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154002.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:47 am Reply with quote

Jabba The Hutt is a 600-year-old antagonistic crime lord and gangster who employs a retinue of criminals, bounty hunters, smugglers, assassins, and bodyguards to operate his criminal empire.

Question: Which politician do you think Jabba would get on with best?

Rafael Correa became president of Ecuador in 2006 on a platform of “civilian revolution” and became particularly popular in the indigenous, tribal areas after learning the Quichua language, one of the two official languages of the country. The Quichua language is the one upon which George Lucas based Huttese, the language of Jabba the Hutt.
Correa has described himself as “not the traditional political figure” and proves this by travelling around the country with a leather belt (his surname means ‘belt’ in Spanish), however Ecuador has a tradition of unusual presidents.

Ecuador last declared a state of emergency in February 1997 during the chaotic final days of President Abdala Bucaram. He was fired by Congress for "mental incompetence." Bucaram released a CD "A Crazy Man Who Loves", ("el loco que ama") after winning the presidency, he once invited Lorena Bobbitt, the Ecuadorian woman who cut off her husband's penis, to lunch at the national palace (Bobbit and Bucarem are godparents to an Ecuadorian child born in 1996. He was a hurdler in the 1972 Olympics and once caused national scandal by serenading serenaded the winner of the International Miss Banana Contest.

Beauty contests are extremely popular in Ecuador, they are held frequently at all levels of society throughout the country. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas. Ecuador is also the third-largest exporter of cut-flowers in the world

On NYE in Quito, life-size puppets satirising politicians and other public figures are made before being burnt at midnight

The Ecuadorian carnival is celebrated the Monday and Tuesday before Lent by throwing buckets of water at passers-by.

The first scientific expedition to measure the circumference of the Earth, led by Charles-Marie de La Condamine, was based in Ecuador

The registry in Ecuador for amphibians is 415 varieties and 374 species of reptiles. A new frog, called Osteocephalus Yasuni, was officially introduced to scientific circles; it lives in trees found in the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador’s Amazon Rain forest. The researchers of the Catholic University who discovered this frog have said that it will take at least 100 years of work with reptiles and amphibians until all the species found in Ecuador have a name.

María Esther de Capovilla who died in 2006 was the world’s oldest woman. Dying only a couple of weeks before her 117th birthday, she was the last remaining documented person born in the 1880s.

In 1999, Quito was found to be the cheapest city to live in in the world. This survey coincided with a week long bank holiday called by the then president to stop citizens from withdrawing all their savings as the country’s economy went into meltdown.

Ecuador is also famous for its Jivaro people who are the most famous proponents of head-shrinking. The Jivaro, or Shuar, who were unconquered until the 20th century (resisting the Incas and the Conquistadors) shrink heads in order to capture the soul of a body, lest it might leave the body and become an anaconda or some other such beast.

South American Handbook - Footprint
The Amazon - Bradt Travel Guide
A History of Latin America - Bakewell
Oldest Woman
Cost of Living
Biodiversity of Ecuador

154008.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:45 am Reply with quote

It's theorised that Polish and Hindi are also components of Huttese:

It is possible that Ben Burtt used more than Quechua as a basis for Huttese. On page 9 in the June 2003 issue of National Geographic magazine, there is a reference to the word 'achuta', which in Huttese means "Hello." However in Hindi, 'achuta' has a very different meaning:
"A fifth group describes the people who are achuta or untouchable. Untouchables are outcasts - people considered too impure, too polluted to rank as worthy beings." (6)
Another Earth language borrowed from seems to be Polish. Andrzej sends in this information: "I think you'll find it interesting to know that "toota mishka Jabba du Hutt?" is actually an only very slightly distorted sentence in Polish:"Tutaj mieszka Jabba du Hutt?" Meaning "Does Jabba du Hutt live here?"

Molly Cule
154511.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:16 am Reply with quote

Ecuador is named after the EQUATOR, ecuador is Spanish for equator, the line runs right through it, 15 miles North of Quito. There is a monument there marked as 0 00´ 00" called "La Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World).

This spot is on the tourist trail, you can stand in both hemispheres at the same time, visit the Equatorial Museum featuring a cultural and geological display of Ecuator´s different climatic zones as well as the colonial model village. You can also post your letters marked from "Mitad del Mundo".

154614.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:19 pm Reply with quote

Do look at the posts in the Ecuador thread on QI countries for the bit about the statue of Byron masquerading as Ecuadorian poet Jose Joaquin Olmeda. They start at post 15333. I like the idea of a question along the lines of 'Why is there a statue of Lord Byron in Ecuador?'

154626.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:01 pm Reply with quote

It's in fact post 153333. Although since the conclusion seems to be "actually, there isn't", I'm not sure how much mileage there would be in it.

Unless the idea that there is is sufficiently well known that Alan will immediately come out with it, that is.

154869.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:43 am Reply with quote

This from the old DVD thread. Might make a note:

Question: Which of these characters can speak Cantonese?

Multiple Choice:
a) Pokémon
b) Bob the Builder
c) The Teletubbies
d) The Clangers.

Answer: c) Po, the red Teletubby, can speak Cantonese and enjoys using this language as well as English. Po sometimes sings this song when she rides her scooter: "Fi-dit, fi-dit, fi-dit!" (fast) and, "Mar, mar, man!" (slow). They are English transcriptions of Cantonese. Po also sometimes counts in Cantonese: "Ya, yi, sam, sae, mmm," (1,2,3,4,5).

156227.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:35 pm Reply with quote

A nice little Ecuadorean factoid I came across today while researching something completely different:

What point on Earth is farthest from the center of the planet?

The summit of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is about 2.25 kilometers (1.4 miles) farther from the center of the Earth than the summit of Mount Everest. Although the Himalayan peak is over 2,500 meters (8,300 feet) higher above sea level than its Andean rival, the Earth's equatorial bulge makes the near-equatorial peak farther from the planet's center.

156236.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:43 pm Reply with quote

We have sometimes asserted that not only Ecuador's mountains, but its beaches as well are further from the centre of the Earth than the top of Everest is.

156238.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:56 pm Reply with quote

Have we had the factoid about Antarctica being the highest continent in the world? Its estimated average altitude is about 2,300 meters (7,500 feet). Despite the Himalayas, Asia is the second highest with an average height of only 900 meters (2,900 feet).

156370.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:53 am Reply with quote

We have sometimes asserted that not only Ecuador's mountains, but its beaches as well are further from the centre of the Earth than the top of Everest is.

I assume Chimborazo's summit is more than 2,500m above Ecuador's beaches, so those little factoids don't quite add up...

156601.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:26 pm Reply with quote

The sea's in a muddle as well, if that helps:

Although the summit of Mount Everest reaches a higher elevation above sea level, the summit of Chimborazo is widely reported to be the farthest point from earth center (Senne 2000), although this could be challenged by Huascarán. Chimborazo is just one degree south of the equator and the earth's diameter at the equator is greater than at Everest's latitude (nearly 28° north), with sea level also being elevated. So, despite being 2,581 m (8,568 ft) lower in elevation above sea level, it is 6,384.4 km (3,968 mi) from the Earth's center, 2.1 km farther than the summit of Everest.


Molly Cule
157701.  Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:42 pm Reply with quote

In Ecuador in October 2004 everyone synchronised their watches at noon. This was the mark the beginning of a national crusade against lateness. It was estimated that chronic lateness costs Ecuador $2.5 billion a year—hardly small change in a country with a gross domestic product of just twenty-four billion dollars.

A group called Participacíon Ciudadana orchestrated the initiative in order to combat Ecuadorans’ notoriously cavalier attitude toward time. The group enlisted the country’s only Olympic gold medallist, the race-walker Jefferson Pérez, as a spokesman, plastered cities and villages with posters (“Inject yourself each morning with a dose of responsibility, respect, and discipline”), and persuaded companies to late workers from meetings. Late-comers were turned away from work from offices, there were signs up saying ‘Don’t enter, work started ontime.’

Even President Lucio Gutiérrez, infamously unpunctual, vowed to participate. His spokesman, going on television to announce this vow, arrived at the studio, needless to say, several minutes late.

Peru then followed suit in March, the President Alan Garcia sounded a bell signaling the nation's 28 million people to synchronize their watches. Peru and punctuality have been incompatible; and chronic lateness was often overlooked by Peruvians who considered it an endearing cultural trait. In Peru if you want someone to actually turn up on time you tell them to come a la hora inglesa (so on English time).

The social psychologist Robert Levine, who has devoted decades to studying people’s ideas about time, suggests that cultures can be divided into those which live on “event time,” where events are allowed to dictate people’s schedules, and those which live on “clock time,” where people’s schedules dictate events. Unsurprisingly, countries that live on clock time are more successful economically than those which do not.
In hyper-punctual countries like Japan, pedestrians walk fast, business transactions take place quickly, and bank clocks are always accurate. In less punctual places, such as Indonesia, pedestrians amble, workers dawdle, and bank clocks are usually wrong. In other words, Ecuadorans, who have been living on event time—known locally as Ecuadoran time—are trying to revolutionize the way they live and work.


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