Think You’re Smarter Than Slate’s Books Columnist? Find Out With This Week’s News Quiz.

Test your knowledge of the week’s news.
Dec. 12 2013 11:48 PM

Play the Slate News Quiz

With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.

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-ster whom I’ve talked into taking the quiz on the record. This week’s contestant is Slate’s books columnist, Mark O’Connell, an Irish book critic based in Dublin.


Think you can ace my quiz and beat O’Connell? Good luck!

The Slate Quiz with quizmaster Ken Jennings

Believe it or not, a tenth of all American electricity generated since 1993 has come from Soviet nukes. A deal struck at the end of the Cold War turned 500 tons of bomb-grade Russian uranium into fuel for nuclear plants, and the last shipment of old warheads shipped this week. Celebrate by seeing what kind of score your brainpower can generate on this week's Slate News Quiz.

Question 1 of 12

"It unifies the Chinese people" and "It makes people funnier" were two of the "surprising benefits" of what, as listed by China's state media on Sunday?

Air pollution in eastern China reached record levels last week, more than 14 times the World Health Organization's recommended safe limits.

Question 2 of 12

This week, regulators finally approved the Volcker Rule, passed by Congress in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis. What, roughly speaking, is the Volcker Rule?

Question 3 of 12

Pictures circulated this week of first lady Michelle Obama looking distinctly unamused at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, while her husband did what?

The prime ministers of Britain and Denmark also took part in the funereal foto fun.

Question 4 of 12

United Nations-backed French troops are trying to restore order in what country, where the Seleka militia took power in March?

Question 5 of 12

What company hired Mary Barra as a factory floor intern 33 years ago, and this week named her its new CEO?

Barra is the first woman ever to lead one of Detroit's "Big Three" automakers.

Question 6 of 12

On Wednesday, what became the world's first nation to completely legalize the marijuana industry?

Uruguayans holding joints, green balloons, and Jamaican flags gathered outside Congress as the Senate approved the new law.

Question 7 of 12

For the first time ever, the wings in this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came from where?

Question 8 of 12

"It's more like you'd see on Mars," said environmental scientist Ted Scambos on Monday, describing what?

Satellites detected a temperature of minus 135.8 F on a plateau in east Antarctica, the coldest ever measured on Earth.

Question 9 of 12

Paul Ryan and Patty Murray appeared together at a Tuesday press conference, announcing a deal that they hope will avert what?

Question 10 of 12

Facebook engineer Dan Muriello says the site may add what new button, an alternative to the familiar "like"?

The button was developed to help users respond more appropriately to bad news.

Question 11 of 12

"The heart is a strong muscle; he's proposing a rigorous exercise plan," wrote Time magazine this week about what man, its 2013 Person of the Year?

Question 12 of 12

On Dec. 20, a factory in Brazil will produce the last of what 20th-century icon, after decades of production?

In its 63rd year, the famed "Type 2" camper van is still a hit in Latin America but is being discontinued due to new Brazilian vehicle safety laws.

Click to revisit answers

December 13, 2013

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Mark O'Connell

Slate's books columnist





Banks may not make speculative trades

Lenders may not be compensated based on the term of a mortgage

Credit default swaps are now banned on Wall Street

Do not talk about Paul Volcker

Took "selfies" with other heads of state

Shook hands with Raul Castro

Gave Hillary Clinton a little neck rub

Filled up on jerky and corn nuts


Central African Republic


Democratic Republic of the Congo

U.S. Steel



General Motors

The Netherlands




3-D printers

Cage-free chickens

Cloned peacocks

Actual angels

Ice storms in Texas

Drought in northeastern Brazil

A new record cold in Antarctica

Lady Gaga's duet with R. Kelly

War with Iran

A government shutdown in January

Cancellation of existing health care plans

A filibuster on judicial nominees





Nelson Mandela

Pope Francis

Elon Musk

Chris Christie

The Xerox photocopier

The Sony Walkman

The Polaroid camera

The Volkswagen van


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0 points

Mark O'Connell
Slate's books columnist

0 points

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50 points



Quiz Template by Chris Kirk and Andrew Morgan

Ken Jennings is a 74-time Jeopardy! winner and is the author of six books, most recently the Junior Genius Guides.


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