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561001.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:31 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 17

77363. Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:28 am Reply with quote
Due to samivel's computer apparently throwing a 'hissy fit' from time to time currently I get to start QQ17. In deference to our esteemed colleague I shall use a QI fact that I have been saving for a special occasion.

It will come as no surprise that diamond is the hardest substance known but what is less often noted is that this applies to ceramics in general and that corundum is only slightly less hard. I can reveal at this point that ruby is harder than the hardest tool steel (Vickers Hardness for corundum of 2500HV compared with a figure of 900HV given for a standard hardened steel). Sapphire and ruby are varieties of corundum (Al2O3), the crystal structure imparts a hardness but not a toughness greater than steel. The ceramics are in truth rather brittle but on the other hand they have the advantage of being poor conductors of heat and electricity and not subject to a great deal of thermal expansion. They are of course also significantly lighter.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:30 am; edited 2 times in total

77383. Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:40 pm Reply with quote
Point of order: Diamonds are no longer the hardest substance known to man - aggregated diamond nanorods are. See here: post 25711

The deepest rocks ever found (deep under the Solomon Islands) were formed in an area about 10 per cent of the way to the centre of the earth where the pressure is 250,000 times what it is at the surface.

The rocks contain micro-diamonds, and it is thought that is is the first time that diamond-bearing rocks have been found in oceanic environments.

This could be a boon for the diamond industry - except that we all know that there are gazillions of diamonds anyway - and it's just those dastards at DeBeers who keep the prices high.

77385. Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:50 pm Reply with quote
I guess we should play a let.

De Beers (founded by Cecil Rhodes - the de Beer brothers owned the land on which diamonds were found in South Africa; they sold it for £6,300) still controls over half the diamond trade. Retail pricing is completely rigged by them (the scarcity of stones on the market is an artificial creation), and their advertising/marketing since 1938 is regarded as one of the most successful campaigns ever, in particular for the slogan 'a diamond is forever'. Prior to this campaign, no one stone was particularly associated with engagement rings.

The campaign was mould-breaking in a number of ways: use of product placement, enlisting Royalty, and particularly for the fact that it was all generic - no brand name was promoted, just the ownership of diamonds. One of the effects of the slogan about a diamond being 'forever' has been to create a strong presumption that diamonds should be kept for good and not resold - so there's no second-hand market to speak of, which is a big help to De Beers in controlling supply.

De Beers' labourers in the 19th century were prisoners; the company built and ran the prisons and the South African state filled them with prisoners - 10,000 at a time.

Diamonds are formed in geological features called 'kimberlite pipes'. There's an explosion deep inside the Earth (200km down) which fires a cannonball of magma towards the surface at supersonic speed. This is a totally random event - a kimberlite pipe could explode under your feet as you read this. They bring up various bits & pieces that aren't normally found on the surface; in about 1 pipe in 100 that includes diamonds. A chunk of carbon has to shoot up at just the right speed and cool down quickly enough to become a diamond.

77394. Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:09 pm Reply with quote
eggshaped wrote:
Point of order: Diamonds are no longer the hardest substance known to man - aggregated diamond nanorods are. See here: post 25711

So are ADNRs not made of diamond then?

Diamond derives its hardness from the fact that each carbon atom is connected to four other atoms by strong covalent bonds. The new material is different in that it is made of tiny interlocking diamond rods. Each rod is a crystal that has a diameter of between 5 and 20 nanometres and a length of about 1 micron.

I didn't say the hardest substance is a diamond I said, albeit that I didn't know about ADNRs, that the hardest substance is diamond. Now I'm not sure that this is necessarily totally correct but I could argue (and I'm about to) that cross-bonding the diamond in nanorods doesn't stop it from being diamond in the same way that the diamond is still carbon even though it's in a specific form. That's why the name still contains 'diamond', the clue's in the name.

And anyway the post was primarily about corundum not diamond, so ner.

78094. Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:44 am Reply with quote
The title of Marquess of Salisbury was created in 1789 for James Cecil, 7th Earl of Salisbury. The third Marquess, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoygne-Cecil was Prime Minister three times. Lord Salisbury holds the subsidiary titles of Earl of Salisbury, Viscount Cranbourne and Baron Cecil of Essendon in the county of Rutland. Viscount Cranbourne is a courtesy title Lord Salisbury'seldest son and heir.

78097. Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:10 am Reply with quote
Rutland Water is the largest man-made lake in western Europe, and as it's in the smallest county in the country I wonder whether that might mean that Rutland Water is proportionally bigger in relation to Rutland than the Three Gorges lake will be in relation to China. I suppose so , but it's an idle speculation.

Owen Falls in Uganda is supposedly the world's biggest artificial reservoir at the moment: 204,800,000,000 cubic meters. Hoover Dam holds back only 35,154,000,000 cu m in Lake Mead. Nevertheless, Lake Mead is comfortably larger than the whole of Rutland - 247 square miles against Rutland's 152.

78102. Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:01 pm Reply with quote
Flash wrote:
Rutland Water is the largest man-made lake in western Europe, and as it's in the smallest county in the country

I believe the Isle of Wight is the smallest county in the country. The area of Rutland is given as 382 sq km, whilst that of the IoW is 380 sq km.

78106. Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:15 pm Reply with quote
That's rather good, and might make a General Ignorance question. The IoW used to be part of Hampshire but is now a county. As you point out, it's a pretty marginal call as to which is smaller, to the point that I wonder if you'd get different answers at high and low tide, but certainly there's enough to play with there.

Thanks to djgordy, and apologies to anyone who's trying to watch the match. Ignore this post - djg's ball is the one in play.

78221. Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:56 pm Reply with quote
Mead is the oldest alcoholic drink known, dating back over 8,000 years (in Crete) it predates wine and even beer the first details of which date from the fifth millenium BC in Iran.

Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. It is generally pronounced "meed" (IPA: /miːd/). Meadhing (pronounced meth' ing, IPA: /ˈmɛ.ðɪŋ/) is the practice of brewing honey. Mead is also known as "honey wine," although this is inaccurate. Mead is a separate and distinct family of alcoholic beverages, completely apart from beer, wine, liqueur, and distilled beverages.

A mead that also contains spices (like cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg) or herbs (such as oregano or even lavender or chamomile) is called metheglin. This word is derived from the Welsh word meddyglyn, meaning "medicinal liquor", as healing herbs were often stored as metheglin so they would be available over the winter (as well as making them much easier to swallow). Slavic miod/med, which means "honey", derives from the same Proto-Indo-European root.

A mead that contains fruit (such as strawberry, blackcurrant or even rose hips) is called melomel and was also used as a delicious way to "store" summer produce for the winter.
Historically, meads would have been fermented by wild yeasts and bacteria residing on the skins of the fruit or within the honey itself. Wild yeasts generally result in a high alcohol content and some interesting by-flavors. As commercial brewing interests 'tamed' the yeasts into the strains we recognize now, certain strains became associated with certain styles of mead. Mostly, these are strains that are also used in beer or wine production. Several commercial labs, such as White Labs, WYeast, Vierka, and others have gone so far as to develop strains specifically for mead.

Interestingly although the Welsh for mead is medd meddyglyn is a compound word comprised of meddyg, "healing" (doctor) + llyn, "liquor" (lake).

Oh, was that supposed to be an IoW/county fact? Was djg's post a return or a point of information?

78345. Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Okay, here's an attempt to get back on track.

Hampshire,a county often affiliated with the Isle of Wight, even though the latter had its own county council in 1890, was a county that the great cricketer Phil Mead 1887-1958 used to play for.

Mead holds many batting records, notably that of scoring the most runs in the County Championship and the fourth-highest total in all first-class matches. His number of runs for Hampshire, in fact, is the greatest number any batsman has scored for a single team. He also exceeded one thousand runs in every season of first-class cricket except his first - when he only played one match. He was also a fine fieldsman, holding 675 catches.

Mead first trialled for Surrey, but qualified for Hampshire because Surrey's batting strength was such that they were unable to offer him a contract. After one match against the touring Australians when not qualified in 1905, Mead immediately became a regular with Hampshire, but faltered after a promising beginning including 109 against Yorkshire.

However, from 1907 onwards Mead, at this stage an opening batsman, advanced very rapidly, with his average reaching 39 in the very wet summer of 1909. In 1911, he moved down the order to his familiar position of number four, and so successful was this move that he was the leading run-scorer in 1911 and 1913, and toured Australia in 1911/1912 and South Africa in 1913/1914. He was not nearly so successful as might have been expected in Australia, but in South Africa he hit a Test century and played particularly well throughout.

After World War I halted county cricket, Mead's list of achievements grew, as his always-remarkable watchfulness and superb footwork made him the complete master of bowlers such as Tich Freeman who were deadly against batsmen of poorer technique. In 1921, after missing the first three Tests against Australia, Mead hit 182 not out at The Oval in the last Test - a record score against Australia in England until Len Hutton hit 364 on the same ground in 1938 - showing that England seriously erred in not choosing him for the earlier games when Jack Gregory and Ted McDonald had a complete mastery over their batsmen. He also hit his highest score of 280 not out that year against Nottinghamshire. Hampshire, remarkably, lost the match as they had been bowled out cheaply on a good wicket in their first innings!

Between 1922 and 1928, Mead was consistently one of the top batsmen in county cricket, but England's remarkable batting strength - with men like Herbert Sutcliffe, Wally Hammond, Jack Hobbs and Frank Woolley - meant Mead had few opportunities at Test level. After scoring over 3000 runs in 1928, Mead toured Australia for the second time, but was dropped after one Test so as to make room for another bowler.

In 1929, affected by injury, Mead declined substantially, failing to reach 2000 runs for the first time since the war. However, despite no longer being in the front rank of English batsmen, Mead was still feared for his great technical skill and reached a thousand runs every year until, at the age of forty-nine in 1936, he was not re-engaged by Hampshire. In his last innings, Mead played a superbly skillful 52 against Hedley Verity on a badly wearing wicket, and he played for Suffolk in the Minor Counties Championship with considerable success in 1938 and 1939.

Soon after World War II, Mead became totally blind, but he retained a great interest in cricket and often attended Hampshire matches right up to his death on March 26, 1958.

78450. Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:57 am Reply with quote
Fine shot grimwig.

One which points me in the direction of the Hammond organ. The Hammond organ was designed and built by Laurens Hammond in April 1935. Although they are generally included in the category of electronic organs, strictly speaking, because the waveforms are produced by mechanical tonewheels rather than electronic oscillators, original Hammond organs are electric rather than electronic organs.

Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Hammond organ if you see one is the Leslie rotating speaker frequently used in combination with it; interestingly this was not part of the original design but was the product of another company, the Leslie company surprisingly enough.

Speakers originally designed by Don Leslie were widely used with the Hammond organs, though at first, Leslie was a competing company that Hammond sought to drive out of business. The Leslie speakers had a rotating horn and a stationary bass speaker with a rotating baffle that produced a vibrato effect. As well, the Leslie speaker cabinets' tube (also known as "valve") amplifier gave the Hammond's tone a warm, natural "overdriven" sound, which could be varied from a mild "purr" to a heavily overdriven growl. Soon, the Leslie speaker cabinet's signature sound became a de facto requirement for Hammond enthusiasts.

The peculiarities of the tonewheel method of tone generation (crosstalk or leakage) make digital imitation of the Hammond sound rather difficult.

Perhaps it is this that is behind Rimmer's devotion to that giant of the Hammond organ - Reggie Wilson.

Rimmer: Agh, I just had to get out of there. He's driving me nuts! I cannot stand front-seat drivers. Well, come on, there's not a lot going on in here. We're on holiday! Let's cheer things up a bit. How 'bout some music? I've brought my Hammond CD's with me. How about "Reggie Wilson plays the Lift Music Classics"? [Lister shakes his head] What about "Sounds of the Supermarket: 20 Shopping Greats"?

Cat: Has anyone seen the keys to the medical cabinet? I feel a sudden urge to suffocate myself with a two-pound black ribbed nobler.

Lister: Not Reggie Wilson, please, Rimmer.

Rimmer: You don't like Reggie Wilson? What? Not even "Pop goes Delius" or "Funking up Wagner"?

Lister: I prefer something slightly more melodious, like the long, drawn-out death rattle of a man suffering from terminal flatulence.

Red Dwarf - Dimension Jump

Reggie Wilson is of course fictitious but there is a Reuben Wilson "the godfather of acid jazz" who plays a B3, the most popular of Hammond Organs.

And then there's Jon Lord.

78814. Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:31 am Reply with quote
Reggie Pepper is a fictional character who appears in seven short stories by P.G. Wodehouse. A young man-about-town with far more money than brain cells (he was left a fortune by his late uncle Edward Pepper, of Pepper, Wells and Co., the colliery people), he is considered to be an early prototype for Bertie Wooster, who with his manservant Jeeves, would go on to become Wodehouse's most famous creations.

79904. Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:31 am Reply with quote
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that H.G. Wells was trained not as a physicist but as a biologist. Unsurprisingly Wells was a socialist, though not a Marxist, and a member of the Fabian Society. In 1922 he stood as an unsuccessful Labour Parliamentary candidate for London University. As well as being a prolific author Wells was an all-round QI person, he was a member of Research Committee for the League of Nations and he met, and got on with, Lenin in 1920 and both Stalin (who left him disillusioned) and Roosevelt in 1934. One of his many mistresses, Moura Budberg, turned out to have been a Soviet agent for a number of years, Maxim Gorky's former mistress, she refused to marry Wells, or even be faithful. Rebecca West was another of his mistresses and he fathered a son by her, Anthony West. Like Einstein at one point he married his cousin (Isabel), Wells left Isabel for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895.

<E> clarification of subject of sentence

Last edited by Celebaelin on Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

80415. Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:52 am Reply with quote
The Fabian strategy is a military strategy where pitched battles are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition. While avoiding decisive battles, the side employing this strategy harasses its enemy to cause attrition and loss of morale. Employment of this strategy implies that the weaker side believes time is on its side, but it may also be adopted when no feasible alternative strategy can be devised.

Origins of Strategy
This strategy derives its name from Quintus Fabius Maximus, the Roman dictator given the thankless task of defeating the great general of Carthage, Hannibal, in southern Italy during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC). At the start of the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hannibal boldly crossed into Italy by traversing the Alps during winter-time and invaded Italy. Due to Hannibal's skill as a general, he repeatedly inflicted devastating losses on the Romans despite his numerical inferiority —quickly winning two smashing victories over the Romans at the Battle of Trebbia and the Battle of Lake Trasimene. After these disasters the Romans appointed Fabius Maximus as dictator. Well-aware of the military superiority of the Carthaginians and the ingenuity of Hannibal, Fabius initiated a war of attrition which was designed to exploit Hannibal's strategic vulnerabilities.

Quaintly Ignorant
80421. Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:15 am Reply with quote
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between Rome and Carthage. They have nothing to do with Pyrrhus, although I can't imagine why you would that were so. *whistles*

The Punic wars are largely seen as caused by two expanding and powerful empires clashing and fighting for superiority.

At the beginning of the first war Carthage was the dominant power in the Mediterranean with a powerful navy. Rome won the first war after 23 years thanks to its blind refusal to accept anything other than total victory.

The second war is famous for Hannibal's epic trek into Italy over the Alps, with War-Elephants. It continued for 16 years ending in Carthage's loss of Hispania. Hannibal escaped the war with his life but comitted suicide years later to avoid capture. Rome's costly strategy nearly cost them their very existence which bred a deeper hatred for the Carthaginians.

As evidence of Carthages heavily weakened position, the third Punic War lasted only three years and consisted of the Battle of Carthage in which the city was lain to seige, it's population killed or enslaved and the absorbtion of all territory by Rome.

The exact number of casualties on each side is always difficult to determine, due to bias in the historical sources, normally directed to enhance Rome's value.

According to sources (excluding land warfare casualties):

Rome lost 700 ships (mainly to bad weather and demagogues) and at least part of their crews.
Carthage lost 500 ships and at least part of their crews.
Each ship's crew was of about 100 men.
Although uncertain, the casualties were heavy for both sides. Polybius commented that the war was, at the time, the most destructive in terms of casualties in the history of warfare, including the battles of Alexander the Great. Analyzing the data from the Roman census of the 3rd century BC, Adrian Goldsworthy noted that during the conflict Rome lost about 50,000 citizens. This excludes auxiliary troops and every other man in the army without citizen status, who would be outside the head count.

When Carthage is finally starved into submission, in 146 BC, a population of 250,000 has been reduced to 50,000. These survivors are sold into slavery. The city burns for seventeen days, after which the ground is cleared and ploughed. Salt is scattered in the furrows, and a curse is pronounced to ensure that neither houses nor crops ever rise here again.

This obsessive frenzy of destruction has a sting in the tail for the Romans. When they later wish to found a new city on this strategic site, the curse proves something of a psychological obstacle for potential settlers.


In February of 1985, Ugo Vetere, the mayor of Rome, and Chedly Klibi, the mayor of Tunis, signed a symbolic treaty "officially" ending the war after more than 2200 years.

Pyrrhus of Epirus

So, everyone knows what a Pyrrhic victory is.

Pyrrhus was born in 319/318 as the son of Aeacides and a Greek lady from Thessaly named Phthia, the daughter of a hero in the War of Greek liberation against the Macedonians (the "Lamian war"). The young boy grew up at the Taulantian court and was twelve when Glaucias made him king (306).

Pyrrhus was often called "the eagle", a surname that expresses the admiration felt by many people, who were reminded of that other young warrior, Alexander the Great.

In 281, the inhabitants of Tarentum invited Pyrrhus to help them against the Romans. It was to be an interesting conflict. Pyrrhus wanted to avenge his relative Alexander, who had died in Italy, and wanted to equal Alexander the Great by building up an empire in the western Mediterranean, where wealthy Sicily was a tempting target. He could pose as the defender of Greek civilization, which would gain him more respect in Greece, which still regarded the Macedonians and Epirotes as little better than barbarians.
But the most interesting aspect was ideological: it would be a second Trojan War. Rome claimed to have been founded by refugees from Troy, led by Aeneas; and Pyrrhus claimed to be a descendant of the archenemy of the Trojans. A new Achilles would fight against a new Troy. It is probably no coincidence that when the Romans started to strike coins, one of their first series showed a very Italian symbol: the she-wolf, as if the Romans did not want to play the "Trojan" card any more.

Pyrrhus continued his war of expansion and was eventually drawn into conflict with Carthage at the request of Syracuse on Sicily. Syracuse pulled out of the agreement and refused to press all the way into Carthage. Carthage, eventually recovered their position leaving only Rome able to face them.

"What a beautiful field we leave for the Romans and Carthaginians to fight in," Pyrrhus said when he left Syracuse.

On his way back, the Syracusan fleet, which ferried him to Italy, was defeated by the Carthaginians in what was to be the last battle of the war (275). The Syracusans now regretted what they had done, but now it was too late. The peace treaty, which was concluded not much later, was to last for only a decade. The inevitable conflict between Rome and Carthage, known as the First Punic War, started in 264

Pyrrhus no longer had a choice: he had to go back to Tarentum, where he was regarded as an oppressor. Leaving a token force behind, he sailed back to Epirus in the winter of 275/274. He promised the Greeks that he would come back, but they understood that they were left alone. One by one, the cities surrendered to Rome, which turned out to be a surprisingly mild ruler. The world now knew that Rome was a superpower in the making, and the Egyptian king Ptolemy II Philadelphus was ready to conclude a treaty of friendship.

Pyrrhus was able to capture Argos. However, during the street fight that followed after he had entered the city, he was killed by a woman who threw a tile from a house-top. "The eagle" was buried in his capital Ambracia.

This was the end of Pyrrhus, who was, when we take everything into account, an adventurer and a conqueror, only capable of fighting. He was a brilliant tactician, but the days of Alexander the Great were gone; the world was being reconstructed by new rulers, who were more patient and could wait. If Pyrrhus had had the same quality, he could have become king of Macedonia in 281 and would have defeated the Celts. He would have united Epirus, Macedonia and Greece in one, strong kingdom. Instead, "the eagle" wasted his talents in ambitious campaigns in the far west, which he never was able to bring to their logical conclusions, and in the end, he lost everything.

So now we all know

Last edited by Quaintly Ignorant on Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:21 pm; edited 3 times in total

80437. Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:21 pm Reply with quote
Isn't that a Pyrrhic victory?

80439. Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:31 pm Reply with quote
Named after Pyrrhus, whose victory over the Romans wasn't much of a victory at all.

Pyrrhus won but his army suffered heavy looses. Pyrrhus lost many of his veteran soldiers as well as many skilled and reliable officers, including some of his personal friends. The Romans were able to replace their looses promptly, Pyrrhus did not have a reliable source of new trained soldiers. According to Dionysius, 15000 Romans and 13000 on Pyrrhus' side fell. According to Hieronymus 7000 Romans and 4000 on Pyrrhus' side fell. A bitter victory that actually implicated the defeat. In memory of Pyrrhus' fight the expression 'Pyrrhic victory' became common.

80449. Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:01 pm Reply with quote
"Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone"

King Pyrrhus, from Plutarch

I'm not sure how to handle this confusion, perhaps we can pull things together again with the Fossa Punica or 'Punic ditch', a ditch used by the Romans with inward sloping side and outward nearly vertical side.

In the marching camp of Vegetius the single ditch was a regulatory 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep, but auxiliary forts and legionary fortresses could have any number of ditches, depending on the local topography; all had at least one, many had two, and several had more, sometimes varying in number on different sides of the camp. The average dimensions for individual fossae of auxiliary forts ranged from 7 to 20-odd feet in width and between 4 to 10 feet deep. The actual width of the surrounding defensive system, however many individual ditches it contained, was obviously limited by the effective range of the garrison's weapons hurled from the vallum.

fossa punica "Punic ditch" This was a popular variation of the regular V-profile fossa fastigata, which, if present, was usually placed outermost in any ditch system surrounding a permanent fort or legionary fortress. This type of ditch had an irregular profile, the innermost slope closest to the vallum was quite shallow while the outer slope was almost vertical. This design has been interpreted as a type of 'man-trap'; anyone foolish enough to venture inside its perimeter would be forced to turn his back in order to climb the steep outer-wall, thus exposing himself to the defenders on the ramparts as an easy javelin target. It is probable that the shallow inner slope was merely to enable the bottom of the ditch to be seen from the rampart, but may also have served to lure any attackers into the 'killing zone' by the seemingly easy appearance of its inner slope.

Quaintly Ignorant
80455. Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:10 pm Reply with quote
haha.. see what happens when you forget to get educated....

sorry, was an error of concentration.. edited.

80461. Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Ah yes, but, thanks to your gracious edit, your post now claims that Pyrrhus fought in the Punic Wars, which he didn't (being inconveniently dead at the time). Sorry to keep niggling.

Quaintly Ignorant
80467. Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Mein Gott.....

Everybody should just ignore me. Upon preparing a post mostly from memory I have confused two entirely seperate periods/armies/people/the list goes on.... I would love to be able to explain exactly how I came to convince myself that Pyrrhus was infact the person the Punic wars were named after.

I promise I don't do drugs.

I will rectify my earlier post and somehow link it to the previous as soon as I verify my facts, to hell with this deadline. Ah well, that's what happens when I'm sneaking in posts between my bosses glances.

skulks off, embarrassed but slightly better educated

80471. Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:12 pm Reply with quote
These links might be of some use.

Pyrrhus (312-272 BC) (Greek: Πυρρος; Latin Pyrrhus) (Latin pronunciation: «PIHR uhs»), king of the Molossians (from ca. 297 BC), Epirus (306-301, 297-272 BC) and Macedon (288-284, 273-272 BC), was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome.

The First Punic War (264 BC - 241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was also a naval war to a big account. The struggle was costly to both powers, but Rome was victorious — it conquered the island of Sicily. The effect of the war destablized Carthage so much that Rome was able to seize Sardinia and Corsica a few years later when Carthage was plunged into the Mercenary War.

Quaintly Ignorant
80494. Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:31 pm Reply with quote
Thank you. Rectified and never again to be confused by me.

80513. Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:29 pm Reply with quote
For no better reason than that this is the kind of thing I like reading about and I therefore see no reason not to bore you with it I present the following which should fill in any gaps you may be wondering about in the story of Pyrrhus.

At the invitation of the city of Tarrentum in 281BC Pyrrhus began his war with Rome in Southern Italy. He fought three major battles against the Romans: Heraclea (280BC - Epirotic and allied Greek victory), Acsulum (279BC - Pyrrhic Epirotic and allied Greek victory) and, after the Sicilian campaign, Beneventum (275BC - stalemate, but followed by an Epirotic withdrawl from Italy).

After the battle of Asculum, Plutarch relates a report by Dionysius that:

"The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one other such would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war."

The phrase is more often reported as "Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone".

also links from that article on individual battles.

There doesn’t seem to be a convenient map available but Heraclea is in the middle of the ‘instep’ of Italy, Tarrentum is on the inside top of the ‘heel’, Beneventum is about 50km ENE of Naples and Asculum is about another 50km E of that.

btw technically I think it's my Punic ditch post that was the last actual shot made should anyone be so inclined as to move the game on.

82828. Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:46 pm Reply with quote
The Standing Stones of Fossa in Abruzzo used by the ancient Vestini tribe as a cemetery during the early Iron age (1000 - 800 BC). The stones - mostly upright flat slabs between 0.5m and 4m (1.6 and 13 feet) tall - are arranged in circles and straight lines, but with the unusual feature that in many of these circles and lines the slabs are of radically different heights and are arranged, like the steps of a staircase, in order of height.

83179. Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:31 am Reply with quote
The world's largest circle of standing stones is at Avebury.

The world’s largest megalithic ancient monument and largest stone circle are the 11.5 hectare (288 acre) earthworks and circles of Avebury, Wiltshire, England, which were rediscovered in 1646. The earliest calibrated date for this site is ca. 4200 BC.

Avebury is the site of an enormous henge and stone circles in the English county of Wiltshire at Grid reference SU103699, surrounding a village of the same name. It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to around 5000 years ago. It is older than the megalithic stages of Stonehenge, which is located about 20 miles to the south, although the two monuments are broadly contemporary overall.
Most of the surviving structure consists of earthworks, known as the dykes. A massive ditch and external bank henge 421 m in diameter and 1.35 km in circumference encloses an area of 115,000 square metres (28.5 acres).
There were originally 98 sarsen standing stones some weighing in excess of 40 tons. They varied in height from 3.6 to 4.2 m for the examples at the north and south entrances. Carbon dates from the fills of the stoneholes are 2800 – 2400 BC.

Nearer the middle of the monument are two other, separate stone circles. The Northern inner ring measures 98 m in diameter although only of two of its standing stones remain with two further, fallen ones. A cove of three stones stood in the middle, its entrance pointing north east.

The Southern inner ring was 108 m in diameter. Almost all of it has been destroyed with sections of its arc now beneath the village buildings. A single large monolith, 5.5 m high, stood in the centre along with an alignment of smaller stones until they were destroyed in the eighteenth century.

There is an avenue of paired stones, the West Kennet Avenue, leading from the south eastern entrance of the henge and traces of a second, the Beckhampton Avenue lead out from the western one.

There are however more stones at Carnac

The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuluses and single menhirs. The more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world.

and my favourites are dinky by comparison but precious to me

Rollright Stones

Dyffryn Ardydwy Cromlech

83251. Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:02 am Reply with quote
Studies led by Harvard physicist Peter Lu suggest that the Neolithic Chinese may have been using diamond to polish objects long before the current textual evidence of the use of diamond dating to around 500BC in India.

In an attempt to discover how the polishing was done, Lu obtained four ceremonial burial axes from the tombs of two Neolithic Chinese societies—the Liangzhu culture and the Sanxingcun culture—that once inhabited parts of southern China near what is now Shanghai. The stone axes had been dated by others to between 4000 and 2500 B.C.

To determine what kind of stone the axes were made of, Lu used X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and electron microprobe analysis. These techniques enabled him to determine the axes' chemical composition as well as the crystal structure of the stones' minerals. He found that all four axes were composed primarily of three minerals, the most abundant one being the aluminum oxide called corundum, which is the stuff of rubies and sapphires. Corundum's presence was a surprise, says Lu.

It's the second-hardest mineral on Earth; only diamond is harder. Lu reasoned therefore that the only mineral strong enough to polish a corundum-rich ax would have been diamond. "Everyone thought the ancient Chinese were using quartz" for their polishing, he says. Quartz, however, is too soft to buff corundum into a shine.

To test his theory, Lu conducted a series of polishing experiments on one of the burial axes. Using a diamond saw, he sliced the ax parallel to the polished surface and then buffed the new surfaces with commercial polishing equipment using three abrasives: diamond, corundum, and quartz.

Lu quantified the smoothness achieved with each abrasive by using an atomic force microscope to measure nanoscale features on all the samples' surfaces. Only the diamond-polished sample closely matched the smoothness of the ancient surface, he reports in the February Archaeometry.

There are two known diamond deposits within 300 kilometers of the burial sites, a distance that could have been traversed by Neolithic people, Lu notes.

So is this the winning shot?

83290. Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:52 pm Reply with quote
Yes it is. Great shot BTT! You to start the next game.

QI Moderator
561004.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:35 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 18

83310. Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:54 pm Reply with quote
DER DER DER DER......are you afraid to go into the water? Well you might be, if recent sightings of a Great White Shark off the coast of Cornwall are to be believed....

Marine biologist Douglas Herdson, from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, rejected claims of sightings.

But shark conservationist Richard Peirce says the weight of anecdotal evidence convinces him that Great Whites are in UK waters.

Mr Herdson said: "Temperature and conditions here are all fine, and I'm sure they have been here in the last 3-4,000 years, but they are now so rare it is very unlikely.

"Shark populations such as blue sharks in the North Atlantic have crashed over the past few years.

"All the intensive fishing in the Bay of Biscay, catching hundreds of thousands of sharks including one Great White 40 years ago, means I very much doubt they are here now."

In 2003 Richard Peirce set off from Padstow in Cornwall with the intention of spotting a Great White, but returned without a sighting.

Mr Peirce, from Bude, told BBC News: "There is no scientific evidence, but there is very strong anecdotal evidence and the case is much stronger than that portrayed in the programme.

"I am almost certain that Great White Sharks appear off the coast.

"My view is that there is strong circumstantial evidence that we get occasional vagrant visitors."

Lobster fisherman Brian Bate, from Padstow, is convinced he saw a Great White several years ago.

He said: "I saw this big thing breach out of the water.

"He looked like he was tail towards me. I could see his back and as he came up he twisted sideways.

"I thought, 'What was that?'. It was quite a size to come leaping out of the water."

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as white pointer, white shark, or white death, is an exceptionally large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. Reaching lengths of about 6 meters (20 feet) and weighing almost 2,000 kilograms (4,000 pounds), the great white is the world's largest predatory fish. They are the only known surviving species of their genus, Carcharodon.
Great white sharks live in almost all the cold or temperate waters of the planet, with greater concentrations in the southern coasts of Australia, in South Africa, California, Mexico's Isla Guadalupe and to a degree in the Central Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. It can be also found in tropical waters like those of the Caribbean and has been recorded off Mauritius. It is a pelagic fish, but recorded or observed mostly in coastal waters in the presence of rich game like fur seals, sealions, cetaceans, other sharks and large bony fish species. It is considered an open-ocean dweller and is recorded from the surface down to depths of 1,280 meters, but is most often found close to the surface.
creme egg petition

antler petition

83689. Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Padstow is best known for its "'Obby 'Oss" festival. Although its origins are unclear, it most likely stems from an ancient fertility rite, perhaps the Celtic festival of Beltane. The festival starts at midnight on May Eve when townspeople sing the "Morning Song". In the morning, the town is dressed with greenery and flowers are placed around a maypole. The climax arrives when male dancers cavort through the town dressed as one of two 'Obby 'Osses, the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'Obby 'Osses; as the name suggests, they are stylised kinds of horses. Prodded on by acolytes known as "Teasers", each wears a gruesome mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to catch young maidens as they pass through the town. Finally, at midnight on May Day, the crowd sings of the 'Obby 'Oss death, until its resurrection the following May Eve.

84025. Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:35 pm Reply with quote
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the forerunner of the CIA created before America became directly involved in WWII to provide intelligence on the development of the war in Europe and in Asia.

By late June, the Germans had defeated France. Now Britain found itself in the midst of an all out air war. Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that the war had reached a critical stage. He was looking for different ways to help Britain in the war effort. Roosevelt asked a WWI veteran, Colonel William J. Donovan, to go to Britain and report on Britain's chances against Germany. Winston Churchill made sure this visit went well. Donovan was able to see all sides of the Britain's strategy and defenses. Because of Britain's desperate need for American support, Donovan was given access to all kinds of defensive and intelligence secrets. Donovan was impressed with many of Britain's operational agencies, especially Britain's intelligence function.

When Donovan came back to the United States he prepared extensive reports of everything he encountered in Britain. He also added many of his own ideas on intelligence and the need for a nondepartmental intelligence agency. Roosevelt was intrigued with Donovan's ideas on the need for intelligence in warfare. President Roosevelt decided that there was a need for an agency that could coordinate all intelligence arms of the United States. On July 11, 1941, FDR created a new office with Donovan at the head as the Coordinator of Information, or the COI.

The OSS had many different offices that changed throughout the war and many of them contributed. Some of the main branches of the OSS included Research and Analysis (R&A), Secret Intelligence (SI), Special Operations (SO), and the X-2 branch, which was involved in counterintelligence operations.
The Special Operations Branch (SO) also had important contributions throughout Europe and Asia. They worked very closely with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Indeed the SOE Operations Manual was used by both the SOE and the OSS. The SOE had been set up at the explicit request of Churchill to conduct covert operations.

CHURCHILL was mesmerised by another form of secret war: special operations. Sabotage, subversion, "dirty tricks," guerrilla war—all won Within weeks of becoming Prime Minister he insisted that clandestine war be given top priority. Thus was born the Special Operations Executive, SOE. "Set Europe Ablaze," he instructed its first head, Hugh Dalton. SOE preceded "Wild Bill" Donovan’s OSS by two years, and taught it—and hence its successor the CIA—much about the arts of secret war. Canadians among us probably know that SOE’s secret training facility, "Camp X," on the shores of Lake Ontario some fifty miles outside Toronto, played an important part in that story. SOE’s training director, later its head, was another Scot, Cohn Gubbins, from the Hebrides. It was he also who arranged for large swaths of the western Highlands to be taken over during the war as SOE training grounds.

QI Individual
84033. Sun Aug 06, 2006 3:14 pm Reply with quote
Julia Child (August 15, 1912–August 13, 2004) was a famous American cook, author, and television personality who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream through her many cookbooks and television programs. Her most famous works are the 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, showcasing her sui generis television persona, the series The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.

Decades before becoming a famous chef, she worked for the Office of Strategic Services. (The OSS was the predecessor to the CIA.) She was assigned to solve a problem for U.S. naval forces during World War II: Sharks would bump into explosives that were placed underwater, setting them off and warning the German U-boats they were intended to sink.

"So... Julia Child and a few of her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a shark repellent," that was used to coat the explosives, McCarthy says.


84039. Sun Aug 06, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote
There's a ten 'shot' minimum before the winner can be played so any return which gets made will be valid sadly. Good shot though.

QI Individual
84130. Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:49 am Reply with quote
I thought it was a rather QI factoid.

It's bad enough if you bump your head. But against an explosive device?!?!
That must have given the poor blighters a serious headache.

Having previously only contributed to the 'amateur league' TQQ thread I bow to the superior knowledge of the more seasoned players.


Having checked the sticky thread concerning the object/rules of the game in advance I must confess being unable to find the ten strike convention you seem to be referring to.

Please enlighten me.

84210. Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:44 pm Reply with quote
erm, hang on...

Phew, I “knew” I wasn’t imagining it.

Jenny wrote:
Good point - I'd lost track of the fact that you made the last shot. The game ends when somebody links (after ten shots) the previous post to the first post in the game. I'd have to scroll back to find out what that was...

post 51265

I don’t know if this was a rationalisation or whether there was some precedent but this is the post I’d read previously. It seems sensible to me.

84367. Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:14 am Reply with quote
This was how it was set up originally, after it was clear that some smartarses could bring the game to a swift end within a couple of posts - seemed more QI to let it meander a little.

84455. Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:45 pm Reply with quote
Chemical messengers which affect the interaction of animals are called semiochemicals.

Behavioral messages are delivered by a wide array of chemical compounds. As a group, these compounds are known as semiochemicals. In some cases, they may facilitate communication between the members of a single species (e.g., pheromones) or between members of different species (e.g., allelochemicals).

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News
July 29, 2004

Researchers say they have developed a shark repellent that uses apparently natural chemical signals to shift the animals from hunting mode to flight mode. If it proves to be effective and environmentally safe to use, it could soon become standard-issue for everyone who comes into contact with the marine predators—from surfers to commercial fishers.
Semiochemicals are also common in the lives of aquatic animals, said Samuel H. Gruber. "Doc" Gruber is a marine biologist at Florida's University of Miami and a leading shark researcher with decades of hands-on experiences. "Certain kinds of fishes, like minnows, release something when attacked that tells the rest of the school to disperse quickly," he said.

Stroud and assistant Mike Herrmann believed that sharks might possess a similar avoidance chemical that sometimes warns other sharks to stay away. Their task was to isolate that chemical." We took that as our direction and began to investigate the molecular chemistry of shark tissues," Stroud said.
Fish feeding in the area appear to be totally unaffected, yet sharks detect the substance in even minute proportions.

In the controlled environment of lab tanks, sharks have responded to even 0.1 part per million—for example, they would likely respond to 12 ounces of the chemical in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

According to the National Geographic article none of the wartime shark repellents were particularly effective.

87751. Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:51 am Reply with quote
The SS Minnow was the name of the wrecked boat in Gilligan's Island...

Gilligan's Island was an American TV sitcom which aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26 1964 to September 4 1967. It ran for a total of 98 episodes; the first 36 episodes were filmed and shown in black-and-white (later colorized in syndication) with the remaining 62 episodes and three sequels filmed in color. Enjoying solid ratings during its original run, the popularity of the show grew during decades of syndication.

The show's theme song, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" (written by George Wyle and Sherwood Schwartz), is a well-known example of ballad meter, and it begins:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...
The song was written to give new viewers a capsule summary of the unusual situation the castaways find themselves in. Another verse was played over the closing credits, after the invariably unsuccessful attempts of the castaways to leave the island.

The last episode of the show, "Gilligan the Goddess" (prod. no. 1098-670417), aired on April 17, 1967, and ended with the castaways never succeeding in leaving the island. Under a wave of pressure to reverse the threatened cancellation of Gunsmoke, which aired late on Saturday nights, CBS cancelled Gilligan's Island to open up early air time on Monday evenings, despite the sitcom's solid ratings

Another common story format had the castaways confront a problem and one of the castaways, usually Gilligan, has a silly dream that relates to the problem in question. Almost all of the castaways in later interviews and memoirs have stated that the dream episodes were among their personal favorites.

Gilligan dreams he is a Wild West sheriff who protects a duck everyone wants to eat.
Each of the men has a dream about being an object of adoration to women: Gilligan dreams he is a matador, Skipper's dream is that he is a Sultan with a harem, Mr. Howell dreams he is being pampered, and the Professor imagines himself as a dashing film star.
Skipper hits his head and suffers amnesia. The professor hypnotizes him to try to cure him. Under hypnosis, the Skipper sees the other castaways as childhood classmates, then in another hypnotic session he sees them as Japanese soldiers from WWII.
Gilligan dreams he is a spoiled prince of the Royal Howells, who only wants to be a "normal" boy.
Gilligan dreams he is a puppet (literally) ruler of a country, where he must promise the people "dis, dat and de udder ting"[sic].
Thurston Howell dreams he is a prospector who strikes it rich, but gets into debt and trouble.
Gilligan dreams his own version of Jack and the Beanstalk where the Giant is hoarding oranges.
Mary Ann dreams she is a patient in a hospital everyone wants to pronounce terminal.
Gilligan dreams he is a vampire who battles Inspector Sherlock (The Professor) and Colonel Watney (Skipper).
Gilligan dreams he is Secret Agent 014 ("twice as good as 007") charged with delivering an attaché case with most of the other castaways being assassins.
Gilligan dreams he is Henry Jekyll on trial with Mary Poppins (Mrs. Howell) as his counsel, while it is revealed by witness, "The Lady in Red," (Tina Louise), that he turns into Mr. Hyde when people talk about food within earshot.
Gilligan dreams he is Lord Admiral Gilligan battling pirates on his ship.
Lovey Howell stars in her own dream version of Cinderella with Gilligan as her Fairy Godfather.
Gilligan dreams that the castaways are cave people following a map to get to the other side of the island.

87802. Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:45 pm Reply with quote
Gunsmoke was the show that brought us Burt Reynolds in a regular role. His initial film roles were in Westerns (100 Rifles, Sam Whiskey) and then Deliverance. This seems to me to have started him in a succession of Good Old Boy parts (with the exception of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing another Western) interspersed with less successful cop roles. Personally I thought the cop comedy City Heat was great but I have, erm, eclectic taste in these matters. IMDb ratings place Deliverance (Dir. John Boorman) as Reynolds highest scoring movie just edging out Boogie Nights for which Reynolds was Oscar and BAFTA nominated for best supporting actor for his role as porn director Jack Horner. Deliverance has a rating of 7.8 but does not appear on the top 250 list, presumably because only the votes of regular contributors are considered when compiling that list.

87942. Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:27 am Reply with quote
The part of "Second Griner" in the film deliverence was played by Randall Deal of Clayton, Georgia. In case you're not sure which one the second griner was, he was the one who said:

"It ain't nothing but the biggest fuckin' river in the state!"

At the premiere of the film, he told his mother that the above swear-word was dubbed in, and that he never said it.


Deal was convicted in the 1960s of moonshining and conspiring to violate liquor laws, but after hearing of another similarly-aged moonshiner recieving a pardon, he wrote to the president. Sure enough he got the pardon from George W Bush; the whole affair hit the news in the US a couple of weeks ago.

Deal still recieves cheques for a couple of dollars every now and then for his role, but his movie career consisted only of this line in deliverance, and the part of an "Elder" in the 1982 film Trapped.

88178. Wed Aug 23, 2006 6:22 am Reply with quote
Derek Randall was an England cricketer, in fact in the days of my youth he was the England cricketer whom I admired. Shame I could never aspire to that kind of ability really. Wiki gives a couple of nicknames for him but I recall 'Beaky' being used, not altogether kindly, in the same sense that Arkle was - on account of his nose.

Derek Randall (born Retford, Nottinghamshire England 24 February 1951), known to cricket fans as 'Arkle' after the famous racehorse but always 'Rags' to himself, was a cricketer who played first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the English cricket team in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His impact as a batsman on the sport of cricket goes far beyond what his figures might suggest.

The 'Clown Prince' of Cricket

A player with a boyish sense of joy in an age of dull professionalism, Randall first came to note as an outstanding cover fielder. As one day cricket forced fielding standards ever upwards, Randall led the way in redefining outfielding, as Jack Hobbs and Colin Bland had done before him. His runout of Gordon Greenidge in the Cricket World Cup final of 1979 is but one highlight and his partnership with a youthful David Gower was a feature of the successful England team of the immediate post-Packer era. Known for his eccentric movement at the crease, Randall was actually a determined batsman, the flashing cover drives, pulls and square cuts masking a steely desire to succeed.

To be honest not enough is made in the above of Randall's fielding, he was incredible and it's a shame that there's no still image that can do that justice.

88628. Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:13 pm Reply with quote
1960's band, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich took their name from an amalgam of their nicknames....

Five friends from Wiltshire, David Harman, Trevor Davies, John Dymond, Michael Wilson and Ian Amey, formed a group in 1961 called Dave Dee And The Bostons. They soon gave up their jobs (eg. Dave Dee was a policeman) to make money from music. Apart from performing in Britain, they also occasionally played in Hamburg (Star-Club, Top Ten Club), and in Cologne (Storyville).

In 1964 they changed their name after British songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, became interested in them, and signed with Fontana Records.

The distinctive name, coupled with well produced and catchy songs by Howard and Blaikley, quickly caught the UK's public's imagination, and their records started to sell in abundance. Indeed, between 1965 and 1969, the group spent more weeks in the UK singles chart than The Beatles.

Vocalist Dee (born: David Harman), an ex-policeman, was at the scene of the automobile accident that took the life of American rocker Eddie Cochran and injured Gene Vincent in April 1960. Dee had taken Cochran's guitar from the accident and held it until it could be returned to his family. He returned the undamaged guitar to Cochran's family.

They also scored a Number One hit on the UK chart in 1968 with "The Legend of Xanadu". Their other Top Ten hits included "Hideaway" and "Zabadak!",_Dozy,_Beaky,_Mick_&_Tich

88633. Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:53 pm Reply with quote
Geoff Capes British and Commonwealth shotput champion, most capped British male athlete of all time, twice worlds strongest man and renowned budgie breeder is a former policeman.

Other famous former policemen include, in no particular order:

Gene Roddenberry
George Orwell
Errol Flynn
Theodore Roosevelt
Grover Cleveland
Ray Reardon
Christopher Dean

88720. Fri Aug 25, 2006 9:23 am Reply with quote
Terry Waite was born in Bollington, Cheshire, his father was the local policeman; as was Sir James Chadwick (born there, that is, not a policeman)

Bollington is known locally as happy-valley; according to the Guinness Book of Records, it has the world's highest ratio of pubs to people.

89230. Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:10 pm Reply with quote
Happy Valley is an area of Hong Kong and also, somewhat unsurprisingly, once you a) realise there is one and b) know the chinese literal meaning, the name of the racecourse that is located there.

Happy Valley (lit. horse racing ground) is a mostly residential suburb of Hong Kong, located in the north of Hong Kong Island. It is one of the early communities of Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of Wan Chai District.

The valley is also known indigenously as Wong Nai Chung (lit. yellow mud stream), named after the stream of the same name. The two names are used interchangeably. For indicating the landscape, Wong Nai Chung Kuk or Wong Nai Chung Valley is used occasionally.

Happy Valley Racecourse, one of the two race tracks of the Hong Kong Jockey Club is located in Happy Valley.

The Hong Kong Racing Museum, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, and a number of cemeteries (including the Hong Kong Cemetery) are also located in Happy Valley.,_Hong_Kong

Hong Kong was a British colony from 1842, until its sovereignty was transferred to the PRC in 1997. It is governed as special administrative region under the Basic Law of Hong Kong. Under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the PRC has promised that Hong Kong will have a relatively high degree of autonomy until at least 2047, fifty years after the transfer of sovereignty. Under the "One Country, Two Systems" policy, it retains its own legal system, currency, customs policy, cultural delegation, international sport teams, and immigration laws.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:02 am; edited 1 time in total

203994. Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:44 pm Reply with quote
Bump in the hope of concluding the game.

Interesting that the "Great White Hype" has recurred.

Sebastian flyte
302764. Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:55 am Reply with quote
The oldest Racecourse in Britain is the Roodee at Chester.
which has held horse racing since the 16th century before that it was home to the famously violent Goteddsay football match which was banned in 1533 and replaced with racing in 1539.

Roodee is a corruption of 'rood eye' which means island of the cross. Legend says that the cross marks the spot of a murderous statue of the Virgin Mary which was sentenced to death for causing the death of Lady Trawst. The legend says that Lady Trawst had gone into church to pray for rain and that as her prayers where answered and a huge storm broke the statue loosened and fell and killed her.

Sorry for the wikisource..*cough*

(I hope I linked from the right place and didnt have to do great white hope)

Last edited by Sebastian flyte on Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:07 am; edited 1 time in total

302777. Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:06 am Reply with quote
Nope, that's fine Seb. but if you provide links to your sources that's good too - not obligatory obviously, but good.

Chester has the most complete city walls of in the UK; the ones we see today are medieval but the first walls built were of course Roman.

The city of Chester was founded as a fort, known as Deva, by the Romans in AD 79. The city was the scene of battles between warring Welsh and Saxon kingdoms throughout the post-Roman years until the Saxons strengthened the fort against raiding Danes.

Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Chester came under the Earl of Chester. It became a centre of the defense against Welsh raiders and a launch point for raids on Ireland.

Sebastian flyte
302779. Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:08 am Reply with quote
(I just did my link sorry, I hadn't found the full rules till after I'd played)

302782. Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:09 am Reply with quote
In the year of 1533, King Henry VIII of England marries Anne Boleyn, who becomes his second queen consort.
(Just wondering, was this a real marriage, or has QI refuted this?)

302785. Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:10 am Reply with quote
Too slow zomgmouse!

302795. Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:17 am Reply with quote
Yep. BAH!

Sebastian flyte
302873. Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:31 am Reply with quote
The Chester Romans and Cornish sharks are both teams in the British American Football league. Possibly this is part of the reason why so many Great white sharks have been spotted off the coast at Cornwall they are football players having a swim.


302885. Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:43 am Reply with quote
16th legitimate 'shot' so GQQ18 goes to Seb.

You to serve in GQQ19 Seb. if you choose to do so.

Sebastian flyte
302895. Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:03 pm Reply with quote
Celebaelin wrote:
16th legitimate 'shot' so GQQ18 goes to Seb.

You to serve in GQQ19 Seb. if you choose to do so.

I won !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bloody hell :) *smug face*

I will have to do GQQ19 a bit later today if that is okay? As I have to go training soon. (not American football)

303606. Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:16 am Reply with quote
Well done.
You wouldn't've, though, if my post of Henry VIII was accepted - tough linking from there, I'd say.
Well done all the same.

QI Moderator
561009.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:39 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 19

Sebastian flyte
303081. Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:15 pm Reply with quote
In 1877 The Oxford and Cambridge boat race finished in a dead heat.

303162. Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:32 pm Reply with quote
The Roman Emperor Nero (reigned AD 54-68) has taken a certain amount of heat over the years for his conduct towards his mother; not content with having dismissed her body guard, thrown her out of the house, bribed people to annoy her with lawsuits while she was in Rome, and to pass her house shouting abuse when she was in the country, he eventually decided to render her dead. Some particularly over complicated (and unsuccessful) attempts, according to Suetonius (Life of Nero (34)), poison having failed on three occasions, were his ingenious schemes to do away with her by means of a mechanical device intended to make her bedroom ceiling fall on her while she slept (she got word of that one), and by having a collapsible boat built. To make this last one work, he pretended that all was suddenly well again, and invited Mumsie to come to see him at his place by the seaside. He gave orders to a ship's captain to "accidentally" wreck her ship, and then offered her his booby trapped one to sail home in. Unfortunately, she swam to safety when it duly collapsed as planned, so he had her stabbed, claimed she'd been trying to have him killed and told everyone it was suicide, which makes one wonder why he hadn't done that in the first place.

303632. Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:58 am Reply with quote
A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that bounds the upper limit of a room. It is generally not a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the floor or roof structure above.
A cathedral ceiling is any tall ceiling area similar to those in a church.
A dropped ceiling is one in which the finished surface is constructed anywhere from a few inches to several feet below the structure above it. This may be done for aesthetic purposes, such as achieving a desirable ceiling height; or practical purposes such as providing a space for HVAC or piping. An inverse of this would be a raised floor.
A concave or barrel shaped ceiling is curved or rounded, usually for visual or acoustical value, while a coffered ceiling is divided into a grid of recessed square or octagonal panels, also called a lacunar ceiling.
Ceilings have frequently been decorated with fresco painting, mosaic tiles and other surface treatments. Many historic buildings have celebrated ceilings, perhaps the most famous is the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo.

303837. Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:52 am Reply with quote

Bone is not solid, not even compact (as opposed to spongy) bone. Neither is it a permanent structure (as with all tissue - this lability explains how healing is possible). Bone is pierced by a great many channels termed Haversian canals, named after the discoverer of same who basked in the glory of being christened Clopton Havers - I kid you not. Not only that but concentrically around the Haversian canals there are lacunar structures each containing an osteocyte - a cell which mediates the turnover of bone matrix.

Osteons are arranged in parallel to the long axis of the bone. The Haversian canals surround blood vessels and nerve cells throughout the bone and communicate with osteocytes in lacunae (spaces within the dense bone matrix that contain the living bone cells) through canaliculi. This unique arrangement is conducive to mineral salt deposits and storage which gives bone tissue its strength.

Osteocyte lacunar size–lamellar thickness relationships in human secondary osteons

304140. Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:02 pm Reply with quote
The good Dr Havers (who shares his splendid first name with a deserted medieval village in Cambridgeshire) got his doctorate from the University of Utrecht, as did Jacobus Van 't Hoff (any Dutch onomasticians care to enlighten me as to the purpose of that rather odd looking floating lower case t and apostrophe combo? Fogged, at present), who won the first Nobel Prize for Chemistry, in 1901. He seems to have done important things relating to stereochemistry and to solutions, amongst other things, and to have found time for some geology on the side; my own chemistry is sufficiently meagre that I don't trust myself to provide a coherent summary of any of his ideas, so I shall point you here instead:

Dr Havers' burial was recorded in the parish register thus "Clopton Havers, M.D.. was buried April 29th, 1702, in what was made of sheep's wooll only, and affidavit thereof made and delivered the same day". (For this and other Clopton Havers info, see: ).

The wool bit refers to the legal requirement that

from and Acter the Five and twentyeth day of March in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred sixty seaven Noe person or persons whatsoever shall be buryed in any Shirt Shift or Sheete made of or mingled with Flax Hempe, Silke, Haire, Gold or Silver or other then what shall be made of Wooll onely, or be putt into any Coffin lined or faced with any thing made of or mingled with Flax Hempe Silke or Haire upon paine of the forfeiture of the summe of Five pounds to be imployed to the use of the Poore of the Parish

The Act was intended to support the English wool industry, and limit the quantity of linen being imported from abroad. Two further Acts on the subject were passed, in 1677 and 1680, the 1677 Act bringing in the requirement that affidavits be sworn that wool only was being used. Plague victims were exempted from the rules (which remained in force until 1815), for some reason. Texts here:

304220. Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:32 pm Reply with quote
The War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), which strangely enough was fought principally between France on one side and the Holy Roman Empire, the Duchy of Savoy, Great Britain and Holland on the other@, was concluded by the Treaty of Utrecht. The point was that Philip V, the recently appointed Spanish monarch, was a grandson of the French King Louis XIV but the Hapsburgs maintained a claim to the Spanish crown and an opposition to French expansion. The Brits got in on the act presumably as a pretext to oppose French colonialism in North America.

The treaty itself was not a single document but a series of separate peace treaties signed between the combatant nations with one notable exception - there was no treaty between France* and Austria (Holy Roman Empire), this element had to wait for the following year and the treaty of Rastatt (1714) which was signed at the imaginatively named First Congress of Rastatt.

@ The Spanish were involved of course but it was mainly the French

* presumably there was no Austrian treaty with Spain either although Wiki is unforthcoming on this detailed point.

304540. Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:51 am Reply with quote

Monty Python, or The Pythons, is the collective name of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. A total of 45 episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the original television series into something much larger in scope and impact, spawning touring stage shows, five theatrically-released films, numerous albums, several books and a spin-off stage musical, and launching the members on to individual stardom.
The television series, broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974, was conceived, written and performed by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Loosely structured as a sketch show but with an innovative stream-of-consciousness approach (aided by Terry Gilliam's animations), it pushed the boundaries of what was then considered acceptable, both in terms of style and content.
The group's influence on comedy has often been compared to The Beatles' influence on music. A self-contained comedy team responsible for both writing and performing their work, they changed the way performers entertained audiences. The Pythons' creative control allowed them to experiment with form and content, discarding the established rules of television comedy. Their influence on British comedy of all kinds has been apparent for many years, while in America it has coloured the work of many cult performers from the early editions of Saturday Night Live through to more recent absurdist trends in television comedy. "Pythonesque" has entered the English lexicon as a result.

305854. Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:29 am Reply with quote
Python was a huge dragon or serpent of Greek myth slain with arrows by Apollo. The event was commemorated by the institution of the Pythian games in which the victors of the tests of speed, strength and skill were rewarded with wreaths of beech leaves; laurels being instituted as a sign of victory only at a later date. The legendary site of the slaying of Python became the home of the Delphic Oracle although this was not the serpent's lair - Apollo chased the creature from Mount Parnassus to the cleft in the rocks at Delphi and there he slew her.

305874. Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:16 am Reply with quote
Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born June 16 1890 He became the man we know today thanks in part to his, then, common law wife and stage partner Mae Dahlberg and the dialect of the northern clubs and music halls where he began his journey into show business. Mae's stage name was Mae Laurel, Arthur Jefferson took his middle name as his stage name, his father also Arthur Jefferson was an establish music hall star at the time, Over time the pair were introduced as "Stan and Laurel". It was thanks to that the name stuck and when he went to work in the US for a second time in 1926 (the first visit was a vaudeville tour in 1910) he began working with a man Norvell Hardy in a film 1928 Leave 'em laughing and they went on to form one of the most popular comedy double acts of all time, they are of course both now dead
And that's Qing Qong

305918. Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:42 pm Reply with quote
The hardy refers to a square hole in an anvil and various tools that fit inside that hole. As the hardy hole is square, the tools used in it will not turn.
Different hardy tools are used to form and cut metal. The swage is used to make metal round for final use as nails, bolts, rods or rivets. The fuller is used to help bend metal, and make dents and shoulders. Many hardy shapes have corresponding hammer shapes to help form metal, for example a "V"-shaped fuller is used with an inverted "V"-shaped hammer to form iron into an angle shape.

306003. Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:57 pm Reply with quote
barbados wrote:
And that's Qing Qong

But only 9 posts on the thread at that point so according to the supreme adjudicator in these matters that is Jenny there's a 10 post minimum before a winning shot can be made - assuming that was your intention.

306289. Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:38 am Reply with quote
Cumulonimbus are sometimes referred to as anvil head clouds or thunderheads and occur primarily in the Summer bringing heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and sometimes hail. The anvil head forms in the tropopause (about 6 - 8 miles up). The conflicting airflows found in these formations with warm air rising and water condensing out (which actually further warms the air through the property of latent heat, the same property that is responsible for the cooling of surroundings when liquids evaporate) and eventually freezing and dropping through the cloud cause static electricity to build up. The flat top of a cumulonimbus cloud is solid! It consists of ice crystals at about -10 Celcius, presumably the size of these crystals is such that the updraft energy of the warm air is sufficient to keep them at that specific altitude despite gravity. Hail is formed by re-circulation of frozen water with the individual stones becoming ever larger with each ascent until they eventually fall as what we know as hail. The largest hailstone recorded to date was 17.8cm across at its widest point.

Winning shot to me I think.

306361. Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:34 am Reply with quote
With heat? Yeah, I think you've done it. Unless it has to be specifically linked to the boat race.

306448. Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:18 am Reply with quote
No, it doesn't; paradoxically such a short post makes virtually every word part of the main theme of the post. Whilst some 'winners' may be thought to be better than others the rules state only that the link back to the first and/or previous post be made - the longer the post the more wide ranging the possibilities for surprising and interesting links.

I nearly didn't include the heat part of that post - in fact initially I didn't include it at all; but since people were clearly thinking about a winner rather than prolonging the game I thought I'd slip that linkage in since it's been a fair few games since I played a winner.

If it's OK by other players I suggest that we extend the 'shot minimum' from 10 to 20 for GQQ20 and, if that works sufficiently well, all subsequent games.

306454. Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:14 am Reply with quote
20 sounds fantastic; it gives us a chance to make the Qings and Qongs as far-fetched as they can possibly get.

306462. Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:36 am Reply with quote
S'funny and it's going to make me sound bitter, which I'm not, but when was the 10 post rule brought in, I don't recall it from the original round of games

306463. Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:42 am Reply with quote

306520. Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:54 am Reply with quote
Unless of course you look here

306523. Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:56 am Reply with quote
We will have to have a review of the rules, if that's what you're saying.

306536. Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:10 am Reply with quote
No I'm not really that worried by it, just wanted to be clear

306544. Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:15 am Reply with quote
I still think we need an 'official' rules page.

Sebastian flyte
306586. Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:54 pm Reply with quote
Celebaelin wrote:
No, it doesn't; paradoxically such a short post makes virtually every word part of the main theme of the post. Whilst some 'winners' may be thought to be better than others the rules state only that the link back to the first and/or previous post be made - the longer the post the more wide ranging the possibilities for surprising and interesting links.

I nearly didn't include the heat part of that post - in fact initially I didn't include it at all; but since people were clearly thinking about a winner rather than prolonging the game I thought I'd slip that linkage in since it's been a fair few games since I played a winner.

If it's OK by other players I suggest that we extend the 'shot minimum' from 10 to 20 for GQQ20 and, if that works sufficiently well, all subsequent games.

Well done, and sorry for such a short first entry, it was my first and I couldn't really think of anything! :) Perhaps when each new game is started the person should write how many shots are the minimum required. Just to be clear.

306615. Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:04 pm Reply with quote
That seems fine. So Celebaelin will have to edit his/her post on GQQ20 to say it's 20 shots.

306674. Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:45 pm Reply with quote
There is no reference on GQQ20 because it's already there at the end of GQQ19 - please stop trying to have the last word by making pointless posts.

307073. Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:52 am Reply with quote
Oh, come on...

307202. Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:04 am Reply with quote

On a slightly serious note it's bound to be the case that we refer back to this thread to inform people of the new tweak at some point. Quite often posts are made without the poster reading the entire thread, never mind the previous related ones. I don't see why the 'server' can't nominate the number of replies before a winner can be played but there must be some sort of rational upper limit to the minimum to prevent threads outliving their entertainment value simply because the minimum has not been reached. I think we should use 20 as the default minimum and say no minimum can be set at greater than 30 (two pages of 'shot' posts).

307216. Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:35 am Reply with quote
Well yes, but people may not look here. So I still maintain my point of making a sticky, or adding to the Qing Qong sticky.
Also, the 'server' should post the minimum.

I think this has been long settled, and we don't need any more posts on this thread.

307394. Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Especially not from you! Since I won GQQ19 I get to have the last say on this thread.

307808. Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:59 am Reply with quote
Says you.

QI Moderator
561011.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:42 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 20

306449. Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:44 am Reply with quote
Agkistrodon contortrix is a venomous pitviper species (actually one of five subspecies) found in North America, it is most commonly referred to as the copperhead snake due to its colouration. The venom of the copperhead is not known to be lethal to humans although complications with allergy to the antivenom CroFab have been known to cause complications which are worse than the snake venom itself.

Its close relative Agkistrodon piscivorus, the water moccasin, is sometimes termed the copperhead but since it has, according to Wiki, 39 common names this is unsurprising but nevetheless not technically correct.

306455. Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:15 am Reply with quote
Copper (pronounced /?k?p?/) is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with excellent electrical conductivity, and finds extensive use as an electrical conductor, heat conductor, as a building material, and as a component of various alloys.
Copper is an essential trace nutrient to all high plants and animals. In animals, including humans, it is found primarily in the bloodstream, as a co-factor in various enzymes, and in copper-based pigments. However, in sufficient amounts, copper can be poisonous and even fatal to organisms.
Copper has played a significant part in the history of humankind, which has used the easily accessible uncompounded metal for thousands of years. Several early civilizations have early evidence of using copper. During the Roman Empire, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.
A number of countries, such as Chile and the United States, still have sizable reserves of the metal which are extracted through large open pit mines, however like tin there may be insufficient reserves to sustain current rates of consumption. High demand relative to supply has caused a price spike in the 2000s.
Copper also has a significant presence as a decorative metal art. It can also be used as an anti-germ surface. Findings from extensive research have been published that copper is a biocidal agent that can add to the anti-bacterial and antimicrobial features of a building where germs are reduced. Business and a government-based research group have been working to verify and substantiate this groundbreaking FDA resolution. This finding was released in March 2008 in the New York Times.

Sebastian flyte
306590. Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:16 pm Reply with quote
Cyprus was unsettled in paleolithic times and this enabled the longer survival of dwarf forms such as Elephas Cypriotes the dwarf elephant. Dwarf elephant remains have also been found in Malta, Crete, Sicily and Sardinia among other Islands where insular dwarfism occurred.

Elphas Cypriotes had an estimated body weight of 200kg and lived until 11,000 BP. Dorothy Bate discovered the first remains of this species in 1902 in the Kyrenia hills.

306617. Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:07 pm Reply with quote
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (also known as Real Madrid, Los Blancos, Los Merengues or in English Royal Madrid Football Club) is a professional Spanish football club based in Madrid. Founded in 1902, it plays in La Liga and is one of the most successful football clubs of the 20th century, having won thirty La Liga titles, seventeen Copa del Rey and a record nine UEFA Champions League titles. The team was a founding member of the now defunct G-14 group of leading European football clubs.
The club plays its home games at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. Real Madrid is unusual in that, unlike most football clubs, it has been owned and operated only by its members (socios) since 1902. On December 23, 2000, FIFA awarded the Spanish team the title of the "Best Club of the 20th Century". Los Blancos is the most successful club in UEFA club football competitions history with nine European Cups and two UEFA Cups; more than any other European club. The only European trophy it hasn't won is the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, in which it played two finals, losing both by 2 goals to 1, first to Chelsea 2-1 in 1971, after an initial 1-1 draw in the first leg, the team lost 1-0 in the return leg and Aberdeen 2-1 in 1983.
Real Madrid is the biggest and most popular football club in the world according to the case studies at Harvard University in 2007. It is also the richest one in terms of revenue.

307205. Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:14 am Reply with quote
The minimum number of posts pre-winner on this thread is 20.

307249. Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:04 pm Reply with quote

The third largest city in Scotland, and known by many nicknames, e.g. The Silver City, The Granite City, The Oil Capital of Europe.

It has won the title of Britain in Bloom a record breaking 10 times.

The city heliport is the busiest commercial heliport in the world, serving the numerous oil and gas installations in the North Sea. It is claimed, anecdotally, that there are more helicopter flights from Aberdeen in a year that hapened during the whole of the war in Vietnam.

307255. Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:17 pm Reply with quote
The Silver Surfer
The Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero from the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the character first appears in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), the first of a three-issue arc fans and historians call "The Galactus Trilogy".
Originally a young astronomer of the planet Zenn-La, in order to save his home-world from destruction by a fearsome cosmic entity known as Galactus, Norrin Radd made a bargain with the being, pledging himself to serve as his herald. Imbued in return with a tiny portion of Galactus' Power Cosmic, Radd acquired great powers and a silvery appearance. Galactus also created for Radd a surfboard-like craft — modeled after a childhood fantasy of his — on which he would travel at speeds beyond that of light. Known from then on as the Silver Surfer, Radd began to roam the cosmos searching for new planets for Galactus to consume. When his travels finally took him to Earth, the Surfer came face-to-face with the Fantastic Four, a team of powerful superheroes that helped him to rediscover his nobility of spirit. Betraying Galactus, the Surfer saved Earth but was punished in return by being exiled there.

307411. Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:02 pm Reply with quote
The Triumph Herald was a small two-door car introduced in 1959 by the Standard-Triumph Company of Coventry. Body design was by the Italian stylist Michelotti, and the car was offered in saloon, convertible, coupé, van and estate variants.

Or for a less impersonal view:

Its name implied quality. But all the tinny Triumph Herald heralded was the death of Britain's motor industry, says Brian Sewell.

On writing of a thoroughly nasty little car of long ago, much perverse pleasure is to be had, pleasure akin to recollection of one's first caning at school or the humiliations of the squaddie as a National Serviceman.

Or from an enthusiastic owner:

Good Points

Bad Points
If you crash at any speed you're gonna die! If a modern car crashes into you at any speed your gonna die! In fact I find driving my car pretty hairy most of the time, especially in the wet, single speed widscreen wipers doesn't help, and once in a thunderstorm all my brake fluid drained out from somewhere (I suspect the rear drums although I've never been able to prove it and the problem hasn't reoccurred ) which was mildly concerning, I say mildly because she really isn't good at stopping anyway! Of course when driven sensibly most of these things aren't an issue

General Comments
Nowt general about the Triumph Herald.You can fall in love with the Triumph Herald instantly, and as soon as you drive it around for a while you realise how many people there are out there of have fond memories of this little car. Yes, as far as insurance goes it's cheap and you get the road tax perks that you would with any classic, but that has little to do with the joy of owning such a beast...everytime i'm out of the Herald for awhile I think how nice it would be to own something a little bit quicker (okay a lot quicker). Then as soon as I get back in the car the smile is plastered across my face. I think smile for mile she's unbeatable, B roads, Roundabouts, and driving in the city are all an absolute hoot, anyway it's been six years and I've still not bought that quicker car.

This is not a joke on my part the gentleman in question, a Mr Charles Peter Edward Malt, really did leave the Good Points section blank.

Sebastian flyte
307414. Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:10 pm Reply with quote
In my house Brian Sewell is mostly famous for his masturbating in front of Salvador Dali by a figure of Christ. This could be an urban myth or wishful thinking on Sewell's part.

307815. Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:15 am Reply with quote
El Salvador
El Salvador (República de El Salvador) is a country in Central America, bordering the Pacific Ocean between Guatemala and Honduras, with a population of approximately 6.9 million people. El Salvador is the most densely populated nation in the Americas and is undergoing both rapid industrialization and population growth.

Sebastian flyte
307995. Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:43 am Reply with quote
Mare Pacificum 'Peaceful Sea' is the Latin name for the Pacific Ocean. Which was named by Ferdinand Magellan. The pacific ocean, the worlds largest, contains about 25,000 islands and the Pacific Trash Vortex, Plastic Soup or Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

308012. Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:03 am Reply with quote
The Magellan spacecraft was a space probe sent to the planet Venus, the first post-Voyager unmanned spacecraft to be launched by NASA since its successful Voyager 1 spacecraft to Jupiter and Saturn in 1977. It was also the first of three deep-space probes to be launched on the Space Shuttle (the others being the Ulysses Sun probe and the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter) until the launching of the failed Mars Observer spacecraft on a Titan III rocket in 1992. It was also the first spacecraft to employ aerobraking techniques to lower its orbit, a technique used on the current series of orbiters around Mars that allows fuel to be conserved.
Magellan created the first (and currently the best) near-photographic quality, high resolution mapping of the planet's surface features. Prior Venus missions had created low resolution radar globes of general, continent-sized formations. Magellan, however, finally allowed detailed imaging and analysis of craters, hills, ridges, and other geologic formations, to a degree comparable to the visible-light photographic mapping of other planets. Magellan's global radar map will remain the most detailed Venus map in existence for the foreseeable future, although the planned Russian Venera-D may carry a radar that can achieve the same, if not better resolution as the radar used by Magellan.
It was named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan was the first planetary spacecraft to be launched by a Space Shuttle when it was carried aloft by the Orbiter Atlantis from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 4, 1989, on the STS-30 mission. Atlantis took Magellan into low Earth orbit, where it was released from the shuttle's cargo bay. A solid-fuel motor called the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) then fired, sending Magellan on a 15-month cruise looping around the Sun 1-1/2 times before it arrived at its orbit around Venus on August 10, 1990. In 1994 it plunged to the surface as planned and partly vaporized; some sections are thought to have hit the planet's surface.

Sebastian flyte
325823. Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:52 pm Reply with quote
Radar is a system that uses electromagnetic waves to identify the range, altitude direction and speed of stationary objects and those in motion. The term is an acronym and was coined in 1941 standing for Radio Detection and Ranging.

335182. Tue May 13, 2008 10:03 am Reply with quote
One aspect of stealth technology is the reduction of the detected radar signal reflected by aircraft by the use of flat panels called 'facets' which radiate the em signal away from the radar source and consequently away from any associated detector. The technology is the result of a mathematical model developed by a Russian scientist, Pyotr Ufimtsev, which was adapted into a computer model designated as Echo 1 by Lockheed Aircraft in the early 1970s. Echo 1 allows the prediction of the radar signature of facets and thus permits the minimisation of that signature in the aircraft at the design stage.

335203. Tue May 13, 2008 10:30 am Reply with quote
I take it this is qing qong (how's that pronounced?)


Stealth technology also known as LOT (Low Observability Technology) is a sub-discipline of electronic countermeasures which covers a range of techniques used with aircraft, ships and missiles, in order to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared and other detection methods.

The concept of stealth is not new: being able to operate without the knowledge of the enemy has always been a goal of military technology and techniques. However, as the potency of detection and interception technologies (radar, IRST, surface-to-air missiles etc.) has increased, so too has the extent to which the design and operation of military vehicles have been affected in response. A 'stealth' vehicle will generally have been designed from the outset to have reduced or controlled signature. It is possible to have varying degrees of stealth. The exact level and nature of stealth embodied in a particular design is determined by the prediction of likely threat capabilities and the balance of other considerations, including the raw unit cost of the system.

A mission system employing stealth may well become detected at some point within a given mission, such as when the target is destroyed, but correct use of stealth systems should seek to minimize the possibility of detection. Attacking with surprise gives the attacker more time to perform its mission and exit before the defending force can counter-attack. If a surface-to-air missile battery defending a target observes a bomb falling and surmises that there must be a stealth aircraft in the vicinity, for example, it is still unable to respond if it cannot get a lock on the aircraft in order to feed guidance information to its missiles.

335612. Tue May 13, 2008 9:23 pm Reply with quote
Sound Mirrors

A forerunner of Radar, acoustic mirrors were built on the south and northeast coasts of England between about 1916 and the 1930s. The 'listening ears' were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns. With the development of faster aircraft the sound mirrors became less useful, as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located, and radar finally rendered the mirrors obsolete.

335933. Wed May 14, 2008 11:51 am Reply with quote
The first use of air power against civilians occurred on the 19th of January 1915 when German airships dropped bombs over East Anglia

...two Zeppelins dropped 24 Χ 50 kg high explosive bombs and ineffective 3 kg incendiaries on Great Yarmouth, Sheringham, King's Lynn and the surrounding villages. In all four people were killed, sixteen injured and monetary damage estimated at £7,740, although the public and media reaction were out of all proportion to the death toll. There were a further 19 raids in 1915, in which 37 tons of bombs were dropped, killing 181 people and injuring 455.
Raids continued in 1916. After an accidental bombing of London in May, in July the Kaiser allowed directed raids against urban centers.

There were 23 airship raids in 1916 in which 125 tons of ordnance were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691.

As fighters became more effective zeppelin raids diminished and at the end of the war articles 198 and 202 of The Treaty of Versailles specifically prohibited the manufacture and/or use of dirigibles or related technologies such as plants for the production of hydrogen in Germany.

Hopefully there's enough in there for something a little more, er, tangential to emerge.

336424. Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm Reply with quote
Led Zeppelin grew out of the 'New Yardbirds', a short-lived project that followed on from the demise of 'The Yardbirds'.
A proposed super-group consisting of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck (both ex Yardbirds), Keith Moon and John Entwistle (The Who's drummer and bassist, respectively) never materialized, but Keith Moon's suggestion that such a group would 'go down like a Lead Zeppelin' is (according to possibly apocryphal tale) the genesis of the band's name.

The 'a' in Lead was dropped so as 'not to confuse thick Americans' who might otherwise pronounce it leed.

336499. Wed May 14, 2008 10:19 pm Reply with quote
A yardbird is, according to Merriam-Webster:

1 : a soldier assigned to a menial task or restricted to a limited area as a disciplinary measure
2 : an untrained or inept enlisted man

a definition which is conspicuous in its omission of the alternative meaning which can be found in the thefreedictionary, to whit:

yard bird
n. Slang
a. An untrained military recruit.
b. A soldier confined to a restricted area or assigned menial tasks as a punishment.
2. A convict; a prisoner.

With regard to the former meaning Yard Birds was also a US army surplus store

Yard Birds was originally a surplus store started in 1947 in Centralia, Washington. Additionally there were Yard Birds stores in Chehalis, Washington, Olympia, Washington and Shelton, Washington. While originally selling war surplus, Yard Birds became more of a discount store with many departments including hardware, toys, shoes and clothing, automotive, pets, sporting goods, furniture, a full-service grocery, and more. Yard Birds stores had a mascot and logo that used a black bird with a yellow beak, reminiscent of the cartoon characters Heckle and Jeckle. These stores were not affiliated with Yardbirds Home Center stores in the Northern California area that used a white stork with yellow overalls as its mascot.

but the ambiguity regarding the intention of the name chosen by The Yardbirds remains. Yardbird was also the original nickname of jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker Jr but it was subsequently shortened. It is remembered in the title of the Yardbird Suite however; a bebop standard composed by Parker and used as the title of Lawrence O. Koch's biography.

483469. Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:36 pm Reply with quote
(Since I personally researched this info when I wrote the entry for Wikipedia, I figured a slight rewrite for this game would be allowable)

Katrina Mumaw, from Lancaster, California, is a United States Air Force Academy graduate. On July 12, 1994, at the age of eleven, she became the youngest person to pilot a Russian MIG-29 fighter jet and also the youngest to break the sound barrier. She first flew a Aero L-39 Albatros together with her instructor Vladimir Danilenko to prove she'd be able to handle the MIG safely. She satisfied the instructor and subsequently flew the MIG-29UB two-seat trainer to a speed of Mach 1.3 (940 mph).

She became interested in becoming a pilot when she met Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan at the age of three after one of their last test flights of the Rutan Voyager, the first plane to fly nonstop around the world without refueling. Her first flight as a passenger occurred when she was 5 and when she became aware of the Air Force Academy, she was determined to study there and although her admittance was delayed by a dental malocclusion she was eventually accepted. She graduated from the academy on May 31, 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science/human factors engineering.

Mumaw first started piloting by competing in mock air combats at the age of eight and she held the record for the most victories in mock dogfights. She was also the youngest person to pilot a BD-10 (a prototype of the aircraft seen in the James Bond movie Octopussy) in 1993.

Because of her records, Mumaw has appeared in print publications and television programs including Sports Illustrated and Ripley's Believe it or Not!.

Last edited by MacGyverMagic on Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

483493. Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:59 pm Reply with quote
How does that link to the previous post MacG?

483495. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:00 pm Reply with quote
In underlined California as the link... If that's too blegh I can try something else)

483496. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:02 pm Reply with quote
Is it 20 posts after the original or the twentieth post?

In any case, to get the game moving...
Viper is the nickname of the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter.

Win or not? You decide Celebaelin.

483499. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:04 pm Reply with quote
Since it's taken over 6 months for me to respond, I think it's reasonable to allow some strenuous linking on my part. By the same token, I think it's reasonable to give you the win (if the post count indeed fits).

483502. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:06 pm Reply with quote
MacGyverMagic wrote:
In underlined California as the link... If that's too blegh I can try something else)

No, that's fine but if you could put the linking word(s) in bold that'd make it clearer (it's quite a while since I wrote/quoted that so the full content wasn't at the forefront of my mind).

483504. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:08 pm Reply with quote
What about the post count. Was it ten posts total or per player before the win could be played?

(Edit: 20? my bad.)

Last edited by MacGyverMagic on Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

483509. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:09 pm Reply with quote
This particular Q-Q round was made to 20 by Celebaelin but I'm not sure if it's 20 posts after the first or 20 posts including the first post.

483511. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:09 pm Reply with quote
It's absolutely a winning shot zomg on the basis of links but is it too much to hope for some QI details about the F-16? It'd be a tough post to follow if I said it wasn't a winner (and you did leave it up to me!)

I think a total post count of 20 is fine. I was just a bit dissappointed that games were being brought to an end at the posting limit (of 10) without the game necessarily being of any consequence. You to serve now zomg so you get to choose how long the game gets before a winner can be played.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

483516. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:12 pm Reply with quote
If zomgmouse can post a QI fact in the next x hours, I think we should give the win. (Remember, (s)he's Australian about to go to bed, so that's at least 8 hours wasted. I'd be inclined to give 24 hours.

483518. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:14 pm Reply with quote
I think zomg wins anyway but he may want to post a QI fact about the F-16 for his own, and our, satisfaction and interest.

483525. Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Fine with me.

484304. Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:52 am Reply with quote
OK, here we go:
-The Falcon's versatility is a paramount reason it has proven a success on the export market, having been selected to serve in the air forces of 25 nations.
-The F-16 is the largest Western jet fighter program with over 4,400 aircraft built since production was approved in 1976.Though no longer being bought by the U.S. Air Force, advanced versions are still being built for export customers.
-The F-16 is scheduled to remain in service with the U.S. Air Force until 2025. The planned replacement is the F-35 Lightning II, which is scheduled to enter service in 2011 and will gradually begin replacing a number of multirole aircraft among the air forces of the program's member nations.
-Due to its widespread adoption, the F-16 has been a popular model for computer flight simulators, appearing in over twenty games. The F-16 is one of two aircraft available in the built-in flight simulator in Google Earth.

I'll create a GQQ21 soon.

484386. Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:45 am Reply with quote
Where are your sources for these nuggets of information?

484396. Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:13 am Reply with quote
Wikipedia, all wikipedia.

QI Moderator
561013.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:47 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 21

484403. Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:35 am Reply with quote
Münchausen syndrome
In Münchausen syndrome, the affected person exaggerates or creates symptoms of illnesses in themselves in order to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. In some extremes, people suffering from Münchausen's Syndrome are highly knowledgeable about the practice of medicine, and are able to produce symptoms that result in multiple unnecessary operations. For example, they may inject a vein with infected material, causing widespread infection of unknown origin, and as a result cause lengthy and costly medical analyses and prolonged hospital stay. The role of "patient" is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Münchausen's. It is distinct from hypochondria in that patients with Münchausen syndrome are aware that they are exaggerating, while sufferers of hypochondria believe they have a disease.
In many cases, a similar behavior called Münchausen syndrome by proxy has been documented in the parent or guardian of a child. The adult ensures that his or her child will experience some medical affliction, therefore compelling the child to suffer treatment for a significant portion of their youth in hospitals. Furthermore, a disease may actually be initiated in the child by the parent or guardian. This condition is considered distinct from Münchausen syndrome.


Minimum post count = 30, including this one.
Bring back hanging I say, these tumble-dryers are useless.

484413. Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:18 am Reply with quote
1 Corinthians 13 4-13 is often (without exception in my experience) quoted at weddings

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Personally I prefer verse 5 rendered as "swift to anger" but I suspect that's force of habit ingrained at an early age, although I cannot find the version containing that phrase online.

Verse 12 contains the phrase
βλεπομεν γαρ αρτι δι εσοπτρου εν αινιγματι

which the King James Version translates as "For now we see through a glass darkly", a phrase used often in literature and as a title by, amongst others, Ingmar Bergman and General George Patton (who was something of a poet).

The love cited here in verse 13 was originally 'charity' in the English translation but don't be confused; charity was a middle English word meaning (platonic) love for ones fellow man.

484422. Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:31 am Reply with quote
A Tale of a Tub
A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697 and published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of Christianity.
The "tale" presents a consistent satire of religious excess, while the digressions are a series of parodies of contemporary writing in literature, politics, theology, Biblical exegesis, and medicine. The overarching parody is of enthusiasm, pride, and credulity. At the time it was written, politics and religion were still linked very closely in England, and the religious and political aspects of the satire can often hardly be separated. The work was published anonymously, and Swift's cousin Thomas later claimed to have written it. It was enormously popular, but Swift believed it damaged his prospect of advancement in the Church of England.
There are numerous references to it in Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy.

484432. Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:01 am Reply with quote
Ambrose Bierce used his Devil's Dictionary definition of Satire as a defence of his work

"Satire (n.) - An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author's enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are 'endowed by their Creator' with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly regarded as a sour-spirited knave, and his every victim's outcry for codefendants evokes a national assent." [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]

This metanarrative seems to demand a view of Bierce's work from the reader which the work itself does not invite. It is a mealy mouthed appology voiced as accusation (in my honest opinion).

Satire in it's original meaning comes from a literal sense of "full dish" and is related to the words 'sated' and 'saturate'.

Bierce was, I was surprised to learn, an American.

484681. Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:36 pm Reply with quote
Devil's Island

Devil's Island (French: Île du Diable) is the smallest and northernmost island of the three Îles du Salut located about 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) off the coast of French Guiana. It has an area of 14 ha (34.6 acres). It was a small part of the notorious French penal colony in French Guiana until 1952.

While the colony was in use (1852-1946), the inmates were everything from political prisoners (such as 239 republicans who opposed Napoleon III's coup d'Etat) to the most hardened of thieves and murderers. A great many of the more than 80,000 prisoners sent to the harsh conditions at disease-infested Devil's Island were never seen again. Other than by boat, the only way out was through a dense jungle; accordingly, very few convicts
ever managed to escape.

Devil's Island was used mainly for French prisoners from 1852 to 1946. Clément Duval, an anarchist, was sent to Devil's Island in 1886. He was sentenced to death but until then he performed hard labor on Devil's Island. He contracted smallpox while on the island. He escaped in April 1901 and fled to New York City, where he remained for the rest of his life. He eventually wrote a book on his time of imprisonment called Revolte.


am i playing this correctly?

484721. Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:12 pm Reply with quote
misterchris wrote:
am i playing this correctly?


484731. Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:20 pm Reply with quote

484846. Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:22 pm Reply with quote
When Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (1894) he was living in Vermont and had not been in India for five years. The book was originally illustrated by his father John Lockwood Kipling incidentally. Born in Bombay (now Mumbai) from six to sixteen he was educated in England returning to India in 1882. He remained in India for seven years before heading for London, having married Carrie Balestier in 1892 later that year they (she) rented a cottage in Vermont having visited initially whilst on a portion of their honeymoon travels. They remained there for four years, a very productive period for Kipling, he also wrote The Second Jungle Book in this period. During this time he was, briefly, visited by Arthur Conan Doyle - who decided to teach him to play golf, a game Kipling much enjoyed.

484853. Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:27 pm Reply with quote
The Green Mountain State

Originally inhabited by Native American tribes (Abenaki, and Iroquois), the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France but became a British possession after France's defeat in the French and Indian War. For many years, the surrounding colonies disputed control of the area, especially New Hampshire and New York. Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic, which was founded during the Revolutionary War and lasted for 14 years. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the fourteenth state.

484874. Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:48 pm Reply with quote
The Iroquois Confederacy or the Haudenosaunee ie the "People of the Longhouse" (or more accurately "They Are Building a Long House") is a grouping of the native tribes of upstate New York ie the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca and the Tuscarora.

The origins of the word Iroquois are uncertain, the Haudenosaunee often end their oratory with the phrase hiro kone; hiro translates as "I have spoken", and kone can be translated several ways, the most common being "in joy", "in sorrow", or "in truth". Hiro kone to the French encountering the Haudenosaunee would sound like "Iroquois". It may however derive from a French version of a Huron insult levelled at the Iroquois - "Black Snakes" or "real adders". The original irinakhoiw could come to us as Iroquois. A third suggestion is that it is a version of a Basque expression, Hilokoa, meaning the "killer people". This expression would have been applied to the Iroquois because they were the enemy of the local Algonquians, with whom the Basque fishermen were trading. Since there is no L in the Algonquian languages (bizzarely bearing in mind the name) this became Hirokoa and thence to Iroquois in the hands of the French.

484942. Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:04 pm Reply with quote
Killer Whales
The Killer Whale, also called Orca (Orcinus orca) (or less commonly, Blackfish or Seawolf) is the largest species of the dolphin family. It is found in all the world's oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to warm, tropical seas.
Killer Whales are versatile and opportunistic predators. Some populations feed mostly on fish, and other populations hunt marine mammals, including sea lions, seals, walruses and even large whales. They are considered the apex predator of the marine world.

Killer Whales are highly socialand they show show sophisticated social behaviour, hunting techniques, and vocal behavior of Killer Whales have been described as manifestations of culture.

Wild Killer Whales are usually not considered a threat to humans, but there have been isolated reports of captive Killer Whales attacking and, in at least one instance, killing their handlers at marine theme parks.

Not suprisingly, Killer Whales are often mistakenly called whales.


485024. Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:34 pm Reply with quote
Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane

Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marques do Maranhão, GCB RN (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a British naval officer and radical politician. He was one of the most daring and successful captains of the Napoleonic Wars, leading the French to nickname him "le loup des mers" ("the sea wolf"). After being dismissed from the Royal Navy, he served in the rebel navies of Chile, Brazil, and Greece during their respective wars of independence, before being reinstated in the Royal Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral of the Blue. Subsequently promoted several times, he died in 1860 with the rank of Admiral of the Red, and the honorary title of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom. His life and exploits served as inspiration for the naval fiction of twentieth-century novelists C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey.,_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald

Sebastian flyte
485197. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:34 am Reply with quote
Aubrey Beardsley

Born in 1872 Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was the most controversial artist of the art nouveau era, his images where often dark and grotesque erotica. He is widely known as the illustrator of Wilde's Salome. (I have a nice early copy illustrated by him) He had a brief musical career as a child performing in concerts with his sister with who he is said to have had an incestuous relationship. He drew inspiration from mythology and was also a caricaturist. He wanted to be seen as grotesque he said "I have one aim—the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing."
He died of tuberculosis aged 25.

485267. Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:03 am Reply with quote
John Keats
John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English poet who became one of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement during the early nineteenth century. During his very short life, his work received constant critical attacks from periodicals of the day, but his posthumous influence on poets such as Alfred Tennyson has been immense. Elaborate word choice and sensual imagery characterize Keats's poetry, including a series of odes that were his masterpieces and which remain among the most popular poems in English literature. Keats's letters, which expound on his aesthetic theory of "negative capability", are among the most celebrated by any writer.
John Keats was born in 1795 at 85 Moorgate in London, England.
In 1810, his mother died of tuberculosis, leaving him and his siblings in the custody of their grandmother.
Following the death of his grandmother, he soon found his brother, Tom Keats, entrusted to his care. Tom was suffering, as his mother had, from tuberculosis. Finishing his epic poem "Endymion", Keats left to work in Scotland and Ireland with his friend Charles Armitage Brown. However, he too began to show signs of tuberculosis infection on that trip, and returned prematurely.
By 1820, Keats began showing serious signs of tuberculosis, the disease that had plagued his family. On the suggestion of his doctors, he left the cold airs of London behind and moved to Italy with his friend Joseph Severn. Keats moved into a house, which is now a museum that is dedicated to his life and work, The Keats-Shelley House, on the Spanish Steps, in Rome, where despite attentive care from Severn and Dr. John Clark, the poet's health rapidly deteriorated.
He died in 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. His last request was to be buried under a tombstone reading, "Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water." His name was not to appear on the stone. Despite these requests, however, Severn and Brown also added the epitaph: "This Grave contains all that was mortal, of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET, who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his enemies, desired these words to be Engraven on his Tomb Stone" along with the image of a lyre with broken strings.
Keats was also a distant relative of the Metaphysical poet, John Donne.

485299. Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:28 am Reply with quote
River Severn

The River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren, Latin: Sabrina) is the longest river in Great Britain, at 220 miles (354 km). It rises at an altitude of 2,001 feet (610 m) on Plynlimon near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales. It then flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with the county towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester on its banks. With an average discharge of 107 m³/s at Apperley, Gloucestershire, the Severn is England's greatest river in terms of water flow, and is considered one of the ten major rivers of the United Kingdom.

According to some sources, the name "Severn" is derived from the name Sabrina (or Hafren), based on the mythical story of a nymph who drowned in the river. Sabrina is also the goddess of the River Severn in Brythonic mythology. The story of Sabrina is featured in Milton's Comus. There is a statue of 'Sabrina' in the Dingle Gardens at the Quarry, Shrewsbury.

As the Severn becomes tidal the associated deity changes to Noadu (Romanized as Nodens), who is represented mounted on a seahorse, riding on the crest of the Severn bore.

485340. Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:20 am Reply with quote
Syngnathidae is a family of fish which includes the seahorse, the pipefish, and the weedy and leafy sea dragon. The name is derived from Greek, meaning "fused jaw" - syn meaning fused or together, and gnathus meaning jaws. This fused jaw trait is something the entire family has in common.
Syngnathids are found in temperate and tropical seas across the world. Most species inhabit shallow, coastal waters, but a few are known from the open ocean, especially in association with sargassum mats. They are characterised by their elongated snouts, fused jaws, the absence of pelvic fins, and by thick plates of bony armour covering the body. The armour gives them a rigid body, so that they have to swim by rapidly fanning their fins. As a result, they are relatively slow compared with other fishes, but are able to control their movements with great precision, including hovering in place for extended periods.
Uniquely, after syngnathid females lay their eggs, the male then fertilizes and then carries the eggs during incubation. There are a several methods for this. Male seahorses have a specialized ventral pouch to carry the eggs, male sea dragons attach the eggs to their tails, and male pipefish may do either, depending on their species.


485365. Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:33 am Reply with quote
Slightly dodgy link from Killer Whales to Admiral Cochrane isn't it?

One more infraction of this sort and I shall be forced to report you to The Extremely Stuffy And Self-Important Adjudications Police. You have been warned.

485375. Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:51 am Reply with quote
Mail (also maille, often given as chain mail or chain maille or chainmaille) is a type of armour consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh. The word chainmail is a pleonasm and a neologism: in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, "mail", "mayle" or chain was the English name for it, while maille was the common French name for it. This—and the alternative spellings "maile" and "maille"—derive through the Italian maglia, from the Latin macula, meaning "mesh of a net". Spanish corresponding word is malla and Portuguese malha. Cymric term lluric refers to Latin lorica. The Roman chain lorica was termed the lorica hamata (as opposed to the banded mail lorica segmentata). Several patterns of linking the rings together have been known since ancient times, with the most common being the 4-to-1 pattern (where each ring is linked with four others). In Europe, the 4-to-1 pattern was completely dominant.

Many modern armourers prefer the French spelling "Maille" in order to avoid confusion with the term chain letter for "chainmail" or postal delivery for "mail".

485397. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Celebaelin wrote:
Slightly dodgy link from Killer Whales to Admiral Cochrane isn't it?

One more infraction of this sort and I shall be forced to report you to The Extremely Stuffy And Self-Important Adjudications Police. You have been warned.

:( They are both known as the Sea Wolf. That's not dodgy is it?
Computers are stupid - they only give you answers.

485398. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis)

Contrary to popular belief, the Portuguese Man o' War is not a jellyfish, it isn't even a single organism. It is a colonial siphonophore, and consists of four types of specialised polyps. These zooids are specialised to the extent that they are incapable of performing additional functions and are dependent on others in a commensal symbiotic relationship.

The PMO'W floats on the surface of the ocean by means of an air bladder (known as the pneumatophore), which is translucent and tinged blue, purple or mauve. It is said to resemble the sails of a Portuguese caravel, hence the name given to the organism. The pneumatophore may be 9 to 30 cm long and may extend as much as 15 cm above the surface, and can be inflated and deflated to control the surface area catching the wind, in a similar manner to the sail of a ship.

Below the body hang tentacles, which occasionally reach 50m in lenght, although 1m is about average. Each tentacle bears stinging venom-filled nematocysts, which paralyse the prey of the organism, usually small fish.

Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin which normally last about forty-five minutes after which it should subside. However it can trigger an anaphalactic reaction in individuals. The correct treatment for a PMO'W sting is to wash the affected area with hot seawater. Urine and vinegar, commonly advocated as treatment for jellyfish stings, have actually been shown to trigger additional stings and increase the amount of toxin entering the body.

Australia Museum Online

485405. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:22 pm Reply with quote
misterchris wrote:
Celebaelin wrote:
Slightly dodgy link from Killer Whales to Admiral Cochrane isn't it?

One more infraction of this sort and I shall be forced to report you to The Extremely Stuffy And Self-Important Adjudications Police. You have been warned.

:( They are both known as the Sea Wolf. That's not dodgy is it?

That's not mentioned in the post on Killer Whales though. Fortunately the post on Cochrane could be written so as to include specific words which were mentioned. As it stands the word which best seems to link the two is sea which is a tad general but will do at this point. Fret ye not.

485410. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:24 pm Reply with quote
MacGyverMagic wrote:
Killer Whales
The Killer Whale, also called Orca (Orcinus orca) (or less commonly, Blackfish or Seawolf)



So should the title of the subsequent post link directly to the previous. I thought connection slike mine were allowed?

Apologies I'm new to Qing Qong
Computers are stupid - they only give you answers.

485426. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:40 pm Reply with quote
The first great European colonial empire to be created, the Portuguese, was also the last one to be dismantled. Portugal held territories in South America, Africa, India and the East Indies as well as Atlantic islands. Portugal resisted the nationalist movements in Angola and Mozambique but this lead to collapse of the portugese regime in 1974 and, tragically and ironically, also resulted in civil wars in Angola and Mozambique. East Timor also declared independence at this time (1975), but was almost immediately invaded by neighbouring Indonesia, which occupied it until 1999. The handover of Macau to China in 1999 under the terms of an agreement negotiated between People's Republic of China and Portugal twelve years earlier marked the end of the Portuguese overseas empire.

485429. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:42 pm Reply with quote
so does the next person have to link to colonial? or can it be anything within Celebaelin's post? I'm confused now.

485431. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:46 pm Reply with quote
misterchris wrote:
MacGyverMagic wrote:
Killer Whales
The Killer Whale, also called Orca (Orcinus orca) (or less commonly, Blackfish or Seawolf)



So should the title of the subsequent post link directly to the previous. I thought connection slike mine were allowed?

Apologies I'm new to Qing Qong

Oh. I'm the one who should be appologising, somehow I completely missed the fact that seawolf was mentioned in the Orca post - despite having read it twice to 'make sure' (d'oh). I feel very silly now and I hope you don't misinterpret what was a genuine mistake on my part as in any way an attack. You have no idea how relieved I am that I chose to be jokey in tone about this!

In answer to your question above it can be anything from within my post. I made both colonial and Portugese bold because they were both in Starfish's post.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

485434. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:48 pm Reply with quote
No, it's OK. I just wanted to make sure I was following the rules correctly.


On we go then...

485438. Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:55 pm Reply with quote
East Timor

Indonesia invaded shortly after Portugal withdrew in 1975 and forcefully tried to subdue a resentful people and guerrillas fighting for independence.

World powers were accused of contributing to the subsequent calamity by turning a blind eye or by actively supporting the occupation by supplying weapons.

Indonesia finally agreed in 1999 to let the East Timorese choose between independence and local autonomy. Militia loyal to Indonesia, apparently assisted by the military, tried in vain to use terror to discourage a vote for independence.

When the referendum showed overwhelming support for independence, the loyalists went on the rampage, murdering hundreds and reducing towns to ruins. An international peacekeeping force halted the mayhem and paved the way for a United Nations mission which helped East Timor back onto its feet.

The rebuilding of East Timor has been one of the UN's biggest success stories. The UN Mission of Support in East Timor, Unmiset, wound up in May 2005.

But security has been precarious. An outbreak of gang violence in 2006 prompted the UN Security Council to set up a new peacekeeping force, Unmit. The UN said poverty and unemployment had exacerbated the unrest.

As one of Asia's poorest nations, East Timor will rely on outside help for many years. The infrastructure is poor and the country is drought-prone.

However, vast offshore oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea hold much potential. East Timor and Australia have agreed to share revenues from the reserves. As a part of the deal, a decision on the disputed maritime border in the area was deferred.

East Timor is trying to foster national reconciliation. Indonesia and East Timor set up bodies to bring the perpetrators of the 1999 violence to justice. However a 2005 UN report concluded that the systems had failed to deliver. The Indonesian special court acquitted most of the 18 indicted suspects.

485566. Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:19 pm Reply with quote
You may remember an incident two years ago when the Iranians took several Naval and Royal Marine personnel prisoner stating that they had crossed the maritime border between Iraq and Iran in the Shatt-al-arab waterway. The Navy immediately countered with gps records showing that both HMS Cornwall and the inflatables were within Iraqi waters when surrounded by the Iranians as they attempted to board a Japanese merchantman suspected of smuggling. Neither side was correct. There has been no agreement between Iran and Iraq about the maritime border in this region so the Iraqis had no legal right to apprehend anyone. The border does run half way up the Shatt Al Arab (the river dividing Iran and Iraq) which is essentially a land border but out at sea no treaty has been signed. As there is no agreement there is no official border so it is impossible to be on the wrong side of it. Unless you make landfall on Iranian territory, which after their capture is exactly what the British servicemen (and woman) did of course!

Sorry about the size of the map but it makes too good a visual aid to leave it out I think. On my screen it's just small enough that you can get all the text in without having to scroll across.

486172. Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:35 am Reply with quote
Just to clarify a few things:
misterchris, you don't have to have the link as the title, in fact I often try to go two steps at a time, but with a "linking word".
Celebaelin, it could be easier to follow if you also include a title, the "next subject".

486195. Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:52 am Reply with quote
Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was the twenty-eighth President of the United States. A devout Presbyterian and leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey in from 1911 to 1913. With Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft dividing the Republican Party vote, Wilson was elected President as a Democrat in 1912.
Wilson took personal control of negotiations with Germany, including the armistice. He issued his Fourteen Points, his view of a post-war world that could avoid another terrible conflict. He went to Paris in 1919 to create the League of Nations and shape the Treaty of Versailles, with special attention on creating new nations out of defunct empires. Largely for his efforts to form the League, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Wilson collapsed with a debilitating stroke in 1919, as the home front saw massive strikes and race riots, and wartime prosperity turn into postwar depression.
Wilson died in his S Street home on February 3, 1924. Because his plan for the League of Nations failed, he died feeling that he had lied to the American people and that his entry into the war had been in vain. He was buried in Washington National Cathedral. He is the only president buried in Washington, DC.

486332. Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:14 pm Reply with quote

The Progressive Era was responsible for several ammendments to the US Constitution introducing income tax with the Sixteenth Amendment, direct election of Senators with the Seventeenth Amendment, Prohibition with the Eighteenth Amendment, and women's suffrage through the Nineteenth Amendment.

The Eighteenth Amendment, ratified on the 29th of January 1919, is (to date) the only amendment of the US Constitution to have been repealed, this being accomplished by the Twenty First Amendment, which was itself ratified on the 5th of December 1933. In combination with the Volstead Act which legally defined the term intoxicating liquors the effect of the Nineteenth Amendment was to introduce Prohibition which was defined in Section 1 of the amendment as follows.

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

This is the 21st 'shot' of the game btw

486426. Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:53 pm Reply with quote
The Raven

"The Raven" is a narrative poem by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. The raven, sitting on a bust of Pallas, seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word, "Nevermore". The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.

Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically. His intention was to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explains in his 1846 follow-up essay "The Philosophy of Composition". The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship".

The first publication of "The Raven" on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror made Poe widely popular in his lifetime. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated. Although critical opinion is divided as to its status, it remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

486505. Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:33 pm Reply with quote
Annika Hansen (Seven of Nine)

Did you know Seven of Nine was a Viking? No? Well read on; the ex-human ex-Borg Drone who becomes part of the crew of USS Voyager on the series of (more or less) the same name was assimilated by the Borg when her parents' ship The Raven was aprehended by a Borg ship. As we all (now) know the Vikings carried ravens on their ships so they would know which direction new lands lay in. What is perhaps not so well known, but relatively common knowledge all the same, is that a Viking ship replica - an exact copy of an eighth century original - became a major attraction at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893; the replica ship was called The Raven. Personally I always had a hankering* to see Seven of Nine in a chainmail bikini but that's the way the demographic crumbles.

* your making up your own jokes now

Last edited by Celebaelin on Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

486538. Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:10 pm Reply with quote
Andy Fordham

Andy "The Viking" Fordham (born 2 February 1962 in London) is an English darts player. He won the 2004 World Professional Darts Championship, beating Mervyn King in the final. He is also a four-time semi-finalist at the Lakeside, and the 1999 Winmau World Masters champion.

In 2004, he was forced to withdraw from a best-of-13-sets match at Purfleet's Circus Tavern which pitted the two world darts champions of that time (Fordham representing the BDO and Phil Taylor representing the PDC) due to heat intensity. England's Phil Taylor was subsequently declared the victor having been leading the contest by 5 sets to 2.

Fordham's health has long been a concern. At one point he weighed 31 stone (197 kilograms) and was in the habit of consuming 25 bottles of lager before going on stage to play. The scare during the head-to-head game led Fordham to seek help via the television programme Celebrity Fit Club, where he became friends with the journalist and TV presenter Paul Ross. While getting a regime underway to try to lose some weight, he was defeated in the first round of the 2005 Lakeside World championship by Dutchman Vincent van der Voort. Fordham made another Lakeside appearance in 2006 but again suffered a first round exit, this time losing to Australia's Simon Whitlock.

Fordham was due to face Whitlock again in the first round of the 2007 BDO World Darts Championship, but was once again hospitalised after complaining of chest pains and breathing difficulties. He was forced to pull out of the tournament as a result and Whitlock received a walkover and went through to the second round without throwing a single dart.

Weeks after pulling out of the BDO World Championship, Fordham suffered what was initially thought to be a stroke, which turned out to be severe breathing difficulties caused by massive fluid build-up in his lungs. The incident was described as "minor" by his agent, and he is expected to make a full recovery. In 2008, Fordham applied for a liver transplant. Although initially on an emergency liver transplant list, he subsequently lost 17st (108kgs) in weight and stopping drinking leading to an announcement in December that he probably would not require a transplant for five years.


486602. Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:42 pm Reply with quote
Andy Fordham only put on that weight to hide his ears, I can't help thinking some sort of hat would have been a better idea; a deerstalker perhaps.


Mervyn Peake's bleak quasi-medieval trilogy, with nary a good orc-slaying or heroic uplifting triumph of the forces of good to take ones mind off the interminable politicing in a decaying power-base is regarded by many as a Gothic masterpiece. Personal opinions aside the work was intended as a series to cover the entire life of Titus Groan with certainly two more books planned. Peake's own death from Parkinson's Disease rather put the kibosh on that plan however.

Peake was also a noted illustrator with influences taken from Hogarth, Cruickshank, Durer, Blake, Dore and Goya amongst others. In illustrating works by Coleridge, Dickens, R.L. Stevenson, and Lewis Caroll his depictions tended towards the grotesque with portaits of innocents often having the haunted look of children from a warzone. His work on Treasure Island was more traditional but perhaps he thought the book less... real?

487045. Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:57 am Reply with quote
I could very easily link this back to the start, but we haven't reached the limit. Whoever set this stupid limit in the first place?

Goosebumps is a series of children's horror fiction novellas created and authored by R. L. Stine. Sixty-two books were published under the Goosebumps umbrella title from 1992 to 1997, the first being Welcome to Dead House, and the last being Monster Blood IV. Various spin-off series were written by Stine; Goosebumps 2000 (published from 1998 to 2000), Goosebumps Gold (which was never released), Give Yourself Goosebumps (1995 to 2000) and Goosebumps HorrorLand (2008 to a planned 2009 finish).
In his autobiography It Came From Ohio!, Stine explains that his interest in horror and his inspirations came from his childhood in the 1940s. By his own admission, many of his plots are based on classic sci-fi/horror movies, TV shows and stories. For instance, one of the most popular books in the series, Night of the Living Dummy, was inspired by Stine's reading of the original Italian version of Pinocchio, while taking its title from the film Night of the Living Dead.

487099. Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:51 am Reply with quote
zomgmouse wrote:
R. L. Stine

I'm not so sure that's legitimate, but I'm not setting myself up as an arbiter of this necessarily. R.L. in this case stands for Robert Lawrence.

487200. Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:31 pm Reply with quote
The Pinocchio illusion is an illusion that ones nose is growing longer, as happened to the literary character, Pinocchio when he told a lie. It is an illusion of proprioception, reviewed by Lackner (1988).

To experience the illusion, a vibrator is applied to the biceps tendon while one holds one's nose with the hand of that arm. The vibrator stimulates muscle spindles in the biceps that would normally be stimulated by the muscle's stretching, creating a kinesthetic illusion that the arm is moving away from the face. Because the fingers holding the nose are still giving tactile information of being in contact with the nose, it appears that the nose is moving away from the face too, in a form of perceptual capture.
The illusion involves activity in the parietal cortex of the brain responsible for integrating information from different parts of the body (e.g, Ehrsson, Kito, Sadato, Passingham, & Naito, 2005). Distortions of the size of parts of the body can sometimes occur spontaneously, through application of psychedelic chemicals or during epilepsy or migraine auras.

487230. Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:35 pm Reply with quote
Statue of Liberty

Making the Statue of Liberty seem to disappear on live television in 1983 is one of David Copperfield's most memorable tricks. The illusion was a creation of Jim Steinmeyer and Don Wayne, and it is still unpublished.

In the book Bigger Secrets, William Poundstone published his speculative guesses and put forward a fairly plausible sounding theory for how Steinmeyer's illusion may have been accomplished. Poundstone suggests that the entire stage and seating area for the audience was atop a rotating platform. Once the curtains were closed, blocking the view, the platform was rotated—slowly enough to be imperceptible. When the curtains opened again, the audience was facing out to sea rather than toward the statue. Poundstone also speculates that, once the stage rotated, the statue itself was perhaps mostly concealed behind a brightly-lit curtain tower. To further misdirect attention, there were two rings of lights: one, initially lit, around the statue, and another (dark and invisible at first) in the area the audience would end up facing. When the trick "happened", the statue's lights were doused and the others turned on. The radar blip highlighted in the television presentation was possibly simply an animation. As for the three Kodak flash cameras taking pictures of the statue at the moment that it "vanished," Poundstone suggests that the cameras' tiny flashbulbs would probably not have been powerful enough to illuminate the statue on their own once the main lights had been switched off.

Some claim that this explanation is unsatisfactory, maintaining that one end of the statue's pedestal base was visible to the live audience at all times. Furthermore, the size of the suggested platform would have to be very significant to support the curtain towers and guidewires as well as be moved in some silent fashion to not arouse suspicion in the live audience. However in viewing the video recording a slight wobbling of the camera can be seen, which might lend a degree of support this theory. Several witnesses, not part of the illusion audience, reported that at one point during the filming of the illusion the lights on the Statue of Liberty were switched off, further supporting Poundstone's theory.

Others 'in the trade' claimed at the time that the statue itself was a smaller scale model on a stage somewhere other than in New York City, and that the "live" audience were paid actors. Possible factors which might lend some support to this claim is that the crown of the statue right before it disappears shows bright white lights compared to the softer blue that appears in the real statue, and the number of visible groups of lights increases from ten to eleven. However, as is well-known, the lighting arrangements for the statue have not remained exactly the same between 1983 and the present day, and thus at the time, this lighting system was in use.

488533. Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:08 pm Reply with quote
David Copperfield

David Copperfield is a novel written by Charles Dickens (I bet you're impressed that I know that) which was first published in 1850. By Dickens own admission Copperfield was his favourite character, in the preface to the 1867 edition he wrote "…like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield." David, deprived of both his natural parents and set to work in his step-father's Victorian workshop, has only the ever-optimistic Mr. Wilkins Micawber to care for him and when nothing turns up as it were David is left to fend for himself which results in him fleeing the situation entirely. Larks aplenty ensue but it all works out well in the end and everybody worthy of a happy ending leaves for Australia and spends the rest off their days cracking tubes on Bondi; Uriah Heep is not invited.

29th post of this game. Somebody had to...

489140. Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:39 am Reply with quote
Now for the winning shot:
Charles McKeown
Charles McKeown (b.1946) is a British actor and writer, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Terry Gilliam. The two met while shooting Monty Python's Life of Brian, while McKeown was doing bit parts in the film.
McKeown co-wrote the screenplay for Brazil (1985) with Gilliam and Tom Stoppard, for which they were collectively nominated for an Academy Award. In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) McKeown again co-wrote the screenplay with Gilliam. After nearly twenty years apart, the two collaborated on the screenplay for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Other notable screenwriting credits for McKeown include Plunkett & Macleane (1999) and Ripley's Game (2002). He went uncredited for his work on Batman.
McKeown has had a number of acting roles in films and television series associated with the Monty Python comedy group. He started off his career with minor roles on Ripping Yarns (1977), which starred Michael Palin, and Fawlty Towers (1979), which starred John Cleese. Around the same time, he played some minor roles in Life of Brian, where he met Gilliam.
Since then, he has had acting roles in a number of the films he helped to write with Gilliam, including an appearance as Harvey Lime in Brazil and as Adolphus and Rupert in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. In addition, he has had roles in other Python-associated films such as Time Bandits (1981), The Missionary (1982), A Private Function, Erik the Viking (1989), and American Friends (1991).
He has also had some film roles not associated with the Monty Python group such as his role as Jerry Hadley in Spies Like Us (1985) and Mr. Cunliffe in Prick Up Your Ears (1987).
McKeown has also appeared on numerous television series including: Yes Minister (1980), The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (1981), Pinkerton's Progress (1983 which he also wrote for) and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992).

QI Moderator
561018.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:51 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 22

492928. Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:32 am Reply with quote
Same rules as before, 30 posts. Please put titles.
Starts as of my next posting.

492929. Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:33 am Reply with quote
Bad News
Bad News are a spoof rock band, created for the Channel 4 television series The Comic Strip Presents... Its members are Vim Fuego (aka Alan Metcalfe), vocals and lead guitar (played by Adrian Edmondson); Den Dennis, rhythm guitar (Nigel Planer); Colin Grigson, bass (Rik Mayall); and Spider Webb, drums (Peter Richardson).
Bad News made their television debut during 1983, in the first series of The Comic Strip Presents... (written by Edmondson, and produced by Michael White/Comic Strip Productions). The episode, Bad News Tour, took the form of a fly-on-the-wall rockumentary, in which the incompetent band is followed travelling to a gig in Grantham by an almost equally inept documentary crew. Coincidentally, it was in production at the same time as the similar film This Is Spinal Tap, which was released the following year to much greater acclaim.
The band also guested on some TV music shows and released a self-titled album, consisting of thrashy rock songs interspersed with arguments amongst the band. Brian May of Queen produced the album, which included a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
They also played a tour of universities and polytechnics as well as playing Reading Festival in 1987. They also played a suitably bad set at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. This performance was featured in a second Comic Strip film, More Bad News, broadcast in 1988. A feature of the band's performance that day which did not appear on film was an interesting method of dealing with the audience's (plastic, piss-filled) bottle barrage, which was a traditional and awkward welcome for some bands at the Donington festival in those days. Before the performance properly began, the band spent some time just running around on stage dodging bottles, and Mayall used his guitar as a bat in an attempt to return some.
On November 9th 1986 the band performed with Iron Maiden at London's illustrious Hammersmith Odeon, as part of a charity performance for the NSPCC. During the performance Jimmy Page and Brian May both appeared playing guitar solos. The show was also attended by musicians from other bands such as Marillion.

1987 – Bad News
1988 – Bootleg
1992 – The Cash In Compilation
2004 – Bad News (re-release on EMI International)

493063. Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:59 pm Reply with quote
The Grantham Anthem

The Grantham Anthem was a song written for the satirical series Spitting Image during the days of Margaret Thatcher's premiership. Thatcher (née Margaret Hilda Roberts) was born in Grantham on October 13th 1925 in relatively modest circumstances, her father being a grocer, lay preacher and alderman. Eventually she secured a scholarship to attend Sommerville College Oxford from 1943 studying Natural Sciences specialising in Chemistry. She first became a Conservative parliamentary candidate in 1949 but was not elected until 1959 (for Finchley), having qualified as a barrister in the meantime. Subsequently of course she became leader of the Conservative party and then Britain's first, and to date only, female Prime-Minister The song refers in essence to her values in rising from lowly beginnings to the highest office in the land at a time when PMs of all flavours were from wealthy backgrounds (although Thatcher married a relatively wealthy man) and whilst I cannot find either the song or the lyrics online I seem to recall that there were no satirical elements as such - it being sufficient merely to express Mrs T's brand of thinking in the context of Spitting Image (JJ doubtless could correct me on this if he were to drop in on the thread).

493541. Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:29 am Reply with quote
The kudus are two species of antelope:
Lesser Kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis
Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros.
The name of the animal was imported into English in the 18th century from isiXhosa iqudu, via Afrikaans koedoe.
Lesser Kudus come from the savannas near acacia and commiphora shrubs. They have to rely on thickets for protection, so they are hardly ever seen in the open.
Like many other antelope, male kudu can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be widespread. Males do not have long shows for dominance; it is usually quick and peaceful, consisting of one male giving the most lateral show, standing up front and making himself look big. When males do have a face off they will lock their horns and it will be a competition of whos the strongest puller, as you would notices their necks enlarge during the mating season, and sometimes the two males are unable to unlock their horns from each other and end up dying. Males are seen with females only in the mating season, where they'll only be in groups of 5-15 with their offspring. Calves grow very quickly and at six months are fairly independent of their mothers.
Kudus are browsers and eat leaves and shoots. In dry seasons, they eat wild watermelons and other fruit for the liquid and natural sugars they provide. The lesser Kudu is less dependent on water sources than the greater kudu.
In some parts of Africa, the dung from the Kudu antelope is used in a competition sport called Kudu dung spitting. Kudu dung spitting is popular enough to have an annual world championship competition, with the formal sport beginning in 1994. In the competition small, hard pellets of dung from the Kudu are spat, with the furthest distance reached being the winner. Unlike many similar sports, the distance is measured from the marker to the place the dung pellet comes to rest, rather than where it initially hit the ground. The world record in the sport is a distance of 15.56 metres, set in as of 2006 by Shaun van Rensburg.

494734. Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:02 pm Reply with quote
Human Wheelbarrows

In Melbourne, Australia, a flood of human wheelbarrows surged across a school sports field to smash a hotly-contested record, then a speedy pair surprised onlookers by breaking another!

On 9 September 2008, the entire population of Carey Baptist Grammar School happily gathered in pairs in the name of Guinness World Records. The record they were aiming to smash – the largest human wheelbarrow race – was held by a high school in Singapore and stood at 700 participants.

At 1pm on the bitter and blustery day of their school athletics carnival over 1,000 students and teachers lined up along a wide stretch of the oval. For those who would be the wheelbarrows, the finish line 50 metres away seemed an impossible distance. But when the start signal sounded a mass of bodies surged forward, and when the final human wheelbarrow crossed the line the new record stood at 1,044 participants, or 522 pairs.

Amongst the first to cross the line were Josh McCormack (16) and Arjuna Benson (15), who then decided to have a go at the Fastest 50-metre Human Wheelbarrow Race. The current record, held by a father and son team from Barbados, stood at 15.56 seconds. Josh and Arjuna’s first run on the pre-measured athletics track came in 0.5 seconds too slow, but after a few minutes of rest the pair crossed the line in an amazing 14.87 seconds, another new record!

494843. Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:11 pm Reply with quote
Sexual Athleticism

The standing wheelbarrow sexual position is very similar to that adopted when participating in a wheelbarrow race (only rather more intimate than is my memory of such events) and whilst one hesitates to suggest that anything sexual is at all new it doesn't seem to have a long history in the various pornographic and instructional works. Perhaps the position is considered a bit tame or perhaps my net searches do not generate some of the ancient porn that they should do but in my e-travels in search of enlightenment on this point I came across only two references to the wheelbarrow in a purportedly ancient sexual context. First there is the Kamasutra position termed the Wanton Wheelbarrow

How it’s done: Stand facing the bed or a chair, then bend over so that your head and arms are resting on its surface. Your partner then stands behind you and grabs one of your ankles. Holding your foot near his hip, he enters you from behind.

Why you’ll love it: In this rear-entry ride, your boy gets to thrust while getting a glorious view of ? and access to ? your posterior (a major turn-on). Plus, the deep impact and bent-over angle lets him hit that oh-my-god G-spot on the front wall of your vagina.

Second there is a depiction of an ancient temple sculpture which is described on this site

as being both the Wheel-barrow Sexual Position and The Chakra Position. I think the second is a more accurte description as the image (which I have been unable to locate on Google Image but must be there somewhere I'd have thought) shows what appears to be esentially a kneeling wheelbarrow position with the additional difficulty level of the woman arching her back to such an extent that by grabbing the hair on her lovers head she can pull him towards her so that they may kiss during penetration. Chakra means wheel and the couple's bodies do indeed appear to form a circle or wheel in the depiction.

Modern interpretations of the wheelbarrow position are not quite so strenuous although there is a suggestion in some descriptions that the woman might have rather more work to do than the man as she may be required to grip his waist with her thighs rather than having him support her thighs with his arms. This frees his hands for other duties, fondling her breasts certainly being one possibility. One brave site contains the invaluable advice that the man should

Vary the speed and motion throughout

top tip, I'm sure you'll agree.

I realise this may result in the page being blocked for some of you at work but I only had 'wheelbarrow' and 'Baptist Grammar' to go on really and nothing sprang to mind about Baptist Grammars. If I should remove the link to Wanton Wheelbarrow let me know but it seems fairly innocuous to me.

495038. Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:08 am Reply with quote
1066 and All That
1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England. Written by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman and illustrated by John Reynolds, it first appeared serially in Punch magazine, and was published in book form by Methuen & Co. Ltd. in 1930.
The book is a parody of the Whiggish style of history teaching in English schools at the time, in particular of Our Island Story. It purports to contain "all the history you can remember", and, in fifty two chapters, covers the history of England from Roman times through 1066 "and all that", up to the end of World War I, at which time "America was thus clearly Top Nation, and history came to a ." (this, last, chapter is titled "A Bad Thing"). It is based on the idea that history is what you can remember and is full of examples of half-remembered facts.
Although the subtitle states that the book comprises "103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates", the book's preface mentions that originally four dates were planned, but last-minute research revealed that two of them were not memorable. The two dates that are referenced in the book are 1066, the Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of Britain (Chapter XI) and 55 BC, the first Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar (Chapter I). However, when the date of the Roman invasion is given, it is immediately followed by mention of the fact that Caesar was "compelled to invade Britain again the following year (54 BC, not 56, owing to the peculiar Roman method of counting)". Despite the confusion of dates the Roman Conquest is the first of 103 historical events in the book characterised as a Good Thing, "since the Britons were only natives at that time".
Chapter II begins "that long succession of Waves of which History is chiefly composed", the first of which, here, is composed of Ostrogoths, Visigoths, mere Goths, Vandals and Huns and later examples of which are the 'Wave of Saints', who include the Venomous Bead (Chapter III), 'Waves of Pretenders', usually divided into smaller waves of two: an Old Pretender and a Young Pretender (Chapter XXX), plus the 'Wave of Beards' in the Elizabethan era (Chapter XXXIII).
In English history Kings are either 'Good' or 'Bad'. The first 'Good King' is the confusingly differentiated King Arthur/Alfred (Chapter V). Bad Kings include King John who when he came to the throne showed how much he deserved this epithet when he "lost his temper and flung himself on the floor, foaming at the mouth and biting the rushes" (Chapter XVIII). Other memorable monarchs include the Split King Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 and Broody Mary.
Memorable events in English history include the Disillusion of the Monasteries (Chapter XXXI) and The Industrial Revelation (Chapter XLIX).
The book also contains five joke 'Test Papers' interspersed among the chapters, which contain nonsense instructions including the famous "Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once" (Test Paper V) and "Do not attempt to answer more than one question at a time" (Test Paper I) and such unanswerable questions as "How far did the Lords Repellent drive Henry III into the arms of Pedro the Cruel? (Protractors may not be used.)" (Test Paper II).

495223. Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:15 pm Reply with quote
Edward Sinclair (1914 – 29 August 1977) was an English actor most famous for his role as the verger Maurice Yeatman in Dad's Army. He also made appearances in Z Cars and Danger Man.

Edward's father was the son of a stage actor who died when he was 14. Drama school was too expensive so he worked for amateur theatre companies. He served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in World War II and was a salesman before deciding to become a professional actor in his late forties. Although born into a theatrical family, Edward was to resist the temptation to turn professional until he had safely brought up his family. In the meantime, he continued to perform with amateur dramatics societies, enjoying the experience while continuing to earn a living from being a salesman.

He turned professional in his late forties, starting off on radio before being noticed an offered small parts on TV. He first appeared in the fifth episode (before we had seen the Vicar) as the caretaker, but it wasn't until the fifth series that he became a regular. He also appeared in several films and theatre productions, and was being offered work in panto just as the series finished. Unfortunately, he died soon after from a heart attack. This came a shock to all the cast members, and it was Arthur Lowe, who stated at his funeral service, "With the loss of Teddy, it is now quite clear that there will be no more Dad's Army."

He died in 1977 after suffering a massive heart attack, within weeks of the filming of the final Dad's Army episode

495254. Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:47 pm Reply with quote
Operation Tonga

Operation Tonga preceeded the D-Day (Overlord) landings by approximately 6 hours and was an airbourne assault conducted by D Company of the 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry plus Royal Engineers and Glider Pilots for the six Horsa gliders by which the troops were landed (181 men in total). Lead by Major John Howard DSO the objectives were to take and hold the bridges over the Caen Canal and the Orne River, both of which waterways lay close together on the allies left flank. The bridges, code-named Pegasus and Horsa respectively, were in relatively close proximity about 11km inland from Sword Beach. The reason for taking the bridges was that German armour would then be unable to cross the waterways without going a considerable way inland and so this would protect the allies left flank. The radio signal 'Ham and Jam' was to be sent to indicate that the bridges were in allied hands; according to a rather full (presumably eye-witness) account at the site linked to below the intended recipient was not able to recieve the message however. After landing and establishing the beachhead at Oistreham (Sword) 45 Commando Brigade under Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat DSO, MC, TD were to move inland and relieve the Ox & Bucks. The operation was a success in all respects, the Commandos were however, after fighting their way ashore and conducting an 11km opposed march inland, something under 10 minutes* late compared to their expected time to relieve the Ox & Bucks.

* A recent account on the TV by one of the Ox & Bucks put the figure at 3 mins by his watch IIRC

495670. Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:10 pm Reply with quote

Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur's lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The sword was associated with the Arthurian legend very early. In Welsh, the sword is called Caledfwlch.

In Arthurian romance a number of explanations are given for Arthur's possession of Excalibur. In Robert de Boron's Merlin, Arthur obtained the throne by pulling a sword from a stone. In this account, the act could not be performed except by "the true king," meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon. This sword is thought by many to be the famous Excalibur and the identity is made explicit in the later so-called Vulgate Merlin Continuation, part of the Lancelot-Grail cycle. However, in what is sometimes called the Post-Vulgate Merlin, Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake sometime after he began to reign. She calls the sword "Excalibur, that is as to say as Cut-steel." In the Vulgate Mort Artu, Arthur orders Girflet to throw the sword into the enchanted lake. After two failed attempts he finally complies with the wounded king's request and a hand emerges from the lake to catch it, a tale which becomes attached to Bedivere instead in Malory and the English tradition.

Malory records both versions of the legend in his Le Morte d'Arthur, and confusingly calls both swords Excalibur. The film Excalibur attempts to rectify this by having only one sword, which Arthur draws from the stone and later breaks; the Lady of the Lake then repairs it.

496073. Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:52 am Reply with quote
"I Am the Walrus"
"I Am the Walrus" is a 1967 song by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney. Lennon claimed he wrote the first two lines on separate acid trips. The song was in The Beatles' 1967 television film and album Magical Mystery Tour, and was the B-side to the #1 hit "Hello, Goodbye".
Lennon composed the avant-garde song by combining three songs he had been working on. When he learned that a teacher at his old primary school was having his students analyze Beatles' lyrics, he added a verse of nonsense words.
The walrus is a reference to the walrus in Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter" (from the book Through the Looking-Glass). Lennon expressed dismay upon learning that the walrus was the villain in the poem.
"I Am the Walrus" was the first studio recording made after the death of The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein in August 1967. The basic backing track featuring The Beatles was released in 1996 on Anthology 2. George Martin arranged and added orchestral accompaniment that included violins, cellos, horns, clarinet and a 16-piece choir. Paul McCartney said that Lennon gave instructions to Martin as to how he wished the orchestration to be scored, including singing most of the parts as a guide. A large group of professional studio vocalists named "The Mike Sammes Singers", took part in the recording as well, variously singing "Ho-ho-ho, hee-hee-hee, ha-ha-ha", "oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper!", "got one, got one, everybody's got one" and making a series of shrill whooping noises.
The dramatic reading in the mix towards the end of the song is a few lines of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI), which were added to the song direct from an AM radio receiving the broadcast of the play on the BBC Home Service (or possibly the BBC Third Programme).
The bulk of the audible dialogue, heard in the fade, is the death scene of the character Oswald (including the words, "O untimely Death! Death!"); this is just one additional piece of the Paul is Dead urban legend.

496101. Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:28 am Reply with quote
Jack Ruby

Jacob Rubenstein (March 25, 1911 – January 3, 1967), who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was an American nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas. He was convicted on March 14, 1964 of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963, two days after Oswald was arrested for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He successfully appealed his conviction and death sentence. As a date for his new trial was being set, he became ill and died.

Ruby (also known as "Sparky," reportedly because of his short temper) frequently carried a handgun, and witnesses saw him with a handgun in the halls of the Dallas police headquarters on several occasions after President Kennedy's assassination and arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963. In addition, WFAA-TV (Dallas) and NBC newsreel footage show Ruby impersonating a newspaper reporter during a press conference, at Dallas Police Headquarters, on the night of the assassination. At the press conference, District Attorney Henry Wade said that Lee Oswald was a member of the anti-Castro Free Cuba Committee. Ruby corrected Wade by stating that it was the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Ruby received international attention two days later. After driving into town and sending a money order to one of his employees, he walked the short distance to the nearby police headquarters. There is some evidence it was on a whim, for he left his favorite dog, Sheba, in the car, when he shot and fatally wounded the 24-year-old Oswald on Sunday, November 24, 1963, at 11:21 am CST, while authorities were preparing to transfer Oswald by car from police headquarters to the nearby county jail. Stepping out from a crowd of reporters and photographers, Ruby fired a snub-nosed Colt Cobra .38 into Oswald's abdomen on a nationally televised live broadcast.

When Ruby was arrested immediately after the shooting, he told several witnesses that he helped the city of Dallas "redeem" itself in the eyes of the public, and that Oswald's death would spare Jacqueline Kennedy the ordeal of appearing at Oswald's trial (to be held later). Ruby stated that he shot Oswald to avenge Kennedy. Later, however, he claimed he shot Oswald on the spur of the moment when the opportunity presented itself, without considering any reason for doing so. At the time of the shooting Jack Ruby was taking Preludin, a slimming tablet which, while removing appetite, also roused the metabolism to hyperactivity.

496980. Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:06 am Reply with quote
On the Origin of Species
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (published November 24 1859) is a seminal work in scientific literature and a landmark work in evolutionary biology. The book's full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In the 6th edition of 1872 the title was changed to The Origin of Species. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Darwin's book contained a wealth of evidence that the diversity of life arose through a branching pattern of evolution and common descent – evidence which he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and expanded through research, correspondence, and experiments after his return.
The book is readable even for the non-specialist and attracted widespread interest on publication. The book was controversial because it contradicted creation myths that underlay the then current theories of biology, and it generated much discussion on scientific, philosophical, and religious grounds. The scientific theory of evolution has itself continued to evolve since Darwin's contributions, but natural selection remains the most widely accepted scientific model of speciation. Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus, political and religious challenges to the theory of evolution continue to this day in some countries.

497111. Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:45 am Reply with quote

Snoopy is a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly ordinary dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character — and among the most recognizable comic characters in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were based on Schulz's childhood dogs, Snooky and Spike.

Following the tragic Apollo I fire, Snoopy became the official mascot of aerospace safety, testing and the rebuilding of the Apollo Program, due to his refusal to accept defeat and his "'outside the doghouse' way of looking at things." A series of Snoopy-in-Space ("Astrobeagle") products arrived with this campaign, and originals are still prized.

The Silver Snoopy award is a special NASA honor, in the form of a sterling silver pin with an engraving of Snoopy in a spacesuit helmet. It is given by an astronaut to someone who works in the space program that has gone above and beyond in pursuit of quality and safety.

497172. Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:27 pm Reply with quote
James Marsters

First coming to the attention of a wide public in his role as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer James Marsters quickly became the focus for a good deal of fan adulation. The cult status of BtVS carried Marsters along to a reprisal of the role in the Buffy spin-off Angel as fans refused to allow the second, more morally questionable, ensouled vampire, as played by Marsters, to Rest In Peace*. This was a plot development of some interest as the emnity and rivalry between Angel and Spike was well established by that stage. When Angel came to an end after Series 5 Marsters made a minor career for himself in music both with the band Ghost of the Robot and as a solo artist as well as accepting roles in a few films and several TV series; predominantly in Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows such as Smallville, Torchwood and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. His appearance in Torchwood and the kiss between his character Captain John Hart and John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness caused several fangirls' (and fanboys' for that matter) heads to explode due to the amount and intensity of unfulfilled Angel/Spike lit. on the net. Masters may or may not continue this role in Torchwood Series 3, a five-episode mini-series that will run in a post-watershed slot on BBC One sometime in spring 2009, on consecutive nights. Interestingly in its original incarnation at the planning stage Torchwood was to be entitled Excalibur.

* fan reference; see BtVS Once More With Feeling and final plot development for Spike in BtVS Series 7

497307. Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:54 pm Reply with quote

BigDog is a dynamically stable quadruped robot created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics with Foster-Miller, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station.

BigDog is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the hopes that it will be able to serve as a robotic pack mule to accompany soldiers in terrain too rough for conventional vehicles. Instead of wheels or treads, BigDog uses four legs for movement, allowing it to move across surfaces that would defeat wheels. The legs contain a variety of sensors, including joint position and ground contact. BigDog also features a laser gyroscope and a stereo vision system.

497939. Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:39 am Reply with quote
Transmission is the fourth album recorded by Canadian band The Tea Party, released in 1997. The album sees the band expanding on the mix of rock, blues, and world music found in their previous albums by adding electronic instruments and recording techniques to their repertoire.
While still using several exotic instruments and maintaining the "eastern" influence in the recording, many songs also include samples, sequencers, and loops alongside the traditional acoustic instruments. The result is a harder, industrial sound, owing more to Nine Inch Nails than Led Zeppelin. The album is the angriest and most despairing release by the band, with lyrical references to the afterlife ("Psychopomp"), dystopian works of Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin ("Army Ants") and Giovanni Piranesi's 'Imaginary Prisons' ("Alarum").
Transmission continued to build on the momentum generated by The Edges of Twilight, reaching double platinum status in Canada and receiving a 1998 Juno nomination for "Blockbuster Rock Album of the Year".

Track listing
"Temptation" – 3:25
"Army Ants" – 3:33
"Psychopomp" – 5:17
"Gyroscope" – 2:56
"Alarum" – 4:58
"Release" – 4:05
"Transmission" – 5:17
"Babylon" – 2:50
"Pulse" – 4:09
"Emerald" – 4:51
"Aftermath" – 5:43

498066. Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:50 am Reply with quote
The Townshend Acts were a series of acts passed beginning in 1767 by the Parliament of Great Britain relating to the British colonies in North America. The acts are named for Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed the program. Historians vary slightly in which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five laws are frequently mentioned: the Revenue Act of 1767, the Indemnity Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the New York Restraining Act.[1]

The purpose of the Townshend Acts was to raise revenue in the colonies to pay for governors and judges who would be independent of colonial control, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, to punish the province of New York for failing to comply with the 1765 Quartering Act, and to establish the precedent that the British Parliament had the right to tax the colonies.[2] The Townshend Acts met with resistance in the colonies, prompting the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

Ironically, on the same day as the massacre in Boston, Parliament began to consider a motion to partially repeal the Townshend duties.[3] Most of the new taxes were repealed, but the tax on tea was retained. The British government continued in its attempt to tax the colonists without their consent, however, which led to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

498204. Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper (born January 25, 1943) is an American director and screenwriter, best known for his work in the horror film genre, including Salem's Lot, Poltergeist and the cult classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), along with its first sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

In 1974, he organized a small cast comprised of college teachers and students, and with Kim Henkel, on a budget of $60,000 (which eventually rose to $90,000 or some reports say up to even $120,000) made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hooper claims to have got the idea for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get through the crowd, he spotted chainsaws for sale. The highly successful film changed the horror film industry, and landed Hooper in Hollywood. Media reportings of people throwing up at the theaters and storming out of the theaters because of the film, swept the nation. Hooper wanted an MPAA PG rating for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (as there was no PG-13 at the time).

498263. Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:32 pm Reply with quote

Tejas is the Mexican pronunciation of Texas, or, more accurately, Texas is the American pronunciation of Tejas. Coahuila y Tejas (or Coahuila and Texas) was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution. It remained in existence until the adoption of the 1835 "Constitutional Bases", whereby the federal republic was converted into a unitary one, and the nation's states (estados) were turned into departments (departamentos): the State of Coahuila y Tejas was split in two and became the Department of Coahuila and the Department of Tejas. The latter eventually seceded and became the independent Republic of Texas, which is now the state of Texas within the United States of America. The origins of the name lie in the Hasinai confederation (Hasí:nay in Caddo) which was a large confederation of Caddo-speaking Native Americans located between the Sabine and Trinity rivers in eastern Texas. They were known as the Tejas—Texas, old Spanish spelling—by Spanish explorers, or even Hasini, being the plural Spanish version of the Caddo word táysha, "friend". This name was later given to the state of Texas.

Interestingly Tejas has a couple of unrelated meanings; it is a Sanskrit synonym (to Agni) for fire; light; lord of speed and from this is derived the name of an Indian fighter aircraft the HAL Tejas (Radiance).

498608. Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:20 pm Reply with quote
Arthur C Clarke

Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (16 December 1917–19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, most famous for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick, a collaboration which also produced the film of the same name; and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World.

Clarke served in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor and technician from 1941-1946, proposed satellite communication systems in 1945 which won him the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947-1950 and again in 1953. Later, he helped fight for the preservation of lowland gorillas. He won the UNESCO-Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in 1961.

Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving, and lived there until his death. He was knighted by the United Kingdom in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke's most famous work, goes well beyond the 1968 movie. Its 1984 sequel, 2010 was based on Clarke's 1982 novel, 2010: Odyssey Two. There were two further sequels that have not been adapted to the cinema: 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey.

In 2061, Halley's Comet swings back to nearby Earth, and Clarke uses the event as an excuse to take an aged Dr. Heywood Floyd on a romp through the solar system, visiting the comet before crash-landing on Europa, where he discovers the fates of Dave Bowman, HAL 9000, and the Europan life-forms which have been protected by the Monoliths.

With 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke returns to examine the character of astronaut Frank Poole, believed killed outside Discovery by HAL in the original novel and film.

499514. Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:36 pm Reply with quote
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (born April 22, 1982 in Brasília), better known as Kaká or Ricky Kaká, is a Brazilian midfielder who plays for Italian Serie A club A.C. Milan and the Brazilian national team. He was the recipient of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007, and was named in the 2008 Time 100.
Kaká was born to Simone Cristina dos Santos Leite and Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite. His younger brother, Rodrigo (known as Digão), is also a professional footballer. When he was seven, his family moved to São Paulo. His school had arranged him in a local youth club called "Alphaville," who qualified to the final in a local tournament. There he was discovered by São Paulo FC, who offered an assignment.
At the age of eighteen, Kaká suffered a career-threatening and possibly paralysis-inducing spinal fracture as a result of a swimming pool accident, but remarkably made a full recovery. He attributes his recovery to God and has since tithed his income to his church/
Kaká made his debut for Brazil in January 2002 against Bolivia. He was part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, but played only 25 minutes, all of which were in the first round match against Costa Rica. During the final against Germany, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was reportedly about to send Kaká on as a substitute, but he never made it into the game as the referee did not notice him waving on the sidelines to enter the pitch.
In 2003, Kaká was the captain for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, where Brazil finished as runner-up as he scored three goals. He finished in joint tenth place in the voting for the 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year award, and finished two spots higher the following year. On June 29, 2005, he scored in a 4–1 defeat of Argentina in the 2005 Confederations Cup final.
Kaká started in his first FIFA World Cup finals in 2006, scoring his first and only goal in a 1–0 victory over Croatia in Brazil's opening match. He was unable to keep up the momentum for the remainder of the tournament, as Brazil was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals. On September 3, he received the ball off a deflection from an Argentina corner kick and taking the ball down three quarters of the field to score.
On May 12, 2007, citing an exhaustive schedule of Serie A, Champions League and national team play, Kaká openly bowed out of the 2007 Copa América, which Brazil won. He returned to play 70 minutes of Brazil's 1–1 friendly draw with England on June 1, but only 30 in a goalless draw with Turkey on June 5.

499530. Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Carbon Neutral

Being carbon neutral is increasingly seen as good corporate or state social responsibility and a growing list of corporations, cities and states are announcing dates for when they intend to become fully neutral.

Several countries and communities have pledged carbon, or climate, neutrality.

Samsø island in Denmark is the largest carbon-neutral settlement on the planet, with a population of 4200, based on wind-generated electricity and biomass-based district heating. They currently generate extra wind power and export the electricity to compensate for petro-fueled vehicles. There are future hopes of using electric or biofuel vehicles.

In July 2007, Vatican City announced a plan to become the first carbon neutral state in the world, following the politics of the Pope to eliminate global warming. The goal would be reached through the donation of the Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary. The forest is to be sized to offset the year's carbon dioxide emissions. However, no trees have actually been planted as of 2008.In November 2008, the city state has also installed and put into operation 2,400 solar panels on the roof of the Paul VI Centre audience hall.

The Central American nation of Costa Rica aims to be fully carbon neutral before 2030.In 2004, 46.7% of Costa Rica's primary energy came from renewable sources, while 94% of its electricity was generated from hydroelectric power, wind farms and geothermal energy in 2006. A 3.5% tax on gasoline in the country is used for payments to compensate landowners for growing trees and protecting forests and its government is making further plans for reducing emissions from transport, farming and industry.

On April 19, 2007, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced to the Labour Party annual congress that Norway's greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 10 percent more than its Kyoto commitment by 2012, and that the government had agreed to achieve emission cuts of 30% by 2020. He also proposed that Norway should become carbon neutral by 2050, and called upon other rich countries to do likewise.This carbon neutrality would be achieved partly by carbon offsetting, a proposal criticised by Greenpeace, who also called on Norway to take responsibility for the 500m tonnes of emissions caused by its exports of oil and gas. World Wildlife Fund Norway also believes that the purchase of carbon offsets is unacceptable, saying 'it is a political stillbirth to believe that China will quietly accept that Norway will buy climate quotas abroad'. The Norwegian environmental activist Bellona Foundation believes that the prime minister was forced to act due to pressure from anti-European Union members of the coalition government, and called the announcement 'visions without content'. In January 2008 the Norwegian government went a step further and declared a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. But the government has not been specific about any plans to reduce emissions at home; the plan is based on buying carbon offsets from other countries.

Another nation to pledge carbon neutrality is New Zealand. Its Carbon Neutral Public Sector Initiative aims to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of an initial group of six governmental agencies by 2012. Unavoidable emissions will be offset, primarily through indigenous forest regeneration projects on conservation land. All 34 public service agencies also need to have emission reduction plans in place.

Iceland is also moving towards climate neutrality. Over 99% of electricity production and almost 80% of total energy production comes from hydropower and geothermal. No other nation uses such a high proportion of renewable energy resources. In February 2008, Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway were the first four countries to join the Climate Neutral Network, an initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to catalyze global action towards low carbon economies and societies.

499763. Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:01 pm Reply with quote

Ryokan are traditional Japanese hotels dating from the Edo period (1603–1868). Familiar to those who have watched You Only Live Twice ryokan are built with traditional materials and feature paper walls, tatami floors and sliding doors. Virtually all ryokan have Ofuro ie common bathing areas often supplied by water from natural hot springs. Whilst many ryokan are expensive, not least because they are situated in areas of great natural beauty, surprisingly some are significantly less pricey and rooms may be secured for as little as $40 a night. In urban areas modern Japanese favour conventional Western-style hotels although Kyoto is an exception as people visit the city in order to stay at its ryokan. Former guests at the Hiiragiya, Kyoto's most famous ryokan, include Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Japanese royal family. Another Kyoto ryokan, the Tawaraya, has been visited by Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Paul Sartre, Peter Ustinov, Barbara Streisand, Rudolph Nureyev and possibly the best known of ryokan enthusiasts, Marlon Brando. Presumably it was during his stay at the Tawaraya that Ustinov requested that he be provided with another stool to sit on 'for his other cheek'.

<E> Not sure if ryokan is strictly plural or not. It seems to be used in English in a plural context in the Wiki article as far as I can see but I am unaware of a singular.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

499772. Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:13 pm Reply with quote
Saul Bass

Saul Bass (May 8, 1920—April 25, 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, but he is best known for his design on animated motion picture title sequences.

During his 40-year career he worked for some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, including most notably Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Amongst his most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict's arm for Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, the text racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of the United Nations building in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that raced together and was pulled apart for Psycho.

I have that poster above my desk

499784. Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:00 pm Reply with quote

What constitutes a country or state is probably best left to the United Nations who should, on balance, be a fairly impartial body in this regard - at least the most impartial we're likely to find. There are 192 member states of the UN and a small but debatable number of non-member states. The Cook Islands and Niue, which are both associated states of New Zealand, are neither members nor observers of the UN, but are members of UN agencies. While self-governing in their domestic affairs, most of their foreign affairs are represented by New Zealand on their behalf they are recognized by the UN as "non-member states". Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on on February 17, 2008 but has not gained complete international recognition to allow it to become a member of the United Nations. In 1971 the People's Republic of China (mainland China) replaced Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China) in the United Nations so Taiwan is no longer a member state although they regularly petition to become members. Vatican City / The Holy See; the independent papal state of 771 people (including the Pope) was created in 1929. The Vatican has not chosen to become part of the international organization but has been a permanent observer state since 6 April 1964 and gained all the rights of full membership except voting on 1 July 2004. Palestine (as declared by the PLO) is officially a "non-member entity" with observer status. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), proclaimed by the Polisario Front, is neither a member nor an observer of the UN, and Western Sahara is listed by the UN as a "non-self-governing territory". So 5 recognised non-member states and two more debatable bodies which lay claim to, but do not posess, certain territories.

500063. Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:52 am Reply with quote
Martin Ritt
Martin Ritt (March 2, 1914–December 8, 1990) was an American director, actor, and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City.
Ritt originally attended and played football for Elon College in North Carolina. The stark contrasts of the depression-era South, against his New York City upbringing, instilled in him a passion for expressing the struggles of inequality, which is apparent in the films he directed. After leaving St. John's University, Ritt found work with a theater group, and began acting in plays. His first performance was as Crown in Porgy and Bess. After his performance drew favorable reviews, Ritt concluded that he could "only be happy in the theater." Ritt then went to work with the Roosevelt administration's New Deal Works Progress Administration as a playwright for the Federal Theater Project, a federal government-funded theater support program.
With work hard to find and the Depression in full effect, many WPA theater performers, directors, and writers became heavily influenced by the radical left and Communism, and Ritt was no exception. Years later, Ritt would state that he had never been a member of the Communist Party, although he considered himself a leftist and found common ground with some Marxist principles. He was blacklisted by the television industry when a Syracuse grocer charged him with donating money to Communist China in 1951.
Ritt's 1964 film The Outrage, is an American retelling of the Kurosawa film Rashomon, and stars Laurence Harvey, Paul Newman, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson, Howard Da Silva, and William Shatner. The film uses the Western genre to tell the same story as the Japanese movie. Like the original Kurosawa film, this film contrasts the stories of various witnesses to a crime. Shatner and Robinson listen to four different versions of a rape/murder, told alternatively by Harvey, Bloom, Newman and Da Silva. Harvey is the one murdered, but tells his story through an Indian medicine man. Each story is a biased opinion of what happened, and the movie never resolves which story is true (if any). Like the Kurosawa original, Ritt's film is an example of nonlinear storytelling.
In 1976, Ritt made the one of the first dramatic feature films about the blacklist, The Front, starring Woody Allen. The Front satirizes the use of front men, men and women who (either as a personal favour or in exchange for payment) allowed their names to be listed as writers for scripts actually authored by blacklisted writers. The film was based on the experiences of, and written by, one of Ritt's closest friends, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted for eight years beginning in 1950.
Ritt died at age 76 in Santa Monica, California on December 8, 1990.

500405. Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Borrowed Plots

Whilst it is well known that Hollywood film-makers have borrowed from Kurosawa it is perhaps less well known that Kurosawa has also borrowed from Western literature in making some of his films. So we have The Magnificent Seven (The Seven Samurai), Star Wars (The Hidden Fortress) and Last Man Standing (itself A Fistful of Dollars remake but originally Yojimbo) in addition to the above mentioned Outrage. The other side of the coin is Dostoevsky's The Idiot as Hakuchi (1951), Gorky's The Lower Depths as Donzoko (1957), Shakespeare's Macbeth as Kumonosu jô (1957) and King Lear as Ran (1985).

500442. Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:53 pm Reply with quote
The Owl and the Pussycat

"The Owl and the Pussycat" is a famous nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1871. Its most notable historical feature is the coinage of the term runcible spoon. It features four anthropomorphised animals (the owl, the pussycat, the 'piggy-wig' and a turkey) and revolves around the love between the title characters, who are married by the turkey in the third and final stanza.

Portions of an unfinished sequel, "The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat," were first published posthumously in 1938.

The title characters famously go to sea in "a beautiful pea-green boat". The phrase "pea-green" occurs several times in Lear's writings including his surviving diaries.

Eric Idle, a former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, wrote a children's book entitled The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat which was based on the poem. It is an extended story about when the Owl and the Pussycat were attacked by a band of ruthless rats who were out to steal pies. It was illustrated by Wesla Weller and was first published in 1996 with an audio version which included some songs by Idle himself.

500506. Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Monty Python

One of the original titles considered for Monty Python's Flying Circus was Owl Stretching Time. In the end the title Owl Stretching Time was used for an episode which first aired on 26th October 1969 and contains the famous sketch on how to defend yourself against an assailant armed with fresh fruit.

There was a link possible there but we're shy of the 30 post minimum.

500836. Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:29 am Reply with quote
There was a link possible from countries (with Cook).
Anyway, to win:
Five Go Mad in Dorset
Five Go Mad in Dorset was the first of the long-running series of The Comic Strip Presents... television comedy films. It first aired on the launch night of Channel 4 (2 November 1982), and was written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens, and directed by Bob Spiers.
The film is an extreme parody of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, in which the titular Five - children Julian (Richardson), Dick (Adrian Edmondson), George (Dawn French), Anne (Jennifer Saunders) and their dog Timmy - investigate the disappearance of their Uncle Quentin (Ronald Allen). Daniel Peacock and Robbie Coltrane also made appearances, the latter in his first television role.
The satire on display was seen as particularly brutal, parodying established aspects of Blyton's books in addition to placing newer, sinister overtones onto them. Examples of the former include repeated demeaning reference to Anne as a "proper little housewife", the gang's propensity for overhearing shady conversations between criminals (portrayed in the film by burly thugs muttering "Blah blah blah, stolen plans, blah blah blah, missing scientists" and so on) and their taste for outdoor picnics of "ham and turkey sandwiches, bags of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, heaps of tomato, and lashings of ginger beer". (Indeed, the film's catchphrase "lashings of ginger beer" became so well known that it is now often mistakenly attributed to Blyton herself, although it never appears in any of the Famous Five books.)
The film also portrayed Uncle Quentin as a "screaming homosexual" and his wife Fanny as an "unrelenting nymphomaniac", as well as strongly implying a homosexual relationship between Dick and Julian and a bestial one between George and Timmy. In addition, much was made of the children's apparently racist and extreme right-wing views - a reference to the controversy that has retrospectively haunted Blyton's work. Despite all of this, however, Blyton's estate were said to have "loved" the film.
A sequel, Five Go Mad on Mescalin, was produced for the second Comic Strip series in 1983, but was seen as a poor imitation of - and unworthy successor to - the first, despite being created by the same writer/director team. The plot, involving a pushy rich American with a spoiled son, is loosely based on Enid Blyton's Five on Finniston Farm (1960). Notably, it implies that the Five might have sympathised with Nazi Germany because the Nazis were not as "vulgar" as Americans.

502322. Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:38 am Reply with quote
Don't we have to link back to Bad News to win?

503755. Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:28 pm Reply with quote
No, just a link to the original post, in this case with The Comic Strip.

QI Moderator
561019.  Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm Reply with quote

QQ - laidbacklazyman v 96aelw

33879. Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:16 pm Reply with quote
Today (Nov 23rd) is the birth date in 1673 is the birthdate of Friedrich Graf von Seckendorf. Who on earth is that? I hear you all cry. Well let me tell you. He was born in Konigsberg, Franconia (now bavaria) and his father was an official in the court of Saxe-Gotha. He joined the millitary in 1693 and fought in an allied army led by William III becoming a cornet (the lowest commisioned rank in the cavalry a year later.

In his time he has also fought for the Venetians, the Dutch, the Austrians and the Polish. Possibly making him the earliest mercenary on record.

There we are 96 plenty for you to get your teeth into for the first rally, shall we say a minimum 10 plays before a point can be claimed.

33893. Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:33 pm Reply with quote
Nov 23rd is also the feast day of St. Clement. He was the fourth Pope (according to the official listings, although it's all a bit speculative that far back), and is patron saint of hatters, blacksmiths, and Trinity House (the people who are in charge of lighthouses). The most important verifiable fact about him is that he wrote a letter to the Corinthian church in about 96, which is the earliest known instance of a bishop of Rome effectively intervening in the affairs of another church, and provides evidence for the residence and martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul at Rome. He is traditionally supposed to have been martyred by being thrown into the sea with an anchor tied round his neck, and therefore has an anchor as his symbol (hence the Trinity House connection).

10 plays sounds reasonable to me.

34016. Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:23 pm Reply with quote
St Peter's real name was Simon Bar-Jona but he was given the nickname by Jesus (Matt. xvi:17)

The term robbing Peter to pay Paul is thought to come from the French term as descouvrir S. Pierre pour couvrir S. Pol dating back to the 16th Century. It is thought that it stems from a town or city with two churches where one church benefits from the misfortune of the other.


34075. Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:57 pm Reply with quote
Pol Pot's real name was Saloth Sar. He changed it shortly before he gained control of Cambodia in 1975. Until 1976, however, the head of state was Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who had been driven from power in 1970, and was initially restored by the Khmer Rouge. Guinness World Records credit Sihanouk with having held a greater variety of political offices than any other politician, having been king, abdicated to be prime minister, and subsequently been sovereign prince, President, non-specifically-titled head of state, head of various governments in exile, and king again. Since abdicating (again) in 2004, he has officially been "Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preahmahviraksat", (literally sacred compassionate sacred foot lord sacred Norodom Sihanouk sacred-great-warrior), usually rendered in English as King-Father.

34331. Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:03 am Reply with quote
Norodom Sihanouk is truly a fascinating man, not only was he all of the things mentioned in the previous post he is also a highly esteemed film director in the Cambodian market. making such greats as A PEASANT MAN AND WOMAN IN DISTRESS, OMBRE SUR ANGKOR, and who can forget the classic MY VILLAGE AT DUSK. The main theme behind most of his films is the effect the Khmer had on Cambodia at the time ad during a 33 year spell he made 18 films.

He also has a CD out Musique de Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge with some of his better known standards including Good Bye, Bogor, Monica, and Evanescence.

Should you wish to you can hear samples of his musical prowess at

34452. Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:50 pm Reply with quote
The 18 rating for films dates from 1st November, 1982. The BBFC was set up by the film industry in 1912 to standardise film ratings, and prevent the inconsistencies that leaving the matter entirely in the hands of local authorities had produced. However, it is still local authorities whose word is law when it comes to rating films for cinema releases, and they are at liberty to show films the censors have banned, ban films they haven't, and, if the mood should take them, to invent an entirely new ratings system of their own and use that.

35234. Sun Nov 27, 2005 2:43 am Reply with quote
The Liberty bell in Philadelphia was cast at the Whitechapel Ironworks, the same place as Big Ben, the thirteen and a half ton bell inside the clocktower at parliament. It too has a crack in it, caused by an oversized clapper.
The two names engraved on the bell (Pass and Snow) were the two people responsible for the repair of the bell in 1753.

You can se the names on the picture here

35724. Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Big Ben is often claimed to have been named after Sir Benjamin Hall, M.P., Chief Commissioner of Works at the time, but it may derive from the boxer, Benjamin Caunt, who also bore the nickname. A booklet written for the Minsitry of Works by one Alan Phillips at least successfully refutes the fullest version of the Hall theory, which states that the nickname was bestowed on the bell in a parliamentary debate on 31st May, 1859, when a long speech by Hall on the subject of naming the bell was met, at its conclusion, with a shout of "Why not call him Big Ben and have done with it?". Apparently the House, for reasons we can no longer fathom, erupted into laughter at this. Phillips points out that The Times had been using the name Big Ben since 1856, and that Hansard does not record the interjection. The truth seems destined to remain unclear.

Caunt fought his last fight in 1857, at the age of 42. After 60 rounds (a round in those pre-Queensbury rules days lasting as long as it took for someone to fall over), it was declared a draw.

35978. Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:21 pm Reply with quote
The fathom or fæthm is a traditional unit of length equivalent to 2 yards. It was widely used during between Saxon and medieval times as the primary unit of measurement, it is thought that the "foot" was first defined as exactly 1/6th of a fathom.

There are many variations on the length with the Swedes, rolling in with their favn at 5.84 feet, being the shortest.

It is now almost exclusively used as the standard nautical measurement, using it to record water depth and the length of underwater cables.

36236. Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:08 pm Reply with quote
FAVN testing (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization) is used to determine the levels of rabies virus neutralizing antibody present in a creature that has been vaccinated against the disease, to ensure the efficacy of the vaccination. The rabies vaccine was developed by Louis Pasteur, using techniques that the Animal Liberation Front would frown on, and successfully used by him to prevent humans bitten by rabid animals developing the disease; the first person he treated was the then 9 year old Joseph Meister, of Alsace. It worked. A translation of an account Pasteur wrote of the development of the vaccine and treatment of Meister can be found at

36472. Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:10 am Reply with quote
Antibodies are produced when the stimulated B cell undergoes repeated cell divisions, enlargement and differentiation to form a clone of antibody secreting plasma cells. Hence. through specific antigen recognition of the invader, clonal expansion and B cell differentiation you acquire an effective number of plasma cells all secreting the same needed antibody. That antibody then binds to the bacteria making them easier to ingest by white cells. Antibody combined with a plasma component called "complement" may also kill the bacteria directly

36678. Sat Dec 03, 2005 12:15 pm Reply with quote
The obelus (the symbol that consists of a horizontal line with a dot above and below which I can't work out how to type. Ho hum) first appears in print to indicate divisions in Johann Rahn's Teutsche Algebra of 1659, which also saw the first known instance of the use of three dots arranged in a triangle to mean "therefore". I can't type one of those either. The obelus had had various earlier uses, including denoting subtraction, in which role it survived for a long time in Denmark, being used in that way there until "fairly recently" (I found this stated in a number of places, but that's as precise as anyone was prepared to be). The ground breaking obelus use of 1659 may be viewed here (it's in the bottom left hand corner) .

37315. Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:58 pm Reply with quote
The oldest outdoor monument in London is Cleopatra's Needle, an obelisk, which takes it's name from the same root as obelus, the Ancient Greek for Dagger. The needle predates London by around 1500 years and was one of the few artefacts that was actually a gift rather than stolen. It was given to Britain by Mehemet Ali, the Albanian born Viceroy of Egypt at the time (1870's) as a thank you for the assistance during the battle of the Nile.

37456. Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:23 pm Reply with quote
It was originally intended that when Cleopatra's Needle arrived in London in 1878, it should be erected in front of the Houses of Parliament, but the particular spot they had chosen was found to be subsiding, so they put it on the Embankment instead. A number of objects were enclosed in its pedestal, including 4 Bibles in different languages, that morning's papers, a set of coins, a razor, a box of pins, a copy of Bradshaw's Railway Guide, and photographs of 12 English women noted for their beauty.

37593. Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:25 am Reply with quote
Queen Victoria, The Queen during whose reign Cleopatra's Needle was erected, was the grand daughter of the last true Saxa Gotha King, George the third.
That I beleive is 1-0 so lets continue on a Saxa Gotha theme.
George's mother was Augusta of Saxa Gotha, after who Augusta in Georgia was named, was the daughter of Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, was one of only three holders of the Princess of Wales title never to continue on the progression to be Queen, The others, Joan of Kent and Diana the other. One that could be included in the list is Catherine of Aragon, although she was Queen Consort to Henry the eighth, she was not his Princess of Wales, That honour went to Prince Arthur, Henry's elder brother.

Incidentally the last Welsh Princess of Wales was Gwenllian, grandaughter of Simon de Montfort and daughter of Llywelyn the Last and his cousin Eleanor de Montfort in 1282

37627. Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:55 pm Reply with quote
Excuse me for butting in. Is it true that Prince Arthur was Princess of Wales?

37706. Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:13 pm Reply with quote

Well played, sir (chiz chiz). Back to the fray...

The sanctuary of Diana in the woods at Nemi in Italy had a distinctly odd recruitment policy for its priest. The post was only open to fugitive slaves, who gained the job by killing the incumbent in single combat. The new priest could then continue in office until he was himself killed by his successor. This rather alarming practice was said by Cato the elder to date from the late 6th century B.C., and was described by Pausanias as still going in his day (the latter half of the 2nd century A.D.). Investigating the reason behind this set up ws the ostensible reason for Sir James Frazer's 25 volume epic of magic and religion The Golden Bough.

39798. Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:57 pm Reply with quote
Sorry for the delay in keeping things moving and samivel Catherine of Aragon was Princess to Prince Arthur of Wales, Henry 8th wasn't Prince of Wales


Burt Kwouk started his showbiz life as an uncreditted part on Hancocks Half Hour in 1957. Since then he has appeared in many roles including 3 Bond films, Mr Ling in You Only Live Twice and Goldfinger, and an uncreditted part in Casino Royale, he is however most famous for his role of Cato alongside Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther Films

39827. Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:53 pm Reply with quote
Thank you :)

40053. Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:36 pm Reply with quote
The word casino is derived from Italian, being a diminutive form of "casa", which means house. However, in Italian, it needs to have a grave accent on the "o" if it is to mean the same as it does in English. Without the accent, it means brothel. (Or mess, or a lot, so the good lexicographers of the OUP assure me).

41655. Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:33 am Reply with quote
Sir Henry Pellatt was a 19th Century Canadian industrialist who was resposible for Toronto's most romantic of landmarks. He bagan working at his fathers stockbroking firm and was made a full partner by the age of 23, he was also a member of the Queens own rifles and at the time of his death in he had served more than 50 years in the regiment and was given a full military burial that would befit someone of his standing.

He was the man that harnessed the power created by Niagara Falls in 1902, he also heavily invested in the Canadian Pacific Railroad and in the North West Land Company. Which as a result of Canada's then liberal immigration laws provided him with the finances necessary for his dream, "The House on the Hill".

It took 3 years and $3.5 million to build what was once the Pellatt's palatial family home overlooking Toronto, however shortly after the main works had been completed the Canadian Government opened electricity to public ownership and Pellatt began to fall on hard times and the running of the house became too costly so the family moved out to the country farm.

After a short while, the City confiscated Casa Loma to cover $ 27,000 in back taxes and the building fell into disrepair until in 1936, The Kiwanis Club took over the running of the house as a tourist attraction and it is still open to the public today.

42281. Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Casa Loma, which played the part of Professor Xavier's school in the X Men films, operated as a hotel for a time, in an unsuccessful bid to revive Pellatt's fortunes. Its resident jazz band at this time, hitherto the Orange Blossoms, became known as the Casa Loma Orchestra. Herb Ellis, guitarist with the Orchestra in the 1940s, went on to form a third of the Oscar Peterson trio from 1953 to 1958, little knowing that Peterson would become, in 2005, the only living person to be commemorated on Canadian stamps, other than reigning monarchs.

Happy new year, etc..

43909. Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:24 pm Reply with quote
The BBC's Weekly current affairs and politics programme "This Week" is hosted by Andrew Neil, Labour MP Diane Abbott and the former Conservative MP Micheal Portillo. This isn't the first time that Abbott and Portillo have worked together in the name of "entertainment". Being both ex Harrow County Grammar students, the young Diane Abbott was the Lady MacBeth opposite Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo in the school production of Shakespeares classic "Scottish Play"

Hope you had a nice new year too

45072. Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Daniel Defoe was either born in Stoke Newington or in the parish of St Giles Cripplegate (I found both claimed, sometimes qualified with the word "probably", but never with any evidence. Ho hum), but he was definitely educated in Stoke Newington, which forms part of Diane Abbott's constituency. The area had at that time a large population of Dissenters, including Defoe's presbyterian family, as they were not then allowed to live in the City. He was born Daniel Foe, and added the initial De in around 1695. His lifetime's output has been estimated at over 500 works, and sometimes as high as 600. These include The Review, a pro government newspaper which he wrote single handed, and which came out 3 times a week between 1704 and 1713 (and remained pro Government through 2 changes in government by cheerfully switching sides), a large number of pamphlets, on politics, the economy, religion, and other subjects, a guide book to Britain in 3 volumes, and several novels, of which the first was Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719 when he was nearly 60. He also found time to join the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, have a short career as a hosiery merchant, go bankrupt, do a short stretch in prison for one of his pamphlets, and work as a spy.

QI Moderator
561023.  Thu May 28, 2009 7:00 pm Reply with quote

QQ - eggshaped v Flash

28037. Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:24 am Reply with quote
eggshaped has won the toss and will now serve from the pavilion end.

28039. Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:30 am Reply with quote
The word pavilion derives from the french for butterfly, after some apparant similarity between the two.

UNfortunately I have been summoned from the Garage.

You workin-from-home types don't know your born.

If anyone wants to take my place, feel free, or I will continue when available.

28045. Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:54 am Reply with quote
The record for swimming the Channel using the butterfly stroke is 14hrs and 18mins, set by Julie Bradshaw in 2002. Although butterfly is supposed to be the second-fastest stroke after the crawl this is nearly double the time of the freestyle record.

Butterfly is regarded as the most difficult stroke, as well as being the most recent - it's been used in competition only since 1934 and was developed by the appropriately-named David Armbruster, swimming coach at the University of Iowa. Until 1952 it was regarded as a variant of the breaststroke.

There's a whole pageful of 'butterfly' etymologies in different languages at:, incidentally. (That wasn't the shot, that was just a bit of gratuitous top-spin.)

28050. Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:54 pm Reply with quote
The world’s largest strawberry can be found at Strawberry Point in Iowa. The world’s largest blueberry can be found in New Brunswick, Canada and the world’s largest pinapple can be seen in Queensland, Australia.

There are also two US towns competing to have the world's largest ball of twine.

28055. Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:54 pm Reply with quote
Oop, excuse me.

Last edited by Gray on Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

28065. Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:32 pm Reply with quote
The wild blueberry is indigenous to the State of Maine, which still produces 98% of the USA's crop. 50,000 beehives are required to pollinate the bushes, and these are brought into the state from all round for this purpose. A study in 2004 suggested that certain compounds found in blueberries (and cranberries) may have a significant impact in reducing the degradation of brain function in Alzheimer's and similar conditions.
"The exciting finding from this study is the potential reversal of some age-related impairments in both memory and motor coordination, especially with blueberry supplements," said Molly Wagster, Ph.D., a Health Scientist Administrator with the NIA's Neuroscience and Neurospsychology of Aging Program.

28232. Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:10 pm Reply with quote
Recent studies have shown that as well as a child getting its brains (or lack of them) from their parents, the reverse may be true (for mothers at least).

A study at the National University of Singapore showed that stray stem cells, which pass across the placenta from a growing fetus to its mother, can travel through the blood-stream and colonise the brain of the mother during pregnancy (in mice at least) growing into neuron-type cells when reaching the brain.

If this is confirmed to happen in humans, it could open up new, safer avenues of treatment for brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease.

28245. Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:24 pm Reply with quote
The word placenta, used in that sense, dates from 1677, and means 'cake' in Latin, from the Greek plakoenta (a flat cake), which derives from plax, meaning 'flat'.

The placenta is composed of two parts, one of which, the chorion, is genetically and biologically part of the fetus, the other part of the mother. In most mammalian species, the mother bites the cord and consumes the placenta. Some gynaecologists in England claim that they have witnessed the practice of placenta consumption amongst humans in hospital wards in the 1990s.

The only non-placental mammals are the monotremes.

28401. Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:26 pm Reply with quote
The tradition of blowing out candles on cakes is centuries old, and has superstitious beginnings as you might expect, however the practice became greatly popularised after a Kodak advertisement used the custom to show its cameras capturing such a happy moment.
(Can't find my original source, but it's alluded to here

The record for the most candles on a cake was set by the St Ignatius Cub Scouts, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, who lit 12,432 candles in celebration of Ohio's Bicentennial celebrations on May 9, 2003.

28406. Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:42 pm Reply with quote
'Candling' is a method used for assessing the conditions inside an egg by shining light through it from the far side; it is so called because the light source used to be a candle.

The egg is grasped by the small end and, while held between the thumb and tips of the first two fingers, is turned quickly to the right or left. This moves the contents of the egg and throws the yolk nearer the shell. You should be able to tell how fresh the egg is (in a fresh egg, the air space is plainly visible and moves freely, and the white is thin and clear. In a stale egg, the air space is plainly visible and moves freely, and the white is thin), and also whether it is fertilised - a small reddish area with blood vessels extending away from it will be visible in fertile eggs. This is the embryo floating around inside the egg, looking like a huge red spider.

28441. Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:38 pm Reply with quote
Am I missing something about candling? Whether the egg is fresh or stale, it says the air space is visible and moves freely and the white is thin. You wouldn't be able to tell if it was clear with this method anyway would you?

28444. Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:01 pm Reply with quote
The first Faberge Egg was given to Maria Fyodorovna by her husband Tsar Alexander III of Russia in 1885.

The egg was made of white enamelled gold, and opened up to reveal a golden yolk. The yolk itself had a golden hen inside it, which in turn had a tiny crown with a ruby hanging inside.

After a turbulent life, Maria was finally buried in Roskilde Cathedral, Copenhagen. However a recent agreement between Denmark and Russia will have her remains moved to St. Petersburg with her beloved husband on 28 September 2006.

28474. Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:52 pm Reply with quote
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the nephew and heir apparent of the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph, had to swear a morganatic oath disinheriting his children before he could marry Sophie Chotek von Chotkova und Wognin, even though she was a Grafin in her own right (Hapsburgs being permitted only to marry members of specific dynasties). Even after marriage she wasn’t allowed to ride in the royal coach with her husband, and after her assassination (by Gavrilo Princip - the 'spark' for the First World War) she couldn’t lie in state in the same chapel as him - in fact it took a special imperial dispensation for her to be buried with her beloved husband, and even then it couldn’t be in a Hapsburg burial plot.

In my book this makes the Hapsburgs the most monumental snobs, whichever way you cut it - though the Royalists amongst us may demur (yes, LaidBackLazyMan, we're talking about you). Perhaps it was all good for the tourist trade, though.

Incidentally, Jenny, you're right - my post does seem to have been slightly drivelling. One of those jammy shots that just dribbled over the net without deserving to, I reckon.

28496. Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:23 am Reply with quote
Politically motivated inbreeding in the Hapsburg dynasty led to the notorious "Hapsburg lip" or "Hapsburg jaw" (mandibular prognathism) first observed in Maximilian I (1459-1519).

The plethora of portraits of Hapsburg family members enables us to follow the trait through the generations.

The Hapsburg's intermarriage policy came back to bite them in the ass in 1665 when Charles II (the Bewitched) came to the Spanish throne. Not only did poor Charles have the most pronounced case of the Hapsburg jaw on record (his jaw was so deformed that he was unable to chew), he was also mentally retarded and impotent. He named Philip V of Anjou, a Bourbon relation, as his successor, which led to the War of the Spanish Succession at his death in 1700. The war ended Hapsburg hegemony in Spain and was the beginning of the end for the dynasty.

Maybe this ought to go on the Dentistry thread as well? How did a dental problem cause the downfall of a dynasty? There are three Ds in that sentence alone...

28517. Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:59 am Reply with quote
Franz Ferdinand is also the name of a Glaswegian Indie Rock band, fronted by Alex Kapranos. Kapranos was an influential part of the Scottish music scene in the late 90s, running a venue which helped launch acts such as Belle and Sebastian (later dubious Brit award winners – see other match). He also had a few other attempts at starting bands with equally bizarre names such as “The Blisters”, “Yummy Fur” and “The Amphetameanies”.

After the success of their Mercury Award winning eponymous first album, Franz have recently come back with a new offering “You could have it so much better”, amongst whose influences is American rapper Kanye West who the band met at last years European MTV awards.

West’s breakthrough single in the UK, “Through the wire” tells of his experiences after breaking his jaw [knocks Jenny’s ball back into the other court] in a car crash, and living for months with metal wires holding his face together.

28520. Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:21 am Reply with quote
Traditional Scottish music has in common with the music of China, Ethiopia and Indonesia that it is based on the pentatonic scale, a scale with five notes per octave. "Amazing Grace" and "Auld Lang Syne" are examples of the Scottish usage.

28527. Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:16 am Reply with quote
The tune of Auld Lang Sine is used as a graduation and funeral song in Taiwan; to usher customers out of shops which are about to close in Japan; and until 1972 it was the national anthem of the Maldives.

S: Wiki.

28532. Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:57 pm Reply with quote
With a maximum elevation of 8 feet above sea level, the people of the Maldives take an understandable interest in the subject of rising sea levels. They have built a sea wall around the entire island of Male, the capital.

Although the Maldives look as though any biggish wave would wash right over them they are actually rather seldom troubled by storm surges, which rarely exceed 30 cm (pace tsunamis).

A more immediate problem than inundation is that the fresh water table under Male will be used up within a decade, because with over 50,000 residents on one square kilometer of land, the annual recharge into the aquifer is much less than annual withdrawals for consumption.

This site suggests that the best response they have to rising sea levels is to build the islands up higher.

28600. Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:52 pm Reply with quote
Whoops - forgot this one was a two-hander!



You can keep the dentistry bit though...

28636. Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:20 pm Reply with quote
The Uros people of Peru live on Lake Titicaca. They built (and indeed build) artificial islands out of the indigenous totara reed, upon which they erect their homes.

The islands are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake, however the reeds at the bottom of each islands rot away very quickly, so new reeds are added to the top each month to compensate. The islands last about 30 years.

28641. Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:11 pm Reply with quote
Winchester Cathedral is built on a reed bed, and its foundations stand on beech logs driven into the peat. At the beginning of the 20th century the cathedral had to be underpinned because it was subsiding, and the work was carried out by a diver named William Walker. He worked six hours a day from 1906 to 1912 under the cathedral, underwater, at depths of up to 6m and in total darkness, packing the foundations with concrete and bricks. He is credited with saving the cathedral from total collapse.

There's a statue of a diver in the retrochoir to commemorate him (although it was actually modelled on another diver, not Walker). For an account of his feat, see The Winchester Diver by Ian T. Henderson and John Crook.

28651. Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:20 pm Reply with quote
The Walker Cup, a bi-annual golf tournament between two amateur teams representing the US and Great Britain and Ireland, is named after George Herbert Walker.

His name has lived on in a more (in)famous way however; he is the grandfather of 41st president George Herbert Walker Bush and great-grandfather of the current incumbent George Walker Bush.

28652. Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:42 pm Reply with quote
The word 'bi-annual' is somewhat ambiguous but normally defined as referring to something that occurs twice a year ( 'Biennial', by contrast, unambiguously refers to an event which takes place once in two years, or to a plant which takes up to 24 months to complete its life-cycle. Examples of biennial plants are parsley, silverbeet, Sweet William, Colic Weed, and carrots.

A bit of a drop shot, I think - but with plenty of options for the return.

28662. Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:26 pm Reply with quote
Ahem, yes a slightly illiterate attempt by me there.

However, a homonym of carrot is carat, which is a standard unit of mass used in mineralogy. Other terms used in this area of study are “cleavage” the tendency of crystalline materials to split along definite planes and “pavilion”, which is defined as the facet of a brilliant-cut gem that comes below the girdle…

…and I believe that could be a winning shot.

28676. Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:03 pm Reply with quote
Utterly brilliant.

How do we score it? 15-0? One game to love? Game, set, match & tournament? Or does someone assess each shot and give points, with a bonus for the winning smash?

28722. Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:19 am Reply with quote
Cracking game Mr Flash.

I think I may well struggle if we score each shot, the majority of mine smack of just trying to get the ball back over the net! However it may be a chance to see if such a scoring system may work. Any voulenteers?

We can call it 15-0 and start again, or call it a day. I'm easy. If you want another go, then I believe it's your serve.

28726. Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:21 am Reply with quote
I think let's say you're one game up, which is consistent with the serve changing at this point. First to six takes the set (as long as he's more than one game ahead, as in normal scoring). We'll figure out the tie-break mechanism if & when.

Let's stay on this court (thread).

28729. Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:31 am Reply with quote
Croy Brae, on the A1719 between Drumshrang and Knoweside on the Strathclyde coast, is known as the Electric Brae. There's an inscription by the roadside which says, in part:
Whilst there is a slope of 1 in 86 upwards ... the configuration of the land on either side of the road provides an optical illusion making it look as though the slope is going the other way. Therefore, a stationary car ... with the brakes off will appear to move slowly uphill. The term 'electric' dates from a time when it was incorrectly thought to be a phenomenon caused by electric or magnetic attraction within the brae.

29019. Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia (the immediate predecessor of Haile Salassi) was once showing the city of Addis Ababa to some foreign visitors, while some criminals were being hanged from a tree.

The visitors were horrified by the inhumanity of Ethiopian capital punishment, which sometimes included using saplings which were attached to the criminals limbs and sprang back to ripping the body apart. They therefore told Menelik of the newly invented, quicker and more humane Electric chair.

Menelik was impressed and ordered for two of these chairs to be brought to his country, however, when they arrived it was realised that they were useless. Ethiopia had no electricity supply.

Melenlik liked his new acquisitions so much though, that he took one of them for himself and used it as a throne.

As the result of this episode, electricity was introduced in Ethiopia in 1889. (that is 1889 in the Ethiopian Calendar – approx 1896 in the Gregorian Calendar)

29150. Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:21 am Reply with quote
The Ark of the Covenant is perhaps in Ethiopia ...

After extensive research in Africa for The Economist, British journalist Graham Hancock stepped forward with the assertion that he had found the exact location of the ark of the covenant. In his book, The Sign and Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, Hancock documents that the ark was removed from Solomon's temple during the reign of Manasseh, transported to Elephantine Island along the Nile, and was finally placed in the Church of St. Mary Zion in the small town of Axum, Ethiopia, where it has existed to this day.

We next journeyed to Axum, the purported resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, and made our way to St. Mary's of Zion Church. There I was introduced to a man referred to as "The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant." This man reportedly lives his entire life inside a fenced-off area in which is St. Mary's of Zion. He will not leave this fenced-off compound until he dies and is replaced by the next Guardian of the Ark. In the chapel of the church, 30 robes from 30 previous guardians are on display - and every one of the 30 professed that the object they protected was the Ark of the Covenant.

I was able to speak through an interpreter with the Guardian of the Ark, who told me that no other man besides himself could lay eyes on the Ark, that it was an absolutely holy object, and that the world would not pollute it by looking at it. He added that he and the villagers would protect the Ark with their lives if necessary.

Interestingly, we were shown two silver trumpets that bore a remarkable similarity to the trumpets pictured on the arch of Titus in Rome, commemorating the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Trumpets like these were an essential part of the implements used in Temple worship.

Subsequent to this initial investigation, we located and interviewed two people who have claimed to have seen the object resting in St. Mary's of Zion. The first was a 105-year-old priest who once was the administrator at St. Mary's of Zion. On two occasions, he said, when the Guardian of the Ark died and a new guardian was trained in the worship rituals, he was able to gaze upon the relic. He described it as a gold box with two winged angels on top.

In his detailed inventory of the treasury, he described the Ark as a gold box with two winged creatures on the top. He described 24 smaller angelic-type figures forming a molding around the top, with two green stones (not described in the Bible) at either end. Is this the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible? At this juncture we cannot say with certainty that it is - or that it isn't. What we have concluded is that St. Mary's of Zion church in Axum, Ethiopia, is the resting place either of an incredible replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant; or of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself.

... or perhaps not.

29166. Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:07 pm Reply with quote
In Mokhotlong, Lesotho, one in five households uses bullsh*t as their main fuel for cooking.

While It is difficult to generate intense heat from dung cakes, they will smoulder for long periods, so the food cooked on such fires are generally simmered rather than boiled.

Last edited by eggshaped on Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

29167. Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:16 pm Reply with quote
can I just say that last post by eggshaped showed a wonderful command of the English language and deserves a bonus point

29225. Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:15 pm Reply with quote
No the real arc is hidden in my cellar, but only I can see it.

Can I get the money for a documentary from the beeb now please.

29282. Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:05 pm Reply with quote
Sorry, I wasn't concentrating.

Harold Bate is the inventor of a device which allows him to run his car on methane made from chicken droppings. His 1953 Hillman is said to do 75mph on the chicken-powered fuel.

Mr. Bate produces methane gas by simply sealing four or five gallons of chicken manure in a drum and heating it to a constant 80 degrees with a small oil lamp. The gas is collected in bottles or plastic balloons through an exit valve and stored for use. Bate also heats his farm buildings and runs a five ton truck on the gas. He claims that both car and truck run faster, cleaner and better on the methane which is sucked into the engine by the cylinders and ignited in the usual way.

29396. Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:12 pm Reply with quote
When Henry Ford build his first car, named the “quadricycle” because it ran on four bicycle tyres, he had to overcome one massive problem.

He had built the automobile in his shed and unfortunately had not bargained on how he was going to get the car out. The contraption was too big to fit through the doors.

Unperturbed he picked up an axe and proceeded to demolish the wall, knocking out as many bricks as he needed, so that he and assistant Jim Bishop could make the short, historic ride around Detroit's Washington Boulevard.

29399. Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:57 pm Reply with quote
Benzie County is the smallest county in Michigan. In Putney Road, Benzie County, there's a place called the Mystery Spot, where an optical illusion gives the appearance that a car left with its brakes off rolls uphill - like the Electric Brae on the A1719 between Drumshrang and Knoweside on the Strathclyde coast.

One all, I believe!

29401. Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:00 pm Reply with quote


Good shot sir.

29405. Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:12 pm Reply with quote
Henry VIII once had a wrestling match with King Francis I of france.

According to the chronicler, "the king of England took the king of France by the collar and said to him, ‘My brother, I want to wrestle with you,’ and gave him one or two good falls. And the king of France, who is strong and a good wrestler, gave him a ‘Breton turn’ and threw him to the ground . . . And the king of England wanted to go on wrestling, but it was broken off and they had to go to supper."

29410. Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:24 pm Reply with quote
The Field of the Cloth of Gold (the occasion of that wrestling match) is listed as a battle honour (even though it wasn't a battle) by the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms. This body consists of five officers (the Captain, the Lieutenant, the Standard Bearer, the Clerk of the Cheque and Adjutant, and the Harbinger) and 27 gentlemen, who are all ex-army officers. Their mess, at St James's Palace, is run by a permanent Axekeeper and Butler. They parade at state occasions in the uniform of a Dragoon Guards officer of the 1840s, carrying both a sword and a battle axe and wearing a helmet with swan-feather plumes.

29497. Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:52 pm Reply with quote
Forget everything you heard about Thomas Edison, Joseph Swan was the main player in the invention of the lightbulb.

In 1860 he was the first to construct an electric bulb, he got a patent for an improved version in 1878 (a year before Edison’s US patent) and he successfully sued Edison for patent infringement in 1882. The result of this case was a newly formed Edi-swan company.

However, along with other light-bulb developers such as Henry Woodward, Hiram Maxim, Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston, Swan was soon consigned to be a footnote in history. Before too long, thanks to Edison’s bully-boy tactics (buying off every patent he could find) and business acumen, he found himself losing all his interest in the new company, and Edison ensured that his name would live on as the inventor of the lightbulb.

29558. Sat Nov 05, 2005 3:58 am Reply with quote
A spectator writes:

Bloody marvellous play, gents.

29609. Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:21 pm Reply with quote
Quiet, please.

29610. Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:31 pm Reply with quote
Hiram Maxim invented the Maxim Gun (the first portable automatic machine gun, a great boon to homicidal maniacs of all nationalities for many years) and also the traditional mouse trap - US patent no 661068.

Cheese is not a good bait to use for mice - they don't care for it.

29634. Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:19 am Reply with quote
Very discreet applause.

Almost inaudible sound of someone swallowing a strawberry

29678. Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:41 pm Reply with quote
Of course Hiram Maxim was arrested in 1913 for harassing Salvation Army workers with a peashooter.
(but that’s not my shot - just a bonus snippet for some spectators)

If you are seen crying you might be asked if you are a man or a mouse: but according to researchers at the University of Tokyo, when mice shed a tear they actually seem to be proving their masculinity.

It has been found that mouse tears contain sex-specific pheromones.

…the pheromones in these secretions are probably picked up by females when they groom the faces of their fellow mice. These sexy cues may help females to work out which of their companions are male and therefore potential mates

29683. Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:31 pm Reply with quote
The post of groom of the stool, the guy who had the job of wiping Henry VIII's backside, was regarded as an influential appointment by virtue of the unique access it gave to the king. It was abolished by Edward VI, and was the subject of David Starkey's doctoral thesis.


29779. Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:09 am Reply with quote
he he.

When i read that on my phone I imagined that Starkey had got a 2-1 for his thesis!

Of course it was a cracking shot and leaves me with a bit to do; first break of the match.

29782. Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:21 am Reply with quote
So is it me to serve? If so:

The 7th Earl of Shaftesbury is the philanthropist in whose memory the statue in Piccadilly Circus was erected. He had a great reputation for wisdom and was once invited to a meeting by forty of London's leading thieves, who wanted advice about their future careers. Lord Shaftesbury addressed them, together with over four hundred of their lesser colleagues, and persuaded them that their best course was to take advantage of an emigration scheme he had arranged for them.

s: John Michell, Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions, p168

29850. Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:06 pm Reply with quote
In London, in the late 17th and early 18th century, before the formation of the famous “bobbies”, London’s criminal justice system was in the hands of “thief-takers”. The government would reward such vigilantes for each successful conviction they instigated, and many private individuals would also reward for the return of stolen property.

However the system was open to corruption and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the role of thief-taker was soon monopolised by the underworld. The thief-takers would blackmail criminals, collecting protection money in return for their silence, or even cajole gullible men into committing petty crimes in order that they could catch them red-handed and collect their dues.

Jonathan Wilde was the self-styled “Thief-Taker General of all England and Ireland”, his gang would perform various acts of larceny, await the inevitable notice of reward in the newspaper, and then claim to have “found” the items and return them to their rightful owners. He was eventually hanged for receiving stolen goods in 1725.

29855. Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Most US states have a system of bail bonding, under which people awaiting trial can be released into the custody of a bondsman who then has to make sure they turn up for trial, or else forfeit their bond. A Supreme Court case in 1872 (Taylor v Taintor) established that such bondsmen have sweeping powers to recover absconding clients, and bondsmen employ bounty hunters for this purpose. Even though they are generally unlicensed, bounty hunters' powers are virtually unlimited; for example, they can enter a fugitive's private property without a warrant whereas the police can't.

American bounty hunters catch an estimated 30,000 bail jumpers per year.

29858. Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Famous for his jumpers, Gyles Brandreth is a patron of the Lesbians for a Conservative Victory, as well as being the founder of the National Scrabble Championships and the British Pantomime Association.

S: Guardian.

30263. Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:09 am Reply with quote
Pantomime is said to one of only three indigenous British forms of theatre (the others being Punch & Judy and 'mummer' folk plays). It is a synthesis of village green morality plays (from which we get the tradition of villains entering stage left and heroes stage right), the slapstick elements of Italian Commedia dell'Arte, and music hall.

The format doesn't seem to travel well internationally except to Australia, although there are annual Christmas pantos to be found in various unexpected places, including Haifa in Israel and at the Geneva Amateur Operatic Society.

Sorry, slightly feeble shot.

James, I'm going to be away till the week-end, so take your time.

30697. Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:34 am Reply with quote
I'm back. Hit me.

30768. Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:14 pm Reply with quote
Welcome back Flash, hope you are well and ready to recommence:

Haifa is the third largest city in Israel, and the only one to run a public transport service on a Saturday. It is also the only city in Israel to have its own coat-of-arms, though if you ask me it looks a bit like a blue peter badge!

(incidentally the blue peter badge was designed by Tony Hart – the human friend of Morph – who asked for 1p every time the design was used. He was instead given a £100 flat fee, and missed out on a fortune)

Anyway, the name Israel means “wrestler with God” and according to the bible was a name first given to Jacob after he wrestled with an apparition of God. (Genesis 32)

God won.

However, according to some translations of the bible it wasn’t exactly an honourable win. God’s winning move was to touch “the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh", some flippant observers wonder if this was a cheeky attack to Jacob’s crackers.

30778. Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:29 pm Reply with quote
The Blue Peter flag looks like this:

and is the letter 'P' in the International Maritime Signal Flag code.

In harbour it means
All persons should report on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea

At sea it may be used by fishing vessels to mean
My nets have come fast upon an obstruction

30786. Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:24 pm Reply with quote
Sorry, I really struggled there, got bogged down in some heavy-going history. And I'll be surprised if this one does any more than just creep over the net:

A fish weir is a structure built into a river, used to guide fish into a smaller gap in order that they can be caught. There are many examples, dating back to the stone age, to be found around the world. Anglo-Saxon fish weirs were often massive structures, usually V-shaped, with each arm up to 100m long, baskets or nets were placed at the point of the V to catch fish on the receding tide.

However these structures were often controversial, indeed in the magna carta, one of the clauses states that “All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast”

The magna-carta also states: “No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband.” and “No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so”

Incidentally, of the 25 Surety Barons who signed the Magna Carta, 22 of them were inter-related by either blood or marriage.

30795. Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:28 pm Reply with quote
The words Reichswehr. Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr (different incarnations of the German armed forces) derive from the word wehr, which means 'defence' and which is cognate with the English 'weir'.

The Wehrmacht was never as mechanised as German propaganda of the time, and as general depictions of the war since, indicated. Horse-mounted cavalry were a significant component of the German army throughout the War. On June 9th 1940 the German 1st Cavalry Division destroyed 28 out of 30 French tanks which had been sent to stop their advance, and the same Division took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR. The 1st Cavalry wasn't mechanised until October 1941, and in 1942 new cavalry units were still being raised (the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reiter Regiments) and there was even a last-ditch attempt to raise fresh cavalry in 1944, though by then they couldn't find either riders or horses in sufficient quantities to complete the job.

The last German cavalry unit to surrender was the 1st Cavalry Corps in May 1945. They surrendered to the Brits, who planned to slaughter the horses for meat - but the German prisoners managed to save their animals by organising daily gymkhanas which so entertained their captors that they kept the horses alive.

I used to know a German veteran who went all the way to Stalingrad on horseback, and returned on foot.

30799. Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:47 pm Reply with quote
Besbarmak is the national dish of Kazakhstan and can be made with lamb, horse meat or camel meat, or in the "Dastarkhan" style, with all three.

Another delicacy of the area is Koy-bas or boiled sheep's head. If you are the main guest of a Kazakh family you may be given the head and asked to divide it between the other guests. Be careful, because different parts of a sheep have different meanings: for example, an ear is often given to youngsters to encourage wariness, brains on the other hand are supposed to make youths weak-willed and knuckles are never served to young girls else they will remain unmarried.

30803. Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:09 pm Reply with quote
The Sheepshead or convict fish looks like this:

and not like this:

which is a joke. The real sheepshead is Archosargus probatocephalus, and it lives in the western Atlantic and Caribbean. It prefers brackish water and eats oysters amongst other things. Conversely, it is eaten by bull sharks and humans amongst other things.

30815. Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:43 pm Reply with quote
Around 2000 french people a year injure themselves while opening oysters. 20% of these injuries require hospital treatment.

In December 2003 the country's national health watchdog gave out an official warning:

"One should, wherever possible, try to prevent such accidents happening, by taking simple precautions.
Sit yourself down comfortably with an oyster knife and the appropriate know-how, and either use hand protection or get an oyster-seller to open them."

31613. Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:19 pm Reply with quote
Sorry, I've neglected this game.

You can get an oyster glove which looks like this:

to prevent oyster-shucking injuries. My Dad wasn't wearing one when he severed the ligament in his thumb back in the '60s - it still points off in an odd direction.

The material for the glove is described as 'chain mail', but the 'chain' bit is an 18th-century usage. Before that it was just called 'mail' or 'maille', a word which derives from the Latin macula, net. In the most common pattern, each ring in the mail is connected to four others.

Other modern users of mail include butchers (for protection against meat-packing machines), scuba divers (against sharks) and, potentially, motorcyclists. Mail suits can also protect against electric shocks, because they form a Faraday cage around the wearer.

We used to collect ring-pulls off drinks cans to make mail coats from, but, sadly, I don't think these are available any more.

31836. Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:22 pm Reply with quote
No worries Flash, there's no time limits after all.

Michael Faraday was a member of the Sandemanian Church, a strict conformist offshoot of the Scottish Presbyterians which is now extinct. He was once asked to appear before Queen Victoria, an act which resulted in his temporary excommunication from this order for missing a church service.

Not the best of internet sources for this, which I read in “a book” some time ago. However this site seems to be the best resourced of all the ones which mention this story.

31844. Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:52 pm Reply with quote
Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor from 1987-1997, was an elder of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the 'Wee Frees'. He attended the funeral masses of two Roman Catholic friends and was consequently excommunicated by his Church, which brought about a split and the formation of the Associated Presbyterian Church in 1989.

They're a rather fierce group of people, the Wee Frees.

31854. Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:12 am Reply with quote
John Henry Hopkins was the composer of the hymn “wee free kings of Orient are” (ahem).

Born in Dublin in 1792, he moved to the US (Vermont, specifically) with his mother in 1800, becoming a prominent lawyer and priest.

He had a number of sons, one who followed his father to the clergy and hymn-writing business, another who invented a method of killing the tuberculosis and leprosy bacilli, another who became the West Coast’s first insurance salesman and a fourth whose actions facilitated the US to recognise the independence of Paraguay.


33645. Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:17 am Reply with quote
John Henry Hopkins was, in fact, Bishop of Vermont, at that time an underpopulated colony and an underfunded diocese. Seeking to raise the funds for a theological seminary he went on a fundraising trip to England. He didn't have much success, but did manage to procure contributions from Messrs Pusey, Newman, Keble and .... the Earl of Shaftesbury!


What's the score now?

33667. Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:05 am Reply with quote
Argh 3-1.

Is it my serve? I'd better make it a good one, will be back later.

33721. Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:27 pm Reply with quote
The island of Niue, in the Pacific Ocean, is a raised atoll commonly known as the “Rock of Polynesia”, but was originally named “Savage Island” by James Cook. It is 260 square kilometers in area, or to use the official measurement, 0.012 times the size of Wales.

One of the curious things about this island is its language. Niuean, a close relative of Tongan, is spoken by 8000 people, though only 2,240 of those can be found in Niue itself. The majority of speakers are actually found in New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

34347. Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:43 am Reply with quote
According to a mining company called Yamarna Goldfields, Niueans may be sitting on the World's largest deposit of uranium.

The uranium isotope U-235 is the only naturally-occurring fissile material (virtually); uranium is used for atom bombs and other military applications, and nuclear power plants, but also for colouring ceramics and glass green. U-238 has a half-life of 4.51x10^9 years, which is a jolly long time.

The decay of uranium and its nuclear reactions with thorium in the Earth's core is thought to be the source for much of the heat that keeps the outer core liquid, which in turn drives plate tectonics.


35970. Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Suresh Joachim, originally from Sri Lanka and now living in Ontario, does lots of things for a jolly long time.

He currently holds over 20 Guinness world records including the longest time spent ironing (55 hours 5 minutes), the longest time rocking on a rocking chair (75 hours), the longest time dancing (100 hours) and the longest time continuously watching television (69 hours 7 minutes).

36454. Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:42 am Reply with quote
Question: To what religion do most suicide bombers belong?
Forfeit: Islam

Because of the activities of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers, the majority (more than two-thirds) of all suicide bombings to date have been perpetrated by Hindus.

The earliest recorded suicide attack was Samson's destruction of the Philistine temple (Judges 16:30).

Japanese kamikaze air pilots are well-known; less well-known, perhaps, are the Japanese underwater kamikaze, the kaitens. These were piloted torpedoes; traditionally, the crew would aim their kaiten at the target, then embrace and shoot each other in the head.

36495. Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:17 pm Reply with quote
The recent spate of suicide bombings and insurgency in Iraq, has proved a massive boost to the US Paralympics team.

The unprecedented number of amputees returning from the middle-east has give the team an embarrassment of riches to choose from for the 2008 paralympics in Beijing.

More than 60 potential recruits have already been identified in sports as varied as powerlifting, archery and table tennis, and it is thought that they may soon be unbeatable in most sports.

36532. Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:11 pm Reply with quote
The difference between ping pong and table tennis is that 'ping pong' is a trademark (belonging to J Jaques & Son in the UK, and sold by them to Parker Bros in the US), so it's only ping pong if you're using their kit.

The international rules were changed in 2001 so that all tournaments played under official auspices are now to 11 points, not 21. You're allowed to have different types of surface on the two sides of your paddle, but the international rules state that one has to be red and the other black so that your opponent can see which side you're using. On the serve you have to throw the ball up at least six inches, and you aren't allowed to volley - the ball has to bounce before you hit it. Serves alternate every two points (not five).

None of these rules is observed at Flash Towers.

Table Tennis was the basis of the first commercially-successful video game, Pong.

In the 1936 World Chanmpionships in Prague one point lasted over an hour. Saints alive, that must have been dull.

Table tennis was banned in the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1950 because authorities believed the sport was harmful to people’s eyes.

36580. Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:54 pm Reply with quote
According to these (mostly first hand) accounts, the following were all illegal or strictly controlled by the authorities in the former soviet union:

Producing jewellery
Parking foreign cars near bridges

And beatles records:

In those days, … it was illegal to bring a Beatles record into the country and if you were found with one, it was usually confiscated. … "If, say, a famous sportsman came back from a foreign country, the customs authorities would ask, 'Do you have a Beatles' record?"

"And if you did, they would put the record on this special device, scratch it, and then return it to you as a souvenir."

36799. Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:29 pm Reply with quote
I haven't quite been able to nail this one down, but there's supposedly a ban on the use of perfume in public buildings in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There are lots of articles on the 'net about what a lot of PC nonsense it all is, and they seem quite precise in their details - and there is certainly a 'scent-free' movement because it's referred to on the City's official website. I can't get satisfactory confirmation that there's a formal ban in place, though.

The interesting part about it is this:
The kernel of the conundrum is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, also known as environmental illness. MCS sufferers claim that chemical fumes caused by everything from cleaning products to mouthwash and chewing gum can trigger debilitating symptoms that include headaches, vomiting, seizures, shock and even death.

In the past two years, almost 800 Haligonians have been treated for environment illness-related symptoms, making the condition a veritable epidemic. Groups of MCS sufferers – who tend to be middle-aged, middle-class white women – lobbied for the scent ban, some attending meetings at City Hall wearing gas masks.

It would be a grassroots political triumph, if not for one small problem: MCS has been widely rejected as a legitimate organic disease by most doctors and researchers across Canada and the United States. In other words, the illness that's shaken Halifax may well have been a figment of the city's collective imagination, a psychosomatic epidemic.

Dr. Ronald House, an epidemiologist at the Occupational Health Centre at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, researches such epidemics, what he calls "mass psychogenic illnesses." He also regularly treats people with MCS. "From a medical standpoint there is no disease process in [MCS sufferers], and yet they are adamant something is wrong with them," he said. "They are not faking. They really do believe they have a problem."

The scare began in 1991 when several hundred employees at the newly built Camp Hill Medical Centre began complaining of illness from contaminated indoor air, also known as "sick building syndrome." Apparently, the cafeteria dishwasher had been leaking fumes, and it was soon fixed. However, many current and former Camp Hill employees maintain that they are sick to this day.

Around the same time, the Nova Scotia provincial government sponsored an Environmental Health Centre specializing in MCS and sick-building syndrome. In Dr. House's view, the clinic itself caused the epidemic. "In essence, the clinic acted as a justification for an illness that did not exist."

The writer of this article is clearly not an impartial reporter, though.

36806. Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:51 pm Reply with quote
See post 18027 for minutes of a council meeting mentioning the above scent-ban.


Wrestler Shirley Crabtree, AKA Big Daddy, was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1930.

He took his pseudonym from a character in the 1958 film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and at one stage was in the Guinness Book of Records for having the UK’s largest chest measurement.

In 1987 Crabtree left the business which employed not just himself, but his father and brother, after one of his trademark belly-flops on Mal “King-Kong” Kirk.

Kirk was rushed to hospital and never recovered, Crabtree, who was reportedly a favourite of the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, blamed himself and never fought again.

37379. Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:27 am Reply with quote
Thanks for reminding me of that minute, which I think supports the suspicion that there isn't in fact a ban as such:
this is not a by-law, it is a request to staff and Council

Any road up: Wikipedia has a nice dry entry under 'mud wrestling', but I want to talk about 'sport wrestling', ie the proper competitive event. The Olympics features two styles, Greco-Roman and Freestyle, the main difference being that the Greco-Roman mob only hold and attack above the waist. In either case the bout is won by the best of three two-minute periods, points being awarded for pulling off various manoeuvres and taken away for gouging and what-not.

Alexander Karelin, officially 'the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of the 20th century' was undefeated in international competition from 1987 to 2000; in fact he went the last six of those years without conceding a point.
Karelin was famous for his body lift, the "Karelin Lift", where facing the opponent who was lying flat on the mat to keep from being thrown, Karelin was able to lift the opponent (who might weigh as much as 130kg) from around his waist and throw him all the way over the opponent's shoulders, scoring from 2 to 5 points depending on the height of the throw.

s: wiki

37620. Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:39 pm Reply with quote
The man who finally defeated Karelin was Rulon Gardner of the US. Gardner wrestled the gold medal from the Russian (who was nicknamed "The Experiment" by some of his less-talented contemporaries) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Gardner returned to the olympics in 2004, to attempt to defend his title, but could only manage bronze, perhaps due to an episode in the Wyoming wilderness.

After riding out on a snowmobile, Gardner got lost, fell into a river and spent 17 hours in sub-zero temperatures without a jacket.

When he was finally rescued, both feet were completely white and frozen, and as a result he lost a toe - not great for a sport which requires expert balance.

Nevertheless, as mentioned above, Gardner did make it to Athens, winning a bronze medal. After his final match, he left his shoes on the mat; a traditional symbol of retirement.

37625. Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:52 pm Reply with quote
I'm not suggesting that they were a factor in that case, but one of the things that can predispose you towards frostbite is taking beta-blockers. These drugs have a calming effect and slow down the heartbeat (they're used by marksmen to give them a longer window of opportunity to take their shot between each heartbeat). Their use by classical musicians to deal with stage fright is said to be ubiquitous:

Musicians quietly began to embrace beta-blockers after their application to stage fright was first recognized in The Lancet, a British medical journal, in 1976. By 1987, a survey conducted by the International Conference of Symphony Orchestra Musicians, which represents the 51 largest orchestras in the United States, revealed that 27 percent of its musicians had used the drugs. Psychiatrists estimate that the number is now much higher.

But use of drugs is still largely secretive. "Inderal is like Viagra," a woodwind player at a major orchestra said. "No one admits to using it because of the implication of weakness." Robin McKee, the acting principal flutist of the San Francisco Symphony, agrees, saying, "It's too bad we're reluctant to talk about using such a great tool."

Indeed, the effect of the drugs does seem magical. Beta-blockers don't merely calm musicians; they actually seem to improve their performances on a technical level. For the last two decades, the use of beta-blockers has generally met with approval from the medical establishment. "Stage fright is a very specific and time-limited type of problem," said Michael Craig Miller, the editor of the Harvard Medical Letter. Miller, who is also an amateur pianist, noted that beta-blockers are inexpensive and relatively safe, and that they affect only physical, not cognitive, anxiety. "There's very little downside except whatever number you do on yourself about taking the drugs."

37818. Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:50 pm Reply with quote
The Siamese Fighting Fish, is a popular fish often found in aquariums. It has the Latin name Betta splendens, but due to misspelling is sometimes known simply as a Beta fish.

These fish are well known for their ferocity, and in Thailand they are sometimes used in a sport similar to cock-fighting, a practice which has been going on for at least 700 years, since the reign of King Lithai of Sukhothai.

When bred especially for fighting, the male fish are kept individually in small jam-jars, away from any other fish, lest they might exhaust themselves by fighting. They are even kept out of sight from other fish, as they often try to swim through the glass in their jars to get at a potential opponent.

When the fight begins, two fish are placed in a simple wash basin and the fighters are only removed (and the losing gambler pays up) when one of the torn and tattered fishes, the loser, starts to flee for its life.

38594. Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:57 am Reply with quote
Hold on, I'm thinking.

Rory Gilmore
39677. Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Sorry to interrupt, but how exactly do fish fight?

39727. Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:04 am Reply with quote

39732. Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:12 am Reply with quote
old-fashioned fish-ticuffs

39757. Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:27 pm Reply with quote
Uh.... sorry. Too much top-spin on that one.

In the US, cockfighting is still legal in two states (New Mexico and Louisiana) and one territory (Puerto Rico) although the Federal Government is understood to be uncomfortable with it, partly on the grounds that the gambling associated with it is unregulated, so it's difficult for them to collect income tax from the winners.

On June 11th this year a cockfight at Newport, Tennessee, was raided and 144 spectators were arrested, each of whom is liable to a jail term of up to 11 months and 29 days (why the law specifies this term rather than 'a year' I don't know). 300 roosters were rescued and then killed.

39812. Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:54 pm Reply with quote
What was the point of rescuing them if they were only going to kill them?

39818. Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:05 pm Reply with quote
This was also the system used for liberating Iraqi citizens, you will recall.

Rory Gilmore
39840. Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:50 pm Reply with quote
What, they were all found fighting in a pit? That must of been some show.

39879. Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:48 pm Reply with quote
Here follows a desperate attempt to claw my way back into the game:

The New Zealand government has recently had to address the problem of gambling among its population, specifically amongst those of Pacific Island descent.

A 1993 study showed that problem gambling was 6 times more likely in those of Pacific ancestry, compared to their European counterparts. This, along with other studies in the late 90s and early 00s has led to a major reform in NZ’s gambling policies.

I found this interesting from a government study on gambling in Tongan immigrants:

Winning is a blessing, a sign of tapuaki/moniua or being blessed/lucky. It suggests that their participation in gambling is rewarded by God and therefore endorsed.

Anyway, while the New Zealand government has decided that something must be done in order to combat compulsive gambling of Pacific Islanders, the governments of the Islands themselves, ironically enough, are looking to the gambling industry for regular income.

The internet has become a major source of income for smaller countries, especially those in the Pacific, and especially those with good abbreviations. The “.tv” which you see at the end of many website addresses (amongst which are a number of online gambling sites) stands for Tuvalu, and the government of Tuvalu’s neighbour Vanuatu have already made it home to one of the largest online bookmakers in the world and are attempting to become the “premier home for internet gaming”

3-2 I think Flashy, and your serve.

39936. Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:34 am Reply with quote

Still, I'm confident. So confident that I'm going to risk an egg-related service.

Here are three tricks you can do with eggs:

1) To get an egg into a milk bottle first soften the shell by soaking it in vinegar for 2 days. Now heat the bottle in boiling water, hold the egg onto the neck and then cool the bottle. The air inside contracts and sucks the egg into the bottle. Hurrah!

2) Put an egg into a jug of warm water, then pour in lots of salt. Stir gently, and the egg will rise to the surface. Bravo!

3) To distinguish hard-boiled eggs from a raw ones, spin them on the pointed end. The cooked ones spin like tops but the raw ones fall over immediately. Hallelujah!

45093. Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Sorry to have completely ignored this thread over the festive period. Flash, if you’re game, I have my most interesting cap on and would like to take up the challenge again. However, in a shock move, I think I’ll avoid eggs.

With the bird flu outbreak on everyone’s lips, I imagine we all remember the SARS worry from a few years ago. While the international community worked hard to eventually stop the virus from spreading to a pandemic level, Chinese locals had their own ways of stopping the virus.

In the Guangdong region, vinegar has long been used as a combatant of colds, and so quite reasonably they imagined it would help protect against SARS. Various vinegar methods included pouring a cupful and setting it in the corner of a room, dumping bottles of it in their cooking, or drinking it straight.

This of course was great news for vinegar salesmen, who found that demand far outstripped supply; not a drop of vinegar could be found in Hong Kong for a fair part of the winter of 2002/3. However the vinegar craze may have caused more harm than good, as the increased movement amongst vinegar vendors was touted as a probably reason for the spread of the virus between regions.

Other problems which vinegar is claimed to overcome include joint-pain, obesity and dandruff. Oh, and appropriately enough, cleansing (bone) china.

45657. Sat Jan 14, 2006 7:58 pm Reply with quote
I'm going to attempt an improvised reaction shot here.

A number of classical writers refer to a method used for breaking rocks which involved pouring hot vinegar over them (I remember a bit of text I had to translate at school which stated that Hannibal cleared fallen rocks in the Alps in this way, and I know there are other citations). The curious thing is that, although the practice is referred to sufficiently often to imply strongly that it must have been used for real, modern tests have shown that it doesn't work.

So what's going on there, then?

45773. Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:03 pm Reply with quote
Hmm, strange one that Flash, I had heard that story but never really questioned it. I wonder if any other liquid could have the desired effect and be described erroneously as vinegar? If anyone has any thoughts on this, maybe a new thread can be began elsewhere.

A few spurious sources on the web (and wikipedia) claim that General Patton, the US General famous for his exploits in WWII believed that he was a re-incarnation of Hannibal.

Patton’s reputation as a ferocious warrior is no doubt helped by his nickname “Old blood and guts”, however this nickname was actually the result of a misquote. The original quote apparently referred to the “Blood and brains” which were required to win a war.

Before the wars, in 1912, Patton took part in the Stockholm Olympics; finishing 5th in the modern pentathlon, an event which consisted of pistol shooting, swimming, fencing, riding and running. His chances of a medal were shot thanks to a disappointing show in the shooting discipline, quite surprising you might think for a future war hero, however there is a little controversy about this.

It is claimed in pro-Patton biographies that a “complete miss” in the second round of shooting was down to the fact that he was such a good shot, that he shot through the hole he had made in the previous round, thus not registering a mark on the target - indeed that was the response of Patton himself when asked and apparently some of his competitors agreed. However the stature of Patton is such that some myths have overtaken the man, and at least one recent biography claims this was an illegitimate claim.

45890. Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:00 am Reply with quote
Patton's first taste of active service was in the force led by General "Black Jack" Pershing into the Mexican State of Chihuahua in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Pancho Villa had raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico after an American merchant failed to deliver the guns he had sold to the Mexican. Pershing didn't catch him.

Chihuahua was also the home of the Apache, and American forces had previously violated the Mexican border in pursuit of Geronimo.

The custom of parachutists yelling "Geronimo!" is attributed to Aubrey Eberhardt, a member of the U.S. Army's parachute test platoon in 1940. A group of soldiers from this unit went to see the film Geronimo (1939) with Andy Devine and Gene Lockhart the night before a drop exercise; Eberhardt accepted a dare from the others to yell "Geronimo" as he jumped the next day, and the idea caught on. It is not the case that the word is a way of timing when to pull the ripcord on your reserve 'chute. Official US Army practice is to count out loud "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand" and then deploy the reserve if the main 'chute hasn't opened.

The word Chihuahua is thought to derive from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word Xicuahua, meaning ‘dry, sandy place’. The state is mainly desert and has been suffering from continuous drought for the past ten years.

Plenty to work with there, eggshaped.

46903. Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:11 pm Reply with quote
Aye, almost too much choice. However in the ineterest of the D series, here's my reply:

The world’s largest desert is not the Sahara - of course this title goes to Antarctica, whose arid area is over a million square miles larger than its African cousin.

As we all know, Amundsen and Scott were the leaders of the first two expeditions to reach the South Pole, their exploits are well documented; one thing these two had in common was their use of sled-dogs.

Scott apparently preferred the idea of ponies to carry supplies, but eventually accepted the dogs’ necessity, while his Norwegian opponent was much more keen, using teams of up to a hundred Greenland dogs on his sucessful trip. Neither explorer would get away with that these days however, dogs are now banned on Antarctica as a result of the 1994 Madrid Protocol, a move made in ord

QI Moderator
561024.  Thu May 28, 2009 7:02 pm Reply with quote

QQ - eggshaped v Bunter

104435. Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:53 pm Reply with quote
Here's an ambitious effort to play a game of Qing-Qong with an "E" flavour.

Bunter's a newbie to Qing Qong, so please be gentle with him. Feel free to rip my posts to pieces though - but please start a new thread if you wish to do so.

Eggshaped to serve from the Spion Kop end...

104437. Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:57 pm Reply with quote
The word moustache, derives from the Middle Greek moustaki, a diminutive of mystax, which in turn is related to the word “mastax” meaning mouth - or literally: “that with which one chews”.

Indeed moustaches, beards and hair in general have a number of interesting associations with the Etiquette of dining.

A moustache cup was a nineteenth century tea-cup, invented by Harvey Adams. It has a slit ledge projecting from the front side of the rim, allowing the tea to flow through while a gentleman’s moustache remains dry resting on the top lip.

Flathead Indians of Montana are one of a number of societies who would wipe their hands on their hair after a meal, however this was thought of as extremely bad manners if the meal was fish.

At an Abbasid Arab feast, all diners wash before eating, but if one guest touched his beard before eating, everyone else had to wait for him to go and wash again before eating.

Edward S. Morse, on his travels around Japan in the 19th century described what he called a “moustache stick” a beautifully carved stick, used to lift the moustache and avoid mess when the heavily mouschaoed Ainus were eating and drinking – it seemed that they had their own version of the moustache-cup.

What he actually saw was a prayer stick, used by the Ainu as a medium of prayer – the sticks were occasionally used to lift the moustache, but that was certainly not their main use.

That the Ainu had specific moustache-lifters is a myth still propagated by people who should know better to this day.

Incidentally, the Ainu were certainly big fans of facial hair: they traditionally tattooed mustaches on their daughters by rubbing soot into small knife cuts.
The Rituals of Dinner – Margaret Visser

104453. Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:17 pm Reply with quote
Despite being an eminent zoologist, academic and student of the Orient, Edward S. Morse, was expelled from every school he attended up to the age of 16.

His last expulsion (from Bridgton Academy in 1854) was for carving on desks. Ironically, he would later achieve fame for the high quality of his drawing skills...especially with wood engravings.

He is credited as the man who introduced Darwinism into Japan, and towards the end of his career, the Japanese government awarded him the (Second Degree) Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Order of the Rising Sun.


104466. Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:07 pm Reply with quote
Fletcher Christian of mutiny on the bounty fame and William Wordsworth of dull-school-english-lesson fame were both born in Cockermouth*, Cumbria. In fact they both went to the same school at the same time.

The school – Hawkshead Grammar School – is now a museum; you can even see a desk where Wordsworth sat and engraved his initials. “WW”.

The beautiful village of Hawkshead is situated on the north bank of Esthwaite Water and although Beatrix Potter was born in South Kensington, she spent many years in the village**. Hawkshead is mentioned in many of potter’s tales: “Johnny Town Mouse” was based on the village doctor, Dr Parsons.

There is an entertaining theory as to where Beatrix Potter got her character names. In 2001, James Mackay, of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery, west London studied names on tombstones at the cemetery, to his surprise he found a Mr Nutkin, a Jeremiah Fisher, a Tommy Brock and even a Peter Rabbett.

*or in the immediate vicinity of Cockermouth anyway.
**or in the immediate vicinity of the village anyway

104816. Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:34 pm Reply with quote
Formely known as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery is also the resting place of suffragete leader Emmeline Pankhurst. A statue commemorates her remarkable life.

In March this year, several prominent women - including Lady Amos, Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell - gathered round her statue to celebrate International Women's day and to sing the song The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

There was only one problem. In their haste to get a writer to create lyrics for The Battle Hymn, the women in charge forgot the purpose of the day...and got male novelist Ken Follett to write the lyrics instead.

Furthermore, Pankhurst's grave was described as being 'sadly shabby'.

No matter. Pankhurst's maxim was 'Deeds...not words.'

10 March 2006
Daily Mail[/b]

105792. Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:29 pm Reply with quote
sorry to be slow Bunter, and I know this is quite a weak effort, but...

Another resident of Brompton Cemetary is cricketer John Wisden whose fame has been ensured by his famous Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

One of the rarest editions of Wisden's was published in 1916. Due to WWI, it had a limited print-run, and so is very difficult to get hold of. In fact, it is a shame that it is so difficult to find, as it was this year's edition which contained the obituary of WG Grace.

Grace, the first man to score a hundred centuries, is in turn buried at Elmers End Cemetary, Kent. His tombstone is inscribed with a bat and ball, and if you find yourself on a pilgrimage there on a hot day, you might want to head over to the WG Grace pub over the road.

There are a couple of theories as to the origin of the name of Elmers End. One is that a highwayman called elmer was once hanged there - the other, slightly less romantic, theory is that it's a place with lots of Elms.

Incidentally, Arthur Conan Doyle was a keen cricketer and often dined out on the fact that he dismissed Grace in 1900.
Eccentric Britain - Benedict le Vey

106270. Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Eccentric Britain was written by Benedict le Vay.

Something of an eccentric himself, le Vay defied ancient Oxford University rules by taking a bow and arrow, a kite and a hoop to Christ Church Meadow to promote his new book in 2004.

Mr le Vay, 51, said: "The bow and arrow comes into the story because students used one to slay a 14-year-old town person in 1355, which is when the university got the upper hand.

The archery implements are just one of a long list of items historically banned in the meadow -- others are bowling of hoops, kite flying, throwing balls and firing guns and pistols.

Mr le Vay added: "In the 1950s there were plans to build a relief road through Christ Church Meadow.

"It never happened, but a road was built through St Ebbe's. To make way for it, working class people were shunted out to not very nice estates outside Oxford.

Benedict ALSO works as a sub-editor on the Daily Mail. Although he specialises in news, the folically challenged hack also occassionally sub-edited the Daily Mail gossip column.

And who did he sit right next to when he edited said column?

You've got it.

Me. Bunter.

Newsquest Media Group Newspapers
9 December 2004

110862. Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:36 am Reply with quote
Bunter, please accept my profuse apologies for neglecting this game. Congratulations for getting yourself into a game of Qing Qong - I was tempted to follow that with a post about Egomaniacs, however...

There are two saints known as St Ebbe: Ebbe the Elder and Ebbe the Younger; both were abbesses of the Benedictine monastery of Coldingham, near Berwick.

Actually, the fact that there were two abbesses of the same abbey, of the same name, at very similar times, has made a number of historians wonder if they both actually existed.

Æbbe or Ebba or Ebbe or Tabbs(?) the Elder was the daughter of King Ethelfrith of Northumberland. After Ethelfrith’s death in 616AD, her step-mother’s brother took control of the kingdom and at the age of one, Ebbe fled to exile in Scotland. During her childhood in Scotland she converted to Christianity, and later founded the monastery.

One of the most famous stories about St Ebbe is that when the monastery was attacked by Scandinavian pirates, she gathered her nuns and talked them into self-mutilation in order to save themselves from the vikings. She set an example by cutting off her own nose and upper lip, the other nuns did the same, and when the Vikings broke into the convent, they were so horrified and angry by what the women had done to escape being raped, they locked them all in, set fire to the house, and burned them all to death.

There are a few problems with this story. Firstly there is no documentary evidence of this attack until the 14th century, 500 years later. Secondly this source gives the year of attack as 200 years after Ebbe’s death. Thirdly, the monastery was uninhabited at the time.

It seems that as a result of this error, it was decided to create a second St Ebbe – Ebbe the Younger, whose birth and death conveniently fit in with the legend. There is certainly no real evidence that Ebbe the Younger really existed.

Ebbe doesn't seem to be the patron saint of anything, I suggest:

The patron saint of being caught out lying and trying to cover your arse with another lie.

I guess that's a post about Errors, Explanations, Exile or Ethelfrith

114279. Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:58 pm Reply with quote
This is not my response to your last, superb, shot but...further to your wonderful post about the moustache cup, I saw that the Victorians also had moustache spoons.

Mustache spoons, also known as etiquette spoons, first graced the tables of American homes. The earliest known mustache spoon was patented March 6, 1868 by Solon Ferrer of New York. These soupspoons, designed with a mustache guard, were helpful in keeping pieces of food from soiling the mustaches of many Victorian men. They could slurp to their hearts’ content. However, carrying mustache spoons around also proved to be a problem. Inventive minds soon created portable mustache guards for the spoons, and some silversmiths even advertised mustache guards that could do double duty. These guards were supposed to serve cups as well as spoons. However, one has yet to make its way into my collection.

QI Moderator
561025.  Thu May 28, 2009 7:08 pm Reply with quote

QQ Rides Again - suze v smiley_face

148997. Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:29 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Since no-one has had a bash at this for a while, smiley_face and I thought we'd try and resurrect it. If we could ask that this thread be kept clear for the game, and any comments which might arise be posted on a separate thread we'd be obliged. We're not completely sure of the rules, but I'm sure we'll manage ...

I'll open with my hometown.

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada, and it's where I lived for the first 28 years of my life. The city was founded in around 1862 and originally called Gastown after one Gassy Deighton who ran its first bar. The name Vancouver was adopted in 1886, in honor of Captain George Vancouver.

He was an explorer type and came from Norfolk, but was of Dutch origin - the family surname was originally van Coeverden. Although it's not completely proven, the conventional understanding is that van Coeverden more or less means "Oxford" (ie place where oxen cross the river).

All the more reason why the future North American headquarters of QI should be established in my hometown.

149031. Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:21 am Reply with quote
Norfolk is a county in the north of East Anglia, having borders with Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Its name derives from "North Folk" - the Angles settled in East Anglia in the 5th Century AD, and they later split into the "North Folk" and "South Folk", from which we get the names of the two counties.

Norfolk contains the earliest evidence of human occupation in Britain, with history dating back to the Palaeolithic era 750,000 years ago.

Between 500,000 and 400,000 years ago, the glacial ice sheets reached East Anglia for the last time, resulting in sedimental deposits called Corton Formations.

The earliest evidence of human occupation by homo erectus is in about 700,000 BC. Bones and flint tools were found in coastal deposits near Happisburg, along with other sites such as Whitlingham, Keswick, South Acre and Runton.

Sorry about the slightly disjointed nature of the post - I'm rather tired!

149441. Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:15 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
The Angles came to Britain from what we now call northern Germany, although precisely where they came from is unclear.

The standard assumption has long been that they came from the area now known as Angeln - as do fine people such as Hans Mof. It is further supposed that Angeln means "hook" (cf catching fish being known as angling).

But if this is true, it would imply that the word had somehow been exempted from Grimm's Law (which would be a matter for a book rather than a post here. Grimm's Law was discovered by Karl von Schlegel, not by Grimm.). What's more, there is no landform in the Angeln region which is hook shaped - so it seems likely that they actually inhabited a wider region of the Baltic coast.

Pliny the Elder makes no mention of the Angles in his Naturalis Historia - the 37 volume encyclopaedia which was his magnum opus. Yet he does describe the region where they lived so we must assume he called them something else - perhaps his Teutones were they.

150035. Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:23 pm Reply with quote
Pliny The Elder (oh, how we love him!) was born in Como, not Verona as is sometimes believed.

While on military service, he took part in the Roman conquest of the Chauci and the construction of the canal between the Meuse and Rhine Rivers in Germany.

Despite the fact Pliny died while trying to escape the eruption of Vesuvius on 24th August 79 AD, it is unlikely that he died from the direct effects of the eruption. He had fled to Stabiae, 16 kilometers from Vesuvius, so it is certain that the flames did not reach him and he could not have died from noxious gases, since his companions were not affected. It is most likely that he died from a stroke or heart attack as a result of the stress of the event.

A Plinian eruption is a type of volcanic eruption named after Pliny the Younger, who first documented one while observing Vesuvius erupt. It is characterised by a large column of smoke and ash extending high into the atmosphere, along with the ejection of large amounts of pumice. In addition to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, Plinian eruptions include Krakatoa in 1883 and Mount St. Helens in 1980.

150083. Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:14 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Krakatoa is a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait, not so far from Java (of which more in a moment).

The spelling Krakatoa seems to be a 19th century typo - Indonesians spell it Krakatau. Quite what the name means is debated; it's either to do with parrots, crabs or ants, depending who you believe.

Two thirds of the island was destroyed in the 1883 eruption, which might have been the loudest noise ever witnessed by mankind. The cloud of sulfur dioxide which was formed affected global weather for a year or so, and it has been speculated that the red sky shown in Edvard Munch's much stolen painting The Scream may have been an accurate portrayal of Norwegian skies in the months after the eruption.

More recent eruptions have caused a new island to begin forming in the spot once occupied by Krakatoa - this island is called Anuk Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa).

Now, Java. There was a 1969 movie set around the eruption events, which was called Krakatoa, East of Java. Map reading was apparently not a skill possessed by any of the team behind that movie, as Krakatoa is in fact west of Java. (Recent reissues of the movie have changed the title to Volcano.)

150115. Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:37 am Reply with quote
In the years 535-536 AD, the world’s climate altered dramatically. Records by Byzantine historian Procopius describe how “the sun gave forth its light without brightness”. Tree ring analysis also shows abnormally little growth around this time. In addition to low temperatures and darkness, floods in very dry regions and crop failures were also reported, and the plague swept around the world three times in about ten years.

In his book Catastrophe: A Quest for the Origins of the Modern World, David Keys suggests that the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa exploded in 535 AD and was responsible for causing the changes. He believes that this eruption led to the movement from Ancient World into the Medieval Era, suggesting that the fall of the Byzantine Empire should be attributed to the natural disaster. Also included in his theory is that the Arabian Civilisation collapsed due to pressure from crop failures and floods, and it is from this that Islam began to emerge. Keys also proposes that the chaos resulting from the disaster led to the early development of the Ottoman Empire, while in China, it led to a reunified nation.

150377. Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:59 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
The Ottoman Empire lasted from 1299 to 1922, and at its maximum extent included all of the Balkan area, all of the North African coast and most of the Middle East.

Its organisation has been much copied by the writers of fantasy fiction - there were Sultans who spent all the country's money on tulips, utterly mad Sultans who spent most of their monarchy locked in their rooms, and a period when the Sultans were either young or weak (often both) and the country was effectively run by their mothers - members of a large harem. (A bit of GenIg here - the #1 wife of the Sultan was called the Haseki and not, as oft alleged, the Sultana. Sultans had five wives, eight official mistresses, and as many further concubines as they could handle.)

All the same, the Empire was far more tolerant than are many modern nations - Christians, Jews and Muslims were treated equally and could all hold positions of power. Scientists and intellectuals were esteemed too - simply because the writers' trade union thought that the printing press was a silly idea, its introduction into the Empire was delayed by a hundred years.

The word ottoman now describes a sort of sofa, while divan - which was the word for the nearest the Ottoman Empire had to a cabinet - is now used to describe a sort of bed.

151204. Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:00 pm Reply with quote
Right, sorry about the delay - I've been a bit preoccupied with hockey, comedy gigs (Tim Minchin is awesome!), school and work. I'm back now though. Oh, and apologies for the length of this post, just I really struggled to find anything really interesting to do with sultanas.

A sultana is a type of grape and also the name given to the dried form of that grape. It is of Turkish or Persian origin, and was traditionally imported from the Ottoman Empire, hence the name “sultana”, which is the female form of the word “sultan” (according to Wikipedia. I presume that that’s the female form of the word itself, rather than the occupation). It takes 4 kg of grapes to produce 1kg of dried sultanas.

Despite being eaten by humans, sultanas are toxic to dogs, causing liver and kidney damage, and in larger quantities, death.

151209. Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:05 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Grapes are very versatile fruits. They can be eaten as they stand or they can be dried to make raisins (any dried grape is a raisin, currants and sultanas are special sorts of raisin).

The juice of the grape can be drunk; many years someone discovered that allowing this juice to ferment for a considerable time made an agreeable drink called "wine". A further development is to add yeast and sugar after bottling the wine, a method which leads to fizzy wines including an obscure beverage known as "champagne". Although most champagne is white, most of it is made from red grapes.

Grape juice is an electrolyte, which means that if grapes are heated in a microwave oven, arcing or even explosion may result. (Do not try this at home.)

For those who are concerned about their "five a day", the number of grapes which must be eaten to constitute one portion is seventeen. (This from

151608. Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:26 pm Reply with quote
One method of opening a bottle of champagne is sabrage, which involves using a sabre to take the cork off the top of the bottle. This is done by sliding the blade of the sabre down the length of the bottle towards the neck, so that the blade takes off the collar and the cork of the bottle together, causing them to fly between 5 and 10 metres away.

This method of bottle opening became popular in France when Napoleon’s Army was visiting various members of the aristocracy. Because of Napoleon’s successes, they would usually drink champagne to celebrate, and sabrage was the method used to open bottles.

One particular story involves Madame Clicquot, a rich widow who lived in the Champagne region of France. She frequently entertained Napoleon's officers in her vineyard, and when they rode off in the morning, they would open their complimentary bottle of champagne with a sabre to impress her.

151748. Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:25 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
A sabre (or saber, for us North Americans) is a type of sword with a large handguard and a curved blade. The traditional way to carry a sabre was to hang it from a belt worn around the waist and over one shoulder. This type of belt is known as a baldrick.

The word sabre is probably of either Hungarian or Russian origin - the jury is still out. Certainly, the Hungarians tend to do rather well at the sabre fighting event in the Olympics.

Somewhat apt to the name of my opponent in this game is the extinct mammal smilodon populator. These were rather savage cat like creatures which lived in the Americas, and are commonly known as "saber tooth tigers".

And then there's Aram Khachaturian. This guy is one of the few answers to "name a famous Armenian", and wrote a ballet called Gayane which contains a Kurdish war dance with swords - commonly known as the Sabre Dance. If anyone has ever seen Late Night with Conan O'Brien, they will recognise this as the "Masturbating Bear" tune.

151751. Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:36 am Reply with quote
The Olympics are a mult-sporting event held every two years, alternating between Winter and Summer Olympics.

The first ever Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, sometime between 884 BC and 704 BC, although the date generally accepted is 776 BC. They ceased to take place in 393 AD, but in 1896, a French nobleman called Pierre Frédy revived the Olympic Games and thus the Modern Olympic Games began.

While Steve Redgrave may have won 5 gold medals in 5 consecutive Olympic Games, this can be beaten by the sixth century BC wrestler Milo of Croton, who is the only athlete in history to win a gold medal in six Olympic Games.

The Olympic Torch and image of five interconnecting rings were not included in the Ancient Olympic Games, but were only introduced in 1896.

The Winter Olympics were originally proposed as a week of winter sports during the Summer Olympics. The organisers first agreed for this to take place at the 1916 Berlin Olympics, but these were cancelled due to World War I. The French town of Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924.

The next Winter Olympics are to be held in Vancouver.

151766. Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:08 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Well done smiley_face, I do believe it's 15-0 in your favour.

Smiley_face to serve from the Pavilion End.

152048. Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Voodoo curses are placed upon people within voodoo-practising communities with the intention of leading to their death.

This may seem like a load of tosh, but it has been shown how a curse could lead to the death of a person.

In the body, among the several nervous systems, there is the sympathetic nervous system. This is involved with the release of adrenaline and the fight or flight response, and is triggered by fear of some sort. When people know* that a voodoo curse has been placed upon them (and they believe it will work), the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, since they are naturally afraid of dying. This fight or flight response lasts for several days, much longer than the usual.

After a normal fight or flight response, the body's parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to counter all the effects of the sympathetic nervous system and bring the body back to normal. However, with a voodoo curse, the person has been under the influence of their sympathetic nervous system for days, and so when the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, the return to "normal" goes a bit too far. The vagus nerve, which is the parasympathetic projection from the brain to the heart that allows the brain to slow the heartbeat, becomes too active and the net result is that your heart slows down so much it stops beating.

*If you don't know a curse has been placed upon you, you should be fine!

152152. Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:24 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
The heart is an organ that sends blood around the body. I believe it's quite important really.

Heart was also the name of a Vancouver based rock band (although they originally came from Seattle, grrr). The only two permanent members of the band were sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson Crowe, and their best known song in Britain was probably These dreams.

The brand of middle-of-the-road rock music played by that band just might get itself played on Heart 106.2, which is a London based commercial radio station. Among its presenters is (or was, these things change so often) Jamie Theakston, against whom my husband once played cricket.

That station might also - at a pinch - play Heart, a 1988 song by the Pet Shop Boys. This song was supposedly originally written for Madonna, but she never got around to recording it and instead the Pet Shop Boys took it to #1. Its video features a vampire played by Sir Ian "Serena" McKellen, whose nickname was apparently invented by Stephen Fry.

Oh yes, and there's a football team from Edinburgh named after a prison. Heart of Midlothian.

[EDIT: Barbados has pointed out that this isn't right - in fact, the football team was named after a dance hall, which was in turned named after a novel, which was in turn named after the nickname of a prison properly known as the Tolbooth.]

154362. Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:31 am Reply with quote
The West Port Murders were carried out in Edinburgh, and involved William Burke and William Hare. Between the two of them, they carried out 17 murders, and sold the bodies of their victims to Edinburgh Medical College for dissection, their main client being Dr. Robert Knox. The reason for this was the lack of cadavers available to medical schools in Britain in the early 19th Century, and so dead bodies were obtained illegally by other means and then sold.

Skin from Burke's body was used to make the leather binding of a small book, which is now on display in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

As a result of the West Port murders, the 1832 Anatomy Act was passed, which increased the legal supply of dead bodies available for medical research and teaching, but also required anyone wishing to practice anatomy to obtain a license from the Home Secretary.

In 2002, Gunther von Hagens was accused of breaking the Act following the live autopsy he performed on television. He was warned by Her Majesty's Inspector of Anatomy that performing a public autopsy would be a criminal act under section 9 of the 1984 Anatomy Act. Despite Met Police Officers attending the dissection, the police did not intervene and von Hagens went uncharged.

(I told you I would get the topic back onto Medicine, even if it has taken me a week!)

154576. Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:36 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
If one does in fact wish to cut up dead people, the necessary licence* costs £6,000 per annum. And what precisely does the job of "Inspector of Anatomy" involve ...?

There are quite a lot of other activities for which one requires a licence in the United Kingdom. Watching television is one obvious example, as is driving a car. But you also need a licence for all manner of other things, such as keeping non-native fish (it's free), a gun (£50) or a dog if you happen to live in Northern Ireland (£5; the rest of the UK abolished this licence in 1987 when it cost 37½p).

A licence is also required of any place which provides "regulated entertainment". This covers music, dance other than Morris dancing - presumably not considered to be entertaining - theatre and indoor sports (not outdoor sports except for boxing and wrestling).

But one of my favourite kinds of licence is that which is known as an "off". This licence permits one to sell alcoholic liquor for consumption elsewhere, and rather oddly the name of the permit is often used as a description of the store to which it applies - even though most of us do not refer to our living rooms as "the television licence". Perhaps surprisingly, off licences start at as little as £100 (depends on the value of the premises - for a large supermarket, it's still only £635).

* hey smiley, you were the last person I'd have expected to resort to an American spelling!

157298. Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:39 pm Reply with quote
Driving a car on public roads is something which I'll be able to do legally in 3 days, albeit with a person who has held a full UK licence for at least 3 years and is over the age of 21 (any volunteers??). An exception to the 17 years old driving age is for persons on full disability allowance, who can get a provisional driving licence at the age of 16.

However, were I in Saudi Arabia, I would not be able to drive a car or ride a push-bike or motorbike, since women are not permitted to drive vehicles (either motor- or pedal-powered) on public roads.

The lowest driving age is 14, which can be found in Canada (Alberta, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia), Ethiopia, and some states in the USA, for example Iowa, where the age limit is 14 years for a learner's permit. However, a person can drive alone to any official school event or activity at the age of 14.5, if they live more than one mile from their school.

In Australia, where the driving age varies between 16 and 18 for different states, in the two years after passing their tests, drivers are required to adhere to lower speed limits, alcohol limits, and other restrictions.

In a lot of US States (see here for the full list) those under the age of 21 are issued a portrait driver's licence rather than a standard landscape one, the purpose of which is to aid in identifying if someone is of the drinking age or not. Similarly in Canada, drivers under the age of 21 have their photo on the right of the card, while those over the age of 21 have their photo on the left.

157384. Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:43 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Saudi Arabia is a country in which I too would not especially care to live.

Quite apart from women not being permitted to drive* or ride bikes, they can't even leave the country for one less repressive. Women are considered to be property, and require the permission of their husband (or, if unmarried, their father) to leave the country.**

Since Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, voting accomplishes even less than it does elsewhere and opportunities to do it are infrequent - but even so women don't get the chance.***

What's more, disgraceful activities such as associating with men or failing to wear Islamic dress are liable to bring a woman into conflict with the wonderfully named Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

And then there's the vexed issue of female circumcision. Although this disgraceful practice is by no means universal in Saudi Arabia, it is known to occur especially outside the major towns. (Usually the so-called Sunnah Procedure - the removal of the prepuce and the tip of the clitoris.)

And then there's stuff like the prohibition against public practice of any religion other than Islam (e.g. one may not carry a Bible), the prohibition of cinema and theater, the ban on alcohol, and the use of corporal punishment (4,000 lashes seems to be the highest sentence that's been imposed).

They've got rather a lot of oil though. Surely this isn't why countries such as the USA remain largely silent about Saudi?

[Sorry smiley, this turned into a bit of a rant. But there seem to be plenty of places to jump off from, all the same.]

* The response from Prince Nayef (Saudi Interior Minister) when this was challenged at a press conference was "It is not possible, and there are no studies on the subject at all".

** When this was challenged, Prince Nayef said "such a debate would be useless and produce a hollow exchange of ideas". ibid

*** "I don't think that women's participation is possible." Guess who.

161373. Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:02 am Reply with quote
In 1838, when the Pitcairn Islands became a British Colony, women were granted the right to vote, being one of the first places to do so. Prior to this, women had been allowed to vote in New Jersey between 1776 and 1807, after the word "people" was accidentally used instead of "men" in the New Jersey Constitution of 1776. Among the British Isles, it was the Isle of Man was the first to give women the vote, granting men and women equal voting rights in 1866.

In the UK, the movement for women's suffrage began in 1832 when the Reform Act specifically prevented women from voting. The movement was primarily led by the Suffragists, a non-militant group who tried to cause change within the law, while the Suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, were responsible for destructive protests such as burning letterboxes, smashing windows and chaining themselves to railing.

In 1918, women over the age of 30 were granted the vote, partly because of their contribution to the war effort, but it was only in 1928 that the age was lowered to 21 to match that of men.

161630. Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:31 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
The Pitcairn Islands (four islands, although only one - Pitcairn Island itself - is inhabited) are situated in the south Pacific. When the islands were discovered by the mutineers from the Bounty in 1790, they were uninhabited, although evidence of an earlier Polynesian culture was found. Current archaeological thinking is that the islands had at this time been uninhabited for around 300 years, although it's not entirely clear why the earlier occupants left or died out.

Nine mutineers settled on the island then, accompanied by six Tahitian men, twelve Tahitian women and a baby. To this day, most of the inhabitants are descended from these original settlers and Christian is a common surname.

The island was abandoned once, in 1856 when the population had grown to 193 and the island had become too small. They set sail for Norfolk Island - at the time uninhabited - but most returned to Pitcairn within a few years. The current population is 45.

Unfortunately, the best known thing about the island in recent years has been the rape trial of 2004. It seems that in a small and very isolated community, sexual conduct had been rather liberal and it had become tacitly accepted that girls were eligible for child bearing at the age of 12. After a lengthy trial, in which as much time was spent establishing whether or not English law applied to Pitcairn as in considering the alleged crimes, six of the island's ten adult men were convicted. After a lengthy series of appeals, it was determined that a prison should be constructed on the island for the six men - but none has yet actually been imprisoned.

161992. Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:53 am Reply with quote
Tahiti, historically known as Otaheite, is the largest island of French Polynesia, located in the South Pacific. It was first settled between the 4th and 9th centuries by Polynesians from Samoa and Tonga.

The island was first spotted by a Spanish ship in 1606, but it was only in 1767 that Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, visited the island. The relaxed and contented nature of the people who inhabited the island led to early European visitors having a very romanticised view of Tahiti. This was written in Voyage Autour du Monde, a book by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who completed the first French circumnavigation of the globe. Visiting in 1768, he initially thought that he was the first European to discover the island, naming it New Cythera after the Greek island mythically associated with Aphrodite.

The European influence on the island proved to be very detrimental - prostitution, venereal disease, alcohol, typhus and small pox all led to a sharp drop in the population of the island from around 150,000 in the 1770s to about 16,000 at the end of the 18th century. According to the 2002 census, the island now has a population of 169,674, over two thirds of the population of French Polynesia.

164620. Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:31 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
After a break for smiley_face's holiday, I'd better get this moving again before I disappear on mine ...

As we have seen, Tahiti was at one time named New Cythera. The original Cythera - or Kíthera if one follows modern transcription standards - is a small island off the south east coast of Greece.

It has changed hands rather a lot over the years, having belonged at various times to the Athenians, the Byzantines, the Venetians, the British and the Ottoman Turks - but was restored to Greece in 1864.

It was also a frequent target of pillaging pirates, notably Oruç Reis who is normally known as Barbarossa. Barbarossa was, quite properly, a Lesbian; that is to say, he came from the island of Lésvos.

Like many of the smaller Greek islands, the population has fallen steeply over the past century or so. Only about 3,000 people live on Kíthera today, but there are estimated to be twenty times that number of people of Kítherean descent in Melbourne, Australia.

The island lies close to a plate boundary, and so earthquakes are not uncommon - there have been two measuring over 5 on the Richter scale in the last three years, though there has been no loss of life from an earthquake since 1903.

301874. Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:45 am Reply with quote
The Byzantine Empire is the term used to describe the Roman Empire during the Dark and Middle ages.

The capital of the Byzantine Empire was Constantinople, which Emperor Constantine named after himself in 330 AD. The founding of Constantinople is often argued to be the beginning of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453. The Turkish warriors took their Islamic faith to Constantinople, converting many churches to mosques.

Despite being described as a part of the Roman Empire, there are many instances of Greek influence in the Byzantine Empire; for example, both its political structure and the new religion, Eastern Orthodox, have strong ties with Greek tradition and philosophy.

302268. Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:25 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post
The Dark Ages was in fact a televisual situation comedy set in the year 999 and starring Phill Jupitus. It was a bit crap though - its main gag was about something called Millennium Pox which would soon spell the end of civilization as we know it - so for now I'll consider three other things which have usurped that term.

In European history, the term Dark Ages is conventionally understood to mean the years from the fall of Rome in 476 until 918/1000/1066/1330, or so. (Depends who you ask.) The term seems to have been coined by the Italian writer Petrarch, who thought that the literature of that period (and indeed his own) was rubbish - insofar as it usually sought to show that Christian civilization was preferable to the Roman and Greek classical civilizations, a notion with which Petrarch didn't hold.

Until fairly recent years, the term was absolutely intended to be pejorative - it implied that the Dark Ages were a time of poor literature, poor architecture, little scientific progress, and so on. That view is a bit era-ist for modern liking, but the term persists; it's now conveniently defined in terms of being a period of history from which comparatively few records survive, and is hence "dark" to modern scholars.

If one is a fan of the MMORPG genre, one may be aware of a game called Dark Ages. It's based largely on the Celtic mythos and the works of H P Lovecraft, and looks even more complicated than most games of that kind.

In cosmology, the term Dark Ages denotes a period in the Big Bang model when photons were far too busy interacting with electrons and protons to actually go about their normal business. As such, the Universe was opaque - there's light, Jim, but not as we know it. This period is reckoned to have begun around 300,000 years after Big Bang and lasted for around 500 million years. (More scientific explanations are available, but not from me. I apologise for the excruciating pun though.)

Commentary on QQ Rides Again

151773. Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:34 am Reply with quote
Could I just say that this is superb play from you both; really tight, hammer and tongs stuff.

Just a small point about the Olympics. You mention that the sixth century BC wrestler Milo of Croton is the only man to win gold at six different Olympic Games. The Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich also won gold at six different games. He won gold in the team sabre event from Los Angeles (1932) to Rome (1960) plus an individual gold, a silver and a couple of bronzes. He didn't win his six consecutive golds in an individual event, but it is an achievement that is all the more remarkable owing to the fact that two games were missed because of WWII. He won his last when he was 50.

Olympic Stats

151775. Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:02 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Thanks costean, and it's somehow rather fitting to the thread that it was a Hungarian sabre fencer.

We'll try to keep you entertained for the rest of the game.

152054. Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:43 pm Reply with quote
Yes, it did seem pertinent to the thread. Hungary has a fine tradition in all types of fencing dating back, no doubt, to their Magyar ancestors.

Tas raised rather a good heckle earlier, on the subject of 'Ottomans'. The crowd joined in vociferously and I am now in the enlightened position of realising that an Ottoman is not just a chap with a big sword from Asia Minor. Please see Tas's post 150398.

Obviously interest in the history of Hungarian fencing is limited to tedious gits like me, so please treat the first post on this thread as general barracking.

Any more heckles, points of order, general rowdiness please add them to this thread so we can keep them all in one place, and not disturb the residents of the other forums with random observations about minority European bloodsports and the like.

It has been very entertaining so far. So, as you were.

<Quiet during the serve please>

152172. Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:36 am Reply with quote
suze, or as I would like to call you from now "Tenacious link"
Hearts FC were founded in 1874 and named after a dance hall on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, not a prison as you state in your post. I think you may have confused this with the "Heart of Midlothian", a memorial that stands on the Royal Mile outside St Giles to mark the site of the old Tolbooth, which was a prison.

Your post smacks of laziness, and attracts the mid term report "Must try harder".

As you were ladies.

152246. Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:22 pm Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
Thanks barbados, you are of course right. The football team was named for the dance hall, the dance hall was named for the novel by Sir Walter Scott, and the novel was named for the nickname of the aforementioned Tolbooth prison.

But hey, I had to get away from matters medical - such being Miss Face's specialist subject and very far from mine.

Still, must most definitely try harder ...

152309. Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:38 pm Reply with quote
suze wrote:
But hey, I had to get away from matters medical - such being Miss Face's specialist subject and very far from mine.

We'll get it back soon enough, don't you worry!

153208. Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:16 am Reply with quote
Sorry for deserting the game - I've been a tad busy writing 7,000 words on the factors affecting the boiling point of a solution. (Vapour pressures, anyone?!)

Expect a fresh post from me sometime this evening when I get back from London, but for now I have to run and teach a lesson and then brave Oxford Street for a few hours - joy!

154589. Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:24 pm Reply with quote
suze wrote:
* hey smiley, you were the last person I'd have expected to resort to an American spelling!

In my defence, it was half eleven at night. So what if I got confused with the verb form. Grrrrr....

And "hey"? You're supposed to be trying to be English too!

QI Moderator
561026.  Thu May 28, 2009 7:12 pm Reply with quote

QQ - MacGyver Magic v misterchris v zomgmouse

484400. Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:29 am Reply with quote
To His Coy Mistress

To His Coy Mistress is a witty metaphysical poem written by the British author and statesman Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678) either during or just before the Interregnum. The poem is often considered one of the finest and most concise carpe diem arguments ever put in verse.
Marvell probably wrote the poem prior to serving in Oliver Cromwell's government as a minister, and the poem was not published in his lifetime.

To His Coy Mistress is written from the man's perspective; he is trying to persuade the woman addressed to have sexual intercourse with him, because she is being coy, by noting that time is limited and they must act now. The poem is in three, logically presented sections: "If . . . but . . . therefore."

Part of the second verse:
"Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity"

Source: Wikipedia

484436. Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:16 am Reply with quote
Medal of Honour

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States". Because of the nature of its criteria, the medal is often awarded posthumously.

Captain John Philip Cromwell (September 11, 1901 – November 19, 1943) was a submariner of the United States Navy.

Medal of Honor citation for Captain John P. Cromwell:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the U.S.S. Sculpin, during the Ninth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, November 19, 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk. Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese depth-charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he authorized the Sculpin to surface and engage the enemy in a gun-fight, thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death. Preserving the security of his mission at the cost of his own life, he had served his country as he had served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


486050. Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:51 pm Reply with quote

Goldfish have a higher intelligence than commonly assumed. They have been shown to have a memory that last longer than the commonly cited three seconds in a test by Adam Savage and Jamie Hineman (The MythBusters). A study by the University of Plymouth even showed their memory lasts at least three months and it can distinguish between different shapes, colors and sounds. They also have strong associative learning abilities as well as social learning skills and strong visual acuity. Tests in blind gold fish show that they can even recognise their owner by sound or vibration.

The longest goldfish was measured at 47.4 cm (18.7 in) from snout to tail-fin end on March 24, 2003 in Hapert, The Netherlands. It was owned by Joris Gijsbers

From all the different sorts, the bubble eyed goldfish depicted at has to take the buscuit in the weirdness department.

Source: Wikipedia

486197. Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:56 am Reply with quote
Venetian Blinds
A Venetian blind has horizontal slats, one slat above another. They are suspended by strips of cloth called tapes or by cords which are able to tip them each at the same time up to 180 degrees. Their setting can be changed from overlapping with one side facing inward through not overlapping at all to overlapping with the other side facing inward. There are also lift cords passing through holes in each slat. When these cords are pulled, the bottom of the blind moves upward causing slats to rest on each other as the blind is raised. Venetian blinds are basic slatted blinds made of metal or plastic; wooden slats are sometimes used but these are usually referred to as wood blinds or bamboo blinds. Venetian blinds were patented by Edward Beran in London on 11th December 1769, but in reality Venetian blinds were invented by the Japanese long before then.


486254. Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:23 am Reply with quote
Winnie the Pooh

Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The character first appeared in book form in Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included several poems about Winnie-the-Pooh in the children’s poetry books When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard.

Winnie-the-Pooh is such a popular character in Poland that a Warsaw street is named after him, "Ulica Kubusia Puchatka." There is also a street named after him in Budapest (Micimackó utca).

In December 2000, a Canadian medical journal jokingly "diagnosed" characters in the books and films with various mental illnesses, e.g. Winnie the Pooh shows signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tigger shows signs of ADHD etc.

In the Polish translation, by Irena Tuwim, Pooh was called Kubuś Puchatek (Jacob the Pooh), because using a woman's name for a male bear would have been too controversial.[/img]

Hope Edward Beran to Edward Bear is not too loose a connection :)

487033. Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:42 am Reply with quote
No that's fine misterchris, Edward is fine :)

487286. Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:02 pm Reply with quote
over to MacGyver then :)

487803. Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:38 pm Reply with quote
A CornerShot is a special-purpose weapon that can fire around a corner. It was designed in the early 2000s for SWAT teams and special forces in hostile situations usually involving terrorists and hostages. Its purpose is similar to that of the wartime periscope rifle; it allows its operator to both see and attack an armed target, without exposing the operator to counterattack.

Variations of the standard semi-automatic rifle version are a 40 mm grenade launcher, an Assault Pistol Rifle and a CornerShot Panzerfaust to launch Panzerfaust anti-tank rockets.

Surprisingly, weapons that could should around corners already existed. In World War II German solidiers used a bent barrel on their Sturmgewehr 44 - a Krummlauf - that allowed them to fire around corners at a 30 degree angle. They could see with a periscope-style sight.

489157. Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:17 am Reply with quote
Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K 331
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K 331 (300i) is a sonata in three movements:
Andante grazioso - a theme with six variations.
Menuetto - a minuet and trio
Alla Turca: Allegretto in A minor
All of the movements are in the key of A major or A minor; that is, the work is homotonal.
A typical performance takes about 24 minutes.
It is uncertain where and when Mozart composed the sonata; however, Vienna or Salzburg in around 1783 is currently thought to be most likely (Paris and dates as far back as 1778 have also been suggested).
The last movement, Alla Turca, popularly known as the Turkish Rondo, is often heard on its own and is one of Mozart's best-known piano pieces. It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was much in vogue at that time. Various other works of the time imitate this music, including Mozart's own opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.
In Mozart's time, the last movement was sometimes performed on pianos built with a "Turkish stop", allowing it to be embellished with extra percussion effects.

489285. Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:00 pm Reply with quote

The city of Istanbul has been known through the ages under a large number of different names. Besides its modern Turkish name, the most notable are Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul, but there are also others. Each of them is associated with different phases of its history and with different languages.

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" is a swing-style song, with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon. The tune is similar to and possibly based on the music for "Puttin' on the Ritz", written by Irving Berlin in 1929. [1]

The lyrics remind the listener of the change of the name of the city Constantinople to the Turkish name Istanbul, also mentioning the fact that New York City was originally named New Amsterdam.

493435. Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:12 am Reply with quote
Waiting mortuary:
In the 18th century myths, stories (Edgar Allen Poe's work in particular) and disagreement between doctors on the signs of death meant that people had a profound fear of being buried alive.

Christopher Wilhelm Hufeland was the first to act on a plan suggested by Bruhier in 1745 and Thierry in 1787. In 1790, he published his plans for a building, a waiting mortuary, were presumed dead people would be kept on beds in large dorm-like rooms until putrefaction would set in (the only clear-cut sign someone was really dead). People were hired to keep watch and save people if neccesary.

A reprinted article in the New York Observer and several other papers that praised their work in prevention of premature burial led to a call for waiting mortuaries to be built on American soil in 1847.

493540. Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:24 am Reply with quote
Les Ulis
Les Ulis is a Francilienne commune of Essonne located in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is 23 km (14 miles) from the center of Paris.
The commune of Les Ulis has only recently come into existence: it was created on February 19, 1977 by detaching territory from the communes of Orsay and Bures-sur-Yvette.
At the 1999 census, the population was 25,785. The estimate for 2005 was 24,900.
Inhabitants of Les Ulis are known as Ulissiens.

Famous people
Football player Thierry Henry, who plays on the French national team as well as F.C. Barcelona in Spain, was born in Les Ulis.
Another famous French football player Patrice Evra, who plays for Manchester United in England, also a member of the French national team, was raised in Les Ulis.
French foil fencer Térence Joubert was also born in Les Ulis on April 17, 1982.
The former spokesman of the ecological French party, Stéphane Pocrain, was raised in Les Ulis and was almost elected for the town's constituency (with the other towns of Gif-sur-Yvette, Orsay etc...) in 2002.
French supermodel Noémie Lenoir was born in Les Ulis on September 19, 1979 before her family moved to a very quiet life first in Gif-sur-Yvette and then in Versailles where she was discovered and started her career in modeling.
French writer Patrick Lapeyre (author of the award-winning L'homme-sœur) is a teacher in Les Ulis' high school (Lycée de l'Essouriau).
Rap singer Sinik, was born central Paris, moved to Les Ulis at age four.
The biggest industrial area (tertiary) in Europe is concentrated in Parc d'Activité de Courtabœuf (area: 378 ha) with more than 1000 companies employing 24,500 people. This area is spread over three communes: Les Ulis (mainly), Villebon-sur-Yvette and Villejust. Many companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Apple Computer have their French head offices in this area.

493945. Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:46 pm Reply with quote
Stephen Wozniak

Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak (born August 11, 1950 in San José, California) is an American computer engineer who founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs. His inventions and machines are credited with contributing significantly to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Wozniak created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. The Apple II gained much popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Wozniak has several nicknames, including "The Woz", "Wonderful Wizard of Woz" and "iWoz" (a reference to the ubiquitous naming scheme for Apple products). "WoZ" (short for "Wheels of Zeus") is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. He is sometimes known as the "Other Steve" of Apple Computer, the better known Steve being co-founder Steve Jobs. He and his family are of Polish descent.

Wozniak is a member of a Segway Polo team, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks. In 2006, they were challenged to a game by the newly formed New Zealand Pole Blacks (the Woz Challenge Cup); the match ended in a 2-2 tie, with the Woz Challenge Cup staying in Auckland. In 2007, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks avenged the tie by defeating the Pole Blacks 5-0 in the Woz Challenge Cup finals. The 2008 Woz Challenge Cup was held at the SegwayFesT 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana from 8 - 10 August 2008 (polo events ran 7 - 9 August 2008).

QI Moderator
626139.  Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:43 pm Reply with quote

Factoid Tennis (a precursor)

eggshaped 26080. Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:44 pm

Rules: I will begin with a nice little interesting nugget. It is then your job to come up with something interesting which is in some way related to my post. (Don’t worry if it’s a bit tenuous, you’re judged on the interestingness of the fact rather than the quality of the link). And henceforth the chain continues, until we get all the way back to the start, or someone posts something which someone else can show is incorrect.

An example of a (albeit quite weak) chain, would be:

Player 1:
Paper: The sizes of paper are based on the fact that A0 has an area of 1 square meter, and has a side ratio of the square-root of 2. A1 is half this size, A2 half the size again etc etc.

Player 2:
Paper clips: It was once an arrestible offence in Norway to be seen wearing a paper clip. Johan Vaaler the paper-clip’s inventor was Norwegian. During the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II, Norwegians made the paper clip a symbol of national unity. Prohibited from wearing buttons imprinted with the Norwegian king’s initials, they fastened paper clips to their lapels in a show of solidarity and opposition to the occupation.

Player 3:
Norway: A dog was once the king in Norway. King Eystein, once offered the people of Throndheim, who he had just conquered, either his slave, who was called Thorer Faxe, or his dog, whose name was Saur, to be their king. They chose the dog, as they thought they would be rid of it sooner.

Player 1:
Dogs: The first Blue Peter pet was not Petra the dog as most people think. The fist pet was a sickly little mutt and died after just one appearance. Not wishing to upset the kids, the production team scoured the country for a lookee-likee and a new dog was found – this of course was Petra.

Ffion Hague:
Blue: There is no word in welsh for the colour blue.

Player 3:
Err excuse me, I think you’ll find there is.

And that's it (by the way, if any of the above facts sound familiar or downright incorrect then it's just an example, ok.)

eggshaped 26082. Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:46 pm

OK, here’s one to start off.

The first eyewitness account of the Wright Brothers' first manned flight appeared in a magazine called "Gleanings in Bee Culture".

The journal’s publisher, Amos I. Root, had driven 175 miles to witness the flights, he became friendly with the brothers, and they allowed him to write of what he witnessed for the readers of his journal.

So from there, you could go to famous firsts, flying, bees, journalism.......

Flash 26088. Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:43 pm

Bee Venom Therapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, including arthritis, bursitis, and perhaps Multiple Sclerosis.

To administer, take one bee in a pair of tweezers and hold on the body part to be stung. The stinger should be left in for 10 to 15 minutes. The number of stings delivered in a session and the frequency of the sessions varies, depending on the patient's tolerance and the nature of the problem. To treat tendonitis, a patient might need only two to five therapy sessions involving only two to three stings per session. Treating a more chronic problem like arthritis can take several stings per session two to three times per week for up to three months. Treating MS is a prolonged effort. Those who have used it say the therapy must happen two to three times per week for six months in order to start working.

Gray 26091. Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:29 pm

The worst tendonitis you can get is in the Achilles tendon, which is so strong it can support up to 12 times the weight of a person - the strongest tendon in the body. Achilles tendonitis is actually called Achilles tendinosis.

Flash 26092. Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:51 pm

Achilles' grandmother (on his mother's side) was called Doris.

Frederick The Monk 26097. Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:08 pm

Doris was the name of a French coastal submarine of the Sirène class. It was torpedoed and sunk North West off the Dutch Coast by the German submarine U-9.

Cleverina Clogs 26100. Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:32 pm

Flash wrote:
Achilles' grandmother (on his mother's side) was called Doris.

What sort of name is that for an ancient mother? Surely Gladys would be more appropriate ;o)

Gaazy 26101. Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:37 pm

Doris Day's real name was Doris von Kappelhoff.

JumpingJack 26103. Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:43 pm

Another British ship sunk by U-9 (on September 22nd 1914) was HMS Aboukir, named after the site of the Battle of the Nile (1798) which was fought in Aboukir Bay. Nelson had the mainmast of the defeated French flagship L'Orient made into his coffin which he carried with him everywhere. It was ready and waiting on HMS Victory when he was killed at Trafalgar.

JumpingJack 26104. Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:47 pm

Cleverina (and eggshaped and indeed everyone...)

Respectful suggestion.

I think the rules of this thread should be NO CHAT. If you want to question a fact or comment on it you should private message the author and discuss it off thread and it can be corrected (or not) accordingly.

This thread should be pure unadulterated QI factoid, imho.

This post will self-destruct in due course, assuming everyone agress.

Flash 26105. Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:05 pm

Nelson's famous signal "England expects every man to do his duty" was originally given to the signaller as "Lord Nelson confides that every man will do his duty", and changed only when the signaller pointed out that "England" and "expects" were in the code book, so could be sent in shorthand, whereas "Lord Nelson" and "confides" would have to be spelled out letter-by-letter.

Gaazy 26106. Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:27 pm

"CODE BOOK" is a phrase that looks the same when viewed upside-down, in a mirror.

JumpingJack 26107. Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:28 pm

The signal department on Royal Naval ships was once quite extensive and was divided into Watchkeepers and Daymen. In the case of a first World War battleship which was also a Flagship, the Watchkeeping department alone consisted of 18 men – from the Chief Yeoman of Signals at the top down to Ordinary Signalmen at the bottom.

The lowest grade of signalmen were known as 'the second hands of watches'.

Gaazy 26108. Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:35 pm

JumpingJack wrote:
The lowest grade of signalmen were known as 'the second hands of watches'.

Watch hands are called fingers in Welsh.

JumpingJack 26111. Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:07 pm

The English word 'finger' is thought ultimately to derive from Indo-European 'penqros' from 'penqe' meaning 'five'.

Gaazy 26112. Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:24 pm

Fives is a ball game that reached its height of popularity during the eighteenth century. It's related to the ancestor of all such games, the Jeu de Paume (French 12th century), which also fathered handball, pelota, racquets, badminton, squash and racquetball.

Why "fives"? The derivation is unknown, but is probably simply a reference to the five fingers, worn in a glove to bash the ball against a wall.

In the 1850s the game of fives began to be taken up in a number of public schools - Rugby, Eton and Winchester in particular.

Flash 26113. Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:33 pm

Fish fingers were invented by accident:

In Britain in the 1950's, most of the herring catch was pickled and exported to other North European countries. In an attempt to make herring more appealing on the home market, companies tried to present it in a new way, creating herring fishsticks called “herring savouries” and were tested on the market against a bland control product of cod sticks, sold as “fish fingers.” Shoppers in Southampton and South Wales, where the test was conducted, confounded expectations by showing an overwhelming preference for the cod. Cod fishsticks were introduced in Britain in September 1955 and became immensely popular after television advertising began in 1958.

s: Wikipedia

Last edited by Flash on Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

Flash 26114. Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:34 pm

Damn - I was trying to return Jack's previous shot; is that a fault?

Gaazy 26122. Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:56 pm

In 1997, an actor called Thomas Pescod (note, Pescod) was assigned to persuade kids to eat even more fish fingers - by taking the part of Captain Birdseye in TV commercials.

He was chosen because he was younger than the previous actor, white-bearded John Hewer, who'd been the Cap'n for over 30 years, starring in more than 50 ads, but his character went down like a lead codball, and he was replaced by a Hewer-clone, Martyn Reid.

Jenny 26125. Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:48 pm

Clarence Birdseye, the founder of modern fast-freezing and Birdseye foods, was not actually a Captain.

He learned the art of preserving food by quick-freezing from watching the Eskimos in Labrador where he travelled buying furs from trappers between 1911 and 1916. In 1923 he started his empire with an investment of $7 for an electric fan, buckets of brine, and cakes of ice.


Amie 26135. Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:51 pm

The word Eskimo is not an Eskimo word. It means "eaters of raw meat" and was used by the Algonquin Indians of eastern Canada. The name became commonly used by European explorers and now is generally used, even by Eskimo. Their own term for themselves is Inuit (the Yupik variant is Yuit), which means the "real people.''

Gaazy 26149. Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:43 pm

One of the few Western recipes using raw meat is Steak Tartare. It's usually attributed to Genghis Khan, whose men tenderized the meat by placing it under their saddles.

This, apparently, is twaddle, though widely-believed twaddle; the recipe probably originated in Germany at a much later date.

Tartare sauce is a kind of back-formation from steak tartare - in effect it is steak tartare without the, er, steak.

Last edited by Gaazy on Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

Reader 26153. Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:50 pm

Cream of tartar, on the other hand, has little to do with either cream or steak, but is a byproduct of wine making. It is known as cream because it is the purified white powder of the original tartarous deposits.

Flash 26154. Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:06 pm

Can I make a line call on a shot that took place earlier in the rally? Like all line calls, it may be dubious, but, Amie, I offer you this from Wikipedia (which isn't authoritative, of course, but this entry does offer sources):
The word Eskimo in English is borrowed from the French word Esquimaux, but the French word is of uncertain origin. The name is widely but incorrectly believed to derive from a Cree word sometimes translated as "eaters of raw meat". A few have gone so far as to claim that the Cree, on first encountering the Eskimos, were disgusted by the Eskimo practice of eating meat raw and so called them, essentially, "sickening humans". Because this folk etymology is so tenacious, many Inuit consider the name "Eskimo" to be derogatory. (Minnie Aodla Freeman – "Life Among the Qallunaat" ISBN 0-88830-164-2).

However, this etymology is generally held to be false by philologists. ...

The term "Eskimo" is still used in Alaska to refer to the state's Arctic peoples in general, whether or not they are Eskimos culturally or linguistically. For example, while some Yupik people prefer to be called "Yup'ik", they do not generally object to being called "Eskimo", but they do not consider themselves "Inuit".

Among many non-Eskimos, the word "Eskimo" is falling out of use to refer to the Eskimo peoples in favor of the term "Inuit", which leads to much confusion as to the relationship between the Inuit and the Yup'ik. Much of the impetus behind this change probably traces to the books of Farley Mowat, particularly People of the Deer and The Desperate People. However, in Canada at least, a belief in the pejorative etymology of the word and the rejection of the term by the Inuit peoples were a major factor.

So: can we refute that? If so, Amie, start a new thread and we can let these good people get on with their game.

Sorry, everyone. Play a let.

JumpingJack 26163. Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:04 am

Cream of tartar can be effectively used to clean pans made of aluminium.

Other things (apart from pans) that are made of aluminium include topaz, rubies and sapphires.

s: NBB

Several gemstones are made of the clear, crystal form of aluminium oxide called 'corundum'. Trace elements of other metals add the colour: cobalt creates blue sapphires; chromium makes red rubies. Topaz is aluminium silicate coloured yellow by traces of iron.

laidbacklazyman 26179. Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:33 am

Aah Rubies.
A famous Ruby - Murray is the only person to have had 5 singles in the "popular music chart" as it was known then at the same time,
w/e March 18th 1955
Softly Softly
Happy Days and Lonely Nights
Let Me Go Lover
and If Anyone Finds, This I love You

JumpingJack 26180. Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:17 am

On the first day of the following week, March 19th, 1955, Bruce Willis was born at an American military base in Germany to an American father and a German mother. His full name is Walter Bruce Willis. He married Demetria Guynes (better known as Demi Moore) in 1987 and they had three children. Rumer Glenn, Scout LaRue* and Tallulah Belle.

s: wik

*Scout is a female

Flash 26183. Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:48 am

In The Lone Ranger, Tonto's horse was called Scout.

Gaazy 26187. Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:55 am

Rather surprisingly, there seems to be no consensus regarding the meaning of "kemosabe", Tonto's greeting to the Lone Ranger - it has been translated as anything from "soggy shrub" to "he who peeks".

Flash 26189. Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:00 am

It's often rendered as "Trusty Scout", so maybe he was actually talking to the horse.

Back to the game!

Jenny 26325. Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:03 am

Bruce Willis's daughter Scout is named after the heroine of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Octavia 26471. Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:41 pm

Gaazy wrote:
Tartare sauce is a kind of back-formation from steak tartare - in effect it is steak tartare without the, er, steak.

Tartare sauce derives etymologically from the Mongolian Tatars (tatar meaning 'rough') and involves gherkins, capers and mayonnaise. This makes it a very near relative of Caesar dressing, which has nothing to do with Romans, but was invented by Caesar Cardini in the 1920s, and includes all of the above but also anchovies.

Jenny 26479. Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:54 pm

Sardines and anchovies are the two fish highest in omega-3 fatty acids.

Gray 26486. Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:33 pm

The Omega Point is hypothesised to exist at the point in time when the universe is contracting so fast, and the computational ability of humans has increased so much, that we can do anything and live for an apparently infinite amount of time because we can do things infinitely quickly, even though we would be in a finite universe which would be transforming from the biosphere to the 'noosphere'.

JumpingJack 26543. Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:55 am

The concept of the 'noosphere' was first proposed by Vladimir Ivanovitch Verdansky (1862-1945), a mineralogist and crystallographer. While at St Petersburg University, one of his most influential professors had been Dmitri Mendeleev, devisor of the original Periodic Table.

Gaazy 26551. Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:27 am

St Petersburg is known as the Venice of the North.
So is Edinburgh.
So is Giethoom.
So is Ottawa.
So is Bydoszcz.
So is Stockholm.
So is Amsterdam.
So is Hamburg.
So is Bruges.
So is Pender Harbour.
So is Manchester.
So is Haapsalu.

eggshaped 26560. Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:32 pm

Edinburgh seems also to be known as “the Athens of the North”

So is Valenciennes

So is Liege

So is…. Errr…… Huddersfield (according to The Guardian in 2002)

Flash 26561. Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:34 pm

Edinburgh is also the Reykjavik of the south, according to Tom Stoppard.

eggshaped 26562. Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:49 pm

The Vikings may not have been the first Icelandic settlers:

According to the “book of the Iclanders” written by Ari Thorgilsson in the 12th Century. There were Irish monks living on Iceland at the time of the first Viking Settlement.

Also, a book “Measure/description of the sphere of the earth” written in about 825AD by an Irish monk called Dicuil suggests that priests lived there in the summer months.

More discussion on this theory:

Gaazy 26563. Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:06 pm

St. Fiacre was an Irish monk who lived in the 600s, and is known as the patron saint of gardeners.

However he specialised in proctology, and at one time haemorrhoids (piles) were known as “figs of St. Fiacre”.

During the seventeenth century, Cardinal Richelieu, who was afflicted with haemorrhoids, begged that the Saint’s bones be made available to rid him of this problem because they were said to possess healing powers.

eggshaped 26564. Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:15 pm

An old insult from (I think) Roman times, was known as "giving someone the fig".

You would hold your hand out with your palm facing your face and stick your thumb between the second and third fingers. (I always get names of fingers mixed up).

This was supposed to signify a fig - and a certain part of the female anatomy.

<I'm opening myself up to a fault here, as this comes under "I'm sure I read that somewhere">

Gaazy 26565. Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:19 pm

The moutza is a (present-day) Greek insult, and involves thrusting your palm towards someone with the fingers separated.

So don't order five drinks via sign-language in Greece.

JumpingJack 26648. Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:53 am

In Greece in the 1970s, it was said that if you wanted to find out what any unknown man was called you shouted "Spiros!" If he didn't look round, he would be called Costas.

Footnote to eggshaped's post about figs. I believe this is the origin of the word 'sycophant' though I've forgotten exactly how...

Flash 26654. Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:10 am

Etymonline agrees, Jack:Quote:
1537 (in L. form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer," from L. sycophanta, from Gk. sykophantes, originally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig" + phanein "to show." "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers ... The sense of "mean, servile flatterer" is first recorded in Eng. 1575.

Gray 26665. Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:33 am

The Fig Tree diagram shows how a chotic system starts to resonate with different periods when it's forced. In 1975, Mitchell Feigenbaum discovered that all chaotic systems that exhibit this behaviour start to double their resonant period with exactly the same ratio, and the Feigenbaum Number (just over 4.6) is named after him.

Feigenbaum, rather happily, means 'fig tree'.

Jessica 26675. Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:38 pm

Things havent changed in Italy since Roman times then - the word for fig is still a (very vulgar) word for a female part of the anatomy.

A strange grammatical quirk though - in Italian almost all fruits are femmine and their tree is the same word but masculine. La mela, apple, il melo, apple tree. Fig is the only exception where, in the fruit sense, both are masculine. Thus allowing the more vulgar version to be femmine.

john.birch 26685. Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:41 pm

We may be used to European languages such as Italian may divide inanimate objects into two genders (or three in a few cases like German).

But pity anyone wishing to learn some non-European tongues where a mere two or three "genders" or "classes" is insufficient. Swahili has seven, apparently, while the Bantu languages and languages of West Africa, such as Fula, have up to twenty.

As my grammar was never any good at the best of times, its just one reason for my being thankful that I speak English.

JumpingJack 26692. Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:12 pm

Fula is spoken by 9.6% of the population of Cameroon where the commonest local languages are Fang and Mum.

john.birch 26722. Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:37 pm

Independent school fees in England rose by 9.6 % last year, apparently.

Independent Schools don't seem to like to be called Public Schools any more - they dropped the use of the term in the early 1990s.

Which is perhaps understandable as it was an inaccurate term. For those of a pedantic persuasion it was always fun to let slip the fact that not only were all fee paying schools NOT "Public Schools" (in fact most, as I recall, most were not) - and also that not all "Public Schools" charged fees!

The term "Public School", you see, had nothing to do with fee charging or status or whatever but simply applied to any insititution that was a member of the Headmasters Conference... and somehow a couple of rather ancient state schools had managed to sneek in the door.

Natalie 26724. Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:39 pm

So why are they called "private" too then?

john.birch 26737. Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:07 pm

If I recall aright, Natalie, they aren't. Or shouldn't be.

I am reasonably sure that independent schools have never, officially, used the term "private school" to refer to themselves, and its is not a term that has really any official definition. It tends to be mainly (perhap exclusively) used by opponents of the indepdendent school sector as it emphasises the separateness and otherworldliness of the institutions concerned.

A "private education" generally means an education in your own home, with a private tutor. By extension a "private school" would - technically - be a school where entry was restricted to certain people (maybe on grounds of religion or family ties, or whatever).

A public school, on the other hand, will be open to all... so long as the familiy can pay and the child can get through any entrance exam (if there was one). Which may sound odd, but the imposition of fees was not an issue when all secondary schools charged fees, as at the time this term started to gain widespeard use, they did.

Flash 26746. Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:00 am

PG Wodehouse characters always use the term "private school" to mean what I would call a "prep school" - a private sector school for 7-12 year-olds. Don't know if that's just him, though.

Just realised thelast three posts shouldn't have been in this thread, because they don't contribute to the game. Play a let again.

Jenny 26757. Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:45 am

The Headmasters' Conference is now actually called The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). It was founded in 1869 and represents the headteachers of 240 leading independent schools in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. HMC has a further 60 or so international members, up to 30 additional members (Heads of maintained schools in the UK), and 40 Honorary Associate Members (retired members)

The current Chairman is Priscilla Chadwick of Berkhamsted Collegiate School, who used to be the headteacher of Bishop Ramsay C of E comprehensive school in Ruislip, where my first two children went until they'd done their GCSEs. I believe she is from a family of eminent church historians, but couldn't swear to it.

eggshaped 26784. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:27 pm

Graham Green is a former pupil of Berkhamsted Collegiate School. According to internet sources, he met his wife-to-be after she wrote to him suggesting that he had made a mistake in one of his works.

He had written about 'worshipping' the Virgin Mary, and Vivienne felt he should have used the word 'venerated'.

(while I didn’t really want to take this as fact without a better source, I have no idea where else to go from Jenny’s last post)

JumpingJack 26785. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:29 pm

Priscilla Chadwick studied theology at Girton College, Cambridge. The present incumbent of the Margaret Smith Comparative Theology Fellowship at Girton is Ziba Mir-Hosseini.

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

JumpingJack 26786. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:30 pm

Oops. Sorry eggshaped.

That one came over the fence from the court next door...

eggshaped 26787. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:36 pm

He he, no probs:

While imprisoned in Germany during WW1, James Chadwick continued his experiments on radioactivity by using toothpaste containing Thorium.

Flash 26789. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:43 pm

The Hellenophile archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann met his wife-to-be like this:
Before setting out on his dig (in search of Troy), Schliemann decided to divorce his current wife and marry another. He wrote to a friend in Greece asking him to locate him a Greek wife. Schliemann wrote that she needed to be young, an orphan, and most importantly a fan of Homer and the Iliad. The friend found seventeen-year-old Sophia Engastromenos. When they met, Schliemann quizzed her on her Homer and she passed. The two were married in Athens.

Flash 26790. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:44 pm

Damn, it's happened again. We're playing two balls at once.

Nobbler 26791. Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:44 pm

There is probably more untapped energy available for use from thorium in the minerals of the earth's crust than from combined uranium and fossil fuel sources. Much of the internal heat the earth has been attributed to thorium and uranium.

Okapi 26800. Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:06 pm

eggshaped wrote:
Graham Green is a former pupil of Berkhamsted Collegiate School. According to internet sources, he met his wife-to-be after she wrote to him suggesting that he had made a mistake in one of his works.

That's "Greene" eggshaped. Does this mean we're betrothed?

Jenny 26832. Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:40 am

Eggshaped - tchah! I thought that was an easy shot, with headmasters/mistresses, 1869, Berkhamsted and Chadwick to choose from.

eggshaped 26847. Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:30 pm

That's "Greene" eggshaped. Does this mean we're betrothed

He he, now it all makes sense. When Ms Eggshaped is constantly picking on everything that I do wrong, she is secretly angling for a wedding.

Geobacter sulfurreducens is a bacteria which can detect and "eat" uranium, producing minute amounts of electricity. It is able to turn the soluble form of uranium contaminating groundwater around nuclear weapons production sites into an easily-collected precipitate.

eggshaped 26848. Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:34 pm

Barry Marshall, who was a joint winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was one of the first to realise that stomach ulcers are caused not by stress or spicy foods, but by a bacteria: Helicobacter pylori. (possible GI question?)

Much to his annoyance the scientific world scoffed at his idea - so he scoffed some bacteria - drinking a Petri dish full of the aforementioned microbes. Sure enough, he soon began to develop ulcers, and before long, the world was convinced.

Jenny 26852. Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:12 pm

Was that before somebody realised that ulcers were a major cause of stomach cancer? Well I suppose somebody has to suffer for the advancement of science.

Flash 26854. Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:23 pm

Oi, ref! Eggshaped returned his own shot there!

Flash 26855. Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:26 pm

The names of Nobel Prize winners are engraved on the medals; in the case of the economics and peace medals this engraving is around the edge, so it isn't immediately visible. In 1975 this led to a mix-up in which the joint Economics winners, the Russian Leonid Kantorovich and the American Tjalling Koopmans, got their medals mixed up. As this happened during the Cold War, it took four years of diplomatic efforts to have the medals exchanged to their rightful owners.

laidbacklazyman 26998. Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:53 pm

The Nobel prize for Physics seems to be flavour of the month around the QI talk board recently so here's two QI connections.
Marie Curie is discussed here post 26898 thanks to Flashes fascination with Jessica Simpson, She won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. It was shared between Marie & Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquere who contributed quite heavily to the discovery of Spontaneous radioactivity.
In 1984, Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer won for the discovery of feild particles, Simon Van der Meer was the cousin of Tjalling Koopmans who is mentioned above.

eggshaped 27345. Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:53 pm

When Alfred Nobel's brother Ludwig died, a French newspaper mistakenly published an obituary of Alfred himself, describing him as an "angel of death" after his discovery of dynamite.

It is said that having read this with horror, Nobel decided to change his will to include the now famous prizes which bear his name and are meant to honour people who have done work to help mankind.

Nobel had said of his destructive invention:

"Perhaps my factories will put an end to war even sooner than your Congresses; on the day when two army corps will be able to annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will recoil with horror and disband their troops."

Flash 27347. Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:46 pm

Azrael is the angel of death in Islamic lore, but other candidates for the title include Mairya (Zoroastrianism), Mot (Babylon), Suriel (Falasha) and Dr Josef Mengele (Nazi).

In Rabbinical lore there are 14 angels of death: Yetzerhara, Adriel, Yehudiam, Abaddon, Sammael, Azrael, Metatron, Gabriel, Mashhit, Hemah, Malach ha-Mavet, Kafziel, Kesef, and Leviathan.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

The Destruction of Sennacherib (Byron)

Gaazy 27350. Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:50 pm

Mot is the default Welsh name for a pet dog, and corresponds to something like Fido in English.

Flash 27355. Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:59 pm

The MK-24 homing torpedo was codenamed Fido.
The torpedo would be dropped (from the air) near a submerged submarine, go to a pre-determined depth and circle while looking for radiated noise from the target. Its mission was to home on the source of the radiated noise, primarily the propellers, and disable the submarine and cause it to surface where the aircraft and surface ships could then attack the surfaced submarine. . FIDO was designed as a mission kill torpedo, not a direct kill.

Interestingly, it was a victim of its own success:
Originally, 10,000 units were ordered by the Navy, but because of the high degree of success against U-Boats in the Atlantic and Pacific, the order was cut back to 4,000 units.

Nobbler 27365. Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:25 pm

During World War 2, in addition to Kamikaze suicide aircraft, the Japanese also used Human Torpedoes

There were few operation successes but losses included the USS Mississinewa and the USS Underhill

Flash 27372. Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:39 pm

The River Mississinewa flows through Grant County, Indiana, the home of James Dean and of the parents of ....


post 26082

I've won! I've won!

Nobbler 27445. Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:50 pm

Well done that man.

Ciggywink 27451. Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:29 pm

Hey - just want to run onto the court between games... Isn't Eggshaped's thing about Alfred Nobel massively QI, and worth starting a string for? Famous people who hide their interestingness/infamousness/shame (delete as appropriate) under a bushel or some such.

eggshaped wrote:
When Alfred Nobel's brother Ludwig died, a French newspaper mistakenly published an obituary of Alfred himself, describing him as an "angel of death" after his discovery of dynamite.

It is said that having read this with horror, Nobel decided to change his will to include the now famous prizes which bear his name and are meant to honour people who have done work to help mankind.

My brain is too deed right now to be able to think of anyone except that poor chap Mr Midgley who's famous for inventing CFCs, but died of the lead that he'd found would make petrol work better.

?Que piensan?

JumpingJack 27476. Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:29 am

By heck, well done Flashy!

Gaazy 27499. Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:52 am

Mornington Crescent.......

oh bugger.

eggshaped 27515. Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:06 pm

I wonder if any national publication would be interested in a qing-qong column? You know, like those chess or bridge columns that the broadsheets use to pad their crossword pages. If we got a good few matches going one of the elves could pick their favourite each week and print it with a tongue-in-cheek commentary on it.

"…Laidbacklazyman could so easily have taken the safe option there and gone for another US political scandal, but he quite brilliantly played the nudity card, only for Gray to return with an unbelievable fact about Peter Stringfellow’s vicar.

At this stage, despite his early error regarding the parentage of Atilla the Hun, Gray seemed to be gaining an upper hand, but that was before the following interchange which began with a world-class link. No-one was quite expecting lblm to go from Stringfellow to String Theory…"

I suppose it must be your serve Mr Flash.

QI Moderator
626188.  Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:05 pm Reply with quote

General QQ Round 23

joefoxon1 504652. Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:36 pm

Minimum Posts : 30

I will start with:

Hull City AFC
Hull City are an English football club based in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire. They play in the Premier League, with the 2008–09 season being the first time in their history participating in the top tier of English football. The club play their home games at the KC Stadium in Hull. They previously played at Boothferry Park, but moved to their current home in 2002, with Boothferry Park set for demolition.


misterchris 504676. Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:14 pm

Beenie Man

Anthony Moses Davis (born August 22, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica), better known by his stage name Beenie Man, is a popular reggae entertainer and a well established dancehall artist. He is the younger brother of reggae artist Kirk "Little Kirk" Davis.

The lyrics to some of his songs have been criticized for being openly anti-gay, with lyrics such as "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays". MTV had plans to include Beenie Man in their roster of performers at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards but after protests MTV decided to exclude Beenie Man. As part of an agreement to end the Stop Murder Music campaign, Beenie Man and other artists signed the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007. It should be noted that Beenie Man is not alone amongst dancehall artists in using lyrics of this nature in songs. He has however maintained that the lyrics have been misconstrued.

joefoxon1 504679. Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:19 pm

Alan Davies

Alan Davies is a Welsh comedian, writer, and actor, best known for starring in mystery series Jonathan Creek, as well as his appearances as panellist on QI. Davies was born in Loughton, England in 1966. His childhood years were spent in Chingford and Loughton. Alan's mother died when he was six; he was subsequently raised along with an older brother and younger sister by his father, an accountant.


Last edited by joefoxon1 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:50 am; edited 1 time in total

misterchris 504702. Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:08 pm

Five Civilized Tribes

The Five Civilized Tribes is the term applied to five Native American nations, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, considered civilized by white settlers during that time period because they adopted many of the colonists' customs and had generally good relations with their neighbors. The process of cultural transformation was proposed by George Washington and Henry Knox; the Cherokee and Choctaw were successful at integrating European-American culture. The Five Civilized Tribes lived in the Southeastern United States before their relocation to other parts of the country, especially the future state of Oklahoma.

The tribes were relocated from their homes east of the Mississippi River during the series of removals, authorized by federal legislation, over several decades and moved to what was then called Indian Territory and is now the eastern portion of the state of Oklahoma. The most infamous removal was the Trail of Tears of 1838, in which President Martin Van Buren enforced the highly contentious Treaty of New Echota with the Cherokee Nation to exchange their property for land out west.

The Five Tribes were divided during the American Civil War about which side to support. The Choctaw and Chickasaw fought predominantly on the Confederate side, while the Creek, Seminole, and especially the Cherokee were split between the Union and the Confederacy. The Cherokee fought a civil war within their own nation between those who supported the opposing sides.

zomgmouse 505158. Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:36 am

Strictly speaking I was supposed to have started this, having won the previous round, but I was taking my time so I'll let you off (just this once ;) )

The Turn of the Screw
The Turn of the Screw is a short novel or a novella written by American writer Henry James. Originally published in 1898, it is ostensibly a ghost story that has lent itself well to operatic and film adaptation. Due to its ambiguous content and narrative skill, The Turn of the Screw became a favorite text of New Criticism.
The account has lent itself to dozens of different interpretations, often mutually exclusive, including those of a Freudian nature. Many critics have tried to determine what exactly is the nature of evil within the story.
The dispute over the reality of the ghosts has had a real effect on some critics, most notably Edmund Wilson, who was one of the first proponents of the insane governess theory. However, he was eventually forced to recant this view under fire from opposing critics who pointed to the governess's point-by-point description of Quint. Then John Silver ("A Note on the Freudian Reading of 'The Turn of the Screw'" American Literature, 1957) pointed out hints in the story that the governess might have gained previous knowledge of Quint's appearance in non-supernatural ways. This induced Wilson to recant his recantation and return to his original view that the governess was unbalanced and that the ghosts existed only in her imagination.
William Veeder sees Miles's eventual death as induced by the governess, but he traces the governess's motive back through two larger strands: English imperialism (based on the oblique reference in the introduction to India, where the parents of Miles and Flora died) and the way patriarchy raises its daughters. Through a complex psychoanalytic reading, Veeder concludes that the governess takes out her repressed rage toward her father and toward the master of Bly on Miles.
Other critics, however, have defended the governess strongly. They point out that James' letters, his New York Edition preface, and his Notebooks contain no definite evidence that The Turn of the Screw was intended as anything other than a straightforward ghost story. James's Notebooks entry indicates that he was originally inspired by a tale he heard from Edward White Benson, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This unconventional source, like almost everything else about the story, has generated critical commentary.

joefoxon1 505168. Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:49 am

Precious Metals

A precious metal is a rare metallic chemical element of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high luster, are softer or more ductile, and have higher melting points than other metals.The best-known precious metals are gold and silver. While both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewellery and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.

Do I get bonus points for putting something QI related?

zomgmouse 505204. Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:21 pm

I don't think you do joe. Try and make your posts a tad longer too, is my advice.

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948) is an English composer of musical theatre, the elder son of William Lloyd Webber and also the brother of the renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber started composing at the age of six and published his first piece at the age of nine.
Lord Lloyd-Webber has achieved great popular success, with several musicals that have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained a number of honours, including a knighthood in 1992, followed by a peerage, seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, seven Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs, notably "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, "Memory" from Cats, and "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals. His company, the Really Useful Group, is one of the largest theatre operators in London.
In 2006, Sunday Times Rich List ranked him the 87th richest Briton with an estimated fortune of £700 million. His wealth increased to £750 million in 2007, but in the Sunday Times Rich List 2008 he slipped to 101st place.[2] He also owns much of Watership Down, the down made famous by Richard Adams' novel. Politically, he has supported the UK's Conservative Party, allowing his song Take That Look Off Your Face to be used on a party promotional film seen by an estimated 1 million people in 80 cinemas before the 2005 UK General Election to accompany pictures of the country's Prime Minister Tony Blair allegedly "smirking", the party said. He owns the London Palladium.

grimwig 505227. Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:45 pm

Thomas Franklyn Manville, Jr., universally known as Tommy Manville (April 9, 1894 – October 9, 1967), was a Manhattan socialite and heir to the Johns-Manville asbestos fortune. He was a minor celebrity in the mid 20th Century, by virtue of his 13 marriages to 11 women. This feat won him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, and made him the subject of japes and smirking winks from comedians and scorn from bluestockings. One of these jokes originated from the McWhirter Brothers themselves, who occasionally inserted editorial comments in their Guinness books; in this case, "Manville made his fortune in asbestos, which he unfortunately could not take with him."

He was the subject of a biography, The Wives and Lives of Tommy Manville by his ninth wife, Anita Manville, the inspiration of a camp musical, Lucky Wonderful: 13 Musicals About Tommy Manville by Jackie Curtis, and probably the model for Gary Cooper’s character in the 1938 motion picture Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife. He is mentioned in Irving Berlin’s song What Chance Have I With Love, and in many other passing pop culture references and metaphors.

Manville was considered something of a clown (an image he cultivated with his public persona – part bon vivant, part hapless tool of women) but was also sneakily admired for his number of conquests (and, of course, his extravagant bank account).

Manville's unusual lifestyle was probably at least partly due to an oversight in his father's will: he had been left the family money in a trust, from which he was only entitled to the interest -- except that he could draw a million dollars from the principal when he married. Since the will didn't stipulate the bonus for only a first marriage, Manville had a clear motive to engage in serial monogamy.

zomgmouse 505238. Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:54 pm

Slava Polunin
Vyacheslav Ivanovich (Slava) Polunin (born June 12, 1950) is a Russian clown and creator of the "Asisyai-revue", "Snowshow" and "Diabolo" shows.
Polunin was born in the town of Novosil, Oryol Oblast, Russia into the family of a shop assistant. He was successful in his school theatre, imitating Charlie Chaplin, but was refused entry to the Leningrad Theater Institute due to poor pronunciation. After a few years' study at an engineering school, he graduated from the Leningrad Institute for Soviet Culture, where he later taught.
In 1968, he started a semi-professional pantomime theater named Litsedeyi (Russian for "mummers" or literally "people who make faces").
In 1981, his first very successful television performance took place on the New Year's Eve program Novogodnij Ogonyok. It was a part of his now famous "Asisyai-revue".
In 1982, in Leningrad he organized a "mime" parade in which more than 800 mime artists from the Soviet Union took part. It was an unheard of event featuring semi-underground artists at a time of strict Communist control of all artistic events.
In 1985, during the Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students he organized a master class of pantomime attended by many Western mimes.
In 1987, Polunin organized the USSR Festival of Street Theatres; more than 200 participants, including critics and children, lived on an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Finland and made short excursions by boat to the nearby city of Leningrad.
By 1988, Polunin's theater Licedei had created five highly successful shows: "Dreamers", "Eccentrics on the attic", "From the life of insects", "Asisyai-revue" and "Catastrophe". The members decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the theater with its funeral. The events included funeral speeches over multiple coffins labeled with the names of the participants, followed by a funeral procession with the coffins through the streets of Leningrad. Then the coffins were set aflame and floated down the Neva river. Despite the theatrical style of the performance, it was indeed the end of the theater. The participants believed Konstantin Stanislavski, who stated that any theater dies after it has existed for 20 years.
In 1989, Polunin organized The Caravan of Peace, in which mimes from different parts of the world were on the road for half a year giving street performances in many European cities. Later, he started the Academy of Fools, the center devoted to the "resurrection of the carnival culture in Russia". The project was started with Polunin's own money, but when the money was spent, the project was frozen. In 1994, Polunin declared that he would make a few commercially successful shows in the West and then return to continue the work of the Academy with the money earned. Among the shows he organized were the highly successful "Snowshow" and "Diabolo" devoted to "comical meditation on life, death, and the beauty of the universe".

joefoxon1 505248. Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:02 pm

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It is an island country, spanning Great Britain, the northeast part of Ireland, and many small islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with a land border, sharing it with the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The largest island, Great Britain, is linked to France by the Channel Tunnel. The UK is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are Crown Dependencies and not part of the UK, but form a federacy with it. The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 245,000 square kilometres (94,600 sq mi) comprising of the island of Great Britain, the northeastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland) and smaller islands. On 1 May 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created by the political union of the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland. This event was the result of the Treaty of Union that was agreed on 22 July 1706, and then ratified by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland each passing an Act of Union in 1707. Almost a century later, the Kingdom of Ireland, already under English control by 1691, joined the Kingdom of Great Britain with the passing of the Act of Union 1800. Although England and Scotland had been separate states prior to 1707, they had been in personal union since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when James VI King of Scots had inherited the throne of the Kingdoms of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London.

Last edited by joefoxon1 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

zomgmouse 505251. Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:03 pm

I'm afraid I must question the tenacity of that link. They really should be whole-word links joe.

joefoxon1 505262. Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:11 pm

OK, I've changed the link.

zomgmouse 505277. Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:22 pm

OK that's better.
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones.
Aside from his literary achievements, he has a significant place in the history of law-enforcement, having founded (with his half-brother John) what some have called London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners, using his authority as a magistrate.
Born into an aristocratic family at Sharpham near Glastonbury in Somerset in 1707, Fielding was educated at Eton College, where he established a lifelong friendship with William Pitt the Elder. His younger sister, Sarah, also became a successful writer. After a romantic episode with a young woman that ended in his getting into trouble with the law, he went to London where his literary career began. In 1728, he traveled to Leiden to study classics and law at the University. However, due to lack of money he was obliged to return to London and he began writing for the theatre, some of his work being savagely critical of the contemporary government under Sir Robert Walpole.
His lack of money sense meant that he and his family often endured periods of poverty, but he was also helped by Ralph Allen, a wealthy benefactor who later formed the basis of Squire Allworthy in Tom Jones. After Fielding's death, Allen provided for the education and support of his children.
Fielding never stopped writing political satire and satires of current arts and letters. His Tragedy of Tragedies of Tom Thumb (for which Hogarth designed the frontispiece) was, for example, quite successful as a printed play. He also contributed a number of works to journals of the day. He wrote for Tory periodicals, usually under the name of "Captain Hercules Vinegar".
As Justice of the Peace he issued a warrant for the arrest of Colley Cibber for "murder of the English language".
However, Fielding's ardent commitment to the cause of justice as a great humanitarian in the 1750s, coincided with a rapid deterioration in his health to such an extent that he went abroad to Portugal in 1754 in search of a cure. Gout, asthma and other afflictions meant that he had to use crutches.
He died in Lisbon two months later and his tomb at the English Church may be visited. Despite being now blind, John Fielding succeeded his older brother as Chief Magistrate and became known as the 'Blind Beak' of Bow Street for his ability to recognise criminals by their voice alone.

joefoxon1 505316. Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:51 pm


The hands are the two intricate, prehensile, multi-fingered body parts normally located at the end of each arm of a human or other primate. They are the chief organs for physically manipulating the environment, using anywhere from the roughest motor skills (wielding a club) to the finest (threading a needle), and since the fingertips contain some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the human body, they are also the richest source of tactile feedback so that sense of touch is intimately associated with human hands. Many mammals and other animals have grasping appendages similar in form to a hand such as paws, claws, and talons, but these are not scientifically considered to be hands. The scientific use of the term hand to distinguish the terminations of the front paws from the hind ones is an example of anthropomorphism. The only true hands appear in the mammalian order of primates. Hands must also have opposable thumbs. The four fingers on the hand are used for the outermost performance; these four digits can be folded over the palm which allows the grasping of objects. Each finger, starting with the one closest to the thumb, has a colloquial name to distinguish it from the others.


misterchris 505393. Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:44 pm

The Night Shift

The Night Shift is a team comprised mainly of criminals with superhuman or supernatural powers and devoted to selfish gain. The team is primarily active in the Los Angeles area and has several bases in the region, most notably in the so-called Tower of Shadows. It's current members include: Brothers Grimm, Dansen Macabre, Digger, Misfit, Needle, Tatterdemalion and Ticktock.

The team was first organized by the Shroud, who believed his crime-fighting vigilantism could be more effective if both the general public and the criminal underworld believed him to be a criminal himself. In pursuit of this goal, the Shroud organized the Night Shift as his allies. Except for Jack Russell, the Werewolf By Night, the other members of the Night Shift were all criminals, and only Russell knew that the Shroud was actually a crime fighter.

The Shroud led the Night Shift in combating other criminals and criminal organizations. The members of the Shift benefited by sharing in the wealth they stole from these criminals, that the latter themselves had accumulated through illegal means. Also, by keeping an eye on the other members of the Night Shift, the Shroud hoped to make certain that they did not victimize law-abiding individuals. One of the first such endeavors was against the criminal known as the Power Broker. In taking him down, the Night Shift aided the hero Captain America.

When Shroud was absent, the Night Shift battled the West Coast Avengers in an attempt to obtain the release of their captured member, Digger. Dansen Macabre, the deputy leader, could not understand why the Night Shift had never battled the Avengers before. (In reality, the Shroud had previously made a deal with the Avengers' leader, Hawkeye, not to interfere with his motives for leading the Night Shift.) However, the Avengers trounced the Night Shift, who escaped only with the help of the Shroud, straining his relationship with the Avengers.

Shortly afterward, in part because of the friction in the team over the way the Shroud handled the Avengers, the Night Shift mutinied against his leadership, forcing him out. Presumably, the Night Shift continued its criminal activities, this time under the leadership of Dansen Macabre and devoted to more general crime, not merely against other criminals and criminal organizations.

At one point, Satannish made a deal with actor Jason Roland, who had previously traded his humanity with another demon in exchange for fame in the movie business and, as a result, had gained a body that resembled his movie-monster costume and make-up. Satannish returned to Roland his original appearance as well as the powers to become the second Hangman. On behalf of Satannish, the Hangman sought out the Night Shift, and its members also received enhancements to their powers from Satannish. The Hangman then led the Night Shift against the Avengers' West Coast branch, resulting in a battle that would be filmed by numerous local reporters and worldwide cable stations.
Satannish hoped that the resulting battle would allow Satannish to manifest on Earth, and, by way of his televised appearance, he would be able to take the souls of all who viewed him. The Avengers' Scarlet Witch managed to contact Doctor Strange, who in return made the members of the Night Shift realize they had been tricked by Satannish and the Hangman. They betrayed Satannish, forcing him to flee to his native plane. Just before he disappeared completely, he managed to take the soul of Jason Roland, the Hangman, with him.[/u][/i]

zomgmouse 505668. Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:34 am

Camille Saint-Saëns
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (9 October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist, known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, Samson and Delilah, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, and his Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony).
Saint-Saëns was born in Paris. His father, a government clerk, died three months after his birth. His mother, Clémence, sought the assistance of her aunt, Charlotte Masson. Masson moved in and introduced Saint-Saëns to the piano. One of the most talented child prodigies of his time, he possessed perfect pitch at two years of age and began piano lessons with his great-aunt at that time. He almost immediately began composing. His first composition, a little piece for the piano dated 22 March 1839, is now kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. His precociousness was not limited to music, however. He had learned to read and write by age three and mastered Latin by seven.
His first public concert appearance occurred at age five, when he accompanied a Beethoven violin sonata. He went on to begin in-depth study of the full score of Don Giovanni. In 1842, Saint-Saëns began piano lessons with Camille-Marie Stamaty, a pupil of Friedrich Kalkbrenner, who had his students play the piano while resting their forearms on a bar situated in front of the keyboard, so that all the pianist's power came from the hand and fingers and not the arms. At ten years of age, Saint-Saëns gave his debut public recital at the Salle Pleyel, with a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat major (K. 450), and various pieces by Handel, Kalkbrenner, Hummel, and Bach. As an encore, Saint-Saëns offered to play any one of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas by memory. Word of this incredible concert spread across Europe, and as far as the United States with an article in a Boston newspaper.
He then studied organ and composition, the latter under Jacques Halévy at the Conservatoire de Paris. Saint-Saëns won many top prizes and gained a reputation that resulted in his introduction to Franz Liszt, who would become one of his closest friends. At the age of sixteen, Saint-Saëns wrote his first symphony; his second, published as Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major, was performed in 1853 to the astonishment of many critics and fellow-composers. Hector Berlioz, who also became a good friend, famously remarked, Il sait tout, mais il manque d'inexpérience ("He knows everything, but lacks inexperience").
Saint-Saëns died of pneumonia on 16 December 1921 at the Hôtel de l'Oasis in Algiers. His body was repatriated to Paris, honoured by state funeral at La Madeleine, and interred at Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

misterchris 506263. Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:09 pm


Fiat S.p.A. (an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turin in the Piedmont region. Founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat has also manufactured tanks and aircraft.

Fiat based cars are constructed all around the world—the largest concern outside Italy is in Brazil (best seller). It also has factories in Argentina and Poland. Fiat has a long history of licensing its products to other countries regardless of local political or cultural persuasion. Joint venture operations are found in France, Turkey, Egypt (with the state owned Nasr car company), South Africa, India, and China.

zomgmouse 506480. Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:03 am

Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is a American actor and filmmaker. Eastwood is best-known as an actor for his tough guy, anti-hero acting roles in action and western films, particularly in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. His performances as the laconic Man with No Name in Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy of spaghetti westerns and as Inspector Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films have seen him become an enduring icon of masculinity.
Eastwood has won five Academy Awards—twice each as Best Director and as producer of the Best Picture and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995. He has also been nominated twice for Best Actor, for his performances in Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. His recent films in particular, such as Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Gran Torino (2008) as well as earlier films such as Play Misty for Me (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Escape from Alcatraz (1979) and Unforgiven (1992), have all received a significant degree of critical acclaim.
Eastwood also has an interest in politics; he was elected Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, serving from 1986 to 1988.
Clint was born a very large baby at 11 pounds (5 kgs). Eastwood has English, Scottish, Dutch, and Irish ancestry. He was raised in a "middle class Protestant home" and moved often as his father worked at a variety of jobs along the West Coast.
Eastwood has been registered as a Republican since 1951 and supported Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign. He describes himself as a libertarian. He says his philosophy is "Everyone leaves everyone else alone".
Eastwood with President Ronald Reagan in the late 1980s
Eastwood made one successful foray into elected politics, becoming the Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 4,000), a wealthy small town and artist community on the Monterey Peninsula, for one term. During his tenure, he completed Heartbreak Ridge and Bird.
Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Eastwood (along with actor and director Danny DeVito, actor and director Bill Duke, producer Tom Werner and producer and director Lili Zanuck) to the California Film Commission in April 2004.[45] Eastwood supported John McCain in the 2008 Presidential Election.
Eastwood is also a musician, pianist and composer.

misterchris 506692. Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:34 pm

Stuart Price

Stuart David Price (born in Paris, 9 September 1977) is a British electronic musician, songwriter, and producer whose remixing and production skills are coveted by artists including Madonna, Missy Elliott, The Killers, Gwen Stefani, Seal and most recently Keane. His acts include British electronic pop/rock band Zoot Woman (with Adam and Jonny Blake), Les Rythmes Digitales, Paper Faces, Man With Guitar, Thin White Duke, and the parodic French moniker Jacques Lu Cont, though he actually grew up in Reading, England.

The use of the names Jacques Lu Cont and Les Rythmes Digitales was initially a reference to the then current vogue for French house in the United Kingdom; artists such as Daft Punk, Etienne de Crécy, Dimitri from Paris and Air were all experiencing popularity. Price even went as far as to conduct interviews with British journalists in French via an interpreter. In interviews from around this time, Price also claimed that he had grown up listening exclusively to classical music, until one day encountering the album Dare by the Human League. Certainly, Price was heavily influenced by music from the 1980s, and all his records and sideprojects bear a heavy debt to the 80s sounds of synthpop bands.

His song "Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)" was originally released in 1996, then again in 1999, achieving limited success (#60 on the UK Singles Chart). However, the song was later used on a Citroën C4 car advertisement and has since been re-released, reaching #9 on the UK charts in 2005.

Price went on to produce The Killers' third studio album, "Day & Age", released on November 24, 2008. Price was among the producers of Keane's album "Perfect Symmetry", which was released in October 2008.

zomgmouse 506719. Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:55 pm

Running with Scissors
Running with Scissors is the tenth album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on June 29, 1999.
The CD booklet contains the lyrics to all the songs on the album. However, due to the extended length of the closing song "Albuquerque", not all of the lyrics fit on the final panel of the booklet. Instead of continuing with the lyrics at the end of the booklet, there is an apology from Al stating that there was no way he could have fit the rest of the song's lyrics on it, and he "should have used a smaller font or a bigger piece of paper or something."
This is the first cover featuring Al's "new" look (longer hair, no moustache, and no glasses) after he had LASIK eye surgery to correct his vision.
Track listing

Track Title Length (Style) Parody of Description
1 "The Saga Begins" (Don McLean, Yankovic) 5:27 "American Pie" by Don McLean
2 "My Baby's in Love with Eddie Vedder" (Yankovic) 3:25 Style parody of Zydeco
3 "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi" (B. Holland, Yankovic) 3:02 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" by The Offspring.
4 "The Weird Al Show Theme" (Yankovic) 1:14
5 "Jerry Springer" (E. Robertson, Yankovic) 2:46 "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies
6 "Germs" (Yankovic) 4:38 Style parody of Nine Inch Nails.
7 "Polka Power!" 4:21 Polka Medley
8 "Your Horoscope for Today" (Yankovic) 3:59 Style-parody of third-wave ska.
9 "It's All About the Pentiums" (Deric Angelettie, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Sean Jacobs, Kimberly Jones, Lau, Christopher Wallace, Jason Phillips, David Styles) 3:34 "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)" by Puff Daddy.
10 "Truck Drivin' Song" (Yankovic) 2:27 Original
11 "Grapefruit Diet" (Steve Perry, Yankovic) 3:30 "Zoot Suit Riot" by Cherry Poppin' Daddies.
12 "Albuquerque" (Yankovic) 11:23 Style parody of The Rugburns

misterchris 506772. Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:37 pm


Pathogen (from Greek πάθος pathos "suffering, passion", and γἰγνομαι (γεν-) gignomai (gen-) "I give birth to"), infectious agents, or (more commonly) germs, are biological agents that causes disease or illness to their host. The term pathogen is derived from the Greek "that which produces suffering." There are several substrates and pathways whereby pathogens can invade a host; the principal pathways have different episodic time frames, but soil contamination has the longest or most persistent potential for harboring a pathogen.

The body contains many natural defenses against some of the common pathogens (such as Pneumocystis) in the form of the human immune system and by some "helpful" bacteria present in the human body's normal flora. However, if the immune system or "good" bacteria is damaged in any way (such as by chemotherapy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or antibiotics being taken to kill other pathogens), pathogenic bacteria that were being held at bay can proliferate and cause harm to the host. Such cases are called opportunistic infection

Some pathogens (such as the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which may have caused the Black Plague, the Variola virus, and the Malaria protozoa) have been responsible for massive numbers of casualties and have had numerous effects on afflicted groups. Of particular note in modern times is HIV, which is known to have infected several million humans globally, along with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Influenza virus. Today, while many medical advances have been made to safeguard against infection by pathogens, through the use of vaccination, antibiotics, and fungicide, pathogens continue to threaten human life. Social advances such as food safety, hygiene, and water treatment have reduced the threat from some pathogens.

Not all pathogens are negative. In entomology, pathogens are one of the "Three P's" (predators, pathogens, and parasitoids) that serve as natural or introduced biological controls to suppress arthropod pest populations.

zomgmouse 507378. Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:52 am

Curly Howard
Curly Howard (October 22, 1903 – January 18, 1952) was an American comedian and vaudevillian, best known as a member of the American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges, along with his older brothers Moe Howard and Shemp Howard, and actor Larry Fine. Curly was more or less the breakout character of the Stooges and is generally considered the most popular and recognizable of the three.[1] He is well known for his high-pitched voice, vocal expressions ("nyuk-nyuk-nyuk!" and "woo-woo-woo!"), as well as his inventive physical comedy, hilarious improvisations, and athleticism.[2]
An untrained actor and natural comedian, Curly borrowed (and significantly exaggerated) the "woo woo" from "nervous" and soft-spoken comedian Hugh Herbert, but was otherwise an original and inspired performer. Curly's unique version of "woo-woo-woo" was firmly established by the time of the Stooges' second film Punch Drunks in 1934.
Curly was born Jerome Lester Horwitz in Brownsville, a section of Brooklyn, New York. He was the fifth of the five Horwitz brothers and of Levite and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. Because he was the youngest, his brothers called him "Babe" to tease him. The nickname stuck with him all his life, although when Shemp married Gertrude Frank, who was also nicknamed "Babe," the brothers started calling him Curly to avoid confusion. His full formal Hebrew name was "Yehudah Lev son of Shelomo Natan the Levite."
When Curly was 12, he accidentally shot himself in the ankle while cleaning a rifle. Moe rushed him to the hospital and saved his life. He suffered a slight limp afterward, but was so frightened of surgery that he never got it corrected. While with the Stooges, he developed his famous exaggerated walk to mask the limp on screen.
On January 18, 1952, Jerome Howard died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage, at the age of 48, while at the Baldy View (NB: LOL) Sanitarium in San Gabriel, California. Curly was given a Jewish funeral and was laid to rest at Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

misterchris 508184. Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:29 pm

Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog),[1] published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.

The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide,[2] with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers, the jokes seem fresh and witty even today.[3]

The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J.) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who went on to become a senior manager in Barclays Bank) and Carl Hentschel (the founder of a London printing business, called Harris in the book), with whom he often took boating trips.[2] The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional,[2] but "as Jerome admits, developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog."[3] The trip is a typical boating holiday of the time in a Thames camping skiff.[4] This is just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, replaced by the 1880s craze for boating as a leisure activity.

Because of the overwhelming success of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome later published a sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, entitled Three Men on the Bummel.

A similar book was published seven years before Jerome's work, entitled Three in Norway (by two of them) by J. A. Lees and W. J. Clutterbuck. It tells of three men on an expedition into the wild Jotunheimen in Norway.

The trip was re-created in 2005 by comedians Griff Rhys Jones, Dara Ó Briain, and Rory McGrath, and a very nervous dog called Loli, for the BBC.

zomgmouse 508847. Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:42 am

"Fred" is a derisive term used by cyclists to describe other cyclists, usually male, that appear amateurish and oblivious to cycling culture.
The exact qualities that define one as a "Fred" vary widely among regions and cyclists, but recently, particularly in the US, a Fred is somebody with higher quality and more expensive gear than his or her talent would warrant. For example:
A person watches the highlights of a few Tour de France stages, goes to a bike store and buys a Trek carbon fiber Madone in Team Discovery colors, along with Team Discovery shorts and jersey, and then rides it on a cycling path at 15 mph (25 km/h).
Such a person would be a prototypical Fred, especially if the jersey is yellow, which is typically worn by the leader in a multi-stage race.
In the UK the earlier usage is more common—used by 'serious' roadies to refer to (often) bearded, sandal wearing, touring cyclists. The rare female Fred is a Doris.
This usage still survives in the US - David Bernstein, presenter of The FredCast says the term is "used by 'serious' roadies to disparage utility cyclists and touring riders, especially after these totally unfashionable 'freds' drop the 'serious' roadies on hills because the 'serious' guys were really posers." Mostly, though, a Fred dreams of being able to drop a real cyclist because their equipment is nicer.
In the US the term is also used to describe the many bicycle riders who enter fun "tours" or "rallies" but tell everyone that they were in a "race" with actual knowledge that what they were in was not a true race. Bicycle racing is governed in the United States by USA Cycling.
The roots of the term "Fred" are unclear, though it purportedly originated from a grumpy old touring rider named Fred. A southern California bicycle store printed and sold "No Freds" t-shirts in the early-to-mid 1980s to local racing cyclists. This t-shirt depicted a hairy-legged, bearded cyclist (with bug-splatted teeth) wearing sunglasses and a Bell "Biker" hard-shell helmet (with rear-view mirror attached). At the time, very few racing cyclists wore sunglasses due to their (then) lack of functionality, and virtually none wore hard-shell helmets until they became mandatory in 1986. Few racing cyclists wore helmets outside of racing events until advances in technology allowed lighter, better ventilated helmets to exist in the market.
There my be some relationship to the fact that amateurish surfers had often been referred to as "Barneys" by their more advanced surfing peers, and "Fred" may have been created to complement this fact. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, characters from the animated series "The Flintsones" often found themselves engaging (amateurishly) in numerous sports during the series run.

misterchris 509699. Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:10 pm

Hermann Goldschmidt

Hermann Mayer Salomon Goldschmidt (June 17, 1802–April 26, 1866) was a German astronomer and painter who spent much of his life in France.

He was born in Frankfurt, the son of a Jewish merchant. He went to Paris and studied art and painted a number of paintings before turning his attention to astronomy.

In April 1861 he announced the discovery of a ninth moon of Saturn between Titan and Hyperion, which he named "Chiron". However, he was mistaken: this moon did not exist. Today, "Chiron" is the name of an entirely different object, the unusual asteroid/comet 2060 Chiron.

He is credited with being the first to record and observe (in 1820) the shadow bands that appear in the minutes just before a total solar eclipse.

He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1861. Goldschmidt, a crater on the Moon is named after him, and so is the asteroid 1614 Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt converted to Christianty.

He discovered the following asteroids:

21 Lutetia - November 15, 1852
32 Pomona - October 26, 1854
36 Atalante - October 5, 1855
40 Harmonia - March 31, 1856
41 Daphne - May 22, 1856
44 Nysa - May 27, 1857
45 Eugenia - June 27, 1857
48 Doris - September 19, 1857
49 Pales - September 19, 1857
52 Europa -February 4, 1858
54 Alexandra - September 10, 1858
56 Melete - September 9, 1859
61 Danaë - September 9, 1860
70 Panopaea - May 5, 1861

zomgmouse 510374. Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:24 am

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini
Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th Century Rome.
Bernini was born in Naples to a Mannerist sculptor, Pietro Bernini, originally from Florence. At the age of seven he accompanied his father to Rome, where his father was involved in several high profile projects. There as a boy, his skill was soon noticed by the painter Annibale Carracci and by Pope Paul V, and Bernini gained the patronage exclusively under Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the pope's nephew. His first works were inspired by antique Hellenistic sculpture.
Under the patronage of the Cardinal Borghese, young Bernini rapidly rose to prominence as a sculptor. Among the early works for the cardinal were decorative pieces for the garden such as The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Zeus and a Faun, and several allegorical busts such as the Damned Soul and Blessed Soul. By the age of twenty-two years, he completed the bust of Pope Paul V. Scipione's collection in situ at the Borghese gallery chronicles his secular sculptures, with a series of masterpieces:
Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius (1619)
The Rape of Proserpina, (1621-22)
Apollo and Daphne (1622-25)
David (1623-24)
Bernini's architectural conceits include the piazza and colonnades of St Peter's. He planned several Roman palaces: Palazzo Barberini (from 1630 on which he worked with Borromini); Palazzo Ludovisi (now Palazzo Montecitorio); and Palazzo Chigi.
True to the decorative dynamism of Baroque, Roman fountains, part public works and part Papal monuments, were among his most gifted creations. Bernini's fountains are the Fountain of the Triton and the Barberini Fountain (Fontana delle api). The Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) in the Piazza Navona is a masterpiece of spectacle and political allegory.
Bernini also revolutionized marble busts, lending glamorous dynamism to once stony stillness of portraiture.
Bernini was portrayed on two different series of former Italian notes of 50,000 lire. The picture was based on one of the artist's self-portraits.

misterchris 510507. Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:28 pm

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth (Spanish: El laberinto del fauno, literally The Faun's Labyrinth) is a 2006 Spanish language fantasy film[2][3] written and directed by Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by the Mexican film company Esperanto Films.

Pan's Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May and June, 1944, after the Spanish Civil War, during the Franquist repression. Also present is the main character Ofelia's fantasy world which centers around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth. Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, viciously hunts the Spanish Maquis, guerrillas who fight against the Franco regime in the region, while Ofelia's pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, puppetry, and CGI effects to create its creatures.

Del Toro stated that he considers the story to be a parable, influenced by fairy tales, and that it addresses and continues themes related to his earlier film The Devil's Backbone[3], to which Pan's Labyrinth is a spiritual sequel, according to del Toro in his director's commentary on the DVD. The original Spanish title refers to the mythological fauns of Greek mythology, while the English title refers specifically to the faun-like Greek character Pan (as do the titles used in other languages, including German, Pans Labyrinth and French, Le Labyrinthe de Pan). However, del Toro has stated that the faun in the film is not Pan.[3]

The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. It was released in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2006. In the United States and Canada, the film was given a limited release on December 29, 2006, with a wide release on January 19, 2007.[4] Pan's Labyrinth has won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, the Ariel Award for Best Picture, and the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

zomgmouse 511002. Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:39 am

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris) is an 1831 French novel written by Victor Hugo. It is set in 1482 in Paris, in and around the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The book tells the story of a poor barefoot Gypsy girl (La Esmeralda) and a misshapen bell-ringer (Quasimodo) who was raised by the Archdeacon (Claude Frollo). The book was written as a statement to preserve the Notre Dame cathedral and not to 'modernise' it, as Hugo was thoroughly against this.
Hugo began to write Hunchback in 1829. The agreement with his original publisher, Gosselin, was that the book would be finished that same year. However, Hugo was constantly delayed due to the demands of other projects. By the summer of 1830, Gosselin demanded the book to be completed by February 1831. And so beginning in September 1830, Hugo worked non-stop on the project; he bought a new bottle of ink, a woolen cloak, and cloistered himself in his room refusing to be bothered or to leave his house (except for nightly visits to the cathedral). The book was finished six months later.
The enormous popularity of the book in France spurred the nascent historical preservation movement in that country and strongly encouraged Gothic revival architecture. Ultimately it led to major renovations at Notre-Dame in the 19th century led by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. Much of the cathedral's present appearance is a result of this renovation.

misterchris 511927. Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:35 pm

Minsky's Burlesque

Minsky's Burlesque refers to the brand of burlesque presented by the four Minsky brothers: Abe Minsky (1878-1960); Billy Minsky (1887-1932); Herbert Minsky (1892-?); and Morton Minsky (1902-1987). They started in 1912 and ended in 1937 in New York City. Although the shows were declared obscene and outlawed, they were rather tame by modern standards.

Minsky's featured comics Phil Silvers, Joey Faye, Rags Raglan and Abbott and Costello, as well as stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Others included, Red Buttons and Robert Alda, as well as strippers, Georgia Sothern, Ann Corio, Margie Hart, and Sherry Britton. These women, who began stripping in their teens, made between $700 and $2,000 a week.

With burlesque thriving in New York (there were now 14 burlesque theaters, including Minsky's rivals), competition was fierce. Each year, various license commissioners issued restrictions to keep burlesque from pushing the limits. But convictions were rare, so theater managers saw no need to tone down their shows.

In 1935, irate citizens' groups began calling for action against burlesque. Fiorello H. LaGuardia, had deemed them a "corrupting moral influence". The city's license commissioner, Paul Moss, tried to revoke Minsky's license but the State Court of Appeals ruled that he did not have grounds without a criminal conviction. Finally, in April, 1937, a stripper at Abe Minsky's New Gotham Theater in Harlem was spotted working without a G-string. The conviction allowed Moss to revoke Abe's license and refuse to renew all of the other burlesque licenses in New York.

I make this the 26th post

Celebaelin 512195. Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:05 am

It seems to me that we are in need of some additional, if rather informal, rules. Now obviously this needs general agreement before passing into canon but simply emboldening a word in your response which is also in the previous post doesn't seem to be enough to qualify as a legitimate 'shot' as far as I'm concerned.

Firstly I'd suggest that mundane words are excluded; nobody has as yet attempted to link with 'and', 'the' or the such like but we seem to be approaching that in the effort to post rather than necessarily to post interestingly and the latter is, after all, the point of the game really. What exactly constitutes a word too common to be used as a link is a matter of opinion but suppose we say in general that an effort should be made to link through an unusual word where possible and to avoid elements of regularly used sequences* (and even dates IMO, although specific dates dd/mm/yyyy obviously satisfy the interestingness criterion. Years are a bit of a cop out but it has been done before many times; that sort of link is likely to be in conflict with my second suggestion though - see below).

* Chemical elements are probably fair game but again I think an effort should be made to post beyond the mundane - tell me about something remarkable that's done with eg silicon; I already know that it exists and roughly what its properties are (although you should feel free to give the details). Somewhere there's a response I gave about Aluminium - I'll go and see to what extent my reply follows these two sub-rules in a minute.

<E> Hmmmmm, well the only bit of text I wrote in that post was

"The Relative Atomic Mass (RAM) of Aluminium (Al) is 27 (26.98154), its name is derived from a Latinisation of Alum, which in turn is an anglicisation of the Latin alumen."

and the rest is quoted and sourced confirmation of my (allegedly) interesting fact as highlighted in green above and then explanations of what Alum is, the discovery of the element and the origins of the Aluminium/Aluminum spelling differences. I think that's fairly safe (if a little dull latterly - I should have re-written it with more swordplay and lusty wenches).</E>

Secondly the word used to link should be in some regard central to the thrust of the response. The linking word should, where possible, actually be the subject of the reply 'shot' and if not then it should be central to the discussion of what the subject matter actually is. I am suggesting a second criterion here, that of relevance. Obviously a lot of the fun of the game is coming up with unexpected directions but having singled out a linking word the bulk of the text of the reply should be connected with that word and its occurrence should not be of minor or incedental consequence.

So as not to interupt this game let me know your opinions by PM or in a discussion thread.

26 by my count too, and it remains there for the time being

zomgmouse 512834. Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:24 am

Everyone Says I Love You
Everyone Says I Love You is a Golden Globe-nominated (1996) musical film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film features many stars, including Julia Roberts, Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Gaby Hoffmann, Tim Roth, Goldie Hawn, and Natalie Portman.
Set in New York, Venice, and Paris, the film features a rarely used device of having songs sung by ordinary actors not known for their singing. It was among the more critically successful of Allen's later films. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert once said that it was his favorite of all Allen's films, calling it simply "the best" (but also claimed that Match Point was his best film since Crimes and Misdemeanors).
Although a musical, it is rated R by the MPAA for one use of strong language, but there are mature themes throughout.
All the performers sing in their own voices, with two exceptions: Goldie Hawn, who was told by Allen to intentionally sing worse because she sang too well to be believable as a normal person just breaking into song, and Drew Barrymore, who convinced Woody Allen that her singing was too awful even for the "realistic singing voice" concept he was going for. Her voice was dubbed by Allen-regular Olivia Hayman.
The title song was written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, and was used as a recurring theme song in the Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers (1932). Allen is well-known Groucho Marx fan. Marx's theme song from Animal Crackers (1930) "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" is featured, sung in French by a chorus of Groucho Marxes.

graytart 570258. Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:32 pm

New player and not sure I'm doing it right, please be gentle.

L'Office québécois de la langue française

(Quebec Board of the French language) is a public organization established in 1961 by the Liberal government of Jean Lesage. Its main mandates are to define and conduct the province of Quebec's policy pertaining to linguistic officialization, terminology and "francization" of public administration and businesses; to monitor the linguistic situation in Québec; and to see to it that French is the normal and everyday language of work, communication, commerce, business and government.

The department's most publicized powers have been with regard to enforcing French business sign laws. Originally, Law 101 required that all commercial signage be in French and no other language. In 1988 Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General) the Supreme Court of Canada ruled this was unconstitutional. After massive protests in support of the legislation, the Bourassa Government invoked the Notwithstanding Clause, allowing the laws to remain static for a period of 5 years, after which they would be reviewed. In 1993, the United Nations ruled that it was outside of the government's jurisdiction to limit freedom of expression in this particular way. Also in 1993, but not due to the UN ruling, Quebec reviewed the law and modified its language regulations to require that French be markedly predominant on exterior business signs, as suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the case of Ford v. Quebec. Legally, the organization may impose fines or, in some situations, shut down businesses for violating its French-language laws. Although this type of action represents only a small percentage of the complaints filed with the office, for many Anglophones this organization is negatively regarded as the "language police."

Another activity undertaken by the Office has been to encourage replacing English town and street names in Quebec with French ones whenever the opportunity arises. The street intersection formerly widely known as Dorchester and "The Main" in Montreal is now known as René Lévesque and St-Laurent. Another example is the city of Gatineau, renamed during an amalgamation exercise in 2002. The city, previously called Hull, was founded in 1800 by Philemon Wright and named after his family's original home town, Kingston-upon-Hull, home of the Hull City AFC.

(mostly wikipedia)ébécois_de_la_langue_française,_Quebec

Celebaelin 570876. Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:52 pm

A fine shot, unfortunately

joefoxon1 wrote:
Minimum Posts : 30

I will start with:

Hull City AFC

and that is only the 28th shot of this game - I fear you have peaked too early!

Total shots played remains at 28

graytart 570886. Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:17 pm

Oops - my bad. I'll get the hang of QI rules eventually.

(Why the minimum, BTW?)

Celebaelin 570895. Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:31 pm

Simply to stop the games ending too quickly after an initial flurry of posts. Initially IIRC the minimum 'shot' count was 10 but it gradually crept up and now the winner of the game gets to choose how long the next game is. 30 is the longest game we've had I think so you were a bit unlucky there.

grimwig 570897. Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:45 pm

In which case, starting from Everyone Says I Love You, and moving post on to 29:

Animal crackers are crackers in the shapes of animals, some brands of which are sweetened. These are usually animals one would see at the zoo or circus, including lions, tigers, bears, and elephants. There is debate about whether or not animal crackers are actually crackers or cookies. They are like crackers due to the way they are made, with layered dough, however the use of sweetened dough gives them the cookie taste and consistency. Traditionally they come in a box with a handle on the top. The string handle was originally added so that the box be carried easily by young children.

Barnum's Animals CrackersNabisco makes Barnum's Animal Crackers, arguably the most famous commercially produced version of the snack, due to the distinctive package art of a circus cage on wheels and full of animals. "Barnum" refers to the famous showman and circus entrepreneur P. T. Barnum. The product actually says "Barnum's Animals", subtitled "Crackers". At one time, the imprinted "wheels" bent around the bottom of the box, and the box's bottom was perforated to allow the wheels to be opened up straight and thus stand the box on its "wheels".

Austin, a division of the Keebler Company, also makes a variety of animal crackers. Although not nearly as popular, the Austin variety has similar nutritional content and animal shapes.

Stauffer Biscuit Company of York, Pennsylvania also has a line of animal crackers, which are now distributed by several major discount retailers. Their use of the spices nutmeg and mace give the basic animal cracker a slightly different character from the Nabisco crackers.

The Borden corporation also produced a brand of animal crackers, until some time in the late 1970s. They came in a red box, which featured the famous Elsie the Cow logo.
In total there have been 37 different animals featured in Barnum's Animal Crackers since 1903. The current crackers are tiger, cougar, camel, rhinoceros, kangaroo, hippopotamus, bison, lion, hyena, zebra, elephant, sheep, bear, gorilla, monkey, polar bear, seal and giraffe. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Barnum's added the koala to the menagerie in September 2002.[1]

Austin Zoo Animal Crackers currently feature bear, camel, elephant, rhinoceros, lion, monkey, owl, penguin, rabbit, ram, turtle, and zebra.

Cadburys Animals are chocolate coated (although rather sparingly) and feature elephant, monkey, lion, tiger and hippo - all with nicknames and all rather the same shape.

Stauffer's Animals CrackersStauffer's animal crackers include a lion, elephant, mountain goat, cow, house cat, camel, tiger, horse, ibex, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, buffalo (or bison) and bear. They are made in plain, chocolate graham, cinnamon graham, cotton candy, and iced flavors, as well as "breakfast cookies" made with oats, almonds, cranberries, and pomegranate.

Celebaelin 570902. Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:01 pm

Unfortunately Animal Crackers are not mentioned in greytart's post so that is not a valid shot! Play a let - next shot to contain a link to greytart's near-winner on things Quebecois.

Shot count is still 28.

graytart 570908. Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:12 pm

Fair enough - and I do seem to have done a public service by reviving the thread... :-)

grimwig 570916. Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:35 pm

Ah my fault. I didnt realise we were counting graytart's move as a valid one.

So in that case:

The New Quebec Crater (previously known as Chubb Crater), now known as Pingualuit Crater (which means "where the land rises" in the local Inuit language), is a young meteorite crater, by geological standards, located in the Ungava Peninsula of Quebec, Canada. It is 3.44 km (2.14 mi) in diameter, and is estimated to be 1.4 ± 0.1 million years old (Pleistocene).

The crater is exposed to the surface, rising 160 m (520 ft) above the surrounding tundra and is 400 m (1,300 ft) deep. A 270 m (890 ft) deep Pingualuk Lake fills the depression, and is one of the deepest lakes in North America. The lake also holds some of the purest fresh water in the world, with a salinity level of less than 3 ppm (the salinity level of the Great Lakes is 500 ppm). The lake has no inlets or apparent outlets, so the water accumulates solely from rain and snow and is only lost through evaporation. In terms of transparency, it is second only to Lake Masyuko in Japan.

Largely unknown to the outside world, the lake-filled crater had long been known to local Inuit who knew it as the "Crystal Eye of Nunavik" for its clear water. World War II pilots often used the perfectly circular landmark as a navigational tool.[1]

On June 20, 1943, a United States Army Air Force plane on a meteorological flight over the Ungava region of Quebec Province took a photograph which showed the wide crater rim rising up above the landscape. In 1948 the Royal Canadian Air Force covered the same remote area as part of its program of photomapping Canada, however these photographs were not made publicly available until 1950.

In 1950 Ontario diamond prospector Frederick W. Chubb became interested by the strange terrain shown in the photographs and sought the opinion of geologist V. Ben Meen of the Royal Ontario Museum. Chubb hoped that the crater was that of an extinct volcano, in which case the area might contain diamond deposits similar to those of South Africa. However, Meen's knowledge of Canadian geology tentatively ruled out a volcanic origin. Meen subsequently made a brief trip by air to the crater with Chubb in 1950; it was on this trip that Meen proposed the name "Chubb Crater" for the circular feature and "Museum Lake" for the irregular body of water about 2 mi (3.2 km) north of the crater (curr. Laflamme Lake


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