Friday, January 20, 2017

Knowledge Quiz, No. 71

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. 71

The answers are at the bottom

1.Who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize?
2.What is the title of Barack Obama's 1995 memoir?
3. Coulrophobia is an extreme fear of what?
4. What novel features a ship called the Pequod?
5. How many U.S. patents did Thomas Edison successfully obtain?
6  Cruciverbalist is a word for people who enjoy which hobby?
7. Where is the Great Sphinx located?
8. Which is the only bird that can fly backward?
9. How much did the Tyrannosaurus Rex weigh?
10. What is the name of the car-sized rover that was launched by NASA to explore Mars?
11. What is the largest muscle in the human body?
12. What was the first message sent in Morse Code?
13. What country was the first in the world to impose a tax on fatty foods?
14. Which  U.S. president's name appears on a plaque that the Apollo 11 crew left on the moon?
15. What country by far has the world's largest prison population?
16. What gas makes up over 75% of the Earth's atmosphere?
17. Who was convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr.?
18. What women lent her name to the green variety of fruit which she discovered in the 1860s?
19. What musical instrument was invented by Benjamin Franklin?
20.  What U.S. President had to re-take the oath of office because of a mistake?

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 Answers

1.Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two different fields (physics and chemistry). In 1903, Curie won the prestigious honor along with her husband and Henri Becquerel, for their work on radioactivity. She won her second Nobel Prize in 1911, this time in chemistry. She was selected for her discovery of radium and polonium, and became the first scientist to win two Nobel Prizes. While she received the prize alone, she shared the honor jointly with her late husband in her acceptance lecture.

Marie Curie

2. Dreams from My Father is a memoir by Barack Obama, who was elected as U.S. President in 2008. It explores events of his early years up until his entry into law school in 1988. Obama published the memoir in July 1995, when he was starting his political campaign for Illinois Senate. After Obama won the U.S. Senate Democratic primary victory in Illinois in 2004, the book was re-published that year. The audio-book edition earned Obama the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2006. Five days before being sworn in as President in 2009, Obama secured a $500,000 advance for an abridged version of Dreams from My Father for middle-school-aged children.

3. It is estimated that 12 percent of American adults have a phobia of clowns. The fear is so prevalent it even has a scientific name: Coulrophobia. Coulrophobia means a persistent and irrational fear of clowns. Like other fears and phobias, it can cause panic, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea. and overwhelming feelings of fear. Psychologists believe that, like in case of other specific phobias, the fear of clowns could be deeply rooted in childhood.

4.  The Pequod is a fictional 19th-century Nantucket whaling ship that appears in the 1851 novel Moby Dick by American author Herman Melville. The Pequod and her crew, commanded by Captain Ahab, are central to the story, which, after the initial chapters, takes place almost entirely aboard the ship during a three-year whaling expedition in the Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific oceans. Most of the characters in the novel are part of the Pequod's crew, including the  narrator Ishmael.

Moby Dick

5. Thomas Edison successfully filed and obtained 1,093 United States patents. His first patent application was executed while he was 21 years old. Edison's U.S. patents can be grouped into the general categories of electric power and light, phonographs and sound recording, telegraphy and telephony, batteries, mining and ore milling, miscellany, cement and motion pictures. It was not until June 17, 2003 that he was passed by Japanese inventor Shunpei Yamazaki. Yamazaki was subsequently passed by Australian inventor Kia Silverbrook who has been granted 4,665 U.S. utility patents as of March, 2014.
Thomas Edison

6. A cruciverbalists is someone that constructs or enjoys solving crosswords puzzles. Arthur Wynne was a Liverpool, U.K. journalist who invented the first crossword puzzle. It was published in The New York World newspaper on December 21, 1913. His puzzle was first called a “Word-Cross Puzzle” and was designed as a diamond shape. Although Wynne’s invention was initially greeted with skepticism, by the 1920s it had established itself as a popular pastime, entertaining and frustrating generations of cruciverbalists.

7. Great Sphinx of Giza is the oldest and largest known statue in the world built from a single piece of limestone. It stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The statue takes the form of a reclining lion with a human head. The statue facing west to east measures 238 feet long, 66.3 feet high and 62.6 feet wide. The site comprises of the Sphinx, a causeway, Pyramid, Sphinx temple and other temples. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the Pharaoh Khafre.

The Sphinx

8. Hummingbirds fly backwards, and they are the only birds capable of doing so. The hummingbird has a unique muscle and wing structure that gives them a level of flight control unlike any other bird. Like a helicopter, the hummingbird can hover, fly right to left, left to right, diagonal, forwards, and even backwards. You may notice that their wings move so quickly that they are just a blur. This blurred effect is a result of their wings flapping between 15 to 100 times per second to maintain the kind of agility to allow them to fly backwards.

A Hummingbird

9. Tyrannosaurus Rex was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs that ever lived. A Tyrannosaurus Rex weighed about nine tons (18,000 pounds), was between 15 and 20 feet tall and measured 40 feet in length. One of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived, Tyrannosaurus Rex was a fierce carnivore. Scientists believe this predator could eat up to 500 pounds of meat in one bite. Tyrannosaurus Rex lived in forested river valleys in North America during the late Cretaceous period. It became extinct about 65 million years ago in the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction.


 Tyrannosaurus Rex


10.  Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012. Curiosity is about the size of a small SUV. Curiosity's main goal is to assess whether the Red Planet is, or ever was, capable of supporting microbial life. Another objective is to learn more about the red planet's environment.

The Curiosity Land Rover on Mars

11. There are about 640 muscles in the body. They come in all shapes and sizes and perform many different functions. The largest muscle in the human body is the gluteus maximus, or the buttock muscles, also known as "the glutes." These muscles (there is one on each side) help move the hips and thighs, and keep the trunk of the body upright. Furthermore it supports the stabilization of the hip joint. They are the chief muscles that work against gravity when you're walking up stairs, according to the Library of Congress.


12. Sent by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse on May 24, 1844, over an experimental line from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, the first message ever sent in Morse Code said: "What hath God wrought?" Taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23, and recorded on a paper tape, the phrase had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of a friend. Each code character's corresponding letter was subsequently handwritten underneath by Morse himself. The success of the experiment would change forever the national communication system.

Samuel F. B. Morse.

13. In October 2011, Denmark introduced a fat tax on butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food if the item contains more than 2.3% saturated fat. The fat tax was the first of its kind in the world. Although the tax resulted in an additional $216 million in revenue, it also led to numerous complaints. In November 2012, the fat tax was abolished because it failed to change Danes' eating habits, had encouraged cross border trading, put Danish jobs at risk and had been a bureaucratic nightmare.

14. Although it was President John F. Kennedy who set the nation on the course to the moon, it was Nixon who was in office during the first manned lunar landing. Stainless steel commemorative plaques were attached to the ladders on the descent stages of the United States Apollo Lunar Modules flown on lunar landing missions to be left permanently on the lunar surface. All of the plaques bear facsimiles of the participating astronauts' signatures. The first (Apollo 11) and last (Apollo 17) plaques bear a facsimile of the signature of Richard Nixon, President of the United States during the landings.


15. With 2.24 million prisoners, the United States has the world’s largest prison population. While the U.S. represents only five percent of the world's population, it houses around 25 percent of the world's prisoners. The incarceration rate of the U.S. is also the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. According to a U.S. Department of Justice report, over 7.2 million people were at that time in prison, on probation, or on parole. That means roughly 1 in every 32 Americans are under some sort of criminal justice system control.

16. The Earth's atmosphere consists of a layer of different gases held in place by gravity. The Earth's atmosphere is primarily made up of nitrogen, oxygen and argon. The most abundant gases in the atmosphere are nitrogen at 78 percent and oxygen at 21 percent, while the trace gases methane, neon and helium make up around one-tenth of 1 percent of the atmosphere. Together, nitrogen and oxygen compose 99 percent of the atmosphere's volume.

17. James Earl Ray shot and killed Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, as the civil rights leader was standing on a balcony outside of his motel room. After shooting King, Ray immediately fled, setting off a manhunt that would last more than two months and cover five countries. At the time, it was said to be the FBI's most expensive and biggest investigation in its history. The FBI caught up with Ray in London and extradited him to the United States. Ray pleaded guilty to the murder, and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998.

James Earl Ray

18. Granny Smith apples are named after a real Granny Smith. Granny Smith apples were discovered in Australia in the 1860’s, as a chance seedling in the compost pile on the orchard of Maria Ann Smith. Smith had numerous children and was a prominent figure in the district, earning the nickname "Granny" Smith in her advanced years. Granny Smith apples were first introduced commercially to the United States in the 1970’s. The fruit has hard, light green skin and a crisp, juicy flesh.

Granny Smith Apples

19.  Of Benjamin Franklin's many achievements, probably the least well-known are his accomplishments in music. In 1761, Franklin designed the glass harmonica - or armonica as its creator liked to call it - the first musical instrument created in America. (Not to be confused with a mouth harmonica.) This was a modification of the old glass bowl organ, with the bowls now set sideways and overlapping, spun using a foot pedal. This new instrument became very popular, and music written expressly for the glass harmonica was composed by such legends as Mozart and Beethoven. The popularity of the instrument faded early in the nineteenth century, but it is still played occasionally today.

The Glass Harmonica

20. In 2009, Barack Obama retook the oath of office a day after becoming President because Chief Justice John Roberts said the word "faithfully" out of sequence while administering the oath during the inauguration ceremony. Obama paused and smiled, seemingly aware of the mistake. He then retook the oath the following day out of an "abundance of caution." The move was aimed at erasing any questions that Obama wasn't officially the President due to the mistake. The second oath ceremony took place on the evening of January 21, 2009, at the White House before a small audience.

Retaking the Oath of Office

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