The Herbert Spencer Memorial Singles Tournament

Seeding Round 3


Editing and non-science questions by Matt Weiner

Science by Edmund Schluessel, Mike Davies, Jon Misurda, and Matt Weiner


1. Their capital at La Venta became a model for urban planning in the surrounding area. Their religious practice included infant sacrifice and the worship of “were-jaguars.”

Most current artifacts may be found at Villahermosa, including some made from the product of quarries in the Tuxtla Mountains. FTP, name this pre-Columbian Mexican civilization whose legacy is giant stone heads.

ANSWER: Olmecs


2. As a result of its implementation, the Joint United States Military Advisory and Planning Group was deployed. Formulated after a February notice from the United Kingdom stating that the UK would no longer be providing certain funds, it transferred 600 million dollars in the U.S’s first foreign peacetime assistance program. It was announced on March 12, 1947 to a joint session of Congress. FTP, name this policy which provided aid to Greece and Turkey, named for the President who proposed it.

ANSWER: Truman doctrine


3. Often considered "left out" of C and C++, they could only be represented as arrays until the addition of the Standard Template Library. In BASIC the variables that represent them and the functions that deal with them are suffixed with a dollar sign. FTP, identify this data type, representing a sequence of characters.

ANSWER: string


4. Cut in half from its original size by a Collas machine, its relative position within a larger work is that of Christ in traditional Gothic arrangements. Rough texture was used to reflect clenched muscles as well as thestrain of resting the right elbow on the left knee. Eventually representing a man in the state of transformation from dreamer to creator, this work began as a depiction of Dante planning the Comedia. FTP, name this statue from the Gates of Hell group by Auguste Rodin.

ANSWER: The Thinker [or L’Penseur]


5. There are about 100 million of these in the Milky Way. Each is about 10 miles across, and they can be massed when part of x-ray binaries, but not by other methods, since only x-rays, light and sometimes radio waves can escape from their gravity. The largest one known was the result of a 25-solar mass star’s supernova; larger stars form black holes. FTP, name these remants of stars, super-dense arrangements of a certain subatomic particle.

ANSWER: neutron stars


6. With sorted and reverse sorted data, its performance degrades to be no better than bubble sort. However, in the average case, its method of recursively partitioning the data gives it one of the briefest runtimes and therefore its name. FTP, identify is this sorting algorithm invented by C. A. R. Hoare.

ANSWER: quicksort


7. A history of his journals and letters was published under the title Pride and Negligence. His accumulation of papers was moved from Auchinleck House to Malahide Castle, from which Yale University acquired them in 1949. This man took a trip to meet General Paoli, after which he wrote An Account of Corsica. Another journey with his famous counterpart, whom he met in Tom Davies’s bookshop, resulted in the Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. FTP, name this author of Life of Samuel Johnson.

ANSWER: James Boswell


8. Essentially a restatement of the law of conservation of energy, it states that the sum of pressure, gravitational potential energy per unit volume, and kinetic energy per unit volume—density being the volume-derivative of mass—is constant at all points in a laminar flow. FTP, identify this equation, which explains why the windows in the John Hancock building fell out.

ANSWER: Daniel Bernoulli equation


9. He abandoned a book about a Florida architect designing the perfect baseball stadium, Fountain City, but he turned the experience of failure into a novel about James Leer and Grady Tripp. Another work, describing two cousins working in comic books and titled The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. For 10 points, name this author of Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys.

ANSWER: Michael Chabon


10. It is ten square miles in area, surrounded by walls and towers. Its shadow can be seen upon the waves, and it contains not only ancient forests, bright gardens, and sunny spots, but also, in a “miracle of rare device,” caves of ice. FTP, identify this structure on the River Alph, alleged in rhyme to have been built in Xanadu by Kubla Khan.

ANSWER: Kubla Khan’s pleasure dome


11. Once, Thrym stole it and buried it nine miles deep. Its handle is a bit too short due to Brokk being bitten by a horsefly, actually Loki, during the forging of it. Throwing it causes lightning, and it always returns to the iron glove worn on its owner’s right hand. FTP, identify this hammer wielded by Thor.

ANSWER: mjolnir [accept Thor’s hammer before it is mentioned]


12. It's named after a scientist who first noted the optical properties of calcite, and can be demonstrated by placing two sheets of polarizing material in the path of a beam of unpolarized light, and rotating their relative axes of polarization. Taking its average value shows that the intensity of light transmitted through an ideal polarizer is half the intensity of the unpolarized light. FTP, name this law, which states that the ratio of intensities before and after passing through the polarizers is equal to the square of the cosine of the angle between the axes of polarization.

ANSWER: Malus's law


13. A castle still stands over the crossing of it at Athlone. It runs through Portumna and Lough Key parks and past Clonmacnoise and Limerick. A system of canals connects it to the Erne, and it runs north to south, bisecting its country. FTP, name this longest river of Ireland.

ANSWER: Shannon River


14. There is a sign on the register here which says “If you plan on shoplifting, please let us know.” What you won’t find here is ice—you’ll have to drink your coffee hot. The bathroom features rough toilet paper and is where Caitlin Bree had sex with a dead guy. Located across the street from a video store, it employs Dante Hicks, who often has to remind Jay not to deal outside the door. FTP, name this convenience store at the center of Kevin Smith’s Clerks.

ANSWER: The Quick Stop


15. During this dynasty, Sudarshana lake and the royal highway from Taxila and Pataliputra were built. It rose from the Magadha kingdom, conquering the surrounding territory and negotiating the cession of Seleucid lands from Nicator. The minister to its founder, Kautilya, designed much of its structure, which prevailed until the overthrow of Brhadratha. FTP, name this fourth-to-second-century BCE Indian dynasty which included the reigns of Chandragupta and Ashoka.

ANSWER: Mauryan dynasty [or Mauryan Empire]


16. It was eventually sold at Portsmouth, and its planks were used to construct a flour mill. It was Richard Morris’s flagship during the Barbary War, and it later passed to James Lawrence, whose cry in a battle with the HMS Shannon, “don’t give up the ship,” went unheeded. FTP, name this ship whose 1807 encounter with the HMS Leopard, at which four sailors were taken as British deserters, was a major point in the impressment controversy.

ANSWER: USS Chesapeake


17. He touched on artistic subjects in poems such as “Listening to a Flute in Yellow Crane Pavillion” but did not hesitate to pen such works as “Drinking Alone” and “Song Before Drinking.” “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” “The River-Merchant's Wife,” and “Taking Leave of a Friend” are among the extremely loose translations made of his work by Ezra Pound. FTP, name this Tang Dynasty poet, who is said to have died by falling out of a boat in a drunken attempt to embrace his reflection.

ANSWER: Li Po [accept Li Pai; accept Li T'ai-po; accept Li Bai]


18. His regime included grandiose relocation plans which resulted in the bulldozing of a fifth of the national capital. Shortly after succeeding Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, he declared that his country recognized no supreme external authority. After ordering the suppression of a demonstration in Timisoara, he was deposed and, along with his wife Elena, executed. FTP, name this 24-year ruler of communist Romania.

ANSWER: Nicolae Ceauşescu


19. Its operation can be terminated by either party with one year’s notice, and it must be jointly renewed every five years. First headquartered at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs under the command of General L.S. Kuter, it was moved into a specially built base in Cheyenne Mountain in 1966. FTP, name this agency which oversees a certain segment of defense for the United States and Canada.

ANSWER: North American Aerospace Defense Command [accept North American Air Defense Command]


20. After 1844, he signed his work as "The founder of universal religion, great priest of humanity.” He believed that “consensus universalis” was the basic organizer of society, and he outlined a three-stage system of human development, proceeding from the theological to the metaphysical to the scientific. FTP, name this founder of positivism and sociology.

ANSWER: Isidore Auguste Marie François Comte


21. The Normal Horcones, Polish Traverse, and Polish Glacier routes are used by climbers of this mountain, which was first scaled by Mattias Zurbriggen in 1897.  It is named from the Incan for “Stone Sentinel.” FTP, name this mountain, the highest in South American and the Western Hemisphere.

ANSWER: Mount Cerro Aconcagua


22. Originally worshipped alongside Tellus, this godess became associated with Liber and Libera, with whom she shared a temple on the Aventine. The Ambarvalia festival in May honored her, as did a namesake April holiday. FTP, name this Roman goddess of agriculture and grains, the equivalent of the Greek Demeter.



23. He studied the “charismatic leader,” find examples in Kurt Eisner and St. Paul. He also put forth six principles of bureacracies in his study of those institutions. He is probably better known for a work which refutes Marxist economic determinism, showing the relationship between the rise of Calvinism and the economic system. FTP, name this author of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

ANSWER: Max Weber


24. The children’s jump rope song “Beat beat beat/Beat down Liu Shaochi” arose from this event. Eased into an end with the establishment of the Three-In-One Committees, it is usually marked as beginning with the replacement of Defense Minister Peng Duhai. Its propaganda often took the form of “Big Character Posters” on walls throughout the country, which denounced Confucianism and non-dogmatic communism. FTP, name this movement which saw violent Red Guard persecution and brainwashing in 1960s China.

ANSWER: Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution


25. Its suburbs include Bryn, Sinsen, and Bygdoy. It contains the Stortinget, the Munch Museum, and the Domkirke. This city on the Aker River burnt and was rebuilt in 1624. FTP, name this city, once called Christiania, the capital of Norway.



26. The Supreme Court found that members of this religion had been singled out by the wording of Resolution 87-66. The law did not ban the killing of animals, but only the religious sacrifice of animals, and the law was passed in a special session immediately after members of this faith announced plans to build a chuch. FTP, name this religion which won protection for its rituals in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah.

ANSWER: Santeria


27. This novel opens with the protagonist stealing a sack of turnips from Lov. The same man’s mother dies after being hit by a car driven by noseless female preacher Sister Bessie. Bessie was fleeing from a beating administered shortly after marrying sixteen-year-old Dude, one of the few of the seventeen children of Ada and Jeeter Lester who did not leave to work at the cotton mill. FTP, identify this novel by Erskine Caldwell inspired by an Augusta, Georgia thoroughfare.

ANSWER: Tobacco Road


28. The volume which it loses to evaporation is not replaced by incoming flow; it is also losing water to underground veins. Its main sources are the Chari and Logone rivers, and the the city of Bol is on its northeast shore. FTP, name this lake just north of N’Djamena, the capital of its namesake country.

ANSWER: Lake Chad


29. Set at a memorial to Victor Hartmann, it includes such parts as “Tuileries,” “Market-place at Limoges,” “Catacombs,” and “Unhatched Chickens.” One of many subsequent orchestrations was made by Ravel. Before each section is a repeated promenade; the other titles include “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs,” “Bydlo,” and “Geat Gate of Kiev.” FTP, name this Modest Mussorsky work about viewing art.

ANSWER: Pictures at an Exhibition [or Kartinki s vystavki]


30. Its constitution was established by the Wallon Amendment. Events occurring under this government included the Schaebelé incident, the transfer of Egypt to Britain, and the negotiation of the Triple Entente. Presidents included Emile Loubet, Raymond Poincaré, and François Sadui-Carnot, as well as the first president, Adolphe Thiers, and last, Albert Le Brun. FTP, name this republic which existed in France from 1875 to the rise of the Vichy government.

ANSWER: Third Republic


31. In living organisms they can be induced through the mRNA repair system, and they tend to occur in guanine-rich regions of a genome. They are most common when a long, redundant sequence is transcribed inexactly. They generally create nonsense results, unless two or more cancel each other out before a stop codon can be transcribed. FTP, give the term for mutations in which a number of nucleotides not divisible by three is inserted or deleted from the genome.

ANSWER: frameshift


32. As a mortal, he led an army against the Lamanites, then added the tale of the Nephites’ destruction to a certain book, which he buried in 421 CE. Resurrected as an angelic messenger, God gave him “the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim,” which he transmitted to a seventeen-year-old in Ontario County, New York in 1823. FTP, name this angel held to have revealed the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith.

ANSWER: Moroni


33. This concept was presaged in Keynes’s Tract on Monetary Reform, which described the effective limits of money supply expansion. If the economy goes below this level, bargaining power is too concentrated on the side of labor; wages rise too far, and an inflationary spiral begins. FTP, name this value, associated with the late 1960s work of Milton Friedman, which in any set of economic circumstances is the necessary percentage of people out of work.

ANSWER: natural rate of unemployment [or Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment; or equivalents]


34. Attempted explanations for this include: there is a time delay in presentation of information from the brain to the consciousness; memory is contantly overwritten to best fit what is currently seen; and consciousness is in a constant state of revision which can lead to time being perceived out of order. FTP, name this optical illusion in which an object flashed at one point, then another, can seem to be moving between the two points.

ANSWER: phi phenomenon


35. Invited by the United Arab Republic to preside over the opening of the Aswan High Dam, he promised that the USSR would not reject communism “until a shrimp learns to whistle”, but he did denounce the Stalin regime. His own ascendancy including the removal of the powers of Zhukov, Malenkov, and Molotov. Agricultural shortfalls and the Cuban missile crisis ended his reign. FTP, name this man, Soviet premier from 1958 to 1964.

ANSWER: Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev


36. T.S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, longs to be “a pair of ragged claws,” not a crab. The Book of Matthew asks for “our daily bread,” not a day’s supply of food. Both are examples of this figure of speech. FTP, identify this type of metaphor in which a part of something represents the whole or vice versa.

ANSWER: synecdoche [do not accept “metonymy”; prompt on metaphor before it is mentioned]


37. Named from its opening words, which mean “When on high…,” this text was found on seven fragmentary tablets. It describes the creation of man from the blood of Kingu and the rescue of the descendants of Apsu from Apsu’s wrath by Ea. Its last surviving line is,  “For three years and three months, one day and one night, the blood of the dragon flowed...,” referring to Marduk’s rendering of Tiamat’s carcass. FTP, identify this work, the Akkadian-Sumerian-Babylonian holy text.

ANSWER: Enuma Elish


38. A Swahili word for “familyhood,” ujamaa, came to describe his socialist national policy. He is called Mwalimu, “teacher,” as a result of his activities throughout Africa, which include harboring African National Congress members in his country and directing the overthrow of Idi Amin. FTP, name this founder and first president of Tanzania.

ANSWER: Julius Kambarage Nyerere


39. A man has lost out in romance to a girl’s guardian, a tailor, and left the city; however, word that the tailor has been sentenced to death for flirting causes a rush back. Upon arriving, we find that the tailor has been pardoned and promoted to Lord High Executioner in order to stop the pace of executions.The title figure orders executions to resume, and Nanki-Poo agrees to be the first victim within a month if Yum-Yum’s hand is given over for that time. FTP, name this 1885 Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

ANSWER: The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu


40. Ranging in length from less than a centimeter to 6 centimeters, the Antarctic variety has the unusual ability to go  without food for over 200 days by reverting from maturity back  to the juvenile state. Making up the order Euphausia, they  spend most of their days over 100 meters below the water's surface to avoid being visible to predators, rising at night to feed on phytoplankton blooms. FTP give the common name for the order of small, shrimplike crustaceans that constitutes  much of the world's zooplankton and the diet of many fish, seals, penguins, and baleen whales.

ANSWER: krill


41. It discusses the author’s disillusionment with Christianity, when he refused to believe that his many Jewish friends were hellbound and began to suspect that church rhetoric encouraged acceptance of oppression. It also rejects subordinating the self to “movements” in the description of a meeting with Elijah Muhammed. FTP, name this work whose title refers to a coming explosion of angry youths, a manual on how to “end the racial nightmare” by James Baldwin.

ANSWER: The Fire Next Time


42. He dropped out of college just before examinations in order to hitchhike through Africa and sail around the world. His first play, No-Good Friday, is categorized as one of the “Township Plays” along with People are Living There and Klaas and the Devil. His first success, The Blood Knot, began the “Port Elizabeth Plays,” named for his hometown. FTP, name this author of My Children! My Africa! and Master Harold…and the Boys.

ANSWER: Harold Athol Lanigan Fugard


43. Feminine garments and ankle chains, no longer in use at the time in the real world equivalent of the laboratory where this experiment took place, were used to speed up the process of emotional emasculation. Conducted in the remodeled basement of the psychology department by Craig Haney, Curtis Banks, David Jaffe, and Philip Zimbardo, it had to be ended after six days due to the dramatic effect which it had upon the subjects. FTP, name this study about putting “good people in an evil place,” conducted by a West Coast university.

ANSWER: Stanford prison experiment [or equivalents]


44. The church of this book’s namesake people was under the influence of Jewish traditionalists who focused on the Old Testament laws rather than Christian faith; thus, this book contains a defense of the doctrine of salvation through faith, describing the author’s personal revelation and asserting the equality of Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity. FTP, name this book of the New Testament, written by Paul.

ANSWER: Galatians


45. The teacher Ponocrates and the doctor Theodorus attempted to reform him, but such efforts were in vain; he later instilled all his vices in the abbey of Théléme, which he founded after teaming with Friar John to defend his homeland against Picrochole. His other exploits included stealing the bells of Notre Dame for his horse; while doing so, he urinated on the citizens of Paris, drowning several hundred thousand. His career of hedonism began early, when this son of Grandgousier and Gargamelle was born shouting “drink, drink, drink!” FTP, name this character who, with his wife Badebec, fathered Pantagruel.

ANSWER: Gargantua [accept Gargantua and Pantagruel before the first “him”]