Welcome back to Slate’s weekly news quiz. I’m your host, 74-time Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings.
Every Friday I’ll be testing your knowledge with 12 challenging questions on the week’s news events, big and small, including happenings in science, sports, politics, and culture both high and low. The questions are multiple-choice, and time is of the essence: You have 30 seconds to answer, and as the seconds tick away, the question’s point value drops from 50 all the way down to zero, so you’ll want to click on your answer as fast as you possibly can. There’s no penalty for an incorrect answer, so feel free to take a guess if your puny human brain fails you.
At the end of the quiz, you’ll be able to compare your score with that of the average contestant, as well as to the score of a Slate staffer whom I’ve talked into taking the quiz on the record. This week’s contestant is David Haglund, the editor of Slate’s culture blog, Brow Beat, who hastens to add that he may have been a bit distracted this week by the disaster in his home city.
Think you can ace my quiz and beat Haglund? Good luck!
Normally a full moon during the last week of October is something to look forward to: spooky set-dressing for Halloween fun. This week, however, the full moon's tidal effects amplified the flooding caused by one of the worst storms in the Northeast in a century. If you were in Sandy's path, I hope you rode out the worst of it and—now that you've found electricity—can show your mastery of the elements yet again, by conquering this week's news quiz.
Question 1 of 12
One of the first American casualties of Hurricane Sandy was Claudene Christian, a crewmember aboard a replica of what famous ship?
Christian was a descendant of Fletcher Christian, who led the famous 1789 mutiny on the Bounty.
Question 2 of 12
Who made headlines this week for joking, "You know, kids have good instincts"?
In a Rolling Stone interview, Obama said that kids could "look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bullshitter, I can tell.'"
Question 3 of 12
A remarkable shortage of what commodity has led Sweden to begin importing 800,000 tons of it every year?
Sweden uses trash incinerators to heat homes and businesses, but its people are such good recyclers that there's just not enough domestic trash to burn.
Question 4 of 12
The Coptic Orthodox Church voted this week to select a new pope to lead Egypt's approximately 8 million Christians. What unusual process is used to make the final selection?
Question 5 of 12
Fighting resumed in Syria this week after the failure of a four-day ceasefire, called because of what?
Question 6 of 12
Who was sentenced to four years in jail last Friday for what the court called "a natural capacity for crime" and $607 million in tax fraud?
A lengthy appeal process and the advanced age of the former Italian prime minister (he's 76) mean that he probably won't end up serving any time.
Question 7 of 12
What event made headlines on Saturday in Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands?
The earthquake in the British Columbian archipelago produced tsunami warnings as far away as Hawaii.
Question 8 of 12
Scott Forstall was fired on Tuesday, reportedly for failing to sign a written apology for what?
Forstall was Apple's controversial iOS chief, and refused to apologize for the much-maligned Maps.
Question 9 of 12
The world's most exclusive coffee is now Black Ivory Coffee from Thailand, which costs over $2,400 a pound. What is the secret ingredient in Black Ivory?
After the beans are harvested, they're fed to rescue elephants, picked by hand from their dung, and sun-dried.
Question 10 of 12
This week, a new Mike Huckabee ad used hellfire imagery to urge Christians to vote Republican. For what prominent Republican is "Christian" actually his middle name?
Question 11 of 12
Before Hurricane Sandy, what was the last weather event to shut down the New York Stock Exchange for two days?
This so-called "Great White Hurricane" dumped 40 inches of snow on New York, paralyzing the city for days.
Question 12 of 12
North Korea threatened to fire artillery at South Korea last week in retaliation for South Koreans sending what across the border?
An activist group used the balloons to float 20,000 leaflets of anti-North Korean propaganda into North Korea.
You got 8 out of 12 answers correct in 20 minutes 30 seconds.
editor of Brow Beat
Quiz Template by Chris Kirk and Andrew Morgan
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