Category Archives: Dr Paul’s Blog

Danger Danger

Writing a question about Louis Bleriot last week, I had to be careful that I worded the question properly to mention a heavier-than-air aircraft crossing the English Channel, as Bleriot did in 1909.

Of course, people had been crossing the Channel in aircraft 130 years before that, it’s just that they were doing it using balloons.

The first guy to do it was Jean-Pierre Blanchard, in 1785.

BlanchardChannelFlight

And it was while reading his Wikipedia page that I found today’s Wikipedia Quote of The Day:

He fell from his balloon and died roughly a year later (March 7, 1809) from his severe injuries.
His widow continued to support herself with ballooning demonstrations until it also killed her.

Nice.

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Dead Pool – January 2017

Right – I just got round to collating the entries for January Dead Pool.

Here they are The number in (brackets) shows the number of people who are backing that name to die.

Winner is the one who picks the MOST FAMOUS person to die in the month.

Trump’s been getting the headlines and lots of you reckon he’s going to get shot. The Queen had a cold at Christmas – that was enough to push her into third while her tenacious husband always makes a high ranking.

Kirk Douglas turned 100 in December, so plenty of votes for him. Maybe like Joao Havelange he’ll make the ton and then pop off in short order?

This month’s randoms include Keith Chegwin, Paul Chuckle and Jaden Smith.

Donald Trump (13)
Prince Philip (13)
The Queen (8)
Bruce Forsyth (6)
David Attenborough (6)
Kirk Douglas (6)
George Bush Sr (3)
Paul Gascoigne (3)
Angela Lansbury (2)
Buzz Aldrin (2)
Judi Dench (2)
Kanye West (2)
Maggie Smith (2)
Olivia de Havilland (2)
Rolf Harris (2)
Angela Merkel (1)
Bashir Assad (1)
Betty White (1)
Cher (1)
Chris Brown (1)
Cliff Richard (1)
David Jason (1)
Diana Ross (1)
Doris Day (1)
Fernando Ricksen (1)
Freddie Starr (1)
Jaden Smith (1)
Jimmy Carter (1)
June Brown (Dot Cotton) (1)
Keith Chegwin (1)
Keith Richards (1)
Lamar Odom (1)
Mary Berry (1)
Meat Loaf (1)
Mel Brooks (1)
Oprah Winfrey (1)
Paul Chuckle (1)
Paul Hollywood (1)
Peter Kay (1)
Prunella Scales (1)
Roger Moore (1)
Simon Cowell (1)
Stephen Hawking (1)
Steven Tyler (1)
Theresa May (1)
Tom Jones (1)
Trevor McDonald (1)
Val Kilmer (1)
Vera Lynn (1)
Vladimir Putin (1)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (1)

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Fact Clearup: Snakes and Bridges

A couple of points of order raised by quizzers over the last week or so:

Anaconda versus Pygmy Hippo

Who is the heaviest? Everyone went for anaconda but the Wiki pages are clear. Heaviest verified anaconda weighed 97.5kg while the Pygmy Hippopotamus can reach 275 kg. It’s not even close.

fakesnake
Another fake snake story

Nigel in the Brass Monkey Leith found a Sun article about a supposed 60-stone anaconda which would be over 300 kg but there are plenty of these mega-snake stories about and the sources are rife with phrases like “estimated” and “thought to be”.

Not the same as facts!

Humber Bridge versus Golden Gate

Last week at the Joker & The Thief, I asked for the longest bridge with the Humber Bridge and the Golden Gate as options.

I said the Humber Bridge was longer, based on a reference I’d read that said the Humber was the longest in the world when it was built in 1981.

As the Golden Gate was completed in the 1930s, I assumed it was shorter.

Grace pointed out afterwards that she’d had a quick look-up (after all the questions) and this showed the Golden Gate as longer.

Indeed, a wiki check shows:

  • Humber: 2220 metres
  • Golden Gate: 2737 metres

However, this is the total length of the bridge and if you look at the longest span (distance between the towers) you have:

  • Humber: 1410 metres
  • Golden Gate: 1280 metres

Luckily the outcome of that particular question had no effect on the overall quiz outcome but it’s an undesirable ambiguity and ultimately, a shite question.

1280px-goldengatebridge-001

But don’t worry, the person who wrote the question has been sacked and the database amended.

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