Esoteric Knowledge Quiz #2

Do your friends, family, and coworkers accuse you of being a repository of useless information? (Mine do.) Here's your chance to test your knowledge of obscure but interesting tidbits...

  1. What is the major factor usually blamed for Dutch Disease?

    1. too much lowland in too small an area

    2. too much of a natural resource

    3. too many seventeen-year cicadas

    4. too little magnesium in the diet

  2. What does the word farctate mean?

    1. stuffed full

    2. fluoroastatic acid

    3. play in an irresponsible manner

    4. pass gas

  3. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, when Dr. Soong puts the emotion chip intended for Data into Lore, the android sings a song. The song that he sings features two major characters, only one of whom is named in the part that Lore sings. What is the name of the other character?

    1. Abu Hasan

    2. Kassim Baba

    3. Enkidu

    4. Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

  4. Which of the following islands is currently claimed by Japan, but controlled by another country?

    1. Atlasov

    2. Iturup

    3. Wake Island

    4. Okinawa

  5. The following quote is an excerpt from (a translation of) a letter sent to a civil authority. Who wrote it? "In the second place, I was not even examined, let alone asked what my faith was, much less found guilty of any misdeed. Such a procedure, firstly, is counter to the Jewish law, John 7:51, where Nicodemus says: 'Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?' Yes, it is also counter to the Gentile justice, Acts 25:16, where Festus says, '... it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make defense concerning the charge laid against him.'"

    1. Johann Reuchlin

    2. Huldrych Zwingli

    3. Alexander Mack

    4. Galileo Galilei

The answers have been posted in the comments.


Andy said...

I'll take a stab at it, mostly by process of elimination:

1. Too much of a natural resource.
2. Stuffed full
3. I don't know and I don't care
4. Wake Island
5. Zwingli

Jonadab said...

The first two are correct.

1. Dutch Disease is an economic condition normally attributed to too much of a natural resource or, more specifically, the sale of too much of a natural resource to an international commodities market. This drives international demand for your national currency, which drives your exchange rate to a level that causes all of your other exports to be unable to compete for price on international markets, killing all of your other export industries except the one devoted to selling off your remaining supply of the natural resource. You end up with a very unhealthy single-product economy.

2. I ran into this word a couple of decades ago while playing Balderdash and have never forgotten it. I checked a dictionary to make sure I remembered correctly, and, indeed, "farctate" still means stuffed full.

3. The words Lore sings ("The sons of the prophet were reckless and bold, and quite unaccustomed to fear...") are from a song named Abdul Abulbul Amir. If you pay attention, Lore sings the title character's name at the end of the first verse. If you pay even more attention, when Lore uses the controls under his thumbnail to activite transport, he is singing words from another verse, which hint that the second character is Russian. Lore doesn't sing his name, but the song wasn't invented for Star Trek. His name is Ivan Skavinski Skavar.

4. Japan only held Wake Island briefly during the war and gave up any claim to it in the treaty. Today they barely remember they ever had it.

Etorofu, on the other hand, had been under Japanese control for some time before the war and was home to a significant Japanese population. Japan considers it to be rightfully a part of their northern territories, associated with Hokkoido (the northermost of the four main islands of Japan). The USSR (which calls the island Iturup) siezed it near the end of the war and holds it to this day. The Russian position is that this island is part of the Kurile Islands chain, which Japan ceded in the treaty. Japan and Russia are technically still at war, and this dispute is the primary reason. De facto, the reality on the ground now is that the ethnic Japanese population is essentially gone (deported after the USSR took possession), so the island will probably never revert to Japanese ownership now. But they will probably claim it for a long time to come.

I suspect a lot of Americans would guess Okinawa, knowing A) that we have a US military base there, B) that it was the site of a significant WWII battle, and C) that it's relatively close to Japan. However, the overwhelming bulk of the island of Okinawa is under de facto Japanese control today, part of the Okinawa prefecture (which also includes some other islands). It's true that there is a US military base on the island, but Japan (as far as I'm aware) does not object to this. (We are, after all, their closest ally now.)

5. The excerpt is from a letter Alexander Mack (a prominent Brethren leader) sent in 1711 to one Count Charles August, who had expelled Mack from his territory, along with a widow whose daughter Mack had baptised upon her confession of faith, in the river at Dudelsheim.

In the letter Mack asks the Count to "reconsider seriously before God, the judge of the living and the dead, whether this proceeding is according to the will of God, who established the authorities to punish the wicked and protect the good." He pleads that in baptizing the girl he was only doing as Christ commands, and asks that the widow be permitted to return to the count's territory.

The excerpts I have reproduced here are from The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack and are, of course, a translation. A photographic reproduction of the original German, in Mack's handwriting, is also included in the book, which I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in the history of the western church.

A third quiz is brewing, which contains questions contributed by readers.