Monday, 31 August 2009

The 1st Question 63 - 18 Aug 09

This week's panel

Tom Bukowski, Eureka Dejavu, Spiral Walcher, Mykal Skall.


A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a person. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.
Lewis Mumford

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
Charles M. Schulz

Word-UP of the week - “Imagination Age.” - The Imagination Age is the time in which people are learning to envision the most innovative uses for technology and creativity to connect with each other for fun and meaningful work.
Eureka Dejavu

Maybe, but will they be able to decipher the contents of Hydra's brain?
Skye Vanistok - Audience Quote of the week


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) The Defining Issues Test measures ethical reasoning in five areas: Seminarians and philosophers are the runaway winners . After that come medical students, physicians, journalists, dental students, and nurses. Then this group of people follow them. Who surprisingly scores higher than orthopedic surgeons, business professionals, and accounting students?

2) A French philosopher, he is responsible for introducing the term altruism. The motto Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") in ("Love as a principle and order as the basis; Progress as the goal" His law of three stages was one of the first describing social evolutionism. His emphasis on a quantitative, mathematical basis for decision-making remains with us today and begat the modern notion of Positivism, modern quantitative statistical analysis, and business decision-making. Who was he?

3) “Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eye are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light- So begins this novel with an epigraph from Plato. The titular hero a lab animal, & has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told by the first human test subject for the surgery who has an IQ of 68, and touches upon many different themes for treatment of the mentally disabled. The surgery is a success and his IQ triples but it doesn’t last forever. What is the name of this book which made Pooky cry?

4) The "Father of American Anthropology, like many pioneers, began elsewhere- he received his doctorate in physics,- He is famed for applying the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies, his interest led him to "psychophysics," He said that “all service, therefore, which a man can perform for humanity must serve to promote truth.”. He lived for a while among the Inuit too. He extolled a method of science that begins with questions, not with answers, least of all with value judgments. Who was this great man who valued truth so highly?

5) This was apparently built entirely by Wu Zhongyuan in China. He used about $1,600 in assorted parts (like a motorcycle engine) and steel pipes for reinforcement. He figured out how to do it with "relevant knowledge found while surfing the Internet via his mobile phone." Wu claims that this has the ability to fly as high as 2,600 feet - but the Chinese government has grounded him for the time being, due to safety considerations. What did he build?

6) He was an American engineer with a political role in the development of the atomic bomb, he told Harry to drop it. He believed in a democratic technocracy. He introduced the concept of what he called the memex in the 1930s, a microfilm-based mechanized device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, Ted Nelson and Douglas Engelbart, were influenced by him in what became hypertext. Who was he that had a pioneering vision for the World Wide Web.?

7) He was a North African polymath born in present-day Tunisia. He is considered a forerunner of social sciences and modern economics, and for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known as Prolegomenon in the West), the first book on universal history. He developed the concept of a "generation," Some say he anticipated Marx’s theory of value as he asserts that all value (profit) comes from labour. Who was this man?

8) She was an American fashion designer and socialite, who traveled to China in 1936 and brought back the first live giant panda to the United States - not in a cage, or on a leash, but wrapped in her arms. With the help of a Chinese-American explorer she captured a nine-week-old panda cub. The panda was bottle-fed baby formula on the journey back to the United States and caused a great sensation in the American press. She also stayed at the Chelsea hotel upon her return to the US. Who was she?

9) It is an anthropomimetic robot under development by European roboticists. Their focus is to create robotics that accurately mimics the internal structure - & mechanisms - of humans. They are limited to using polymer for bones, screwdriver motors, shock cord for muscle, and kite line for tendons. Its human-like hand can easily grasp and handle objects, and has a handshake for its humans. At some point, it will be built out of materials that are much closer to human bone and sinew - which gets closer to building an android from scratch. What is this robot?
10) Here the natural replaces the manmade –branches supplant concrete and steel, marking a clear balance between natural and artificial architecture. The architecture becomes landscape itself, and waste materials both during and after construction is eliminated. As the branches of the pavilion it makes take root and grow, they mutate the structure and transform the architecture. What is this environmentally desirable build called?

11) This was sort of tastefully demonstrated by Doctor Emilio Lizardo in the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai. This is a device that takes information gathered by the sensors in a pair of glasses and sends them to a "lollipop" electrode array that sits on your tongue. What is this non-surgical assistive visual prosthetic for the blind that translates information from a digital video camera to your tongue, through gentle electrical stimulation?

12) A fantasy written by Johannes Kepler in which a student is transported to the Moon by occult forces. It presents a detailed imaginative description of how the earth might look, and is considered the first serious scientific work on lunar astronomy, also the first science fiction. It began as a student dissertation in which Kepler defended the Copernican doctrine. The book was published posthumously in 1634. What is this book whose name is Latin for The Dream?

13) Although King James VI inherited the English crown after Elizabeth 1for the Kingdom of crowns, Great Britain and Scotland were not a single body till The Acts of Union joined them in 1707. Many Scots were opposed, though it was claimed that union would enable Scotland to recover from this financial disaster The Company of Scotland became involved with an ambitious plan to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Panama in the hope of establishing trade with the Far East — the same principle which, much later, would lead to the construction of the Panama Canal. Settling in South America proved fatal for most The English Government, was opposed, since it was at war with France and did not want to offend Spain, which claimed the territory. In July 1699, after barely eight months, the colony was abandoned. What was this ruinous failed attempt called?

14) Pooky’s crush of the week was a Scottish physician, physicist, and founder of thermochemistry also part of the Scottish Enlightenment. He studied properties of carbon dioxide and was the first person to isolate it in a perfectly pure state. This was an important step as it helped people to realize that air was not an element, but rather composed of many different things. Then In 1761 his theory of latent heat proved important to abstract science and in the development of the steam engine. Who was James Watt’s close friend and mentor?

15) The statistics paint a grim picture - an estimated 2.0 million people, including over a quarter million children, died of AIDS in 2007 & two thirds of the 33 million who live with HIV do so in sub-Saharan Africa. New advancements in microbicides may help to improve this horrific scenario with researchers undertaking trials for a ‘molecular condom’ to prevent its spread in women. This is important because it "can enable women to protect themselves particularly in resource-poor areas of the world like sub-Sahara Africa and south Asia where…women are often not empowered to force their partners to wear a condom." Where is this life saving research taking place?

16) She was born in New York City, and graduated Vassar College in 1909. She taught at Columbia as an anthropologist. Margaret Mead wrote the intro to her book “Patterns of Culture” which had as its essential idea the view of human cultures are “personality writ large.'" She also battled racial profiling, saying "The best scientists cannot tell from examining a brain to what group of people its owner belonged... She wrote “The Chrysanthemum & The Sword” & influenced Roosevelt’s wise decision to let the Emperor of Japan remain as part of the negotiations of surrender. & she is on a postage stamp. Who was she?

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