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quizzes, puzzles and tricks


Not going to mention the Airbus crash, for fear of upsetting Ivan. Speaking of flying craft which strain to stay aloft – uh huh:


NASA has successfully tested a new space drive that doesn’t use a propellant and shouldn’t work, at least according to the laws of physics, according to a story that broke in Wired.UK. The drive, called the Cannae Drive, worked in the NASA directed test, defying physics.

Gothic castle in America


There was that picture of American roads and how run down they are.  Now an American obsession – taking a bit of ye olde and reproducing it in a peculiarly American way.

This gothic castle is a case in point. It was the dream home of Christopher Mark, the man who had it built in Connecticut, but a tricky divorce and some failed business attempts meant that it had to go on the market.…


Let’s imagine a new demographic arises in society – Youngmanism.

Why Youngmanism?  Just an innocuous, non-polarizing demographic ordinarily. Wodehouse chose Aunts as his betes noires, I choose Youngmen. This is not just any young man growing up – it’s a particularly virulent strain, a mutation called Youngman. Entirely fictional of course.

1.  Chip on the shoulder.  First and foremost, he’s halfway between a child and adult and usually thinks halfway as well.  Therefore, he appears mature and all his rhetoric towards others is designed to put them down so he appears mature, the font of all wisdom, honeyed voice married to articulation, whereas he is actually wilful, petulant and hormonal,not unlike a teenage girl.

2.  Into himself.  Every time he walks into a room or enters a chatroom, he brings the discussion back to either himself or his demographic and personalizes it – he has a thousand tricks to get this back to him, him, him and he brooks no rivals from within his demographic.…

Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B

This blog author and many of its commenters have been accused, in the past, of being somewhat negative. You don’t say.


I’m sure we all wish the Morons for Mars all the very best in their one way trip to Mars. One way trip. Y-e-e-e-e-s-s-s-s. Run by reality TV people – what could possibly go wrong?

# It will fund the whole thing through sponsorship and a reality TV series – made by Endemol, the same people behind Big Brother, covering the preparations and mission on Mars.

# Some of the potential astronaut picks seem to be based on their televisual appeal rather than usefulness as likely colonists.

# The settlers will then inflate balloons to give themselves another 200 sq metres of living and cultivation space.

# Mars One calls its plans visionary, but most of the scientific and space community are less polite. The idea has been criticized for being underfunded, overambitious, and a suicide mission according to one study.

Monday [1]

10 to 2There we were, driving along, two lanes each way, narrowing to one lane each way, setting the world to rights, a therapeutic exercise of a Sunday, when it became apparent that two little buzzboxes on wheels ahead were driving in tandem, one occupying each lane.

Couldn’t do much about the one in the left lane of course, within his rights [think it was some old man] but the one in the right lane should not have been there.  I would have blasted the hell out of the driver with my twin airhorns but my driver, being a gentle soul, did not.

And so we sat there, except that the one in the right lane suddenly put on a little spurt to be ahead when the road narrowed, deeply annoying and liable to cause an accident, which it then almost did.…

Quiz Part 3

16. Who became the youngest female champion of Wimbledon when she beat Martina Navratilova in 1997?

17. Who composed Eugene Onegin in 1879?

18.  Which Ingmar Bergman film sees a knight playing chess with death to prolong his own life?

19.  Which family of actors starred in the films ‘A Night at the Opera’ and ‘Duck Soup’?

20. 88 K on a P might reasonably be expected to refer to what?

21. In computing, what do these mean:…

Quiz Part 2

6.  What is:

a. the white part of an egg called
b. an instrument used for drawing circles
c. scuttling a ship
d. cider made from?

7. Name one:

a. monotreme
b. one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world
c. carnivore
d. the sixth so-called vowel in English.

8. Which country is it?…

Quiz Part 1

Five questions to ease you in below, then ten more an hour later and then ten last ones, giving 25 altogether. Times 4 is a percentage. The parts of any question, when multi-answer, make one point or four, depending on how you’re planning to make your percentage at the end.

The questions were those one could reasonably expect someone at Year 10 to be able to answer, given that they’d had a comprehensive education, that term not used to mean a type of school in Britain.

1. Solve the following equation for the two roots of x:   x2 — 16 = 0
A. x = 2i,   –2i
B. x = 4i,   –4i
C. x = 4,   –4
D. x = 2,   –2