestions?

Question - 2

Identify the gentleman.

Answer: Robert Jemison Van de Graff of the generator fame. Not many takers for this one. Mekhala got it right. Well done.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Question - 1

Connect the visuals to a literary work. Some of the visuals connect more directly to the theme than others.

Answer: Lord of the flies. The pig's head is from a central scene in the novel. The second visual is Beelzebub, another name for Satan and one that translates literally as "lord of the flies". The guy is Stephen king whose novels feature the fictional town of Castle rock, Maine. This is named after a geographical feature in the novel. The logo is that of Castle rock entertainments which takes its name from Stephen king's novels. The south park episode is the "Wacky molestation adventure" which parodies the book.

Hirak, Trevor, Mekhala and Anurag got it. Well done. There were 8 comments to be moderated but only 6 showed up when I published them. My apologies for the 2 commentators whose comments got lost. I have no idea why it happened.

Many people expressed enthusiasm for making this a group thing where every one can post questions. We can nominate a quizmaster who can be in charge of the questions for the entire week. Also, I am thinking of updating the blog with a new question every night (say around 1 am). So look for a fresh question every morning. If enough people don't take a shot at a question, I might delay the update. Let me know if you have any comments and suggestions.


Welcome to the blog avatar of the University of Michigan Quiz club. I intend to post quiz questions here periodically very much like Aditya’s question of the day mails. The answers can be left as comments which shall be screened and thus not visible to other participants. Googling is allowed and the questions shall be correspondingly harder. The idea is to post questions here that wouldn’t make very good questions if asked at the weekly meetings. The questions will mainly be visual. I shall update the blog with new questions based on the number of responses for the earlier ones. Any suggestions/comments to make this attempt better are most welcome.