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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday December 7, 2009

Here are the past questions which were used in this Noggin Hoggin' Challenge, along with the answers we accepted and an explanation.

 

Bonus Question (Head Start Clue)

 

There is a place in Canada where the homes are likened to some flavourful kidney shaped treats all in a row. What are the first 3 digits in the postal code of this area?

Acceptable answers:
A1C
A1W
A1E
A1K

Explanation:

Known for the brilliant colored Victorian Heritage homes Jelly Bean Row is a general reference to a number of streets in the downtown core of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador that were all built at the end of the 1800s following the massive destruction of the downtown core by the great fire of 1892.

St. John's originally began as a fishing outpost for European fishermen; St. John's is the oldest English-founded settlement in North America. John Cabot sailed into its harbour in June 1497. Homes were originally simple, small, and constructed out of wood.

 

With the great fire of 1892, much of the downtown core of St. John's was destroyed. Most of the row houses date from this era when much of the core was rebuilt with brightly coloured Victorian style row homes. Often compared to the styles of San Francisco, the homes of St. John's are painted brightly, unlike most other parts in Canada.

As the streets most commonly referred to as Jelly Bean Row all exist in the core of the downtown area of St. John's, they can be found in any of the starting postal codes of A1C, A1E, A1W, or A1K.


 

Question for Monday December 7, 2009:
There is a small town in Canada in the Rural Municipality of Big Quill. Although it's too small to be enumerated, it is named after a much larger and much more dangerous city on the other side of the world where a British victory took place in the 1800s. What is the name of the mayor of the larger city? (include his middle name)

Acceptable answers:
Ghulam Hayder Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hameedi
Ghulam Hayder Hameedi

Explanation:

Located about 160 km north of Regina, the tiny community of Kandahar, Saskatchewan owes its beginnings to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The town was named to celebrate a 1839 British victory in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The village is mostly a farming community with grain and livestock being the major products. The village prospered until the 1930s but gradually slipped into oblivion with the closure of its school and post office.

The city of Kandahar, Afghanistan was founded around 330 BC by Alexander the Great and has had many conquerors since. This city owes is past prosperity and financial appeal along with its current hardship to the fact that it is also in a very convenient location. The city sits on a major trade route from Asia to the West and has been a strategic military and trade locale for thousands of years. Kandahar is still a major market city; trading grain, livestock, silk, and also tobacco. Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed Ghulam Haider Hamidi as mayor two years ago.

There is another small town in Saskatchewan called Wynyard that has the same name as a town in Tasmania. Although this might seem to be the proper choice, there are 3 main reasons that this would not be correct:

  1. Wynyard, SK is named after the family name of a Canadian Pacific Railway official. It's relationship to the name of the town in Tasmania is completely coincidental.
  2. Wynyard is large enough to be enumerated (population counted in a census), at approximately 2000 people.
  3. There have been no major British battle victories in Wynyard, Tasmania.


 

Question for Tuesday December 8, 2009:
Hand signals have always been important in communication. A well-known example is American Sign Language used by those hard of hearing. As well, many different systems are used for specialized purposes, such as by ground crews communicating with aircraft. A pioneer in the use of another system of hand signals, even though he only had sight in one eye, passed away earlier this year. His first use of these signals was around 1943 and 1944, but they were not made official by his organization until 1956. What was his larger than life nickname?

Acceptable answers:
The Big Whistle
Big Whistle

Explanation:

Bill "The Big Whistle" Chadwick was born in New York City in 1915 and had a love for hockey. After losing the sight in his right eye in 1935 when it was hit by a puck (nobody wore helmets, much less visors, in those days), and then taking a stick in his left eye in 1936, his playing career was over. Bill soon found another way of feeding his passion - he became an official. One cold winter night at a New York Rovers game, he got a call. The referee who was supposed to officiate the game couldn't make it because of severe weather. All Bill said in response was "Where's the whistle?".

During an especially noisy Stanley Cup Finals game, Bill tried to yell over the crowd to the timekeeper but couldn't get his point across. He came up with this signal for holding:

He started using these hand signals around 1943 but the National Hockey League did not use them officially until 1956, the year after Bill retired. Bill continued in the hockey world as a broadcaster, first on the radio with Marv Albert and then on television with Jim Gordon. The nickname came about in 1969 as a joke and it stuck. Bill was initiated into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964 for his work, not only as a referee, but as an innovator in his field.


Bill "The Big Whistle" Chadwick
October 10, 1915 - October 24, 2009
"I used to get a chuckle in a game when I'd hear a fan yell, 'You're blind, Chadwick.' I knew they were half right."


 

Question for Wednesday December 9, 2009:
Los Angeles - Berlin - __________ - __________ - London - Helsinki

What two cities were originally supposed to fill in the blanks? (Write your answers in order, separated by one comma and one space)

Acceptable answers:
Tokyo, London

Explanation:

The two cities we are looking for are Tokyo (Japan) and London (England).

The first step to this question is to realize that one of the things that the four cities have in common is that they have all hosted the Summer Olympic Games (some even more than once). The next step is to see if the particular sequence shown occurred. The Summer Olympic Games are held every 4 years. If we go back in history to when Los Angeles and Berlin hosted the games back to back, we see that World War II fell right afterwards, with a result being that the two Olympics which would have been held during that period were canceled.

Japan was originally to have held the 1940 Summer Olympics. Even before WWII erupted, Japan abandoned their bid to host the games due to political controversy surrounding them. Japan and China were already locked in war with each other - the Sino-Japanese War started in 1937 and lasted until 1945. Many countries supported China in this war and were going to boycott the Olympics because of its location in Japan. Some believe that the American support of China was an important contributor to the reasons behind the attack of Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. After stripping Japan of its Olympic status, the IOC (International Olympics Committee) then awarded the games to Helsinki, Finland who was the runner up in the bidding. The games were to be held in July of 1940, but due to WWII breaking out in Europe, the Olympics were suspended and Helsinki didn't host them either. But the question asked for the original city, so Tokyo would be the answer for the first blank.

London, England was to have held the 1944 Olympics, so the answer to the second blank would be London. Once again, because of the war, the Olympics were canceled. After the war ended in 1945, the IOC decided that the 1948 games should be given to London in place of the 1944 event. Then, because they had their bid suspended, Helsinki was awarded the 1952 Olympics.

After the war, Tokyo renewed their bid for the Summer Olympics and was awarded the 1964 games, the first Olympics to be held in Asia. As an homage to victims and survivors, Yoshinori Sakai was chosen as the carrier of the flame because he was born on the same day that the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima - August 6, 1945.


 

Question for Thursday December 10, 2009:
Songs are a major fixture of the Christmas season. One such song was originally written in neither of Canada's official languages but has earned a significant place in Canadian history. The writer of this song also wrote something else that was integral to trade and missions during an unsettled time. After his death, he was bestowed with a very rare designation. How many other Canadians share the same honour that he received?

Acceptable answers:
9
nine
7
seven

Explanation:

Father Jean (John) de Brébeuf was a Jesuit missionary in the 1600's. Along with other priests, he worked hand in hand with the Huron people. His first challenge was, of course, to learn their language. To do this, he wrote a Huron to French dictionary and grammar guide to share with the other missionaries. Afterwards, he penned "The Huron Carol". He gave it as a gift to the Huron people and used it as a tool to spread the word of Jesus. Because the Huron language was oral and not written, many people have tried to make it their own through transliteration, direct translation, and poetic interpretation. This resulted in many different versions being created over the last few centuries.

Translation
Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa 'ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa 'ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia
Have courage, you who are human beings:
Jesus, he is born
The okie spirit who enslaved us has fled
Don't listen to him for he corrupts the spirits of our thoughts
Jesus, he is born
 
Poetic Version
Copyright 1926 Jesse Edgar Middleton
'Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Father Jean de Brébeuf was martyred in 1649 and along with 7 other Jesuit missionaries became known as the Canadian Martyrs. He was canonized in 1930; he then became Saint Jean de Brébeuf. There is some confusion between beatification and canonization. Beatification is a declaration by the Pope that a dead person is in a state of bliss, constituting a step toward canonization and permitting public veneration. Canonization is the official naming of a dead person as a Saint. There are only 10 Canadians who have been specifically named to the sainthood:

  • Saint Jean (John) de Brébeuf
  • Saint Gabriel Lalemont
  • Saint Charles Garnier
  • Saint Isaac Jogues
  • Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys
  • Saint Jean de La Lande
  • Saint Noel Chabanel
  • Saint René Goupil
  • Saint Margaret d'Youville
  • Saint Antoine Daniel

The question asked "How many other Canadians share this honour?". As there are two distinct honours that were given to Jean de Brébeuf, both 7 & 9 are acceptable answers to this question. There were a total of eight Martyrs or ten Canadian Saints. If you subtract Jean from either group you are left with 7 or 9. There are many more Canadians that have the title of Blessed and Venerable.


 

Question for Friday December 11, 2009:

 

Banned on account of fetor?! On what street is the designated taxi stand for the building nicknamed after its resemblance to this controversial comestible? We didn't make this picture up - this sign actually exists somewhere!

Acceptable answers:
Raffles Avenue
Raffles Ave
Raffles Street
Raffles St

Explanation:
To figure this problem out, you had to know, or find out, what fetor and comestible mean.

Fetor is another word for a strong, foul smell. This word comes from the latin fetere which means "to stink". You may have heard of the word fetid before, which is the corresponding adjective.

Comestible is another word for an item of food. This word comes from the latin comestibilis which means "eaten up". You have probably heard of the word edible before, which is the corresponding adjective.

We therefore have a very stinky food that has been banned somewhere.

 

The durian is a seasonal, strong smelling fruit hailing from southeast Asia, and consumed there since prehistoric times. It infamously evokes extreme and contradictory responses from those who encounter or consume it, ranging from deep appreciation to intense disgust. Durian is very popular in Asia and therefore quite expensive ($9 - $16 CDN each!).

The whole fruit is typically very large (1 foot long × 1/2 foot wide) and armed with a thick, thorny husk. In fact, the name durian comes from the Malay word duri, which means thorn. The edible portion, the aril or false-fruit, covers the seeds within (such as in pomegranates and lychees). This "pulp" is creamy and its flavour varies dramatically based on variety and ripeness. There are presently about 30 recognised species of durian.

To those who love it, durian is revered as the "King of the Fruits" and may even be described as fragrant. It has been variously characterized as tasting like custard, caramel, cream cheese, roasted almonds, and blancmange.

Those offended by the smell have likened it to sewage, turpentine, decomposing meat, vomit, skunk spray, rotting onions, sweaty socks, and much more. In fact, despite its extraordinary popularity in native markets, the raw fruit has been notoriously banned from public transportation, airports, and a great number of hotels in some countries. Signs like the one in this question are a common site in southeast Asia, but this particular one is displayed on Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit.

Singapore's Explanade is a performing arts center which has an architecture and profile resembling a durian (or a fly's eye - take your pick). Locals have therefore taken to referring to the Esplanade as "The Durian".

According to the Esplanade's official website, the taxi stand is located at the Esplanade Mall entrance along Raffles Avenue.

 


 

Question for Saturday December 12, 2009:

If a shmoo always moves 2 hands and 2 feet in a billion shakes,
how many whole chains can he tootle with a million trillion svedbergs?

Acceptable answers:
404
404 chains
404chains
four hundred four

Explanation:

It isn't strictly necessary to find out what shmoo is, but if you did a bit of research, you might have found that shmoos are fictional little creatures from a past comic strip called Li'l Abner, with two legs, but no arms. This may have been the first clue that the word hands in this puzzle is probably referring to something else. Further inspection reveals that this is actually a fairly simple math problem. Its meaning can be elucidated once it has been determined that hands, feet, and chains are actually units of length, while shakes and svedbergs are just units of time. "Tootle" just means to travel at a leisurely pace.

1 hand = 4 inches
1 foot = 12 inches
1 shake = 10 nanoseconds = 1 × 10-8 seconds = 10 billionths of a second
1 chain = 66 feet = 66 × 12 inches = 792 inches
1 svedberg = 0.1 picosecond = 1 × 10-13 seconds = 0.1 trillionth of a second

Basically, we have a creature that can move a certain distance (2 hands and 2 feet) in a period of time (one billion shakes). We are then asked what distance (in chains) it can move (tootle) over a different period of time (one million trillion svedbergs).

First part:
A shmoo ALWAYS moves 2 hands and 2 feet = 4 + 4 + 12 + 12 = 32 inches, for every billion shakes (= 1 billion × 10 billionths of a second = 10 seconds)
This means it can move: 32 ÷ 10 = 3.2 inches, every 10 ÷ 10 = 1 second
Or, 3.2 inches/second

Second part:
How many chains (= 792 inches) can a shmoo move in 1 million trillion svedbergs (= 1 million × 1 trillion × 0.1 trillionth of a second = 1 million × 0.1 second = 100 000 seconds)?
Or, how many times can a shmoo move a distance of 792 inches in 100 000 seconds?

We already know that it travels 3.2 inches in one second, so it must move 3.2 × 100 000 = 320 000 inches in 100 000 seconds.

We now just need to figure out how many chains (792 inches) are in 320 000 inches:
320 000 inches ÷ 792 inches/chain = 404.04 chains

The problem asked for WHOLE chains, so the answer is simply 404.


 

Question for Sunday December 13, 2009:

It all starts with a seedling discovered in the brush of a farm in Ontario nearly two hundred years ago. Its pomiculture produced what ultimately became one of the most popular cultivars of its kind in North America.

What is the name of the hamlet where it originated?

But do not enter that as your final response for this question, as this is a multi-part question which you've just begun; instead, use the name of the hamlet (written in lowercase letters) to go to the following web address:

www.nogginhoggin.com/___________.html

Substitute the name of the hamlet (do not include the province) for the blanks and don't put any spaces in the web address. Then follow the instructions for the next step at the web page you will see. If you get a "Not Found" error, it means you haven't determined the right answer, so try again!


Once you have found all the clues, come back here and enter your answer below to the final question you will discover.

Acceptable answers:
9000
9,000

Explanation:

In 1811, John McIntosh, a farmer, was clearing the scrubby land on his property in the hamlet of Dundela, Ontario, when he happened upon some wild apple seedlings. He decided to dig up the delicate, young plants and transplant them closer to his home. The trees grew and produced hardy, red and green skinned, juicy apples that he named "McIntosh Red".

 

From an early age, Allan McIntosh, John's son, took an interest in the saplings, tending and propagating them through budding and grafting. Despite his best efforts, all but one of the originally discovered seedlings had died by 1830. Would you believe that the more than 300,000 "Mac" trees now growing in North America and worldwide are the descendants of that single tree!

Allan continued his work with propagation techniques and started a small nursery with his brother Sandy. An enthusiastic Allan took to the road, traveling, distributing new seedlings, and singing their praises to interested individuals, much like a Canadian "Johnny Appleseed". The nursery eventually became a commercial success and owning one's own apple tree went from being a rare luxury to a common pleasure.

The last living original McIntosh Red apple tree lead a long and fruitful life, barely survived a devastating fire that damaged it to the point that it could only bear apples on one side, and ultimately died in 1908, at age 112. Its many offspring include the Macoun, Spartan, Cortland, Empire, and Jonamac apple varieties, which were derived from it.

Today, "Macs" can reliably be found in nearly every supermarket's produce department across North America. Besides being a great eating apple and convenient healthy snack, it is commonly used to make cider, pies, and applesauce (distinctively pink when left unpeeled).

A lot to think about the next time you bite into an apple!

So, visiting www.nogginhoggin.com/dundela.html brings us to our next clue.


The next clue reads:

It is widely assumed that the previously mentioned Canadian pomaceous fruit variety was actually the namesake for a modern-day, popular line of electronic devices. This name can be attributed to the tastes of a particular individual who was instrumental in the conception and development of the first widely recognized, commercially successful, personal version of this technology to feature a GUI and a tailed, pointing device.

How many people were already employed by this fruity, now multinational, company when this person joined the team?

 

Today, Macintosh computers are ubiquitous in the North American PC market. Although not as famous as Apple Computer co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Employee Number 31 (preceded by 30 others), Jef Raskin, has the distinction of having started the actual Macintosh project in 1979, and hiring its personnel.

Up until then, Apple computers were highly technical and, some might say, too complex to be operated by the average laymen. Raskin saw the potential for computers to become regular household appliances, as described in his essay "Computers by the Millions", and had been pushing for Apple to develop a completely different sort of computer, designed to be user-friendly and low cost right from the start. This new, easy-to-use computer was to be named after Jef Raskin's favorite apple variety, the "McIntosh", but he had to settle for the alternate spelling of "Macintosh" to avoid legal complications with an audio equipment manufacturer already called "Mcintosh".

Raskin left Apple in 1982, shortly after Steve Jobs took over his pet project. The first Macintosh PC was officially introduced to the world two years later, by means of a brilliant advertising campaign, featuring the award-winning commercial "1984", a reference to George Orwell's celebrated novel of the same name. Although the Mac was not the first mouse-driven computer to employ a graphical user interface (GUI), it proved to be the first commercially successful product of its kind.

Since 30 employees preceded him at Apple, the next address we are to visit is:

www.nogginhoggin.com/30.html


The next question is:

An artifact, retrieved in the early 1900s from an ancient shipwreck, has only recently been discovered to have an astounding level of complexity one and a half millenia before its time.

What was the 2001 population of the place after which it is named?

 

The Antikythera Mechanism, discovered in 1901 by sponge divers in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of the same name, is the oldest known mechanical analog computer, dated to circa 200 BC. After more than 100 years of imagination, speculation, and research, the mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena, specifically, tracking the cycles of the Solar System.

It is believed that dates were entered by means of a crank (never found), following which the complex mechanism of more than 30 gears (possibly as many as 72!) calculated the astronomical positions of the Sun and Moon (including motion, eclipses, phases), naked eye planets, as well as the rising and setting of certain stars, all based on the geocentric model, with the Earth at the center of the universe. The calendar device showed the signs of the zodiac, tracked the four-year Olympiad Cycle and other ancient Greek games, and could even be adjusted to make up for the extra quarter day in a solar year, this all despite the fact that the first regional calendar to include leap years was not introduced until almost a century later!

The level of complexity and sophistication of the Antikythera Mechanism was previously thought impossible in its era, and comparable devices would not reappear until more than a thousand years later. It is interesting to speculate as to why technological progress seems to have unexplicably come to a halt for more than a millennium after this device was made.

 
Computed Radiography Image of the main
fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism 
    Interpretation of the front gears and
    dials of the Antikythera Mechanism
    

With only 44 inhabitants in the 2001 census, the island community of Antikythera has the second smallest population in all of Greece. And this leads us to our next Internet address to visit:

www.nogginhoggin.com/44.html


Here, we find our final question:

Although Antikythera has only a small population of permanent residents, it has other claims to fame besides the great shipwreck which yielded the first known analog computer. In fact, one of its natives is credited with the development of the first hand-held version of a commonly used medical instrument. Interestingly, the original version of this instrument was independently invented, on two separate occasions, by different individuals.

The first of these inventors was actually a pioneer in the history of another field. Unfortunately, none of his designs were fully realized during his lifetime, and the scale of what he had conceived and accomplished remained unappreciated until the 1970s. Models for his D. E. No. 2 can presently be observed, in operation, in two museums.

To the nearest thousand kilometres, what is the shortest distance between these two museums? (Do not include the unit of measurement in your answer).

 

Dr. Andreas Anagnostakis (1826 - 1897), an opthalmologist, author, and poet, was born on the island of Antikythera. He is credited with the invention and development of the first hand-held opthalmoscope (or funduscope), a modification of the existing instrument used to examine the inside of the human eye.

The original opthalmoscope was first invented by Charles Babbage in 1847, however it never worked completely right and was ultimately forgotten by the physician to whom he gave it to test. The concept of the device remained unknown and unused until it was "reinvented", completely independently, by Hermann von Helmholtz, in 1851. Helmholtz' contribution made him world famous overnight and revolutionized the field of opthalmology. Anagnostakis' later addition of a concave mirror so that the instrument could be held by hand made the opthalmoscope much more practical and extremely popular among opthalmologists. But Babbage was the first inventor of the original device. And this was not to be the last time that Babbage's genius would go unrecognized.

Charles Babbage was a pioneer who invented computers, though he never had the opportunity to actually built them. In his time, a "computer" was someone who "computed", and numerical tables were calculated by humans, with a high error rate. Babbage was convinced that the tedious, error-prone work of tabulating polynomial functions could be mechanized, and so he set out to create a machine that could do the job. His first design, the difference engine (proposed in 1822), would have had about 25,000 parts, weighed 13 600 kg, and stood 2.4 m tall. A later, improved version, Difference Engine No. 2 (D. E. No. 2) was designed between 1847-1849, and would have consisted of 8,000 parts, weighed about 5000 kg, and been 2.1 m tall by 3.4 m feet long.

When Babbage's plans for the difference engine fell to the wayside, due to financial, political, and personal issues, he turned his attention to the design of an even more complex machine that he named the analytical engine (first described in 1837). The principal difference between the two machines was the analytical engine's ability to be programmed with punch cards, conceptually making it the first programmable computer. Once again circumstances conspired against Babbage, and although he continued to alter and improve his design until his death in 1871, a prototype was never completed in his lifetime. Remarkably, Babbage's plans were essentially modern, preceding the first completed general-purpose computer by a century!

 

"Another age must be the judge."
Charles Babbage, 1837

In 1985 the Science Museum in London undertook the construction of a working Difference Engine No. 2 (D. E. No. 2) built precisely to Babbage's original designs in an effort to both memorialize his pioneering work for the 200th anniversary of his birth (1991), and resolve two enduring questions: could Babbage have actually built his engine, and if so, would it have worked? The answers were a resounding "Yes!" on both counts as the prototype returned results to 31 digits, far exceeding today's average pocket calculator!

The first complete working Babbage engine can be publicaly viewed at the Science Museum in London. A duplicate was made for a private supporter of the project (Nathan Myhrvold, a former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft) who generously agreed to lend it to the Computer History Museum, in Mountain View, California, where it will be displayed and demonstrated until the end of 2009.

 

    
Prototype of Difference Engine No. 2 (it
was never built during Babbage's lifetime)
in London's Science Museum, UK.
    Fully operational Difference Engine No. 2
    at the Computer History Museum in
    Mountain View, CA, USA.

There are many resources online to calculate the shortest distance between two points on the Earth (known as a Great Circle Distance). From the doorstep of the Science Museum in London to that of the Computer History Museum in California, the distance is 8655 km, which rounded to the nearest thousand kilometres is 9000. But since we only asked for the answer to the nearest thousand kilometres, even if you had chosen to calculate the distance between the cities the museums are in, or the airports closest to them, the answer would have rounded to the same thing. So "9000" is our final answer to this question.