Friday, January 29, 2010

Question - 418

Identify both.

Answer: The event depicts the meeting of Alexander the great with Diogenes of Sinope, a philosopher who made a virtue out of extreme poverty. He lived his life in a tub (seen behind him in the painting) and denounced all worldly possessions. Alexander, having heard a lot about Diogenes met with him and asked if there was any favor he might do to him. Diogenes famously replied "Stand a little less between me and the sun". Kaushik, Amresh, Ameya, anon, Krithi, Ajinkya and Rahul got it. Well done.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Question - 417

What does the cartoon spoof?

Answer: The cartoon is about Disney's acquisition of Marvel. So Marvel's beast (a X-men character) is being laid off in favor of the beast from "Beauty and the Beast". Adi, Ajinkya, anon and Mekie got it. Well done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Question - 416

Identify man and instrument.

Hint: Only 2 hits so far. The instrument is famous not for its contribution to music but for its contribution to war.

Answer: No further correct responses despite the hint. This is comedian Bob Burns playing a musical instrument of his own devising (from stove pipes and a whiskey funnel) called the Bazooka. He used it often in his shows and GIs borrowed the name for their rocket launchers due to the structural similarity. Iam and Prachi got it even before the hint. Well done.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Question - 415

The lady is shown portraying a famous character from a famous opera. Her aria towards the end of the opera is particularly famous. Identify character, opera and a related phrase.

Answer: The character is Brunhilde from Richard Wagner's famous opera "Der Ring des Nibelungen". The opera concludes with a 10 minute long aria by her and she is typically portrayed as a fat woman with helmet, spear and shield. Her character is supposed to have given rise to the phrase "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" which is a very standard sports cliche especially in American sports. Raghu, AJ, Iam, Rajesh and Ajinkya got it. Some people went with Lady Godiva which will be a future question for sure. Well done all.

Question - 414

Which flower is this? How is a stylized depiction of this flower famous?

Answer: The flower is a lily and a stylized depiction of the flower (as shown here) gives the famous fleur-de-lis (lily of the valley). This symbol is most commonly associated with the French royal house and shows up in all kinds of other places like, for example, the logo of the New Orleans Saints. NJ, Prachi, Schmetterling, Karthik, Iam, Arvind, anon, Mekie (who identified it as an iris which Wikipedia tells me is equally correct) and Ajinkya got it. Well done.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Question - 413

Identify the monument that has become a shrine of sorts for a certain group of people who have taken to leaving small pieces of tokens of remembrance here. Also, connect it to a famous apocryphal phrase.

Answer: This is the memorial of the British cyclist Tom Simpson atop Mont Ventoux, one of the steepest sections of Tour de France. He had taken a fatal combination of alcohol and amphetamines which led to severe dehydration during the race. He collapsed once and supposedly said "put me back on my bike" (this is likely untrue) to the bystanders. He collapsed again in a short while and died. Anand, Mekie, Arvind, Ramji, Ajinkya, anon and Karthik got it. Well done.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Question - 412

One possible theory for the origin of a now commonly used symbol is that it is derived from anglicizing the dominant lines of this ancient symbol. Identify both symbols (the ancient one shown and the modern one derived from it).

Answer: This symbol of egyptian mythology is commonly known as the eye of Horus. Since the dominant lines of the symbol look like an R crossed with an X, this is cited as one of the possible origins of the prescription symbol Rx. Hasan, Rajesh K, Raghu, Mekie, Rithwik, Vetti, Krithi, Amresh, Ajinkya, Arvind, Kamal Rathi, anon (partly) and Karthik got it. Well done.

Question - 411

The first picture shows the very last visit paid by the woman in the picture to the place that made her famous. The second visual might act as a clue for what this place is. Identify the woman and the place.

Answer: The woman is Miep Gies, who helped hide Anne Frank and her family during WWII. The second visual shows the bookcase behind which was the secret entrance to the room where Anne Frank and her family were hiding. Gies was remarkably modest about her role and has always insisted that there were many greater heroic deeds performed by others during WWII. She is also a Wallenberg fellow and passed away last week. Amresh, Hasan, Mekie, Iam (I hope you didn't mean the woman was Anne Frank), Anand, Ajinkya, Arvind, Manan and an anon got it. Well done all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Question - 410

What event is being shown? Identify all.

Answer: Prometheus is stealing fire from the Gods (in this case, Zeus and his er.... companion Ganymede) to give to mankind. As a reward, he was chained to a rock and had his liver eaten everyday by a giant eagle. Raghu, Iam, raklodramA, Kaushik, anon, Manix, Amresh, Rajesh and Kamal Rathi got it. Well done.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Question - 409

The two pictures were taken some years apart. The railroad car in the second picture was moved to align it to the exact same spot it is in in the first picture. On what occasions were the two pictures taken and why the insistence on the exact alignment?

Answer: The pictures show the armistice of WWI and WWII. During WWI, the Germans surrendered to Ferdinand Foch and the agreement was signed in his own railway carriage. Hitler, ever mindful of historical symbolism, insisted on reenacting the same scene when accepting the French surrender during WWII. Kaushik, Manix, anon, Iam, Raghu, Amresh, Ramji and Kamal Rathi got it. Well done.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Question - 408

This painting depicts the landscape described in a famous poem. The object in the center (slightly to the left) is now famous in its own right. Identify the poem and the object.

Update: Looks like the visual gives very little to work with. Still more hints below and apologies for the bad visual.

Hints: The poem is from the 19th century but the object in the center forms the central theme of another work of literature (by a different author) from the 20th century. The poem is about the journey of a character towards the object in question. The 20th century work expands this quest into a vast epic that combines many other elements to the story line. The object in question is a tower alright but the work is not LOTR. The original poem is by (highlight to see) Robert Browning

Answer: The poem is "Childe Roland to the dark tower came" by Robert Browning. The title itself comes from Shakespeare's King Lear. Stephen King was inspired by this poem to come up with his magnum opus, the Dark Tower series in which a titular character named Roland undertakes an epic quest to reach a dark tower. I haven't read any of the books but some of my friends who are Stephen King fans swear by them. Raghu, Renuka and Mekie got it. Well done.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Question - 407

The person in the first portrait is more famously remembered through the caricature in the second visual. In fact, the lead actor in the movie whose poster is shown in the third visual was chosen for his resemblance to the caricature. Who is this guy who has a bunch of medical symptoms named after him?

Answer: Baron Munchausen is the guy in the first visual whose caricature by Dore shown in the second visual became very famous. The poster is from Terry Gilliam's "Adventures of Baron Munchhausen". He is famous for his outlandish tales and has given its name to the Munchhausen syndrome, a kind of psychiatric disorder where patients feign illnesses to attract the attention of others. Siddhartha, Kaushik, Rithwik, Raghu, Trevor Burnham, Mekie, Jaggi, Amresh, Rajeev, Kamal Rathi, anon, Karthik, AJ and Shakuni got it. Well done.

Question - 406

Identify both men.

Answer: The men are Walt Disney and the legendary space architect Werner Von Braun. I posted the question for Von Braun but apparently with Walt Disney he made some educational videos for television. Debashish, Kaushik, v. chandrashekar, Arvind, Kamal Rathi, Ramki, Rajesh K, Hirak, anon, Iam, Krithi, Amresh and Raghu got it. Well done.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A special dry question

He is a brilliant academic who disproved all the theories of his advisor Professor Emeritus Zekowsky. He is the Arthur C. and Caroline J. McCallister Distinguished Chair Professor and Anderson Faculty Scholar, and the Director of the Center for Computational Research and the National Institute of Dynamical Physics. He is the recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Prize of the Netherlands, the National Science Foundation Presidential Investigator Award, the Exceptional Achievement Medal from the International Society of Engineers, the Pi Gamma Tau Industry Excellence Professorship, the National Medal of Engineering, and the Medal of Honor from the Royal Academy of Scientists. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Advanced Dynamics, the Journal of Nano-Particle Computation, Physik-Publication and several other journals, and on the advisory boards of many industry consortia. He holds honorary doctorates from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Tsing-Chua Beijing University and the Universidade de São Paulo, among others. Who is he? Google away, people.

Answer: Professor Brian S. Smith of PhD comics. Kaushik, Mekie, Anand, Raghu, Arvind, Soubhagya Jena, Vetti, Chithananda, Karthik, Hirak, Amresh, Ramki and Rithwik got it. Well done.

Question - 405

Connect Identify the two images.

Update: Apologies for the misleading question. Just realized that the answer I had in mind is completely untrue. I have changed the question accordingly. If you wasted time looking for the non-existent connect, I apologize. If you found a good connect, let me know :)

Answer: The visuals are "The blue marble" and "The pale blue dot". Carl Sagan convinced the Voyager program to take the second picture which shows earth from an astronomical distance. I had some vague idea that Sagan made a comment connecting the two visuals. My bad. Kaushik, Raghu, Krithi, Mekie and Amresh got it. Well done.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Question - 404

Identify the building in the foreground.

Answer: This is the Hiroshima peace memorial also known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. It is the closest building to the hypocenter of the atom bomb that survived at least partially intact. Kaushik, P, Ramki, Mekie, Krithi, Rajesh K, Chithananda and Rithwik got it. Well done.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Question - 403

What is happening? Identify as many as you can.

Answer: Greg Ritchie, David Boon, Jeff Thompson and Craig McDermott are loading kegs of beer to keep them company on the plane trip from Australia to England for the Ashes. There is an unofficial championship of sorts among Australian cricketers as to who consumes the most beer on these trips. Boon supposedly drank 54 cans of beer on one of these trips. Raghu, Rajeev, Debasish, Kaushik, Swapnaa, anon, Krithi, Arvind, ameen, Rajesh K, Anand, Renuka and Mihir got it. Well done.

Aside: Since there was no update yesterday, there will be 2 questions today (402&403). Next update is on Sunday night.

Question - 402

Connect the three images. The person on the left contributed to the motto on the right which in turn is responsible for the visual on the right.

Answer: King Louis XV once famously said "Après moi, le déluge" (after me, the deluge) which the 617 Squadron of RAF (famously known as the dam busters) adopted as their motto. The last image is the breach of the Eder dam as part of Operation Chastise. Mekie, Raghu, Debasish, Kaushik, anon, Krithi, Renuka + Anand and Karthik got it. Well done.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Question - 401

Who? Picture from where?

Answer: This is Nyla, wife of the "Nanook of the north". This is a film made in 1922 by Robert Flaherty and is considered the very first documentary. ameen, Debasish, Prachi, Kaushik, mekie and aji got it. Well done.

Asides: Blog readers erupt in thunderous ovation after the amazing pun in Q400 dawns on them. Read comments for more and feel free to leave further praises.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Question - 400

The most persistent version of this urban legend connects a work of the man in the bottom right with one of the other 3 people shown. Which legend is this and what (really bad) reason does the QM have for asking this question?

Answer: Herbert Von Karajan, Akio Morita and Norio Ohga were all associated with the development of the CD. The run length of CDs being 74 minutes is attributed to one of these men's desire to include the entire 9th Symphony of Beethoven (which runs for 74 minutes in some renderings) in a CD. The story is almost surely false but has endured nonetheless. Karthik, Mihir, Raghu (no, not the reason I was looking for), Iam and Hirak got it. Well done.

Aside: No one got the (bad bad) reason for this question being the 400th. Keep trying, folks.

And the answer is: CD is roman for... (how awesome am I?)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Question - 399

What does the sculpture symbolize? Where is this scene most commonly seen?

Answer: The sculpture shows an eagle eating a snake while perched atop a cactus. According to legend, the early Aztecs witnessed such a scene which they took to be a vision on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco and proceeded to found the city of Tencochtitlan in that spot. This symbol is now present in Mexico's flag and coat of arms. Ramki, Mekie, Prachi, Raghu, Hari, Iam, Karthik, Hirak and Jaggi got it. Well done.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Question - 398

Identify him.

Answer: Chuck Norris - the West's answer to Captain Vijayakanth. He can divide by 0, order a big Mac from Burger King and can slam a revolving door. Arvind, Raghu, Iam, Hirak, Hari and Srivats got it. Well done.