Tough Trivia, 6/25/21

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings several decades before Peter Jackson turned it into a blockbuster movie trilogy. When he did, he made several changes, deletions, expansions, and so forth. But one thing he didn’t change were the identities of the title characters in the first volume. Can you name the members of The Fellowship of the Ring, and their races? Bonus points if you know what names “J.R.R.” stood for.


I_Robot_-_RunaroundYesterday’s question: Following up yesterday’s question, I’ve got more laws to ask you about. These are from fiction (or, mostly, famous fictioneers). Can you name:
Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
Benford’s Law of Controversy
Clarke’s Three Laws
Finagle’s Law
O’Toole’s corollary of Finagle’s Law
Hofstadter’s law
Sturgeon’s Law

The answers:

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (promulgated by Isaac Asimov in his Robot stories): “1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3: A robot must protect its own existence so long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.”

Benford’s Law of Controversy (from Gregory Benford’s 1980 novel Timescape): “Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.”

Arthur C. Clarke’s Three Laws: “First law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Finagle’s law of dynamic negatives (so named by John W. Campbell, Jr.): “Anything that can go wrong will—at the worst possible moment.”

O’Toole’s Corollary of Finagle’s Law: “The perversity of the Universe tends toward a maxmium.”

Hofstadter’s law (coined by Douglas Hofstadter in Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Brain): “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”

Sturgeon’s Law, first spoken by Theodore Sturgeon about 1951, and remarked upon by Philip Klass (aka William Tenn): “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”


Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

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