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Planet Earth

Watch Out for Comets! (a quiz)

InkfishBy Elizabeth PrestonNovember 6, 2010 1:41 AM

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Facebook quizzes may tell you which Hogwarts house you belong in, which U.S. city is right for you, or what your Disney princess spirit color is--but only Inkfish tests your knowledge of polar research volunteers and space similes.

1. Researchers announced this week that which technology seen in the Star Wars movies is close to becoming a reality?

a. 3D holographs

b. Light sabers

c. Death stars

d. Doors that slide open when you wave your hand at them, Jedi-style

2. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a surprising statement regarding the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, going against what has been the usual policy in this country. It said that:

a. Genes should be patent-eligible.

b. Genes should not be patent-eligible.

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3. A NASA spacecraft flew by a comet called Hartley 2 yesterday and returned a bunch of photos. All of the following are true about the mission EXCEPT:

a. The spacecraft is named Deep Impact--not to be confused with the movie about a comet heading toward Earth.

b. This comet is, eventually, heading toward Earth.

c. Those jets of light come from frozen materials on the comet's surface that are heated by the sun and shoot off as gases.

d. Hartley 2 was described by a NASA astronomer as "a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle."

4. Two recentstudies found that this much-touted brain food did not slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients; did not prevent postpartum depression when taken by pregnant women; and did not make their babies smarter.

a. Ginkgo biloba

b. Pomegranate juice

c. Fish oil

d. Snake oil

5. The Arctic waters of Baffin Bay are warming (no surprise there). To gather data on changing ocean temperatures, scientists recruited an unusual team of volunteers. They attaching their instruments to:

a. Illegal whaling ships

b. Polar bears

c. Penguins

d. Narwhals

Answers are in the comments. Image: NASA.

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