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In one of his rallies during the campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly
elections last month, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the eradication of
criminal gangs in the state as one of the major issues of concern that
would be addressed if elected.
He promised to get rid of them in a stealthy manner when they least
expect it, referencing a certain cliffhanger from popular culture – making
it a comment that garnered much interest in the South Indian media for
its choice of analogy.
What exactly was he referring to?
‘Are Women Persons?’ is often talked about among the greatest and most
influential speeches given in the history of the Western world. It was
delivered in the aftermath of a ‘crime’ committed in the latter half of the
19th century in Rochester, NY that invited a steep fine of $100 by law
enforcement – which the subject refused to pay, making it a deeply
polarizing talking point in the country.
The injustice was eventually overturned in 1920 in an official manner after
nearly 42 years of legal struggle.
Who delivered this speech, whose popularity was recently revived in the
country? What was this ‘crime’ that prompted the speech?
Owing to the legal and procedural hurdles introduced for the most basic
acts in 18th century Britain, blacksmiths found themselves benefitting from it
to make illegal money on the sidelines.
The Scottish border town of Gretna Green is most famously documented to
have indulged in this practice where blacksmiths often made huge money
out of this business owing to their anvil and the creation of certain
products – which made them a natural choice for the workaround.
However, constitutional amendments were forced in Scotland to halt this
practice in the 1940s, after several thousands of these violations.
What was this practice all about, that liberated many from the conservative
ways of British culture in the time? How did their work make them the ideal
choice among people for this practice?
Runaway weddings, to avoid official
documentation in England.
The creation of wedding rings, which made the
blacksmith’s anvil apt for the pronouncement and
ceremony of weddings.
Among the worst civil wars in the last decade was one that took place in
this West African nation that saw nearly 2,000 lives on both sides falling prey
to the violence and crime, some of it state-sponsored.
Fought on the issues of growing unemployment and xenophobia towards
the immigrant Northern half of the country, repeated interventions of the
United Nations failed to resolve the conflict. However, an unexpected
ceasefire resulted from a historic achievement of the country in the mid-
2000s after which its protagonist made a dramatic appeal on national TV
that had its desired impact of securing a truce between the government
and the rebels.
Who was this unlikely savior, who ranks this achievement as the greatest in
his life over his other glories? What historic first did the country achieve?
Ivory Coast’s first ever qualification to the
FIFA World Cup in 2006.
Bernard Loiseau was among the most popular people in Paris in 2003 who
wowed critics and the public alike with his impressive creations.
Pioneering novel methods and redefining traditional French tastes since the
1970s, his business soon earned a rare honour that was only reserved for
about 90 places in the world. However, with rumours of losing this coveted
tag in the early 2000s amidst dwindling popularity, Loiseau was disturbed
and committed suicide soon after. Several of his fans went on to pin the
blame entirely on a local company for indirectly exerting the pressure that
took his life.
How did his story become popular around the world a few years later?
Inspired the character of the chef
Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille.
Thomas Harvey was a renowned pathologist working at the Princeton
Hospital in the 1950s who was called in to study a case of burst aortic
In the unceremonious events that followed, his employment was
terminated owing to a theft he committed that he refused to own up to or
make amends. He sliced his stolen object into 200 pieces and sent them to
various colleagues around the country in the hope of better information on
a matter of great public interest. His efforts to retroactively acquire
permission for it were also unfruitful.
What had he stolen – that he eventually had to return to the hospital after
failing to get the desired results in his unrealistic endeavor?
Charles Colchester was a high profile spiritual practitioner in Washington
DC in the mid 19th century whose clientele including the high-and-mighty
of the city.
He was often called to households to deal with problems that required
spiritual solutions, while also helping individuals embark on important
tasks by getting them into the right frame of mind. Before being called
out as a fraud by the press, he had rendered his help to an actor who was
looking for comfort leading up to his biggest ‘performance’ to date, at a
play called My American Cousin to a packed audience.
Who was this actor, who was successful in his act that was remembered
for a long time to come?
Mechanical researchers at The Lahore Institute of Management Sciences
recently pioneered an innovation that is likely to be useful to several
people from a certain field all over the world, particularly in Pakistan.
Following successful trials without noticeable inhibitions in various towns
and cities of the country, the product – comprising a garment made of a
dry-fit material fitted with appropriate sensors – is all set to be accepted
internationally to curb a widespread problem often committed without
the full knowledge of the offender.
What growing crime, whose imposition has often been under
controversial circumstances, does the innovation intend to curtail?
+10, -5 on the pounce.
No partial pounces applicable.
Infinite Pounce I
The Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) was
shifted to Secunderabad from Pune in 1951 – and was one of the premier
army run educational institutes in the country.
Predictably, the college attracted many ambitious students from around
various parts of India – for whom this was a final shot at redemption in the
face of increasing youth unemployment. Among the most illustrious recruits
in the batch that year was someone whose exploits at the college educated
him as much about mathematical measurements as they did about life and
the challenges that came with it.
Who was this illustrious student, who soon came to represent the country in
the years that followed? What infrastructural resource, sold by the Nizams to
the Indian government that year, does he partly credit for his achievements?
The Secunderabad railway line which he used to
coach himself – by running along it and trying to
catch up with the moving trains.
Sir William Cubitt was an English civil engineer who, in 1818, came up with
an invention that caught the eye of the government.
It contained 24 spokes of a large paddled wheel whose use often resulted
in exhaustion or illnesses. The effort, however, was eventually fruitful – as
the device helped pump water or crush grain while being operated. It was
abandoned for its detrimental effects in the late 19th century but revived
in a completely different context in the 1960s by one Dr. Kenneth Cooper
to pioneer a certain field that enjoys worldwide popularity today.
How did the use of grain, making up for the apparent harm, change the
way we know it today?
The original tread-wheel was changed to tread-mill
to reflect the crushing of the grains.
The financial and physical struggles of African and Asian labour workers in
the Middle East is well documented.
In a recent investigative report by The Guardian, a new part-time avocation
initiated in a certain country was discovered that earned people about £5
per evening, and required a disguise in the traditional white gowns along
with a tiring rehearsal of specific vocal and physical activities which brought
them nationwide publicity. This paid occupation has only sprung up a few
years ago and is likely to continue for about half a decade from now.
What do these people do, seen by many as an elaborate self-defeating
façade? Why have they been employed on priority by the state, in addition
to leveraging international support for a certain Aspire Academy?
Fake cheering squads in the Qatar Stars League
and other such internal football tournaments.
To be seen as a footballing destination and increase
local interest for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Following the box office failures of later-acclaimed-classic Metropolis, Fritz
Lang in 1927 was desperate to land a hit and make money to save his career.
He turned to a subject that was quickly gaining significance in Germany in
the aftermath of World War I as an escapist fantasy – and invoked the help
of various scientists from the country to make Frau im Mond happen. His
biggest contribution through the film was a sequence for which he insisted
on sticking to his old-school and quickly dying technique despite the
changing times – a decision that was vindicated across the Atlantic roughly
30 years later and formalized ever since.
Adhering to his soon-to-be-outdated technique, what iconic sequence to
generate anxious build-up did he come up with, that soon earned official
approval in the real world?
Introduced the countdown timer for rocket
launches that was later formally adopted by NASA.
The uniform requirement of the British Army sporting prominent facial hair has
its origins in the late 1700s, especially in India and the Arab colonies
subsequently to project masculinity and strength.
It was only with the advent of WW I that this requirement was scrapped in 1916
following pioneering efforts of scientists at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
About a decade and a half ago, historians noted an anachronism in this regard
in an iconic depiction from the 1800s, speculating that it may have been
deliberate to convey powerlessness and humiliation to its audience.
Why was this mandatory ruling done away with in 1916? Where would you have
seen this anachronism, whose symbolism was perhaps apt for the eventuality?
To remove obstructions to the gas
masks introduced during World War I.
The British cricket team in Lagaan, whose
scant facial hair was historically inaccurate.
Qiang Yuan was a Chinese wristwatch engineer with a successful experience of
finish machining and mechanical design – which inspired him to start a
company in his name for a completely different purpose.
Made of a soft lead alloy and a few millimeters in size, his products are coated
with antimony to lend them hardness and ensure they do not deform while
performing their regular function. Owing to the trade regulations in the
country, they have almost always been confined within – except in a rare case
of export nearly a decade ago for an insistent client who noted the unique
differences in this variant for his eventually successful purpose.
What objects, now among the most sought after in the field, does Qiang Yuan
manufacture? Who was this client, whose foresight urged him to explore them?
Abhinav Bindra, who simulated every detail in his
preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Fernand Jacopozzi was a French electrical engineer of repute in the 1920s who had
made his mark among the public with a rebranding project – that required about
90 kilometres of cable, following which he was hailed for having delivered through
decorative advertising ‘the most enchanting architectural theatre the world has
ever seen’ – fetching great revenue to the country as a result.
However, his biggest project – secretive for a long time – was done a few years
earlier, that compelled him to find ways to carry out similar work at several
cardboard constructions in suburban regions, some of them with translucent
ceilings or long cables and several sockets to help generate a desired visual effect.
What project in the 1920s shot him to countrywide fame? What was the purpose of
his previous initiative, that was eventually abandoned in a few years?
Creating illuminations for a replica of Paris,
constructed during the World War I to mislead
German bombers in the sky.
The National Waterways Act, passed by the Parliament last year, promotes the
engineering of cargo-carrying waterways along prominent stretches of water.
As per the plan, the first of these will begin in Allahabad and stretch up to
Haldia in West Bengal, involving the construction of barrages along the water
and the dredging of silt to ensure a width of 45 meters and height of 3 meters
is maintained throughout. However, this has had fatal consequences due to the
dredging posing a threat to life, with 20 reported deaths since the activity.
Ecologists have also flagged the movement of cargo having an indirect fatal
impact on the biological balance in the region.
How has this project put the lives of people in danger? What is the other
potentially lethal impact of the cargo that has conservationists up in arms?
The drowning of people taking a bath in the
Ganges, owing to the fast-flowing undercurrents.
The Gangetic River Dolphins navigate for food
by echolocation, which is hampered by the
noise of the cargo of similar frequency.
The American Camp Association is a non-profit organization established in
1910 that supervised the conduct of summer camps and other similar
programmes around the country within a given set of guidelines.
Among the biggest challenges it faced was around a couple of decades after
it was set up – when it dealt with certain camps in 16 of the biggest American
cities, set up by an organization that was eventually indicted by the FBI for
illegal foreign funding and embezzlement. Children were subjected to
grueling physical tasks often drawing comparisons to military training, all of
which was outlawed in a few years due to inevitable circumstances.
What were these camps all about, that forced objections from both the
association and citizens alike? How did they come to light in a different,
inspired context a couple of years ago?
Nazi training camps, for families
sympathizing with the Third Reich.
Inspired the similar Nazi-governed
depictions in The Man In The High Castle.
Acer pseudoplatanus is the species of the maple tree prevalent around
southern Europe which comes with wide and varied uses.
Its high demand since the 17th century forced forest workers to soak them
in minerals such as aluminium, copper, calcium – among others – to ward
off fungi damaging the wood before sale, hardening it over time. The
presence of hemicellulose in the wood also helped in the absorption of
moisture – apart from another experimental feature that changed shapes
over decades from round to semicircular to the current form that helps
achieve the desired effect, pioneered in variants around the world.
What objects, the subjects of much research for their quality, owe their
uniqueness to these reasons? What feature was this, whose accuracy is
reportedly difficult to replicate on a large scale?
The f-shaped hole in the violins introduced to
impart the right acoustic quality.
The Bethlem Hospital in London was one of the earliest and best known
asylums for mental illness in Europe that had become a tourist attraction after
its construction in the 16th century.
The place housed a certain local celebrity who lost his son to unknown
reasons at a young age and was driven insane with grief in the late 1500s. He
was out in a few years’ time and returned to taking solace in his profession.
Who was this high profile inmate? How did his ordeal indirectly come to light
a decade or so later?
His ordeal helped him depict Hamlet’s depression
following his father’s death in the story.
The Royal Small Arms Factory is an iconic site in the UK known for its
reputation in manufacturing arms used all over the world for over a couple of
centuries before its closure in 1986.
Among its most widely exported products was an object with an internal
diameter of 15 mm, bigger than most other variants and preferred widely for
its steel barrel and fittings which did not have to be continually polished. The
sale of these objects was banned to a certain group across the Atlantic, but
was overcome by private contractors who manufactured and sold it. A
subsequent variant brought down the diameter to avoid a much disapproved
operational problem – which eventually led to the object’s downfall.
What group was banned access to these objects, but managed to use them
anyway? What necessitated this change that eliminated the successful feature?
The Confederates, for whom the Enfield rifle was
the preferred weapon of choice and therefore
The width was changed to avoid the process of
greasing, after the Indian sepoy mutiny of 1857.
Aphakia is an ailment afflicting the eye that occurs due to the loss or the removal
of the lens, especially in the aftermath of a cataract surgery.
This rare condition was first discovered in ants in the 1880s and later found in a
few other animals who successfully used it for hunting. However, its biggest victim
was someone on whom the condition had a visible impact around the world,
noticing a sharp difference from the 1900s to the 1920s owing to the significantly
better performance of the blue sensors in the eye over the others.
What anomalous ability does this condition impart, that is not seen among
ordinary humans? How did people notice these unmistakable changes in this
famous European around the time?
Claude Monet’s impressions of water lilies that
gradually grew bluer over the years following his
Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist whose actions in the early 20th
century brought him widespread condemnation from the scientific community.
His hypothesis was based out of his observations made of various physical
features and their characteristics around the world. He also cited his observations
on marsupials and other flora and fauna for putting forth his findings that were
at odds with the establishment of the day, which condemned him for venturing
into fields he had no education in and accused him of retrofitting coincidental
evidence to validate a grand theory. He eventually produced his own relevant
cut-outs to help prove his assertion in one of his presentations.
What did he propose, that was eventually proven in the 1960s and is an
indispensable prerequisite to a lot of research in its field today? What famous
object or incident were the cut-outs compared to, in recent accounts of his life?
The Radisson Blu Marina Hotel at Connaught Place in Delhi has long been one of
the city’s most prominent hotels – best known for the ease and convenience of its
For this purpose, it was chosen by someone as the ideal place to camp around
the mid-20th century for its proximity to the erstwhile dense woods in Mandir
Marg and another location of interest – all of which were within a small radius.
The hotel authorities have, however, ensured that these rooms no longer exist as
part of the complex.
Who was this occupant, part of a larger team on an eventually successful journey?
What activity, that eventually bore fruition, was carried out in these woods?
Sunita Sharma is a renowned North Indian voice artist and compere working
for the All India Radio Station since the 1980s, doing shows for multiple
clients in TV as well.
Growing up in Kurukshetra and travelling often to her neighbouring states
enabled her to have access to and knowledge of the intricacies of various
dialects. Her most recent project was one she claims to have given her the
most satisfaction as a language trainer, for the unusual commitment of her
subjects to master a dialect over 6 months – a pleasant departure from the
trend of watering down the nuances of local culture in most depictions.
What project, her priciest yet and set in her home state, was she part of?
Lessons in Haryanvi for the actors
Antilogy is a special phenomenon in the English language where a word is its own
antonym – owing to various etymological reasons.
Some of them include – distinct words with different origins that happen to have
the same form, a single word acquiring opposing meanings, differences occurring
due to national variants of the language, etc. Among the ones causing most
misinterpretation is a word that prevails owing to its archaic origins in the King
James Bible in the sense of forbidding something or someone – whose usage
carries on in a completely different field all over the world.
How are these words better known – a hat tip to Roman mythology? What is the
latter word, that has often been an unusual sporting oxymoron?
The usage of ‘let’ in tennis to forbid a serve
that scrapes the net.
Subpunction was a practice carried out extensively in medieval
manuscripts of the 15th century with the intention of indicating the
omission of a word or two that may have been copied erroneously.
As hand written scripts began to decline in the 16th century with the
advent of the printing press, this practice found its way of sustaining itself
and became popular especially in the Shakespearan works of the time as
a ready-made means of expression to indicate a similar meaning of
absence or exclusion – which was then incorporated into most linguistic
scripts world over.
What quirky linguistic addition is this the origin of?
Among the most widely read linguistic journals on PLOS-ONE is an effort
by researchers from the Michigan State University, crisscrossing the Mid-
West and taking several thousands of speech samples in the characteristic
accent of the region.
The objective was to shed light on a topic of conflict in the linguistics
world for nearly half a century, that came about owing to the suppression
of short single-syllable words before or after a larger word in this accent,
in this case – a conflict between ‘for’ and ‘for a’, with the research
concluding that the latter was more likely, a fact supposedly corroborated
by the speaker in his final years.
What historic utterance was the subject of this research?
“One small step for a man, one giant
leap for mankind.”
Fiorello LaGuardia was a Republican politician during the first half of the
20th century – a reputed Congressman and a 3 time Mayor.
However, he’s best known for his occupation on the sidelines of being a
politician that came about owing to his proficiency in multiple languages
including Italian, German, French, Arabic, Spanish Greek, Polish, Ukrainian
among others. He was part of a team of about 500 people at his work-
place, helping the State expedite a process which came to an end in 1954.
Where exactly was he working around this time?
Langston Hughes was a renowned American poet prevalent around the
mid-20th century and one of the earliest innovators of the literary art form
of poetry that demonstrated jazz-like rhythm and improvisation.
He used this unique style to make important political statements about
the struggles faced by disenfranchised people around the time, soon
becoming a trendsetting icon in this endeavor, for others to follow. His
choice of words in describing these situations of marginalization were
perhaps best taken forward by a friend in the prime of his career, who
sought inspiration from his powerful language.
Who was this friend, who immortalized himself in the cause a few years
later? What famous choice of words did these poems lead him to?
Martin Luther King Jr, whose speeches at the time
propelled him to an iconic status.
‘I Have A Dream’ inspired from the various
poems about dreams penned by Hughes.
In the aftermath of La La Land’s success, several film commentators and
critics have attempted to contrast the song-and-dance movies between
Hollywood and Bollywood, to make some key distinctions.
One such critique suggests that songs in Hollywood films such as Fiddler
On The Roof actually move the narrative along seamlessly connecting two
different sequences, while those in Bollywood induce a pause in the
narrative sometimes offering relief while most other times bringing about
a needless break of momentum to the flow of the story.
What entities of grammatical punctuation were used to describe these
two different characteristics?
Among the most distinctive languages spoken by a given tribe is one
from the subcontinent that has garnered much interest among linguistic
researchers all over the world.
A recent study points to the short and sharp manner of exchange of
words to kids that helps overcome the disadvantage of the absence of
writing, with most of the language being transferred verbally. It has also
been suggested that the crisp nature of communication has aided the
success of this tribe in the characteristic profession it is known for, an
inevitability considering the geography of the region.
Which ethnic group of people owes its unique dialect to these factors?
+10, -5 on the pounce.
No partial pounces applicable.
Infinite Pounce II
The Po Valley in Italy is renowned for its wide variety of fauna that are an integral
part of local culture. Among them, the geese in particular are much-sought-after
and were exported in millions following meticulous considerations of weight to a
certain facility established in the 1930s in Kent, England.
In recent years, the company has moved its base to Guangzhou where the costs
and opportunities of manufacture have been bettered by the government in its
best interests. However, some complaints suggest that these products are tougher
to use in Asia than elsewhere owing to the ambient conditions.
What products are these, made ubiquitous around the world by this company?
Why are they deemed to be tougher to use in Asia, a matter of some controversy
over the years with several European visitors complaining about the difference?
Shuttlecocks, manufactured from the
feathers of geese.
Air conditioning within the badminton courts, said
to be much stronger in Asian countries, causes
enough drift to disturb the trajectory of the shuttle.
The sand dunes in the Thar Desert are a predictable phenomenon, occurring
nearly throughout the year. They are studied closely and made advantage of
by several local groups for various purposes.
Among the most well documented of them was by a group of 58 people
deployed over a year and a half, who were involved in the process of artificially
moving huge quantities of sand – about 50 metres deep – which often left a
distinctive impression on the surface. They closely monitored the direction of
the winds on a daily basis to ensure the mounds formed as a result of their
deeds precisely mirrored the naturally formed ones by the winds.
Who were these people or what were they doing? How did this reference of
the winds help them accomplish an important aspect of their activity?
The engineers working on the Pokhran nuclear
tests who used the sand to fill in the nuclear shafts
for underground detonation.
Ensuring the artificial mounds of sand created were
in tune with the naturally formed ones to avoid
suspicion by the surveilling CIA drones.
The Madrid Treaty of 1891 had far reaching consequences on the political
stability of a region in France, some of whose people openly revolted against
its provisions causing great civil unrest.
The contention was on the government’s seemingly arbitrary territorial
classification that apparently brought potential economic losses to several
people, which resulted in damage-control efforts in the years to come –
culminating more than two decades later, in a legal conclusion that brought
much peace and assurance to the people.
What was the issue all about, that remains a sensitive law to this date? How
does the United States remain unaffected by this worldwide legal ruling?
The use of the word ‘champagne’ to denote the
wine produced from the area.
The rule was brought up in the Treaty of
Versailles, which was not ratified by US Congress
thus giving them the liberty to use the name.
Layla Salih is an archaeologist specializing in the Middle East whose
discoveries over the last few months have invited much attention world over.
In a recent project of hers carried out around the Nebi Yunus shrine in the
ancient city of Nineveh, her team discovered a complex network of waterways
that carried water to the desert city where they were subjected to a series of
water-raising screws. Her findings help shed light on a long standing historical
confusion that has often been dismissed as a legend but might be clarified
with the new findings in the area, requiring a slight revision of history.
How did these discoveries suddenly happen after being missed for several
decades prior to this? What do the findings supposedly offer an explanation
for – believed by many to be a geographical mystery?
Made possible by the explosions of the
region carried out by ISIS.
The waterways were reportedly used to nourish
the Hanging Gardens, whose origins are still
disputed between Nineveh and Babylon.
Artocarpus hirsutus is a tropical evergreen tree species requiring a steady
rainfall to the tune of 1500 mm or more, making them endemic to the
They’re known for the high lengths of close to 40 meters the canopies can
grow up to with the durable timber setting them apart from the other
species in the region. Their popular usage in a certain ecosystem for a
decade and a half has invited the ire of environmental organizations for the
damage caused to phytoplanktons in the region, depriving them of the
required sunlight – among other things – required for growth.
What use of these trees, a subject of much scrutiny including by a state’s Lok
Ayukta, has been causing all these problems since the early 2000s?
The houseboats in the backwaters of Kerala, whose
wastes leave an irreversible impact on marine life.
About a couple of years ago, Lonely Planet had to make an important update to
one of its best selling editions to include an unusual immigration change brought
about at one of the most secure airports in the world.
In a change that was a first for any country, the airport – named after the
country’s first Prime Minister – chose to stop a worldwide practice in order to
help ensure a full holiday experience for tourists coming to the region, following
several disgruntled accounts from past experiences of Western tourists. This was
a move done to safeguard the multi-million dollar tourist industry in the country
and its neighbours, despite occasional periods of downturn.
What practice was abandoned, thus requiring tonnes of additional resource on a
daily basis? Why was this necessary for the tourists coming to the region?
Doing away with stamping the passport and
issuing visitor cards instead at the Ben
Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.
Arab countries around the region ban any tourists
with an Israeli stamp on their passports – thereby
depriving them a full experience of the region.
Accelerometers are physical devices which measure the movement of the objects
they’re attached to and have seen widespread usage in various fields recently.
Miniature versions of these – about 500 microns in length – were introduced about
a decade ago and used in a quantity of millions around the world. They were also
used in a certain range of helmets manufactured by the Riddel company – the USA’s
largest in the field – to help medical researchers zero in on a menace that afflicts
hundreds of people every year, following which a certain rule was controversially
introduced to minimize the impact usually brought about by an extended impetus.
For what specific feature of convenience were these miniature accelerometers
manufactured? What change of rule in a completely different field did they pioneer?
The auto-rotate feature in smartphones made
possible by the accelerometers detecting a
change in orientation of the phone.
The kickoff line in the NFL being moved to the 35-
yard-line to minimize the chance of concussions,
gauged by accelerometers in the helmets.
Curracloe is a quaint village in the Wexford County of Ireland that is now a
holiday spot for its forest trekking and the coast, fetching in modest revenue.
Around a couple of decades ago, the town’s economy had a major boost within
a year – an influx of $6 million through various means, including the construction
of service roads intended for heavy traffic, increased production among local
metalworkers and appropriate facilities put in place for a category of guests
upon instructions from medical organizations in the country. Much of this visible
effort ensured the town would become a preferred travel destination for years.
What circumstances compelled the town to undergo these infrastructural
changes? What group of people were brought in to this place around the time,
inviting criticism of insensitivity from certain quarters?
The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan
depicting the Normandy Landings.
The hiring of amputees from all over
Ireland to depict injured soldiers.
Thomas Baldwin, a man of cartographic inclinations in late 18th century England,
brought about changes to a series of maps in the interest of accurate depictions.
He found that the rivers were infinitely more serpentine and landscapes more
complicated than assumed, bringing out the differences in his portraits. His work
was soon much-sought-after by entrepreneurs, military spies and tourists alike,
much of which he credits to efforts that began in a neighbouring country about
a decade before his works, and inspired a tourist attraction at the famous
Rotunda in Leicester Square in the early 1800s that inflicted visitors with nausea
and dizziness but left a lasting legacy.
What innovation helped Baldwin to sketch the following renovated maps? What
word came into the English language due to this tourist attraction, headed by
the efforts of one Robert Barker?
Baldwin was among the first people in Britain to
take rides on hot-air balloons from which he made
Inspired the famous 360 degree paintings on
view at the Rotunda, which brought the word
‘panorama’ into the English language.
The Union Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 signed into law by President Lincoln
commissioned the construction of an extensive railroad network spanning
from the Missouri River in Iowa to Sacramento in California.
Contractual difficulties arose in the process owing to internal strife in the
companies – which was documented by Cecil B DeMille in the 1939 Western
film Union Pacific that also depicted the entire process of the railroad’s
construction. In order to leave a lasting impact on the viewer about the
subject of the film, the makers adopted a novel strategy at the beginning that
invited much praise from critics and viewers alike.
What unique and iconic practice takes its inspiration from this film, starting
more than three decades later, with a similar idea of a depicting a journey
along a well known path with an ambiguous destination?
The militant insurgency in Kashmir that began in the late 1980s was
responsible for derailing much of the normal life in the region forcing
residents to come up with desperate alternatives to sustain themselves.
Starting in the 1990s, nineteen specific places of public gathering for
recreation were seized by the Army and the State for their ideal setting to
help them carry out a desired activity almost on a daily basis. This
necessitated the growth of an illegal industry that came up then owing to
the advancement of technology and thrives the most in the Valley when
compared to any other major city in the country, despite frequent diktats by
radical organizations calling for closure.
What places were these, now associated with fear and disregard? What
industry is this, that saw a major boost during the 2016 crisis?
Movie theaters, now converted to torture and
interrogation centers owing to their ideally
suited low-lit conditions.
The piracy of movie prints, made possible by the
advent of the VCR in the 90s and continues
strong to this day.
The first ever cricket match recorded to have had an entry fee was one in 1744
between Kent and Hambledon featuring the best batsman and bowler of the
times – Edward Stevens and John Small – with the latter being frustrated by the
inability to be among the wickets despite beating the batsman on numerous
occasions with his unique and first-of-a-kind flighted delivery as an off spinner.
In the debates that followed among the fraternity in the aftermath of the incident,
a rule was introduced that was feared to shorten the game dramatically but
instituted in the larger interest of fairness and balance.
What prevailing convention, confused about the attribution of credit, kept his tally
of wickets low through his career? What rule change from this match contributed
to several more wickets to the bowlers’ tallies in the years that followed?
Dismissals via catches were only attributed to
the fielders with no mention of the bowlers
on the scoreboard.
The introduction of the middle stump – in
the absence of which batsmen were often
beaten but survived.
William Einthoven was a Javanese scientist who made his mark while experimenting
with the capillary electrometer – deeply investigating the theoretical principles of
the instrument and devising methods of obtaining the utmost accuracy by weeding
out any mathematical errors in the registered results.
While he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the invention of a ubiquitous device that
fetched him the Nobel in the 1920s, a recent journal informally suggests that the
results depicted by this instrument were famously made known to connoisseurs of
an art form all over the world in a tragic manner more than a century in advance.
What was he credited with inventing? How exactly was the area of his work
popularized around the world by a European subject with a certain physiological
The electrocardiogram, that helped depict heart-
beat through representation of electric potentials.
Beethoven’s arrhythmia that influenced his final
compositions in the absence of his hearing ability.
Kate Byrns and Richard Nichols are renowned British geneticists who had
an interesting finding in a research paper in the 1990s about a new
species of mosquito called the Culex pipiens f. molestus.
It was observed that they had been prevalent since the mid-19th century
in a certain harsh subterranean environment, profiting from puddles of
water enriched with nutrients from organic material resulting from unlikely
and accidental sources of interaction – ensuring a permanent supply of
favourable breeding grounds for successive generations of mosquitoes.
Where exactly was this species of mosquito found to be dwelling? How
did they first enter the public consciousness a few decades before this
paper was published, under compelling circumstances?
Yosef Shalom Eliashiv was an orthodox rabbi and Israel’s chief arbiter of
Jewish law until his death in 2012. Among his most controversial moves came
in 2004 when he outlawed the import of a certain Indian product owing to
religious reasons, much to the dismay of Israeli women and men alike.
However, it failed to hamper this ‘business’ that fetches about ₹250-275
crores annually – made possible by a work force of 1800, including several
voluntary employees working on nominal charges serving about 80
customers each everyday.
What exactly is this commodity, with its epicenter in India, that requires these
employees to work round the clock?