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General Ignorance

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13188.  Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:52 am Reply with quote

post 13187
Wibble the Lobster:
I believe the Canadians celebrate the official birthday in May. But then I thought different parts of Austarlia celebrated on different days.

I seem to recall being told that this all started because Edward VII wanted a summer party for his birthday (somewhat immature for a monarch) and so awarded himself an extra birthday.

13193.  Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:22 am Reply with quote

Flash - if you want to avoid too many Gen Ig type questions, I started a thread called Celebrations with the post about the Queen's birthday.

13194.  Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:56 am Reply with quote

The problem with the bromide thing is that no-one who could give a definitive answer on whether it was administered wouldn't want to, because it's, well, naughty. So the best we can label it is 'conspiracy theory'.

Which might be alright - no-one can disprove the assertion!

13196.  Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:22 pm Reply with quote

Jenny - I saw the Celebrations thread, but I thought it was a natural for GI, so I double-posted.

13835.  Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:06 am Reply with quote

Holst composed The Planets before Pluto, the ninth planet, was discovered. How many planets are in it?

Expected answer - 8

Correct answer - 7

13861.  Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:36 am Reply with quote

The missing planet being Earth, I suppose?

13871.  Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:51 pm Reply with quote

Q: What is rice paper made from?

A: the pith of the ginseng plant

s: The Penguin Encyclopedia, 1965 (entry on rice)

13886.  Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:24 am Reply with quote

Re: All that James Bond talk.

I recently came across two bits of Bond trivia that struck me as some what odd.

1. When Fleming died, he stopped writing the Bond novel, which is to be expected really. Good as he was. Once this had happened the Bond publishers, much to the dislike of the Fleming family, decided to pull a Virginia Andrews and get others to carry on to write the Bond novels. It was decided that any author working on a Bond novel was to write under the collective pseudonym: Robert Markham.*
The first Bond novel to be published after Flemings death was Colonel Sun and this was written by...hum hum...Kingsley Amis

Amis wrote, I believe, unless I'm missing something, two Bond books in total. Colonel sun, and The James Bond Dossier. (Though I thought there was a third called the Book of Bond. can't find it.)

2. Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for the Bond movie: You only live twice. He also co-wrote the screenplay to another Fleming flick, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I bet you all knew all this already and I am just displaying my complete and utter ignorance. However, I do wonder what other odd celebrity connections there are to the James Bond series.

also, Jimmy Bond was played by Woody Allen.

*The pseudonym ended up being used for only one novel

13894.  Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:15 am Reply with quote

veering off the topic ever so slightly but sticking with Roald Dahl. I have just read, as well as seen a picture, that in the first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Oompa Loompas were not, as the movie suggest- little elves who look like they have stepped of the set of The Wizard of Oz. Nor were they like the long golden haired Hippies as later editions of the text would suggest. Nor were they futuristic punks with mohawk hairdos and clothing that suggest they belong with the Lost Boys in peter Pan, as the Quentin Blake cartoons would have you believe. But congolese pygmy slaves.

The following is an a little nugget from the biography I am reading on Dahl, concerning the oompa loompas. The book is Roald Dahl, by: Jeremy Treglown.

"...a tribe of 3,000 amiable black pygmies who have been imported by Mr Willy Wonka from 'the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white manhad been before.' Mr Wonka keeps them in a factory, where they have replaced the sacked white workers. Wonkas little slaves are delighted with their new circumstances, and particularly their diet of chocolate. Before, they lived on catipillars, beetles, eucalyptus leaves 'and the bark of the bong-bong tree.' "

14245.  Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:41 am Reply with quote

This post by Gray on a thread in the first forum looks promising as a source for a General Ignorance question:

14240. Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:53 am Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster
Which has the most DNA chromosomes - a human, a chicken, a fern plant or an amoeba?

Answer: the fern plant (480 chromosomes). Then it's the chicken (78 chromosomes, same as dogs and ducks), then the amoeba (50 chromosomes), and last of all humans (46 chromosomes).

This kind of general ignorance question reveals that 'amount of DNA' in an organism is not necessarily related to its complexity. It's a measure (broadly speaking) of its evolutionary history, and the ways in which it develops.

For example, while frogs have fewer chromosomes than humans, they have more DNA bases (i.e. more on each chromosome) because of their complex development patterns. All that extra DNA codes for temperature-dependent contingency plans for their metamorphosis in ponds.

15168.  Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:10 am Reply with quote

Question: How many brains does David "Two-Brains" Willetts have?

Answer: Two.

In fact we all have - as it says here, the enteric nervous system is a brain "unto itself", and without it we'd be defacating here, there and everywhere all day and night long.

My source for this, which links to the above scholarly site, was the Radio 4 programme Gut Reaction, from which we learn that the gut....
acts as the body's second brain.

Being poo-related, this subject might be a fragrant choice for the panel to chew over.


15170.  Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:00 am Reply with quote

Yes, that's good, might be something we could do with that.

I was at university with "Two-Brains" Willetts and he wasn't called "Two-Brains" then.

15181.  Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:14 am Reply with quote

Question: What are rhinoceros horns made out of?

Forfeit: Bone
Double Forfeit: Hair

Answer: keratin, the same fibrous substance that can be found in hair and fingernails, but not hair as such.

s: all over the place, specifically

Also, what is the rhino's horn used for which is causing worries about the animal's extinction?

Forfeit: An aphrodisiac

Answer: Traditional Chinese Medicine, most recently as a fever-repressent during the recent SARS outbreak.

Rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac, except in very limited parts of Gujarat and northern India

(same source)

15217.  Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:04 am Reply with quote

How well known is this?

Henry Campbell-Bannerman was the first Prime Minister to be given official use of the title 'Prime Minister'


I only ask, cos I would have definitely had Walpole down as the first “prime minister”, but apparently it was not an official title until 1905 and they were “first ministers” before that. (?)

15262.  Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:07 am Reply with quote

Not sure how interesting this is to a British audience, but:

Q: What was Harry S Truman's middle name?
A: S

Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, came into the world on 8 May 1884. His parents, John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Truman, couldn't decide on a suitable name for their bouncing baby boy, and when the attending doctor finally registered the child's birth with the county clerk a month later, the infant still had no name. Eventually the Trumans chose to name their boy "Harry" after his maternal uncle, Harrison Young. Unable to decide between a middle name honoring Harry's maternal grandfather (Solomon Young) or his paternal grandfather (Anderson Shipp[e] Truman), John and Martha opted not to give little Harry a middle name at all and settled on something that could represent either grandparent: the letter 'S' by itself. (As Truman biographer David McCullough noted, using a single letter that stood for nothing specific was "a practice not unknown among the Scotch-Irish, even for first names.")


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