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2009 January

Archive for January, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Thermometer quiz

Here’s another quiz: I can’t call it counter-intuitive because it doesn’t have much to do with intuition. More with simple knowledge.

Read the four statements below. Only ONE is correct. Which one is it? Answer is in the first comment to this post.

a. Fahrenheit defined the human body temperature (his!) on his newly invented temperature scale as 100. This got later revised to 98.6 degrees.

b. Celsius invented a temperature scale where 0 degrees would indicate the temperature of boiling water, and 100 degrees that of melting ice.

c. ‘Absolute zero’ on Kelvin’s temperature scale equals -273 Celsius.

d. Nowadays the RĂ©amur temperature scale is only used to measure the temperature of milk in the making of pizza dough.

PostHeaderIcon A man, a plan, a canal: Panama

No, this title does not indicate this is a post about palindromes (even though it is one).

Rather, it’s the first post in a new category: “Counter Intuitive”.

I had a long list of counter intuitive answers, situations, solutions, information and phenomena. A list of questions that you are absolutely certain to know the right answer to. The ones you would bet a LOT of money on. And then you would lose that money!

Unfortunately, I can’t find that list anymore, but I remember the following question from that list, one that tests geographic knowledge:

Suppose you’re on a boat on the Atlantic ocean. You’re on your way to the Pacific ocean, which you will reach by traversing the Panama canal.

When you enter the Panama canal, you mark your position on a map and call it A. When you exit the canal, you again mark your position on a map and call it B.

The question now is:

B is:

1. West of A


2. East of A

If you don’t know where the Panama canal is, you’ll probably just have to guess, look up the answer, and learn something new today.

But most people know where the Panama canal is and thus they also know that going from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean through the Panama canal takes you on an east to west journey! (The Panama canal will take you from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Panama)

So the answer is simple!

Mesdames et Monsieurs: Faites vos jeux!

(For those of you who visit Vegas more that Monte Carlo: “Ladies and Gentlemen: Place your bets”)

This is a ‘self grading’ test: After having answered the question and placed your bet, you look up a map of Panama and verify your answer: if you were wrong you mail me a check for the amount of your bet. If you were correct, you get to keep that money and may pat yourself on the shoulder for being such a smarty pants.