Archive for November, 2018

Winner: “A Dog,” then Schaefer Man, Carol St.Martin, TomTwin, and Eric

A full house tonight. Many young people were back in town, home for the holiday, and joined us for the game. So many players that we ran out of answer cards and had to turn players away.

“A Dog” surged to win in her very first game. She may have been the first to realize that Darin was messing with us, making the correct answer for the first 10 questions all the same letter (C).

Even so, there were some controversial questions. Many of us had trouble accepting that the first person that a newly elected pope meets is his tailor. Come on. Who thinks that it’s Luigi, the tailor, who comes up to the cardinal who has just been elected and says: “Hey, I gotta good news, you’re the new Pope.”

Good Question!: Which is the largest land living carnivore?

Choices: a. Indian elephant   b. Grizzly bear   c. Gorilla   d. Komodo dragon

Answer: Grizzly bear

Well, maybe not. Another controversial question. Many thought that it’s the Polar bear, not the Grizzly bear.

The largest living land carnivores are the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) and the Kodiak Bear, a Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) subspecies. Since they have similar body sizes, some say it is not clear which is definitively larger, but many go with the Polar bear.

Where does the Grizzly bear fit in? It’s a Brown bear, but a different sub species then the Kodiak bear, and not as big. So I guess the correct answer for largest land living carnivore is the Polar bear, then the Kodiak bear, then the Grizzly bear.

Who doesn’t love Polar bears. This is a nice documentary from National Geographic:



Largest Carnivore (land or sea)?

The Southern elephant seal is the largest carnivore living today. The record-sized bull, shot in Possession Bay, South Georgia on February 28, 1913, measured 6.85 meters (22.5 ft) long and was estimated to weigh 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb). Yikes!

Southern elephant seals dive repeatedly, each time for more than twenty minutes, to hunt their prey—squid and fish— at depths of 400 to 1,000 meters (1,300 to 3,300 ft). The documented diving records for the seals are nearly two hours for the duration, and more than 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) in depth. Pretty impressive, but then they need to eat a lot to fill that big belly.

Largest Land Animal (carnivore or herbivore)

“The biggest animals are plant eaters. The biggest land animal is the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, followed by other elephant species. In fact, the ten biggest land animals are all herbivores.

But why are the biggest land animals herbivores? It’s a matter of resources, and how to obtain them. There is a lot of plant matter, which is relatively easy to renew; if an animal is adapted to grazing, the resources are plentiful, and once they get past a certain size, there is basically no carnivore that will prey on them.

On the other hand, today’s large carnivorous land mammals, including the record-setting polar bears—which usually weigh around half a ton but can grow to weigh nearly a ton, are threatened in part because of the energy intake-and-expenditure equation. Massive mammals must hunt the big prey that require huge amounts of energy to locate, catch and take down. Carnivores, because of the cost of hunting, can never achieve the sizes and intake rate of prey of the largest herbivores.”

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Winner: Tall Paul, then Pluto and Eric (these old guys are NOT the X-Men)

Tall Paul slipped ahead of Pluto near the very end when only he knew that the Jaguar car company used to be known as the Swallow Sidecar company. It was forced to change its name after World War II to void unfavorable connotations with the SS initials.

Good Question!: What deviant (mutant) group trained at a Westchester mansion?

Choices: a. X-Men   b. Power Rangers   c. Fantastic Four   d. League of Extraordinary Men


Answer: X-Men

The X-Mansion is the common name for a fictional mansion appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Its address is 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, located in Westchester County, New York.

The mansion is depicted as the private estate of Charles Francis Xavier, a character in X-Men comics. It serves as the base of operations and training site of the X-Men where it was the training site for the original X-Men – Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, Jean Grey (Marvel Girl).

Where did all of this stuff come from? It came from the imagination of a comic book genius, Stan Lee, a guy from Manhattan’s Upper WestSide.

Lee passed away at the age of 95 in Los Angeles on 12 November. His death sparked an outpouring of love from people whose lives have been touched by the characters he created, including Spider-Man, Hulk and the original X-Men.

The comic book icon co-created Marvel in 1961 with The Fantastic Four, designed to appeal to an older audience at a time when comic books were mostly read by children.

Lee, who teamed up with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, revitalised the comics industry with his superheroes, giving them complex emotional lives to colour their all-action adventures.

As a writer and editor charged with keeping multiple stories going at the same time, Lee wove them together into a seamless fictional world where Iron Man could join forces with the Fantastic Four, and Captain America could find himself a wedding guest alongside Doctor Strange. The Marvel Universe he created crossed from page to screen in a series of TV and movie adaptations and changed the face of popular culture.

The Guardian has a nice obituary here.

But the best way to remember Stan Lee is to watch a couple of clips from his X-Men movies:




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Winner: Pluto, followed by Barbara, Frank the sports guy, and Chris.

Quite a surprise this evening. Chris, who usually gets in the winners photo by sneaking into the background and photo bombing, tonight got in the old-fashioned way. He earned it. He said after the Yankees got knocked out of the playoffs he had extra time to study.

Tonight’s game was setting up as a win for Frank, if only he knew that the Astros won the World Series last year. But he didn’t and that’s why he is Frank, the sports guy.

Good Question!: What is the most common gas in the Earth’s atmosphere?

Choices: a. Nitrogen   b. Hydrogen   c. Oxygen  d. Methane

Nitrogen is a chemical element which has the symbol N and atomic number 7. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.1% by volume of Earths atmosphere.


Answer: Nitrogen

This seemed like an easy question to most of us. Had to be Oxygen, right?

Not exactly. Nitrogen is the most common pure element in the earth, making up 78% of the entire volume of the atmosphere and is the fifth most abundant element in the universe.

Despite this, it is not very abundant in Earth’s crust, making up only 19 parts per million of this, on par with niobium, gallium, and lithium.

Nitrogen is essential to life on Earth. It is a component of all proteins, and it can be found in all living systems. Nitrogen compounds are present in organic materials, foods, fertilizers, explosives and poisons. Nitrogen is crucial to life, but in excess it can also be harmful to the environment.

In its gas form, nitrogen is colorless, odorless and generally considered as inert. In its liquid form, nitrogen is also colorless and odorless, and looks similar to water.

Nitrogen was discovered in 1772 by chemist and physician Daniel Rutherford, when he removed oxygen and carbon dioxide from air, demonstrating that the residual gas would not support living organisms or combustion,

One of the most important nitrogen compounds is ammonia (NH3), which can be produced in the so-called Haber-Bosch process, in which nitrogen is reacted with hydrogen. The colorless ammonia gas with a pungent smell can be easily liquefied into a nitrogen fertilizer. In fact, about 80 percent of ammonia that is produced is used as fertilizer.

Fun Facts

Liquid nitrogen is used to quickly freeze foods and help preserve their flavor, texture, moisture and flavor.

Nitrogen gas plays a role in the formation of an aurora — a natural display of light in the sky that can be predominantly observed Arctic and Antarctic regions — which occurs when fast-moving electrons from space collide with oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere, according to NASA.

Nitroglycerin, a violent explosive used in the production of dynamite, is an oily, colorless liquid that contains nitrogen, oxygen and carbon.

British Pub Fined After Liquid Nitrogen Shot Destroys Woman’s Stomach

A family-run bar in the United Kingdom has been fined £100,000, or roughly $150,000, after a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen burned a large hole in an 18-year-old woman’s stomach.

Gaby Scanlon, now 20, was served the “Nitro-Jagermeister” shot containing the anise flavored liquor and liquid nitrogen on her 18th birthday at Oscar’s Wine Bar in Lancaster, the BBC reports.

“I turned to the man and asked if it was okay to drink. He said ‘Yes’,” she said. Moments later she knew something was wrong, she told the court. “Smoke was coming from my nose and mouth. Straight away I knew something was not right. My stomach expanded.”

Scanlon spent three weeks in the hospital, where a large hole was found in her stomach. The organ was removed entirely and her esophagus connected directly to her small intestine. Her attorneys say she now suffers from “episodes of agonizing pain” and can no longer enjoy eating.

Liquid nitrogen creates a dramatic cloud of smoke in the glass. Cocktails containing liquid nitrogen are legal but can be deadly if the liquid does not completely evaporate before the shot is taken – so be careful out there.

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If you are really fascinated by nitrogen, the little known gas, we can take this a bit further.

The nitrogen cycle

The nitrogen cycle, in which atmospheric nitrogen is converted into different organic compounds, is one of the most crucial natural processes to sustain living organisms. During the cycle, bacteria in the soil process or “fix” atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which plants need in order to grow. Other Bacteria convert the ammonia into amino acids and proteins. Then animals eat the plants and consume the protein. Nitrogen compounds return to the soil through animal waste. Bacteria convert the waste nitrogen back to nitrogen gas, which returns to the atmosphere.

In an effort to make crops grow faster, people use nitrogen in fertilizers. However, the excessive use of those fertilizers in agriculture has had devastating consequences for the environment and human health, as it has contributed to the pollution of groundwater and surface waters. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nutrient pollution caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water, is one of the most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems.

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