Questions for December 2014

This is Dr Bob’s quiz for December 2014 – Festive greetings. Please post yor witty/sarcastic answers as comments, in the box at bottom. I’ll try to moderate them quickly. At last, I’m trying to bring the pictures back into the quiz.

  1. What is this thing designed to do?

  2. Is this really Joseph Stalin, standing by the sea side?

  3. Leonardo’s design for a Military Tank – Spot the mistake!

  4. (No picture) (Hard) The series 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 + … never converges, so that it eventually reaches infinity; after how many terms does the sum get to 15?

  5. (Harder) Where is this race track?

For cut & paste:
(1) Yellow thing (2) Stalin (3) Tank (4) Math.series (5) Racetrack




    (1) It is a banana holder. For putting a banana in, to be carried under conditions of mechanical stress notably in the saddlebags of cyclists, who like to eat bananas because they are a source of potassium. When they peel a banana they say “O, K!”

    (2) No it’s not Stalin, but that really is Churchill in the middle. Possibly returning from Dunkirk?

    (3) If you look closely at the gears on each side shaft, they would turn the wheels in opposite directions – as the British Army found out when they made a completely faithful replica, for a BBC program.

    (4) 1,835,421 terms to reach 15 – to reach 19 and 23 it is 101M and 54,712 million, as I found using a small Python program. I have a file of forthcoming trivia questions and this one has been gathering dust in my file since 1988, when computing two million terms was not feasible.

    (5) Lhasa, Tibet; about 2.7 NNE of the Potala Palace. The good old D.L. might have nipped out to place bets on the horses, yaks or whatever was racing. Ah those were the days. May he return soon!

  2. (1) Sprinkler, I think

    (2) No, but it’s Winston Churchill on the right

    (3) The way the gears are connected to the wheels from the connected crankshafts, the front wheels would go opposite direction to the rear.

    (4) Meh. Can’t bring meself to put in the work

    (5) Unsure.

  3. 1. It is the lure most favoured by anglers in pursuit of the Giant Sea Monkeys.

    2. No. It is two early auditioners for The Village People learning maritime flag signalling for Y.M.C.A.

    3. The boring engineer might point out that the wheels driven by each crank would turn in different directions and be counterproductive.
    Oddly enough, this question took me to the highly fascinating report in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport (Theurel et al) “Effects of different pedalling techniques on muscle fatigue and mechanical efficiency during prolonged cycling”.
    But I’m probably the only one that ended up there.

    From personal experience, four soldiers in such an enclosed space would soon succumb to “pull my finger”.

    4. Paper, check. Pencil, check. Bottle of Shiraz, check. Solution……Chaper, peck. Chencil, peck. Dissolution, chuck.

    5. Using the average length of motor vehicles (visible) as 177.2 inches, I was able to infer that the race track was 316800 inches long.
    As this is 5 miles, I deduce that this is the Camptown Racetrack, oh de doo-da day.

  4. (1) Yellow thing
    Spare me days, it’s a Bananaguard! And although it sounds completely loopy at first thought, any parents just cast your mind back to when your kids came home from school with their uneaten banana smooshed and black down the bottom of their school bag after a day in the sun. Mind you, there’s probably a website for perverts who LIKE that kind of thing…
    (2) Stalin
    Doubtful. The chap in the bathing suit is Winston Churchill. Officially the picture is “Winston Churchill at the Beach, Deauville, France”. So I suspect, much as he may have liked to have attended, Stalin wasn’t there at the time. Also, he wasn’t much into rolling up his trouser legs at the beach. True fact! Also, Photoshop.
    (3) Tank
    The mistake is the crank driving this slow and impenetrable machine will turn the front and back driving wheels in opposite directions. So the slaves inside grind away while the whole juggernaut goes absolutely nowhere and does nothing while just digging itself deeper and deeper into the dirt. It’s a perfect metaphor for our current LNP federal government.
    (4) Math.series
    This is the Harmonic Series. It is at term 1/1835421 that the sum exceeds 15. If I remember correctly, “183-5421” is also the phone number of the captain of the Titanic. Or Stalin. Or something.
    (5) Racetrack
    It’s a dirty flooded race track somewhere in the northern hemisphere with what looks like a big screen in the infield. Unless those are digital artefacts, that looks like snow or ice accumulating against the screen and other buildings. So I would guess it is in Zimbabwe. Or perhaps not even there any more as it has been flooded and lost. Did it go down on the Titanic?

  5. 1. Yellow thing. A fruit fly trap, …fruit flies like a banana
    2. Stalin. Just stopped off to buy some sea shells
    3. Tank. Only sits the four people who are too busy pushing to attack anything.
    4. See also Euler’s constant
    5. From the sun angle (from south, low angle, midday), Iceland of course.

  6. (1) It’s the pen that Campbell Newman uses to sign autographs for his fans. Clearly it doesn’t get a great deal of use.
    (2) Isn’t that Jennifer Hawkins in the black swimsuit? Hang on let me put the new glasses on. Oh, sorry, it’s Christine Milne in her Barbie outfit (see today’s news stories).
    (3) Talk about a round peg in a square hole. Mummy, mummy, why am I going around in circles? Shut up, kid, or I’ll nail your other foot to the floor. Yeah, I had one of those but the wheels fell off.
    (4) n! X (n-m!) / (n X m – 1) > 15 …. Nah, couldn’t be bothered. Garcon! Another beer, síl vous plait.
    (5) It’s a “before” picture of the venue for the finals in the 2018 World Cup in Dubai. The “after” picture shows it as very dry and dusty.

  7. (1) Yellow thing

    Another fiendishly inventive “marital aids” from those clever chaps in from the Far East.

    (2) Stalin

    Hey Winston – is Len in?

    (3) Tank

    Wooden wheels, wooden top, wooden guns. Only problem is it “wooden” go !

    (4) Math.series

    1835421. At last a proper use found for the work computer !

    (5) Racetrack

    It’s the “Face on Mars” with its eyes shut of course.

  8. (1) Yellow thing. Plays music – it’s a recorder for arthritic monkeys.

    (2) Stalin. Can’t be Stalin because he’s dead. So is Churchill, who is emerging from the water while making a prick of himself.

    (3) Tank. Bit hard to steer the thing. And it wouldn’t work in mud or sand, and its Dalek heritage means it wouldn’t work on stairs either. And where’s the 120mm cannon??

    (4) Math.series. Too hard, Dr Bob. Infinity, I suppose…

    (5) Racetrack. It’s what Flemington will look like in 2018 after four years of the new Victorian government.

Have a go!

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