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E Series Warm Up Questions

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174851.  Wed May 16, 2007 5:34 am Reply with quote

Question: What is a whizzinator?


A whizzinator is a fake penis which is used to beat urine tests. It comes as part of a kit with dried urine, a syringe and a heater to keep the urine at room temperature. The fake penis comes in white, tan, latino, brown, and black.

Onterrio Smith, an American Football player at the Minnesota Vikings was caught using one in 2005 and was subsequently suspended for two years.

Whizzinator's next project is to come up with a unisex product.



175204.  Thu May 17, 2007 3:12 am Reply with quote

Question: What's the best thing about getting herpes?

Answer: It can make you immune to bubonic plague

Research at Washington University, by the brilliantly named Skip Virgin, has shown that in mice the herpes family of viruses can protect against bubonic plague and similar bacterial diseases. The viruses, which stay in the body after symptoms have lapsed, caused a certain hormone to fire which put the mice's immune system on alert for the rest of their life. Research will now go ahead to see if the same mechanism works in humans.

You probably shouldn't go out and deliberately get herpes though, in fact you've probably already had it - there are hundreds of viruses which belong to this family, most children get infected in one way or another beit chickenpox, 'mono', coldsores or something more benign.


175404.  Thu May 17, 2007 10:10 am Reply with quote

Question: Tell me about Bulgarian dog-spinning


The green party are horrified by this practice which taeks place in the village of Brodilovo, in which a dog is suspended by a rope over some water and then spun round.

The participants are supposed to be able to tell the future by the amount of excrement produced by the animal - copious defecation foretells good fortune.

Dr Caroline Lucas at the RSPCA claimed "Dog-spinning is a barbaric practice and must not be allowed to continue into the 21st century."


175411.  Thu May 17, 2007 10:25 am Reply with quote

Question: In the 4th Century BC, the Crack Theban Force was made up of 150 homosexual couples. What was the point in that?

They were called the Sacred Band of Thebes and were the elite force of the Theban Army, organized by the Theban commander Gorgidas in 378 BC. His idea was that lovers would fight more fiercely at each other's sides than strangers with no bonds.

They were extremely successful until the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC) when the entire army were massacred, refusing to run from the army headed by Philip II of Macedon.


175416.  Thu May 17, 2007 10:35 am Reply with quote

Question: What is a cow magnet?

It's a medical device for cows in which a cow is fed a plastic cylinder with a magnet inside.

When cows are grazing, they can occasionally eat small bits of barbed wire or other metalic objects. The irritation that these bits of metal cause is called hardware disease.

The magnet attracts these objects which stops them from lodging in places where they may cause inflammation.


175440.  Thu May 17, 2007 11:20 am Reply with quote

Question: The Taj Mahal is yellow, due to air pollution. What is the Indian Government's great plan to make it white again?


A giant mud-pack.

The building now has a yellow tinge due to high levels of tiny dirt particles in the air which gather on the surface of the marble, but India's parliament has recommended caking the building in clay; a process which will cost over 115,000.

It is not the first report to tackle the subject of the yellow building, ten years ago, the country's Supreme Court ordered thousands of smoke-generating iron foundries and kilns near the building to be closed or moved and vehicles are not allowed to drive within 1.5 miles of the site.


175531.  Thu May 17, 2007 6:25 pm Reply with quote

James, the Sacred Band of Thebes are in the script for Rx4 (a note to the Love Bomb question).

175723.  Fri May 18, 2007 7:55 am Reply with quote

Argh, then I'll have to write a new question.

How gay is that?

175745.  Fri May 18, 2007 8:22 am Reply with quote

Question: Sara Baartman was a native South African who was put on exhibition in the 19th century. What part of her body was so huge that it made her so curious?

Answer: Her arse.

Baartman was known as the "hottentot venus" and toured England showing off her enormous backside which was due to a medical condition called steatopygia, but was thought by gawpers to be typical of her people.

Visitors could pay extra to touch her bum.

As the exhibition came just after the abolition of the slave trade it caused great scandal in the Uk and Baartman is now a symbol of South Africa's past.

S: National Portrait Gallery

176311.  Mon May 21, 2007 2:44 am Reply with quote

Question: What effect has the hole in the ozone layer had on Antarctica?

Answer: It's made it colder.

There is a small peninsula of the Antarctic which reaches out towards South America which has got slightly warmer due to global warming, but for the vast majority of the continent, the ozone layer depletion has led to a cooling effect.

The hole in the ozone layer has caused a change in temperature in the upper atmosphere which in turn causes circular winds to form around the Antarctic. These winds prevent warmer air from reaching its interior.

The bad news is that thanks to our efforts, the ozone layer will reach its former levels in the coming decades, which could cause the winds to slow which in turn would lead to the rapid warming of the continent.

New Scientist

176313.  Mon May 21, 2007 2:50 am Reply with quote

Question: Why do Canadians weigh less than Americans (even if they are as fat as each other)?

Answer: Because gravity is weaker there

If the Earth were a perfect sphere, gravity would be the same everywhere, but it's not - there are a number of anomolies. One can be found around the Hudson Bay area of Canada.

During the last ice age, a huge ice sheet pushed the earth down before melting. The land in that region is slowly bouncing back, but in the meantime the gravity is slightly lower than the rest of North America.

Your weight depends on your mass and the local gravity - which is, of course, why you weigh less on the moon.


Last edited by eggshaped on Mon May 21, 2007 6:10 am; edited 1 time in total

176323.  Mon May 21, 2007 4:06 am Reply with quote

I still don't understand why the earth's crust bouncing back causes gravity to be lower.

Methinks I need to track down the original publication on that.

176349.  Mon May 21, 2007 5:57 am Reply with quote

Check out Science, vol 316 p881

176351.  Mon May 21, 2007 6:01 am Reply with quote

Will do, boss!

176681.  Tue May 22, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quote

Question: Why did the US Air force bomb a volcano in 1986?

Because they mistook it for a submarine.

The volcanic island of Ferdinandea, off the coast of Sicily is only visible above sea-level when it is erupting. In 1986, with its summit only a couple of meters below the sea, it was bombed by a US Air Force plane on the way to Tripoli after the pilot mistook it for a Libyan submarine.

When it rises, the island can cause territorial disputes. The last time this happened was in 1831 when it was claimed by four different countries. It re-submerged a year later before the issues of its sovereignty could be resolved.


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