Friday, February 27, 2009

Question - 194

First visual shows an artist amidst his works of art. The second visual is a band that collaborated with this artist in their early stages. Identify both.

Answer: The artist is Andy Warhol with his famous Campbell soup cans in the background. The group is Velvet Underground with whom Warhol collaborated a lot in their early days in particular with the famous album cover art for The Velvet Underground & Nico. Mekie, Raghu, Arvind, Manix, Swapnaa, Rahul Trivedi, Anshul, Hirak, Adi, Rajesh, Iam and Keshav got this one. Well done.

Update: No posting today. Apologies. Regular updates resume Sunday night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Question - 193

What is this? Where is it located?

Answer: It is a submarine and it is yellow. Its a reference to er, yellow submarine by the Beatles. The model is found outside Liverpool's international airport which is named after John Lennon. Anirudh Patil, Arvind, Rajeev, Shweta, Adithya, Anon, Anshul, Divya, Swapnaa, Vetti, Rajesh, Avinash and Hirak got it. Well done.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Question - 192

The person in the first visual wrote it. The person in the second visual directed it. The third visual shows the poster. Identify the movie and the people.

Answer: The people are Ira Levin and Roman Polanski, author and director respectively of Rosemary's baby. I had originally wanted to put another visual for this question but decided against it because I felt it had a mild spoiler. If you have already seen the movie, check out the poster I had in mind here (WARNING: slightly graphic and a definite spoiler). If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend that you watch it. Arvind, Shweta, Rajeev, Raghu, Keshav, Anon, Vetti, Divya, Iam, Swapnaa and Hirak got it. Well done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question - 191

The man in the left set into motion a series of events captured in the three newspaper clippings shown. It resulted in a landmark case in US judicial history. Who is he and what did he do?

Answer: The picture shows Daniel Ellsberg, a RAND employee who released an internal government memo on the Vietnam war to the New York Times. The government tried to stop the publication of the memo but the Supreme court decided that it is within the press' first amendment rights to publish the memo. The memo is popularly termed the "Pentagon papers". Shweta, Pappu, Divya, Rajeev, Anon, Manix, Arvind, Iam, Vetti, Swapnaa, Avinash and Rajesh got it. Well done.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Question - 190

Connect the two visuals.

Answer: The first visual is the Imola F1 track (the San Marino GP) where Ayrton Senna had a fatal crash in 1994. The corner where he crashed is called the Tamburello after the musical instrument shown in the right. Tamburello is also the name of a squash-like sport played with a racket that looks like the drum. After gentle prodding by way of hints, Rajeev, Iam, Rajesh K, Anshul, Shweta + Divya and Avinash got it. Well done.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Question - 189

Connect all the visuals.

Answer: The connect is the tower of Babel. The first visual is a woodcut by Escher depicting the tower. In Biblical mythology, mankind aspired to build a tower so high it reached upto paradise. Angered by this, God gave the men different languages so they couldn't communicate with each other. The second visual shows a ziggurat in Borsippa, Sumer which supposedly gave rise to this legend. The bottom right visual is a schematic of the Babel fish from Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy which is named after the tower of Babel. The other visual is the logo of Altavista's Babelfish translator which is named after the concept in HHGTTG. Raghu (whose comments I published too early and had to delete), Arvind, anon, Avinash, Trevor Burnham, Rajesh, Hirak and Melissa got it. Well done.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Question - 188

The two visuals in the top left show the headquarters of this organization (one is a miniature painting and the other is the present day ruins). The head of this organization shared a nickname with the natural formation shown in the top right (the formation and the organization are otherwise completely unrelated). The organization has an etymological connection to the bottom visual. Identify the organization, the nickname and the associated etymologies.

Answer: The fortress is that of the Hashshashin sect located in Alamut, Iran. The dreaded sect perfected the art of political assassination and was headed during their most powerful times by Rashid ad-Din Sinan who was widely known as the Old man of the mountain. The third visual shows a natural rock formation resembling a human face located in New Hampshire also nicknamed Old man of the mountain (the formation collapsed recently). The bottom visual shows cannabis plants. Legend has it that the Hashshashin warriors shot themselves up with the drug before embarking on their missions. We owe both the words assassin and hashish to this piece of history. Iam, Raghu and Rajeev got it. Well done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Question - 187

The story behind the 3 sketches (viewed as a series - top left, top right and then bottom left) is supposedly this - a famous politician told a scientist requesting funding for a project that if he can explain what the project does in a way that the politician can understand, he would get the money. He illustrated the concept using these sketches in a way a politician would appreciate and got the funding. However, the project suffered a major setback due to the incident shown in the last visual. Identify the project (the above story might be apocryphal. I couldn't find multiple sites verifying it).

Answer: The sketches explain the role the Higgs boson (God particle) plays in the Standard Model in giving elementary particles their masses. The scientist (Brian Cox) used a cocktail party analogy to explain this to Margaret Thatcher (who can be clearly seen in the bottom left visual). For more details, go here. The last visual shows the damage caused by the recent accident at the LHC that has set the project back several months. Keshav was the only one to get this one. Bravo.

Question - 186

The two albums whose covers are shown in the first two visuals were embroiled in a controversy. The third visual is an ad which refers to this controversy while supporting the first album. Identify the albums, bands and the controversy.

Answer: The albums are Crest of a Knave by Jethro Tull and And Justice for all by Metallica. The controversy was that in 1989, the Grammy for the best hard rock/metal performance was given to Tull over Metallica. Jethro Tull isn't exactly a heavy metal band which ticked many people off. The ad features Ian Anderson's flute prominently and supports Tull's status as a heavy metal band. The next year, when Metallica did indeed win a Grammy, they thanked Tull for not releasing an album that year. Arvind, anon, Mekie, Raghu, Keshav, Hirak, Iam, Terms of Service, Rajeev, Ashwin, Pi, Manix, Anshul, Shreya, Vetti, Rajesh, Sha, Avinash and Pappu got this one making this one of the most answered questions. Well done.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Question - 185

Sculpture in honor of who/what?

Answer: This is a sculpture honoring al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe at George W. Anon, Manix, Raghu, Rajesh K, Pi, Anon, Anshul, Terms of Service, Avinash, Pappu, Rajesh, Rajeev, Keshav and Hirak got it. Well done.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Question - 184

The visuals in the left are conjectured to form the thing that is blanked out in the visual on the right. Identify all.

Answer: The peaks are Jebel Musa in Morocco and the Rock of Gibraltar. Together, they form the Pillars of Hercules. Raghu and Hirak got it. Well done.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Question - 183


Answer: This is a poster of the people who stood trial at Nuremberg after WWII. Anshul, Mekie, Schmetterling, Arvind, Manix, an anon, Terms of service, Iam, Pappu pimp, Rajesh, Hirak and Vikrant + Vikram + Keshav got it. Well done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Question - 182

The maker of the movie in the top left sued the maker of the movie in the bottom and won the case. This is despite the fact that both movies borrowed heavily from the novel in the right without due credit. The director who won the lawsuit later claimed that he made far more money out of the suit than from the movie. Both movies are extremely famous. Identify.

Answer: The movies are Yojimbo by Kurosawa and Sergio Leone's Fistful of dollars. The novel is "Continental Op" by Dashiel Hammett. Leone was sued by Kurosawa but Leone claimed the idea is from Hammett's work (there are several similarities between the 3 works - for example, in all 3 works, the protoganist is nameless). Arvind, Hirak, Rajeev, Manix, Pappu, Iam, two anons, Raghu, athreyat, Rahul Trivedi, Anshul, Rajesh, Terms of Service, Swapnaa and J got it. Well done.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Question - 181

What is this and who made this model?

Answer: This is a model of the solar system built by Kepler on the basis of the 5 platonic solids. He firmly believed that the universe has a geometric basis and expended prodigious computational efforts to come up with this model only to discard it as new data revealed that the model was flawed. Iam and Hirak got it. Well done.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Question - 180

Almost the last scene of which movie?

Answer: The movie is the Shining and the scene depicts a party at the Overlook hotel with Jack Nicholson as the bartender. Raghu, Iam, anon, Mekie, Rahul Trivedi, anon, Rajeev, Hirak and Rajesh got it. Well done.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Question - 179

Connect the visual in the top left to the other visuals. While the top left visual is unique, the list of species that connect to it is not limited to the ones shown.

Answer: The top left is Van Gogh's depiction of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The species are Takahe, Mahogany glider, Wollemi pine and the Coelacanth. The fossil records for these animals disappeared for long periods of time before reappearing again leading biologists to name these the Lazarus taxon in parallel to the biblical story. Manix, an anon and Iam got it. Well done.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Question - 178

Identify and connect the visuals. The list is not exhaustive.

Answer: The visuals represent different styles of moustaches. From the top counterclockwise, the visuals are Persistence of memory by Dali, Fu Machu, Pancho Villa, Genghis Ghan, Walrus and a horseshoe. All are names of moustache styles. QoD, Mekie, Swapnaa, Iam, Hirak, Manix, Rajesh and an anon got it. Well done.

Aside: This question was not asked keeping any of this blog's regular readers in mind. Any similarity to moustaches (balding or otherwise) is purely coincidental.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Question - 177

Today's question is courtesy Swapnaa. Identify all the visuals and the common thread that connects them.

Answer: The visuals show all Nobel laureates who did their major work at Bell labs. Clockwise from the top left, they are Davisson-Germer, Bardeen-Brattain-Shockley, Phil Anderson, Steven Chu, Stormer-Laughlin-Tsui and Penzias-Wilson. Manix, Hirak and Rajesh got it. Well done.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Question - 176

In the first visual, the man tied to the mast is the captain of the ship and he has explicitly instructed his men to tie him up. He did so in order to be among the very few mortals to have encountered the ladies' (shown circling the ship) craft and live to tell the tale. The man in the second visual (the one in the red robes) went one step further and beat the ladies in their own craft. Identify all and the incidents referred to. Also, this has given rise to a phrase in the English language. Identify that as well.

Answer: The first painting shows Odysseus listening to the songs of the sirens. The sirens were women in Greek mythology who lured sailors to their deaths with their irresistible melodies. Odysseus plugged his men's ears with beeswax and tied himself to the mast to be able to hear their song without endangering his life. When Jason and the Argonauts had to cross paths with the sirens, Orpheus (second visual), the greatest singer in all Greek mythology, sang his own tune to drown out the sirens thus saving the Argonauts. The English phrase that refers to this myth is siren song which means an appeal that is hard to resist but if heeded leads to bad things. Mekie, Raghu, QoD, Hirak, Rahul Trivedi, Manix, Rajesh and an anon got it. Well done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Question - 175

Person in visual 1 started it all off. Person in visual 2 gave it his official blessing. Visual 3 shows a famous response to it. Visual 4 is a work of fiction that is partially concerned with it. Identify all the visuals and the connecting thread.

Answer: Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha (Visual 1) declared Indira Gandhi's election as invalid which led Indira to persuade President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (Visual 2) to declare emergency. Visual 3 is the famous blank editorial that Ramnath Goenka published in the Indian Express as a response to the censorship of the press. Rushdie's midnight's children (visual 4) claims the emergency is just a distraction for Indira to destroy the 1001 special midnight's children. Rajesh, Raghu, Schmetterling and Hirak got it. Well done.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Question - 174

The second and third visuals deal with widely different phenomena (in completely different fields) but are both named after the first visual. Identify the name and the reasoning behind it.

Answer: The phenomenon is named after Goldilocks of Goldilocks and the three bears story (first visual). The Goldilocks zone in astronomy is the zone where it is neither too hot nor too cold ("just right" like in the story). A Goldilocks economy is one that does not face the threat of inflation or recession (again "just right"). Iam, Adi, Mekie, Sriraam, Hirak, Schmetterling, Swapnaa, Rajeev and two anons got it. Well done.