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some old quinks (part 1)

Oct 13, 2020 0 comments

1/ 31 December 2016, 30 June 2015, 30 June 2012, 31 December 2008, and 31 December 2005 are the most recent examples of computer clocks around the world exhibiting the following timestamps:




It hasn’t happened after 2016 yet, but it is expected to occur soon. Why does this happen?

2/ Colonel TE Lawrence, he of the Lawrence of Arabia fame, was fatally injured in a road accident in May 1935. One of the doctors attending him was Dr Hugh Cairns, who was so moved by Lawrence’s death, that he spent the next few years studying similar cases and invented X. Although it took 30 odd years for the use of X to be made compulsory in the United Kingdom, the law still credits his work. What was X?

3/ Red bean (Azuki), purple sweet potato (Beni Imo), green tea (Matcha), Wasabi, and soy sauce are some of the most popular flavours of X in Japan. In fact, the soy sauce version was the top selling X in 2010, 2011 and 2012. What is X?

4/ Where would one find the Eurion Constellation? And why?

5/ Mao Tse Dong initiated the Four Pests Campaign in the Great Leap Forward between 1958 and 1962, and encouraged the elimination of rats, flies, mosquitos, and X. The massive reduction of X in those four years, led to a massive increase in the incidence of crop eating insects, and a significant deceleration in grain production in large parts of China up to 1968. What was X?

6/ In July 1962, an art exhibition opened in Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles. The exhibition was for 32 canvas paintings. The exhibition was lampooned across the United States. A cartoon in a prominent newspaper stated: “Frankly, the cream of asparagus does nothing for me, but the terrifying intensity of the chicken noodle gives me a real Zen feeling…Besides, asparagus gives me indigestion.” Just five of the paintings sold, but the gallery owner bought them back at $100 each, so that he could keep the entire collection. He sold all 32 paintings to the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1996 for $15 million dollars. What were these 32 paintings?

7/ In the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km off the coast of Africa, there is a one metre square island, with a scale rank of 100 (means it can never be shown on a map). But it’s a busy place. Thousands of people live there, millions of photos have been taken there, and occasionally people teleport in for just a moment or two before disappearing to somewhere else. What are we talking about?

8/ X is always defined by the numbers on its two ends. Both ends are always numbered between 1 and 36 and the difference between the two numbers will always be 18. Sometimes, when there are more than one X in one location, they get an alphabet suffixed to them, and these alphabets are always L, R, or C. What are X?

9/ On 15 April 2004, Shrek was captured after having been on the run for six years, during which time he hid in caves near Tarras, New Zealand. After his capture, he became a national icon, even getting invited to meet Helen Clark, the Prime Minister, in May 2004, to celebrate his birthday with her. By his 16th birthday, he had been written about in children’s books, and was a regular on the charity circuit. On 6 July 2011, he had to be euthanized due to age related issues. In September 2015, Shrek’s claim to fame was destroyed by Chris the Australian, who hid in woods and ravines for eight years before capture. What were Shrek’s and Chris’ peculiar claim to fame?

10/ Dilip Sardesai, Australia vs. India, Adelaide, 1967

Daniel Vettori, New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka, Hamilton, 1997

Hashim Amla, South Africa vs. Sri Lanka, Port Elizabeth, 2016

These three dismissals in test cricket are unique – they are the x-th time a batsman got out in a particular manner. What is so special about these wickets?

11/ This is Alphonse Bertillion. In 1900 he set up a framework for his employers, the French Federal Police, that brought together his own research, and work done by Francis Galton and Juan Vucetich – what is this framework now famous as?


12/ This communication service was conceived by Bary Bertiger, Ray Leopold, and Ken Peterson in late 1987 and launched commercially on November 1, 1998 with Al Gore being the first user. The original concept was to have 77 satellites orbiting the earth evoking a Bohr model image of electrons orbiting around the earth as its nucleus. However, the company went bankrupt by 1999 since the cost of putting 77 satellites in space ran into billions of dollars, and the communication service was shut down. In 2001, the service was restarted by a group of private investors, who realised that 66 satellites were enough to provide a worldwide coverage, but they didn’t change the name of the company. Which company is this? 

13/ The control had “hints of cedar wood, sweet smoke and aged balsamic vinegar” and the treatment had “antiseptic smoke, rubber, smoked fish and a curious, perfumed note, like violet”. What are we talking about? 

14/ In the period 1925-1930, Arthur Thomas Doodson devised an algorithm that generated what were academically called “Doodson Numbers”. These numbers were basically combinations of small integer multiples of six angular arguments, measured from the relative angular location and distance of the moon and sun from any point on earth. Doodson Numbers were then used as parameters to define a Fourier Series that could predict the occurrence of a type of event X at a given location on earth. 

In late 1943, Doodson was hired by an organisation to predict the occurrence of event X at a particular location. Based on his calculations, Doodson predicted that event X would occur between June 5 -7, or, between June 18-20, or, a possible date a year away. 

The organisation preferred the first choice, and event Y occurred in that period.     

What is event X? What was event Y? 

15/ These are some alternate suggestions that were tried out...

“[…] it leaves me cold […]”    

“[…] it has become of no concern to me […]”    

“[…] I am completely indifferent […]”    

“[…] you can go to the devil, for all of me […]”    

“[…] my indifference is boundless […]”    

“[…] it’s all the same to me […]”    

“[…] it is of no consequence […]”    

“[…] the devil may care – I don’t!”    

“[…] I’ve withdrawn from the battle […]”    

“[…] the whole thing is a stench in my nostrils […]”    

“[…] it makes my gorge rise […]”    

What was actually used?

16/ On 11 August 2015, Chris Andrikanich, a regular low-level tweeter, realised something strange was afoot when he received 996 mentions during a 40-minute drive to pick up his kid to a tweet that said “Well, that was an interesting way to end a Monday…” What happened to cast him into a spotlight?

17/ On 30 June 2014, on X’s anniversary, Dr. Tom Stafford from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology said, “X is a pure game: there is no benefit to it, nothing to learn, no social or physical consequence. It is almost completely pointless, but keeps us coming back for more.”    

He attributes the game’s success to the Zeigarnik Effect, where people have better memories of tasks they were unable to complete, rather than of those they were able to complete.    

Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of X, revealed that X was born out a computer lab in USSR in 1985, with the prime motivation of reducing people’s inhibitions while using computers. He only started receiving royalties for X 10 years later, when he co-founded a company by the same name.    

What is X?

18/ What connects the following words: Fashionable, Addiction, Undress, Manager, Majestic, Lonely, Laughable, Hurry, Generous, Critical, Eyeball, Courtship, Gloomy, Dishearten, Eventful, Inaudible, Ladybird, Uncomfortable, Assassination?     

[Hint: Around 1700 Words can be added in this list.]

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