Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Question - 276

The visual in the left is the cover of the book written by the woman on the right. A phrase that appears in the title of the book (which also summarizes the book's main thesis) is now often used to describe similar political events. Identify the author and the phrase.

Answer: The book shown is Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt who reported on Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker. Based on her observation that apart from a desire to improve his career, Eichmann showed no anti-semitism or psychological trauma, she posited in the book that the great evils in history (and the holocaust in particular) had their roots not in psychopaths but in "normal" people who accepted their actions as routine. She coined the phrase Banality of Evil to describe this notion and this phrase gets used quite a bit now in the mainstream media. Iam is the only one to get this. Bravo.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Question - 275

This massive structure has been in construction since 1882 and is not expected to be finished till 2026. Identify it and its architect.

Answer: This is the Sagrada familia church designed by the renowned Catalan architect Gaudi. When asked about the length of construction, Gaudi is said to have remarked "my client is in no hurry". Do check out the fantastic architectural details of the church through Google images. tsp, Hari, Raghu, Vetti, Iam, Rajesh, Krag and Johnny Walker got it. Well done.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Question - 274

The image shows a famous monument that biannually attracts even more crowds than usual. This picture shows one such day. What monument is this and what is the significance of this day?

Answer: This is the El Castillo in the ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico. On both equinoxes, the shadows resemble a crawling serpent, an illusion further heightened by a sculpture of a serpent head at the base. The serpent is a reference to the Mayan God Quetzalcoatl. Iam, Hari, Mekie, Rajesh K, Manix, Raghu and Rajesh got it. Well done.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Question - 273

Give me a phrase that connects all the images.

Answer: The visuals are (from the top anticlockwise) the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run that won the New York Giants the 1951 world series, Gene Sarazen's albatross in the 1935 Masters tournament, the Minute Man statue commemorating the battle at Old North Bridge in Concord, MA and Paul Caligiuri whose goal against Trinidad and Tobago propelled the US into the 1990 FIFA world cup. All these events have been described by the phrase "the shot heard around the world". Rajesh K and Raghu got it. Well done.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Question - 272

Identify the man.

Answer: August Dvorak who designed the Dvorak layout, an alternative to the standard QWERTY layout. Hari, Manix, nice try, Rajeev, Iam and Vetti got it. Well done.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Question - 271

The first visual shows a (now very small) religious group who are mainly known for their association with the tale depicted in the second visual. The third visual is also connected to the tale depicted in the second visual. Identify all visuals and connect.

Answer: The religious group is the Samaritans (now numbering less than 1000). The parable is that of the good Samaritan who helps an injured traveler. Most legal systems have a "good Samaritan" law which absolves those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill of any liabilities. In Seinfeld's finale, the four main cast members are arrested for violating the good Samaritan law by making fun of rather than helping a fat man getting robbed. Many of you made an alternate Seinfeld connection to an episode called the good Samaritan but the picture is from the finale. Hari, Avi, Mekie, Srivats, Raghu, nice try, Hirak and Rajeev got it. Well done.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Question - 270

Whose statue? Which not so common idiom is a literal description of the statue?

Answer: The statue is that of the ancient mariner from the famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the poem, bad luck follows the mariner who kills an albatross and the rest of the crew force the mariner to wear the dead bird around his neck. This gave rise to the idiom albatross around the neck meaning an unwelcome burden. Hari, nice try, Schmetterling, Raghu, Srivats, Swapnaa and Adi got it. Well done.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Question - 269

Identify the blanked word in the cartoon on the left (this cartoon is the first instance when the word in question was used). The word is related to the committee whose typical meeting is shown in the top right. A group of famous people persecuted by the said committee are in the bottom right. Identify the committee and the group's nickname.

Answer: The cartoon gave rise to the word McCarthyism. The visual on the top right is the HUAC (House UnAmerican activities committee) which investigated suspected communists. Among the people investigated were some relatively well known Hollywood persona (shown in the bottom right) who were nicknamed the Hollywood ten. Though senator McCarthy wasn't directly involved in the activities of HUAC, the two phenomena were definitely interlinked. tsp, Mihir, Kr!sh, Iam, Hari, Raghu, Schmetterling, Vijay, nice try, Srivats, Rajeev, Mekie, Vetti and Swapnaa got it. Well done.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question - 268

This is a very famous location that is now emblematic of an island. It even served as an emperor's private swimming pool once. Identify.

Answer: This is the blue grotto in Capri, Italy which once served as Emperor Tiberius' private swimming pool. Rajeev, Iam, Raghu, Hari, adityam, Vetti and Anshul got it. Well done.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Question - 267

Connect the key rings to the equation in the right.

Answer: The equation is the expression for Brun's constant which is the sum of reciprocals of twin primes (primes p such that p+2 is a prime as well). This constant is often studied in relation to the conjecture that there are infinitely many twin primes (for ex., irrationality of the constant would prove the conjecture). Thomas Nicely, a math professor, was using a cluster of computers to evaluate the constant when he noted some inconsistencies which he ultimately traced down to the Intel pentium chipset. Due to some missing values in a look up table, the chip was returning erroneous outputs for very few operations. Intel's handling of the crisis was heavily criticized leading to the recall of all processors using the chip. Andy Grove, then CEO of intel, made a few of these chips into keychains as a memento. Rajeev, nice try, Avi and adityam got it. Well done.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Question - 266

What is this the map of?

Answer: This is the layout of everyone's favorite childhood show Crystal Maze. Hari, Mihir, tsp, gas, Mekie, Raghu, Vetti, nice try, Avi, Hirak, Johnny Walker, Iam, Schmetterling, Srivats and Rajeev got it right. Well done.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Question - 265

Memorial for what (in)famous event? There are clues in the picture.

Answer: This memorial commemorates the zeppelin Hindenburg crash site. Hari, Iam, Srivats and tsp got it. Well done.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Question - 264

Addition of which two people to this list makes it exhaustive and what connects these men?

Answer: Agassi and Federer will complete the list of men who have won the career Grand Slam. The men in the visual are Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver. I wanted to post this question a couple of days back but didn't want to jinx Federer's chances in a Nadal-less French open. Mihir, Hari, Vetti, Rajesh K, nice try, Hirak, Srivats, anon, A new thought, Vijay and Arvind got it. Well done.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Question - 263

Who is the man caricatured in the top left?

Answer: This is a page out of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy (the actual guide, the blanked word at the top is Galactica) and showing up as one of the publishers from the Sirius cybernetics corporation is none other than Douglas Adams himself. Iam is the only one to get it. Bravo.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Question - 262

Identify the "famous" musician whose lost works were "discovered" by the man in the right over a span of four decades earning him four Grammy awards.

Answer: The picture is that of a fictional musician P.D.Q. Bach (the initials standing for pretty damn quick), an invention of the musical satirist Peter Schickele. P.D.Q. Bach even has a fictional biography. Through him, Schickele has released albums parodying the conventions of classical music. Srivats and Trevor Burnham got it. Well done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Question - 261

Identify the tree and its connection to the role portrayed by the actor in the second visual.

Answer: The tree is the Major Oak in Sherwood forest, Nottinghamshire, England under whose shade Robin Hood and his merry men often took shelter. The second visual shows Douglas Fairbanks playing the role of Robin Hood. Srivats, Hari, Raghu, nice try, Iam, Avi and Manix got it. Well done.