Questions for December 2012

I got my motorbike back … well, what is left of it.  Maybe I can get going again with life now … This is Dr Bob’s quiz for December 2012 – please send me your answers to this quiz, either by clicking this link for an email template, or by sending a freely formatted email to – or, NEW FEATURE – by posting a comment.  Comments will be moderated, but they will appear here a hell of a lot sooner than when I get around to looking at the e-mails.

  1. Why did someone claim that the houses of Formosa have bends in their chimneys?
  2. What is the highest integer number to be mentioned in the Bible?
  3. OK, this is much harder – what is the lowest integer not mentioned in the Bible?
  4. What drug did Benjamin Franklin recommend that scientists search for, which if discovered “would do more for the common good than Descartes, Newton and Aristotle together”?
  5. The protagonists of O.Henry’s short story “The Magi” had “only $1.87, and 60c of that was in one-cent coins” – really?


  1. Better late than never…

    1) That would be a young-Earth creationist. Clearly Formosa is moving at a very decent speed due to plate tectonics, or otherwise it wouldn’t be in various places in the Pacific rim region to allow koalas and kangaroos to “migrate” from Mt Ararat in Turkey back to Australia after Noah’s amazing nautical feat. So by the time the top of the chimneys were built, the island had moved several inches North/South/East/West/whatever from when the bottom of the chimney was built. Thus a bend was formed in it. Believe It Or Not!

    2) 3. Holy Trinity and all that.

    3) 4. Why would Paul bother counting any higher? He only ever wrote 2 letter to the Romans and Corinthians anyway. And there were only 4 apostles, they just had 3 pseudonyms each.

    4) “Essence of money”, for Dana Ullman.

    5) Dr. Bob, any number of 1 cents coins from 60 upwards still allows the statement “60 cents was made up of 1 cent coins” to be true.

    Your humble servant, sir.
    Dave Hawley Esq.


    1 The con-man Psalmonazar posed as a prince of Formosa, and Edmund Halley craftily asked if sunlight ever shone down the chimneys there, because Formosa is near the equator. So he said the chimnys were bent, thus avoiding the question.

    2 200 million

    3 43

    4 “A drug to render natural discharges of wind from bodies as perfume”

    5 No – 60c in pennies would leave $1.27, but no more one-cent coins. Never mind, it is still a good story.

  3. I suspect Question 5 has been made, not so much to have people check, as to just have them read the story (and fine one it is too).

Have a go!

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