Saturday, March 25, 2017

Knowledge Quiz, No. 72

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. 72

The answers are at the bottom

1. What is the fastest fish in the ocean?
2. What geometrical shape forms the hole that fits an Allen Wrench?
3. What were the first words spoken by Alexander Graham Bell over the telephone?
4. What is the only rock that will float in water?
5. What was invented in 1881 by dentist Alfred P. Southwick?
6. What planet weighs over twice as much as all the other known planets combined?
7. The entrance to what museum lies below a glass pyramid?
8. Where did the world’s first pizzeria open?
9. What is the name of George Washington's estate?
10. What was the first song broadcast from space?
11. Who was Time magazine's first Man of the Year in 1927?
12. What composer wrote the famous Wedding March?
13. In medicine, what does the "R" in MRI stand for?
14. What is the most poisonous tree in the world?
15. The wind on what planet can blow up to 1,500 miles per hour?
16. How many periods are in a hockey game?
17. What is the lowest point in North America?
18. Who was killed on the Ides of March?
19. The world's busiest train station is located in what city?
20. What is the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere?

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1. The sailfish is the world's fastest fish. It has been measured in excess of 68 mph over short periods. Notable characteristics of sailfish are an erectile dorsal fin known as a sail and the elongated bill. Sailfish can grow to about 10 feet long. These slim fish can weigh up to about 128 pounds. They have blue-gray backs and white undersides. One of their most noticeable features is their spear-like upper jaw, which is about twice the size of their lower jaw. They also have an enormous dorsal fin that fans out above the length of their body.

A Sailfish

2. An Allen Wrench is an L-shaped metal bar used to drive bolts and screws that have a hexagonal socket in the head. In 1909, William G. Allen patented a method of cold-forming screw heads around a hexagonal die. Published advertisements for the "Allen safety set screw" by the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, exist from 1910. Although it is unlikely that Allen was the first person to think of a hex socket drive, his patent for a manufacturing method and his realized product appear to be the first.

3. On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the first practical, working telephone. His first words on the telephone was to his assistant in the next room, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." There is some dispute about the actual words used, as Thomas Watson, in his own voice, remembered it as "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want you." In any case, Watson heard Bell’s voice through the wire and thus, he received the first telephone call.

                                                                Alexander Graham Bell

4.When rocks are submerged in water, they tend to sink because of their weight. However, pumice is the only rock that can float on water. Pumice rocks are igneous rocks which were formed when lava cooled quickly above ground. Pumice is created when super-heated, highly pressurized rock is violently ejected from a volcano. Pumice is vesicular or has gas pockets, or in easier terms, holes on the outside of the rock. This makes the rock less dense so it will float on water. 


5. Alfred P. Southwick was a dentist and inventor from Buffalo, New York. He is credited with inventing the first electric chair as a method of legal execution. The idea of using electric current as a method of execution was developed by Southwick after he witnessed an intoxicated man die after having touched an exposed terminal on a live generator. Given that the man died so quickly, Southwick concluded that electricity could be used as an alternative to hanging for executions. As Southwick was a dentist who was accustomed to performing procedures on subjects in chairs, his device for electrical execution appeared in the form of an "electric chair."

The Electric Chair

6. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in the Solar System. It is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. With a radius of 43,440.7 miles, Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Jupiter would be about as big as a basketball. Its atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium, and its iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years. More than 1,300 Earths would fit inside Jupiter.


7. The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid designed by architect I.M. Pei, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. The pyramid and the underground lobby beneath it were created because of a series of problems with the Louvre's original main entrance, which could no longer handle the enormous number of visitors on an everyday basis.

The Louvre Museum Pyrarmid

8. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba is a pizzeria located in Naples, Italy, and is considered to be the world's first pizzeria. Since its creation in 1830, the eatery's ovens have been lined with lava rocks from nearby Mount Vesuvius. At the time of its creation, one popular pizza was the Mastunicola, topped with lard, sheep milk cheese, and basil. A payment system, called pizza a otto, was developed that allowed customers to pay up to eight days after their meal. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba is still in business today, located between a number of bookstores.

Antica Pizzera, Port'Alba, Italy

9. Mount Vernon was the plantation house of George Washington, first President of the United States and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland. The Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington's great-grandfather in 1674. Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

                                                                        Mount Vernon

10. Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space, in a Christmas-themed prank by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra. While in space on December 16, 1965, the astronauts played a prank by telling Mission Control that they spotted a flying object before broadcasting their own rendition of Jingle Bells. The sound of Jingle Bells was played on a smuggled harmonica and a handful of small bells. The Smithsonian Institution claims these were the first musical instruments played in space and keeps the instruments on display and a visual image is also posted on their website.

11. Charles Lindbergh was named Time magazine’s first “Man of the Year” in 1927. The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating newsworthy stories possible during a slow news week. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year for not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.

12. Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March", was written in 1842 as part of his suite of incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. At weddings in many English-speaking countries, it is commonly performed as the bridal party files out at the end of the service. It is frequently teamed with Richard Wagner's Here Comes the Bride. This piece only became widely used in weddings after Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, The Princess Royal, used it when she married the Crown Prince of Prussia in 1858.

13, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize internal structures of the body in detail. The technique uses a very powerful magnet to align the nuclei of atoms inside the body, and a variable magnetic field that causes the atoms to resonate, a phenomenon called nuclear magnetic resonance. The nuclei produce their own rotating magnetic fields that a scanner detects and uses to create an image. MRI is widely used for medical diagnosis, and staging of disease without exposing the body to ionizing radiation.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

14. Do not eat, touch, or even inhale the air around the Manchineel Tree. According to the Guinness World Records, the Manchineel tree is in fact the most dangerous tree in the world. As explained by the Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all parts of Manchineel are extremely poisonous, and "interaction with and ingestion of any part of this tree may be lethal". The Manchineel tree can choke you with its fruit, poison you with its sap, and blind you with its smoke. Literally every part of the tree is poisonous. Native to Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the Manchineel is rumored to have killed the famed explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon.

15. Neptune is the most distant planet from the Sun, with temperatures that plunge down to 55 Kelvin, or -218 degrees Celsius. The weather on Neptune is some of the most violent weather in the Solar System. Astronomers have clocked winds on Neptune traveling at 1,500 mph which is the fastest planetary winds detected yet in the solar system. More than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth, the planet takes almost 165 Earth years to orbit our sun. In 2011, Neptune completed its first orbit since its discovery in 1846.


16. A regulation ice hockey game consists of three periods of twenty minutes, the clock running only when the puck is in play. The teams change ends after each period of play, including overtime. It's known that hockey has been around since at least 1363, when Edward III of England banned the sport in a royal proclamation. Hockey pucks have three-inch diameters. They are frozen before each game so that they don't bounce during the game. The first puck used during outdoor hockey in the 1800s was made of frozen cow dung.

17. Death Valley is the lowest point in North America with an elevation of -282 feet at its Badwater Basin. Death Valley is within Death Valley National Park in the Mojave Desert of California. It is one of the hottest places in the world at the height of summertime along with deserts in Africa and in the Middle East. It is also unusually dry and records small amounts of rainfall annually. Death Valley was named by gold-seekers, some of whom died crossing the valley during the 1849 California gold rush.

                                                               Death Valley, California

18. The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15. In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

     The Bust of Julius Caesar

19. Shinjuku Station is a major railway station in Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan. Serving as the main connecting hub for the Tokyo rail and subway traffic, the station is used by an average of 3.64 million people per day, making it, by far, the world's busiest transport hub (and registered as such with Guinness World Records). Shinjuku Station has over 200 exits and many platforms spread out over a large area, along with department stores covering nearly all sides.

20. The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere. Most of the mass (about 75-80%) of the atmosphere is in the troposphere. Most types of clouds are found in the troposphere, and almost all weather occurs within this layer. The bottom of the troposphere is at Earth's surface. The troposphere extends upward to about 6.2 miles or about 33,000 feet above sea level. The layer immediately above the troposphere is called the stratosphere. The boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere is called the "tropopause"

The Troposphere

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