Questions for December 2016

Here’s the questions for December – no pictures this time.

1. In the original series of Star Trek, when the Enterprise uses a Tractor Beam to pull things toward the ship, you cannot see the beam at all – why?

2. And in the original series of Star Trek, there was a sort of square-looking transporter module for travelling down from the ship to land on planets, so why did they keep doing the “beam me down/up” thing?

3. After much strife, prominent Tibetans (mostly in exile) managed to get a national Tibetan Football Team together. Then, due to pressure from China, nobody wanted to play against them. Where was their first international game?

4. What is unique about the English word BONDMAID?

5. The Dyirbal language, spoken by 29 persons in NE Queensland, has not two, not three, but four genders. One gender is for males … what things fall into the other three genders?

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7 comments

  1. Some nice answers there, thanks. And Happy New Year … Dr Bob’s actual answers:

    1. Invisible tractor beam – with 1968 technology, within the budget of Star Trek (TOS) they could not afford to make or draw a light beam in the TV picture.

    2. The ugly, square physical transporter was too clumsy and expensive to film, so they invented the “beam me up” idea to avoid using it. But as one answer suggests, it could have been left behind on some distant planet.

    3. Tibet vs. Greenland (won 4-1)

    4. Whenever the Oxford Englsh Dictionary was revised, new words were added and old no-longer-used words were deleted, But at one revision, probably by accident BONDMAID was the only word deleted. Of course that then made the word notable, so it thereby re-entered the English lanugage and should have been added back into the dictionary.

    5. There’ s a book by George Lakoff: “Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things”. The four genders of Dyirbal are: (1) Males, of all species. (2) Females, fire, and dangerous things. (3) Fruit. (4) Anything else.

  2. Q1. In the original series of Star Trek, when the Enterprise uses a Tractor Beam to pull things toward the ship, you cannot see the beam at all – why?
    A1. Because the Front End Loader Beam, the Scraper Beam, the Steamroller Beam, the Compactor Beam, the Dump Truck Beam and the Mobile Crane Beam had already taken all six major colours, leaving the poor old Tractor Beam with a colourless outcome.

    Q2. And in the original series of Star Trek, there was a sort of square-looking transporter module for travelling down from the ship to land on planets, so why did they keep doing the “beam me down/up” thing?
    A2. Because “Beam me up, Scotty” sounds so much snappier and Star Trekkish than “Fly me up in the square transporter module, Scotty”.

    Q3. After much strife, prominent Tibetans (mostly in exile) managed to get a national Tibetan Football Team together. Then, due to pressure from China, nobody wanted to play against them. Where was their first international game?
    A3. In South Korea against a scratch team of workers from the Kia factory. The Tibetans thought Kia was good karma.

    Q4. What is unique about the English word BONDMAID?
    A4. It’s not an English word?

    Q5. The Dyirbal language, spoken by 29 persons in NE Queensland, has not two, not three, but four genders. One gender is for males … what things fall into the other three genders?
    A5. Given contemporary discourse re gender fluidity and non-binary genders, the other three Dyirbal genders can be whatever the 29 individuals want them to be.

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  3. 1. The early model tractor beams also attracted photons, which is why you couldn’t see them.
    2. a) I wouldn’t be seen dead in that 60’s outfit.
    b) the transporter beam was so much more reliable.
    3. For political reasons their first appearance was at the international Chinese Checkers tournament
    4. It’s the only word Ian Fleming invented.
    5. Everything else would fall into the other three genders

  4. 1. In the original series of Star Trek, when the Enterprise uses a Tractor Beam to pull things toward the ship, you cannot see the beam at all – why?

    Ye canna change the laws of physics Captain !

    2. And in the original series of Star Trek, there was a sort of square-looking transporter module for travelling down from the ship to land on planets, so why did they keep doing the “beam me down/up” thing?

    The model makers went on strike for more pay?

    3. After much strife, prominent Tibetans (mostly in exile) managed to get a national Tibetan Football Team together. Then, due to pressure from China, nobody wanted to play against them. Where was their first international game?

    Against North Korea where the term “penalty shoot-out” takes on a whole new meaning.

    4. What is unique about the English word BONDMAID?

    Most of 007’s female sidekicks had rather naughty names like Pussy Galore. So PC being what is now, they are all now known as “bondsmaids”.

    5. The Dyirbal language, spoken by 29 persons in NE Queensland, has not two, not three, but four genders. One gender is for males … what things fall into the other three genders?

    It’s true isn’t it? Queensland really is the fruit-loop heartland of Australia……

  5. Better answer … If you stack the letter os BONDMAID on top of each other and write out the ASCII code for them in binary, it draws a simple picture of Dr Bob’s head.

  6. 4. BONDMAID – Dr Bob, this is a really silly question, because in a sense, every single word in every language is unique in some way or another. Just like Carl Sagan said all humans are genetically unique – possibly except for twins.

  7. 1. In the original series of Star Trek, when the Enterprise uses a Tractor Beam to pull things toward the ship, you cannot see the beam at all – why?
    A1. It is a magnetic beam, not emitting any light. Or is it because it works using only the powerful charisma of Captain Kirk?

    2. And in the original series of Star Trek, there was a sort of square-looking transporter module for travelling down from the ship to land on planets, so why did they keep doing the “beam me down/up” thing?
    A2. Beaming up and down was faster and apparently more environmentally-friendly. Travelling by transporter module was the less preferred option as it was often piloted by the “crew member in the red shirt” so the remaining passengers could never be sure if there would be someone sober enough or alive enough to drive back to the Enterprise after the inevitable nasty incident on the planet surface and they’d end up having to beam up anyway, leaving the transporter module stranded on the planet surface at a great cost to the average Federation taxpayer.

    3. After much strife, prominent Tibetans (mostly in exile) managed to get a national Tibetan Football Team together. Then, due to pressure from China, nobody wanted to play against them. Where was their first international game?
    A3. Before Google: on a football pitch (droll)… after Google, in Denmark, against Greenland. Big piece of useless trivia, I have also played footy (the Aussie variety) in Denmark, not against Greenland but it was on “green land”… Note to self, must remember to arrange for that sense of humour transplant.

    4. What is unique about the English word BONDMAID?
    A4. The only eight-letter word to appear entirely in CAPS in this quiz? The shortest word that requires the use of every finger when using a standard QWERTY keyboard – not counting thumbs as fingers? What Bond girls are called before he gets his “hands” on them? The only word in the English language whose letters can be rearranged to spell “MAD? DOB IN!” (punctuation added for effect)? Bondmaids never answered questions with more questions?

    5. The Dyirbal language, spoken by 29 persons in NE Queensland, has not two, not three, but four genders. One gender is for males … what things fall into the other three genders?
    A5. Without checking Google: Assuming one gender for males and the other three apply exclusively to females: b) Women who haven’t had a child, c) women who are pregnant, d) women who have had children or who are too old to have children. Or, assuming it is going to be something that perhaps made more logical sense to the Dyirbal, perhaps it is b) women, animals and plants; c) rivers, rocks and mountains; d) whatever is left over and doesn’t fit into the first three categories. After checking Google: I’m happier with the second part of my answer!

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