The 1st Question - 20 Apr 2010 - Questions

1) NASA decided to take crowd sourcing to the next level, and that’s an understatement. They have asked the general public to submit suggestions for where to point the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s high-resolution camera. The public suggestion tool on this site, has just released the first 8 incredible pictures that simply would not have been chosen otherwise. What is the name of the site which allows you to suggest and track what you want to see on Mars?

2) Remember when we spoke of the HaptiHug? It’s kind of silly yes, but effective in gaining a physical sensation that corresponds with text-based affection. The problem is, it’s just not macho enough – and when you need to feel a simulation that has a different meaning, let’s say a gunshot to your torso, then you need this. It has a USB-powered air compressor and was designed by a surgeon. Yes game-activated internal pneumatic pockets can simulate hits from a pistol or an Uzi, along with the sensations of explosions, stabbings, and rocket hits, but no hugs. What is it called?

3) Shrink-wrapped is the name of a web series about a cyber-therapist but Shrink-wrapping also refers to a new kind of brain implant that essentially melts into place. Such ultrathin flexible implants can record brain activity faithfully and could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control problems. In people with epilepsy, the arrays could be used to detect when seizures first begin and deliver pulses to shut them down. The absence of sharp and rigid surfaces improves safety, with less damage and provides better stability. What is the base material for this implant?

4) Smoking happens, it’s a habit, and I am not one to judge, though I prefer chewing tobacco and Spores, preferably at the same time. Currently, cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate and although technically they are biodegradable, it can take as long as 10-15 years. 4 and a half trillion cigarette butts end up as litter. How about a 100 percent biodegradable cigarette filter... with benefits. The manufacturers say when it is placed under a thin layer of soil it sprouts into green grass shoots or even blooming flowers. What is the name of this cigarette waste that users collect in a planter instead of an ashtray?

5) 3D movies are box office Boffo - But 3D is not new at all. The earliest confirmed 3-D film shown to a paying audience was this film which premiered in LA in 1922. The camera rig was a product of the film's producer, Harry K. Fairall, and cinematographer Robert F. Elder. It was a projected dual-strip in the red/green anaglyph format, making it both the earliest known film that utilized dual strip projection and the earliest known film in which anaglyph glasses were used. After a preview for exhibitors and press in New York City, the film dropped out of sight and is now considered lost. What is the name of this film?

6) Something different this way comes… An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before. It certainly does not fit the pattern of supernovae or micro quasars. Yet its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. What network of telescopes from the UK has found this mysterious source of radio waves?

7) Sometimes in the subway the lights dim and I see everyone on the train as an avatar – a bit of a hallucination I agree but listen to this - In advance of the April 22 release of Avatar on DVD and Blu-ray an interactive exhibit which turns passers-by into blue-skinned Na’vi from the film using Facial recognition software, captures people’s images and transforms them as they watch. The morph is incredibly realistic it goes well beyond augmented reality because it isn’t simply superimposing imagery, it’s actually altering the underlying content in real-time. I would love to see this done for Second Life – I was an Avatar long before the Na’avi. The free-standing structure is comprised of multiple digital screens and centrally located at what famous L.A. mall?

8) Times they are a changing – once blogs were denounced by traditional news organizations until they couldn’t be denied and while we joke about the Pulitzer prize for best tweet, this is “history-making” because for the first time, online-only publications have won the prestigious award for editorial content. One had cartoons in video form and the other a nonprofit startup, a resource for struggling news organizations that can no longer afford to focus human resources on investigative reporting. Name either of the two Sites which won the Pulitzer?

9) Before post Modernism there was the horizon, and after Impressionism came Cubism. As the Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, Dutch artists were not able to leave the country after 1914 and were thus isolated from the international art world, especially Paris. Dutch Painter Theo van Doesburg started looking for other artists founding this a movement, also known as neoplasticism, in 1917. One of its best-known principal members was Piet Mondrian who embodied its principles of ultimate simplicity and abstraction, limiting his palette to red, yellow, and blue, and the three primary values, black, white, and grey. In 1924, Mondrian broke with the group after van Doesburg proposed the theory of elementarism, proposing that the diagonal line was more vital than the horizontal and the vertical. Is that like saying the x – axis is more important than the z or y? What was the name of this important Dutch art movement?

10) Anthony Masters' book “The Man Who Was M: The Life of Charles Henry Maxwell Knight”, asserts Ian Fleming conceived the plan that lured Hess into flying to Scotland, in May 1941, to negotiate Anglo–German peace with Churchill, which resulted in Hess's capture. Fleming possibly conceived of a plan to use this British occultist to trick Rudolf Hess into attempting to contact a fake cell of anti-Churchill Englishmen in Britain, but this plan was not used because Hess had already flown to Scotland in an attempt to broker peace behind Hitler's back. Who was the infamous British occultist Fleming thought to use?

11) We are of course hoping to have a show in 2013- heck by then The 1st Question should be playing on your mobile, but for some the end of the world is scheduled for December 31, 2012. While most of us will sweat it out in that underground shelter in our suburban basements, how retro is that! One company envisions a network of underground shelters located near major cities across the U.S. in spacious quarters for up to one year to “ride out the potential events.” At 10 million USD, they are luxury shelters, possibly a new term. Equipped with everything you need for survival including computers, exercise equipment and medical facilities with abundant storage areas for food, fuel, water, and clothes. Spaces in the bunkers are likely to be in the US$50,000 price range and so far over 1,000 applications have been received to reserve a place. What is the name of the company who is building these?

12) This robot can draw! Drawing has been practiced by every civilization since the dawn of humankind. Now Robotkind joins in as computer scientists at Goldsmiths, University of London have devised an algorithm that allows this robot to approximate an artist, as well as recreating the thought process that unconsciously occur when drawing someone's face. In particular, the research focuses on face sketching. Whose work might hang in the first museum of robot art?

13)She is an American viral video comedienne, and a life caster. Her popularity is such that a video about her wanting to order a cheeseburger got 600,000 YouTube views in a week. She is known for her "300-page iPhone bill", which earned her international attention and celebrity. As of December 2009, she has about 1 million twitter followers & her videos have attracted a total of 64 million viewers. She does her work with a $400 Canon Powershot digital camera and a $12 green rug from Ikea to create her green screen. She was also shown as a contestant on the 7,000th episode of The Price Is Right I think I should make her an Avatar –and get her on The 1st Question. Who is she, either her Internet name or birth name?

14) He is a legend and of course we hope he is watching tonight, As the creator of Spore and the Sims, Will Wright can pretty much write his own ticket. He just has signed an agreement with this Channel to produce programming that engages an audience. Known in the game industry for the systemic and scientific way that he approaches game design he was approached to bring it to TV. While we can’t wait to see what he comes up with, we really can’t wait for him to see this show. What Channel on cable is Mr. Wright teaming up with to deliver a program, hopefully ours?

15) Fuel cell and microorganisms are the wave of the future – from a modded virus that splits water molecules, to microbes which secrete liquid diesel, the Navy has been using small lightweight microbial fuel cells to power sensors. Now its goal is to develop one that is powerful enough to steer a small robotic watercraft. Think of it as a battery that runs on mud. In a microbial fuel cell, organisms feed on available nutrients and generate an electric current as they metabolize the food. The Navy calls it “a device with the potential to revolutionize naval energy” and is working with researchers at the University of Massachusetts with this microbe called what?


16) One of Britain’s best known and most controversial scientists, is widely recognized as the "Sage." He pioneered X-ray crystallography and determined the structure of graphite. He is also famous for having firstly proposed a type of space habitat intended as a long-term home for permanent residents. After an influential Marxist account of the work of Isaac Newton changed his world-view he published “The Social Function of Science,” probably the earliest text on the sociology of science. From 1959-1965 he was chairman of the World Peace Council, who was he?

17) His father operated a hand laundry while encouraging his son to get his education. It worked. Attracted to physics because of the clarity of its logic, he got his PhD at Columbia. Among his achievements are the discovery of the muon neutrino in 1962 and the bottom quark in 1977. He wrote a book with a great title, “The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?” And described the history of atomism as one of reductionism, that is the effort to reduce all the operations of nature to a small number of laws governing a small number of primordial objects. Who was the man that undertook this quest?

18) The composition of algae is changing, and as a result it’s nutritional value for other aquatic life is decreasing. As they are the first link in the underwater food chain, the algae ultimately influence the entire ecosystem, so climate change is exerting an effect on underwater life. Experiments were performed with micro-algae in a higher concentration of this. Their faster growth was associated with a change in its composition too, it had less nutritional phosphorous. What did the micro algae grow faster but not better with?

19) It isn’t the most legal way to dispose of a body yet, but with ashes leaving a big carbon footprint and land becoming scare in places for burials, this just might be the coming thing. It’s inventor, Sandy Sullivan, turns the human body into dust, which can be kept by grieving families, and a coffee-colored liquid which is then flushed down the drain. Glasgow-based Sandy has sold machines to Canada and the US, where five states allow the environmentally friendly process. He said: “I am getting a lot of requests from families and we hope it will become legal in Scotland within the year. What is the name of this new way to deal with the Body after the Soul has departed?

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