Opposite in spirit to the Commentaries page, this zany page affords entertainment to those with an unusual sense of humor.
IAQ — Infrequently Asked Questions
Many websites provide FAQ sections to address Frequently Asked Questions. These oddments range from trivia to absurdity. Few, except perhaps Gautier Van Cleave, who can spit out from memory the long number below to more than 100 decimal places, asks any of these distinctly infrequent questions.
The first question and answer (though not a solution process) was in Isaac Asimov’s book I, Robot.
The last question and answer came from a friend at MIT.
If one and a half chickens lay one and a half eggs in one and a half days, how many eggs do nine chickens lay in nine days?
The solution process starts with the setup: 9 chickens × 9 days × (1½ eggs/1½ chickens)/1½ days
Because anything divided by itself equals 1, chicken and days units cancel and 1½/1½ = 1.
Simplifying: 9×9×(the reciprocal of 1½) eggs = 9×9×⅔ eggs = 9×6 eggs = 54 eggs.
In what year did Governor Ruby Laffoon confer the rank of Colonel in the Kentucky militia upon Colonel Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame?
Where is the famous hillside sign that says, “OHLLY WODO” when viewed from a far right angle?
The iconic HOLLYWOOD sign is located in Los Angeles, California on the south side of Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. The non-planar sign, which originally said “HOLLYWOODLAND” says “OHLLY WODO” at some extreme angles.
Under what name did Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru star as Chief Inspector Dreyfus in “Pink Panther” movies?
In case that name wasn’t long enough:
Who are two famous uncles of Alexander Siddig who starred on Deep Space Nine, but was born named
Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi?
1. Paternal uncle: the former Sudanese Prime Minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi
2. Maternal uncle: star of A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell
What do we call a violent altercation about 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751?
What is the difference between a duck?
One of the legs is both the same.
Combining curiosity with gentle entertainment
The following questions about nomenclature, historical events, popular culture, and technology have answers that would seem obvious, but those answers are all wrong. To see the correct answer, hover over Incorrect: Wrong answer with your pointing device. On a tablet or smart phone, tap the text.
Can the hover-text answers possibly be correct? Search the internet for yourself to verify that they are indeed correct. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Harold Butler and Richard Jezak opened a donut shop in Lakewood, California in 1953. The number of shops grew, and in 1956 the concept was changed from donut shops to 24-hour coffee shops. In 1959 as the chain grew further, the concept shifted to a casual, family restaurant chain and was renamed from donuts to Denny’s Coffee Shops. In 1961, the chain was renamed simply Denny’s.
What was the Lakewood donut shop’s original name?
Incorrect: Denny’s Donuts
Michael J. Fox
Back to the Future trilogy actor Michael J. Fox uses the letter J as an initial.
The initial comes from the name John.
What is Mr. Fox’s middle name?
Barack Hussein Obama Sr. and Ann Obama (who was previously known as Ann Dunham) were the parents of
US President Barack Hussein Obama II.
From birth through high school, what was Ann Dunham’s first name?
The Panama hat is a brimmed straw hat traditionally made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica palmata plant. In the 1600’s, long before the Western Hemisphere country in which the hat originated achieved independence, hat weaving evolved as a cottage industry along the coast and in small towns.
The Panama hat originated in what country?
The Contract Bridge card game involves bidding based on card holdings. In 1945, bridge player Sam Stayman wrote the first published description of a bidding system called the Stayman Convention. In using the convention, a club suit response to an initial or overcall No Trump bid requests that the declarer bid a 4 or 5-card major suit (depending on the partners’ pre-agreement.)
Who invented the Stayman Convention?
Incorrect: Sam Stayman
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, named his fast food brand after his daughter (his fourth child).
What is her first name?
As a young child, her mispronunciation of her first name gave rise to her nickname that suggested the Wendy’s brand.
What was her nickname?
Incorrect again: Wendy
Bunker Hill Monument
During the Siege of Boston in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, American forces fought The Battle of Bunker Hill against the British. The battle took place on June 17, 1775 and is named after Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Massachusetts. A large stone monument marks the hill on which the majority of the combat took place.
The Bunker Hill Monument stands on what hill?
Incorrect: Bunker Hill
The first started major architectural memorial to George Washington is a tall, towering white-stone monument.
This monument is located in what mid–Atlantic-coast city?
Atop that Washington Monument is a carved statute of George Washington.
What is that Washington Monument statue wearing as his outermost garment?
Incorrect: A military uniform
Suntory company of Japan manufactures a popular muskmelon-flavored bright-green liqueur called Midori, which is the Japanese word for green.
Growing vegetation, such as trees and grass, and traffic lights sometimes have a color like or similar to Midori liqueur.
In Japan, what color is used to describe such vegetation and traffic lights?
Incorrect: Midori – Green
Washington Crossing the Delaware
The famous patriotic oil painting Washington Crossing the Delaware is on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The painting is incredibly enormous: 12 feet 5 inches high × 21 feet 3 inches wide. Emanuel Leutze, its painter, grew up in America and moved several times during his artistic years. He settled in a large city for 14 years where he painted his great picture in 1851. His home city is on the far western side of the country, approximately midway between the northern and southern borders of the contiguous part.
In what city did he paint this famous picture?
Incorrect: San Francisco
Blu-ray optical drives use a laser to read and/or write information on Blu-ray discs.
What color light does a Blu-ray laser emit?
Modern telephony uses Signalling System No. 7 (SS7), in which digital out-of-band signals switch the in-band phone conversations. But phones didn’t jump from manual operators to digital switching.
They had to start with someone’s need and idea for an automated switching system. Almon B. Strowger invented the first telephone switching system that did not require a telephone operator. He considered bypassing the operator to be essential for his service business success.
What was Strowger’s profession?
During World War II, German submarines began targeting passenger cruise liners. A clever inventor designed a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes to sink the submarines. Constant frequency hopping over a spread-spectrum radio signal would prevent enemy jamming. The inventor and co-inventor, George Antheil, submitted their idea to the National Inventor’s Council, receiving a patent in 1942 for a “Secret Communication System.” The Navy classified the patent as top-secret but filed it away without using it during the war. Antheil, a composer, suggested using 88 different frequencies, and Navy staff may have thought erroneously that a piano had to be built somehow into each torpedo. Years later, the patent was dug up to use in sonar buoys for jam-proof communication with airplanes. Since then, this spread-spectrum technology has been used in wireless communications including cell phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
Who was the clever inventor who came up with the idea?
Incorrect: Radio pioneer Louis Hazeltine, inventor of the Automatic Gain Control circuit