Thursday, May 11, 2017

Knowledge Quiz, No. 73

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. 73

The answers are at the bottom

1. What historical figure is credited with giving Greenland its name?
2. What is the pattern of a haiku?
3. In what country is the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon?
4. Which planet has a storm system called The Great Red Spot?
5. What is the capital of Canada?
6. Whose autobiography is titled, Long Walk to Freedom?
7. What artist painted "Number 28, 1950" in his characteristic "drip" style?
8. Who is known as "The Father of Medicine"?
9. Who was the author of the novel, The Great Gatsby?
10. How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
11. What is the believed to be the largest organism on Earth?
12. What is the name of a female fox?
13. What country has the oldest continuously used national flag?
14. In what nation were U.S. hostages held for 444 days between 1979 and 1981?
15. Who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes?
16. What city was the site of the first Ferris Wheel?
17. What was the name of the German airship that exploded in New Jersey in 1937?
18. In miles, how long is the Great Wall of China?
19. Albert Einstein was offered but declined the presidency of what  country?
20. What is the French equivalent of LOL?

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1.  Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red was a Norwegian Viking, remembered in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Erik the Red gave Greenland its name over 1,000 years ago and ushered in the country’s Viking era. When Erik was exiled from Iceland circa 980, he decided to explore the land to the west (Greenland). Erik gained his famous nickname because of his red hair and the fact that he was a volatile and violent man. Leif Erikson, the famous Icelandic explorer, was Erik's son.

Eric the Red (a painting)

2. Haiku is one of the most important form of traditional Japanese poetry. A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem. The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme. Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century. Among the greatest traditional haiku poets are Basho, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa, and Masaoka Shiki.

3. Iraq's famous ruins of Babylon can be found about 56 miles south of Baghdad, next to the Euphrates River. Babylon, which can be translated to "the gate of the gods" served as the center of ancient civilization for over 1,500 years. Babylon was one of the glories of the ancient world, its walls and mythic hanging gardens listed among the Seven Wonders. Founded about 4,000 years ago, the ancient city was the capital of 10 dynasties in Mesopotamia, considered one of the earliest cradles of civilization and the birthplace of writing and literature.

The Ruins of Babylon

4. The Great Red Spot is a giant, spinning storm in Jupiter's atmosphere. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is large enough to contain two or three planets the size of Earth! With winds peaking at about 400 mph, the Great Red Spot has been swirling over Jupiter’s skies for the past 150 years - maybe even much longer than that. While people saw a big spot in Jupiter as early as they started stargazing through telescopes in the 1600s, it is still unclear whether they were looking at a different storm. Today, scientists still struggle to learn what causes its swirl of reddish hues.

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter

5. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa, which is located in the province of Ontario. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa is Canada's fourth largest city with a population exceeding more than 900,000 residents. This city was selected by Queen Victoria as the capital in mid-19th century. The city name "Ottawa" was chosen in reference to the Ottawa River nearby, the name of which is derived from the Algonquin Odawa, meaning "to trade"

The Capital Building in Ottawa

6. Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and first published in 1994. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison. Under the apartheid government, Mandela was regarded as a terrorist and jailed on the infamous Robben Island for his role as a leader of the then-outlawed ANC. He later achieved international recognition for his leadership as president in rebuilding the country's once segregated society.
 Nelson Mandela

7. Jackson Pollock revolutionized the world of modern art with his unique abstract painting techniques. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting. “Number 28, 1950” is an acknowledged masterpiece from the artist's most successful period of work and belongs to Pollock's pioneering series of drip paintings. Painted in the early summer of 1950, this enamel on canvas represents many layers of paint applied from all sides of the canvas, in the typical Pollock style. Number 28 is currently located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Jackson Pollock

8. Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the "Father of Modern Medicine" in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. He has been revered for his ethical standards in medical practice, mainly for the Hippocratic Oath, which, it is suspected, he did not write.


9. The Great Gatsby is a novel written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald and published on this day in 1925. The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing that the book was a failure. However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades. Today, it is widely considered to be a literary classic.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

10. The Hundred Years' War is the name modern historians have given to what was a series of related conflicts, fought over a 116-year period, between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, beginning in 1337, and ending in 1453. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of strong national identities in both countries.

11.  The blue whale is big, but nowhere near as huge as a sprawling fungus in eastern Oregon. More precisely, a specific honey fungus in Oregon covers 2,384 acres of soil in Oregon's Blue Mountains in the U.S. and is known to be the largest living organism on Earth. This humongous fungus would encompass 1,665 football fields, or nearly four square miles of turf. Based on its current growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old but could be as ancient as 8,650 years, which would earn it a place among the oldest living organisms as well.

The Honey Fungus

12. Female foxes are called vixens and the male fox is known as a reynard. A baby fox is called a kite. The familiar fox that is most common in legend and lore is the red fox, but there are over 30 species of fox living all over the world. Every fox belongs to the canine family, and they are ranked as the smallest of all canines. However, they have some characteristics different from other canines. Foxes generally only live for 3 or 4 years in the wild, but they can often live 10 to 12 years in zoos.

 A Vixen

13. The Flag of Denmark holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest continuously used national flag. The current design of a white Scandinavian cross on a red back ground was adopted in 1625 and its square shape in 1748. In Denmark it is known as the 'Dannebrog' or 'Danish cloth'. Although Denmark was never part of the Roman Empire, similar designs were used by the Empire to represent provinces, as the white cross is symbolic of Christianity. The cross design was later adopted by other Nordic countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.

 The Flag of Denmark

14.The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between Iran and the United States. On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran taking more than 50 American hostages. The students set their hostages free on January 21, 1981, 444 days after the crisis began and just hours after President Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address. The crisis is considered a pivotal episode in the history of Iran–United States relations.

15. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir is a 1996 memoir by the American author Frank McCourt. The memoir consists of various anecdotes and stories of Frank McCourt's childhood. The memoir details his very early childhood in Brooklyn, New York, but focuses primarily on his life in Limerick, Ireland. It also includes McCourt's struggles with poverty and his father's alcoholism. The book was published in 1996, and won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. The sequel 'Tis was published in 1999, followed by Teacher Man in 2005.

Frank McCourt

16. The Chicago World's Fair was held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. The fair included carnival rides, among them the original Ferris Wheel, designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. This wheel was 264 feet high and had 36 cars, each of which could accommodate 40 people. The generic term Ferris wheel is now used for all such structures, which have become the most common type of amusement ride at state fairs in the United States.

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.

The First Ferris Wheel

17. On May 6, 1937, the German airship Hindenburg burst into flames while attempting to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The disaster killed 35 people on the airship, and one member of the ground crew, but miraculously 62 of the 97 passengers and crew survived. The disaster was caused by an electrostatic discharge (i.e., a spark) that ignited leaking hydrogen. The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the abrupt end of the airship era.

18. Thanks to the modern measuring techniques, and after an archaeological survey taking more than five years, the total length of the world's largest man-made structure had been finally revealed in 2012, as 13,170.69 miles. The surprising length is more than twice as long as the previous estimates. The Great Wall of China took more than 2,000 years to build. It was built in different areas by different dynasties to protect different territorial borders. The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.

 Part of the Great Wall of China

19. After the death of Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, in November 1952, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion offered Albert Einstein the position of President of Israel. The 73-year-old wasted little time in declining the honor. “All my life I have dealt with objective matters,” Einstein wrote in a letter to the Israeli ambassador, “hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function.” He wrote that he was "deeply moved", and "at once saddened and ashamed" that he could not accept the position.

 Albert Einstein

20. LOL is an acronym for laugh(ing) out loud or lots of laughs and is a popular element of Internet slang. The French use onomatopoeic laughter variations much like those in English. The French equivalent of LOL is MDR, which means "mort de rire," or "dying of laughter." On March 24, 2011, LOL was formally recognized in an update of the Oxford English Dictionary

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