Answers for May 1998

Amongst a strongly competing field our WINNER for May is

Thomas Chandler


Question 1

Who said this: “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the theory is, how smart you are, or what your name is – if it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.” ?

Answer

Richard P Feyman

Alternative answers:

  • Mr Charles Manson

Question 2

Did Alexander the Great have dandruff?

Answer

Yes – everybody has dandruff. However, I may be corrected since one particularly tedious respondent consulted a professional historian with Alexander specialism (sounds like another medical condition, doesn’t it) who said “Tell your questioner that it’s very unlikely that the Gross Alex had dandruff since the Greeks used oil, not soap, as shampoo and dandruff comes from dry skin on the scalp (or soap buildup).”

Alternative answers:

  • I assume so. He had everything else.
  • Well – he was sometimes known as Alexander the Snowdrift
  • Of course not! No person who is named “the Great” ever has or had dandruff. They may have happened to be at the epicenter of an extremely nasty, localized snowstorm….
  • Well, according to the paintings I’ve seen of Alexander the Great, he had hair. If he had hair, then yes, of course he would also have dandruff, at least at some time in his life. What he did not have was Grecian Formula 44.
  • “IT’S NOT DANDRUFF!” quote (through clenched teeth) by Mr A.T. Great

Question 3

What sex were the first computers?

Answer

Female. And not only that – my mother was one of them. During and after WW2 many women were employed in offices to type on comptometers (which had numeric keyboards) and similar machines. For a while the term came to mean anyone who did calculations of any sort. Anyway, let’s stop talking about my mother and let the sexist jokes begin –

Alternative answers:

  • Female, since they always took an hour to get ready, needed constant attention, and blew a fuse for no apparent reason.
  • Being full of vacuum tubes they were probably female.
  • Male. Actually they were rugby league footballers – you had to punch the information in to get any results!
  • Everybody knows that the first computer was a transsexual nazi hooker with and extreme sexual dysfunction. right? right? (hey, it’s my mother you are talking about)
  • ENIAC was described as “its tubes were not very reliable and it functioned for only brief periods…” so was obviously male. On the other hand, the first Cray, which came on the market in 1957 was “… one sexy machine …” so clearly was female.

Question 4

What (of significance) happened in Iceland on 4 June 1844?

Answer

The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) was getting scarce (this would have been in the morning) so museums all over the world began to offer large cash prizes for a stuffed one. About midday it got really scarce, when 3 blokes killed the last one.

Alternative answers:

  • Nothing. Ever. Trust me on this one. (Tell that to the last Great Auk as it sits on some dusty old museum shelf, regarding humanity with a baleful glare)

Question 5

What is the longest normal English word you can type using only the top row of a typewriter (qwertyuiop) ?

Answer

TYPEWRITER (The top row was almost certainly arranged to contain these letters, among other criteria, so that salesmen could easily find them).

Alternative answers:

  • QUERY
  • QUIET
  • PORTER
  • PROPERTY. I would suppose that there are longer words, but I can’t type them. My hands grow weary and I make mistake after mistake. I will never type a longer word than that using just the top row of the keyboard. It is up to you to prove otherwise.
  • WUOPTIER – this is the feather in a Tyrolese bloke’s hat. Really!
  • QWERTYITE, meaning a person who devotes his or her life to an extremely rare subsect of discordianism and worships the top 14 keys of the keyboard with paganistic rituals and the random sacrifice of America On-line discs to the monkey goddess Bubba….jeez…and i thought the questions were supposed to be /hard/…
  • TYPEWRITER but I think that it should have been called a QWERTYUIOPWRITER.
  • WIPTOQUERY – a question that cannot be answered in any other way other than in terms of the fluid dynamics of the dentinal tubules of a supernumary tooth.
  • PROPRIETOR (Not bad, not bad. Better might be WEREPROPRIETORPROPERTY – goods belonging to someone who owns things when the moon turns full)
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