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Planet Earth

Whalers, Watson, and One Lost Shoe

InkfishBy Elizabeth PrestonJune 19, 2010 2:25 AM

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The Friday quiz returns! This time, the subject is general sciencey news stories of the past week. You can thank me if any of this comes up on "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me" tomorrow.

1. The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission is taking place this month in Morocco. The IWC will decide whether to overturn a whale-hunting ban that's been in place since 1986. Under the current laws, Japan is allowed to kill:

a. zero whales

b. one whale a month

c. enough whales to provide meat for the restaurants that are licensed to sell it

d. 1,000 whales a year for "scientific research"

2. Japan was recently accused of buying votes from other IWC member nations, in hopes of overturning the whaling ban. Which of the following was among the allegations?

a. Japan pledged aid, or gave cash payments, to officials from other countries in exchange for their support

b. Some of the countries that agreed to vote with Japan in favor of whaling are landlocked

c. Officials from other countries were provided with prostitutes on all-expenses-paid trips to Japan

d. Whalers on Japan's "research" boats steal whale meat and sell it for huge profits

3. The world's oldest shoe was discovered in a cave in Armenia! It can best be described as:

a. more of a sock, really

b. an Ugg-like slipper made from sheepskin and wool

c. a sneaker made from a single piece of leather, with leather laces

d. totally disintegrated

4. IBM has built a new artificially intelligent supercomputer named Watson. This fall, Watson will compete against a human expert in:

a. Go

b. Scrabble

c. Texas Hold 'em

d. Jeopardy

5. Remember that YouTube video that was filmed by an octopus who stole a guy's camera and swam away with it? There's a new viral videographer in the ocean; you can see a sample of its work above. The video was made by a:

a. sea turtle

b. whale

c. shark

d. manta ray

Answers and relevant links are in the comments. Photo: YouTube.

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