Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Knowledge Quiz, No. 69

I dislike the term trivia. No knowledge is trivial. All information contributes to the whole of an intelligent human being. And, it is an essential part of critical thinking. That is why I did not call this a Trivia Quiz. Instead, I am calling it a Knowledge Quiz.

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Knowledge Quiz, No. 69

The answers are at the bottom

1. What was the first feature-length motion picture with spoken dialogue and sound?
2. By what name was Manfred von Richthofen better known?
3. What liquor is made from the blue agave plant?
4. What is the fastest snake in the world?
5. What is the only bird that hibernates?
6. What letter is used to represent the number 50 in Roman numerals?
7. What women is considered to be the very first computer programmer?
8. Who is the only man to hit a golf ball on the moon?
9. What world leader once trained to become a priest?
10. Who was the only woman to hold the title of Prime Minister of Israel?
11. What scale is used to measure the intensity of a hurricane?
12. What is the only mammal that has wings and can fly?
13. Who was the first man to climb Mount Everest?
14. What Queen sponsored Christopher Columbus' voyage which resulted in the discovery of America?
15. What explorer is believed to have discovered America 500 years before Christopher Columbus?
16. The United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics when it was held where?
17. What color are you afraid of if you suffer from Xanthophobia?
18. How long was the Wright brothers’ first flight?
19.  What word is used in international radio communications to denote the letter "W"?
20. What organ does a dog not have?

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1. The Jazz Singer was released on October 6, 1927 and became the first feature-length film to include dialogue on the filmstrip itself. The Jazz Singer made way for the future of "talkies," which is what movies with audio soundtracks were called. A major hit, it was made with Vitaphone, which was at the time the leading brand of sound-on-disc technology. Sound-on-film would soon become the standard for talking pictures, triggering the talking-picture revolution. A year after its release, Hollywood recognized the importance of The Jazz Singer with regard to motion picture history by honoring the film with a special Academy Award.

The Jazz Singer

2, Manfred von Richthofen, also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during the First World War. He is considered the ace-of-aces of the war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories. By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and respected and admired even by his enemies. Richthofen was shot down and killed on April 21, 1918. He remains perhaps the most widely known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books, films and other media.

The Red Baron

3. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant. The high production of sugars, mostly fructose, in the core of the plant is the main characteristic that makes it suitable for the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Blue agave plants grow into large succulents, with spiky fleshy leaves, that can reach over 7 feet in height. Tequila is produced by removing the heart of the plant in its eighth to fourteenth year. This heart is stripped of its leaves and heated to convert the starches to sugars, which is fermented and distilled.

Agave Plant

4. Regarded as the fastest snake in the world, the Black Mamba can move at 17.6 feet per second and reach amazing speeds of 12 mph. The Black Mamba is not only the fastest snake in terms of moving, but it is also one of the fastest striking snakes in the world. The Black Mamba is regarded as the most feared snake in Africa, where its bite is known as the “Kiss of death”. A single bite contains enough venom to kill ten people. The Black Mamba’s extraordinary speed, combined with its fast-striking venom, make it one of the world’s most deadly snakes.

The Black Mamba

5. The common poorwill is the only bird known to hibernate. During the winter, instead of migrating to a warmer climate like other birds, the common poorwill can slow its metabolic rate and drop its body temperature so it can survive several weeks or months without eating. The common poorwill was not only the very first bird to be discovered to hibernate but it is also the only known species of bird to do so.

The Common Poorwill

6. Roman numerals, the numeric system of ancient Rome, uses combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. L represents the number 50. Today's use of Roman numerals tends to be more for cosmetic purposes than function.

7. A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is considered to have written instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s. Because she introduced many computer concepts, Ada is considered the first computer programmer. Ada Lovelace's contributions to the field of computer science were not discovered until the 1950s. Since then, Ada has received many posthumous honors for her work. In 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language "Ada," after Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace

8. While on the moon, Alan Shepard used a Wilson six-iron head attached to a lunar sample scoop handle to hit two golf balls, becoming the first and only person to play golf on the moon. Only a handful of people in NASA knew of Shepard's plan when, after an extended excursion on the lunar surface, he pulled out the club, and dropped two balls on the moon. Despite thick gloves and a stiff spacesuit which forced him to swing the club with one hand, Shepard struck two golf balls; driving the second, as he jokingly put it, "miles and miles and miles." Since Shepard’s famous shot, no other astronaut has attempted to hit a ball off the moon.

Alan Shepard Playing Golf on the Moon

9. Joseph Stalin was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century. Stalin’s real name was Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, but changed his last name to Stalin, which, in Russian, means “made of steel." His mother was a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, and wanted him to become a priest. As a teen, Stalin was accepted as a student at the “Orthodox” Seminary of Tbilisi, Georgia, where he trained as a Jesuit priest. In 1899, he was expelled from the seminary for missing exams, although he claimed it was for Marxist propaganda.


10. Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minister of Israel and the first and only woman to hold the title. She was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labor and Foreign Minister. Israel’s first woman to hold such an office, she was described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. By the end of her life, she had become a hero as one of the first women to head a nation in the modern era. She died in Jerusalem on December 8, 1978.

Golda Meir

11. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's intensity. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 156 mph. The scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson, who at the time was director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The scale was introduced to the general public in 1973.

12. Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera. The forelimbs of bats are webbed and developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can only glide for short distances.

A Bat

13. On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. Hillary later participated in expeditions to the South Pole and was among the first to reach the top of Mount Herschel. Hillary was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Sir Edmund Hillary, who had been cited as "New Zealand's most trusted individual," died on January 11, 2008, in Auckland.

Sir Edmund Hillary

14. Christopher Columbus asked King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to sponsor his voyage of exploration. Queen Isabella refused Columbus at first but eventually agreed to sponsor the voyage. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave Columbus three ships, a crew of about ninety men, and some money. The voyage led to the opening of the New World and to the establishment of Spain as the first global power which dominated Europe and much of the world for more than a century.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella

15. Leif Erikson was an Icelandic explorer and is generally believed to be the first European to reach North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Leif Eriksson was the son of Erik the Red, founder of the first European settlement on what is now called Greenland. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation that declared October 9 to be Leif Eriksson Day in honor of the Viking explorer, his crew and the country’s Nordic-American heritage.

Bust of Leif Erikson

16. The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott was one part of a number of actions initiated by the United States to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month. Sixty-five countries did not participate in the Olympics despite being invited. The Soviet Union would later boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

17. Xanthophobia is fear of the color yellow. While, at first glance, this may seem like a foolish fear, it is real to the people impacted by this phobia. Xanthophobia derives from the Greek word “xantho”, meaning yellow and “phobos” which means fear. The common cause of this phobia is traumatic experiences involving the color yellow, like getting stung by a bee or perhaps getting hit by a yellow car. Sufferers would not eat cheese, mustard, bananas, lemons, or anything that is yellow.

18. The first flight was flown by Orville Wright and lasted 12 seconds. On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The inaugural flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with Orville's brother Wilbur piloting the longest one which lasted 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. Their historic aircraft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Wright Brothers First Flight

19. The code word for W is Whisky. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assigned code words acrophonically to the letters of the English alphabet, so that critical combinations of letters can be pronounced and understood by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the quality of the communication channel. The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, and Zulu.

2O. While a dog’s body shares many similar body features with humans, the appendix is one exception. This is due to the fact that dogs do not have an appendix! In humans, the appendix is a narrow, tube-shaped structure that protrudes from the cecum, a pouch-like portion at the beginning of the large intestine. The term appendix comes from the Latin word “appendix” meaning appendage, an addition at the end. Although scientists have long discounted the human appendix as a vestigial organ, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the appendix does in fact play a part of the human body’s immune system.

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