The unknown unknowns

We’ve all been working hard at serious subjects on Secondsight, so I thought we might have a little relaxation by way of a quiz – which has nothing in particular to do with faith, science or theology. Test yourself and then go to the page which records my answers – with which I am happy for you to disagree.

1 What is wrong with gilding the lily?

2 Is permitting hands-free mobile telephoning for drivers good sense?

3 Women are just as good at maths as men?

4 Archaeopteryx is a missing link between dinosaurs and birds?

5 In the American War of Independence on which hill did the first pitched battle take place?

6 Who won?

7 Who coined the phrase “Let them eat cake”?

8 When was Magna Carta signed?

9 Does the name Lucifer appear in the Bible?

10 Ye Old Tea Shoppe is a good shot at Old English?

11 Electricity flows from negative to positive?

12 In which species are the males pregnant with young?

13 Who invented the first carbon-filament light bulb?

14 Who said “A portrait is a picture in which there is something wrong with the mouth.”?

15 “Elementary, my dear Watson” occurs in which Sherlock Holmes story?

Go to ANSWERS

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The unknown unknowns

  1. Iona says:

    As regards women being as good as men at maths, – I have read studies which find that there is a very strong, consistent and lasting tendency for both girls and boys to THINK that boys are better at maths than girls, even though measures show that they’re not. One study explored this via “attribution theory”, finding that girls who got low marks in a maths test attributed their failure to being “no good at maths”, whereas boys who got similar low marks in the test attributed their failure to not having tried hard enough.

    As regards the bread/cake quotation, am I right in thinking that it wasn’t actually cake (gateau) that was recommended, but brioches?

  2. Rousseau records in his biography “Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. J’achetai de la brioche.” This is the only written reference I know prior to Marie Antoinette, and of course it’s still secondhand. It has also been attributed to a Duchess of Tuscany. And to Marie-Therese, wife of Louis XIV. Brioche was rather grander than ordinary bread, but not as grand as cake.

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