Tough Trivia, 6/2/21

Today’s Science question: Light, or visible light, is no different from radio waves, x-rays, or any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The only difference is that this portion of the spectrum can be perceived by the human eye. The spectrum ranges from gamma rays, with wavelengths of 10^-16 meters (that is, ten to the negative 16th power) or frequency of 10^24 Hertz (ten to the positive 24th power), out to long radio waves (wavelengths of 10^8 meters, frequency at 1 Hertz). The colors of visible light are determined by their wavelengths (or frequencies). Can you list them from shortest to longest wavelength? Even better, can you list their wavelengths?

***

Gilbert-GS-Big
W.S. GIlbert

Yesterday’s question: Gilbert and Sullivan are one of the most famous duos of theatrical creators. Dramatist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) wrote the libretti, and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) wrote the music. Together, they created enduring entertainment that to this day is the inspiration of theatrical companies still performing their works, fan clubs and societies worldwide, and even the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. But how many of their collaborations can you name? Bonus points for listing them in chronological order.

The answer:

Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated on fourteen operas:
Thespis (1871): a Christmas entertainment
Trial by Jury (1875): a short opera spoofing the law
The Sorcerer (1877): English light opera
H.M.S. Pinafore (1878): their first international hit, a satire of the Royal Navy and social status

Sir_Arthur_Seymour_Sullivan
Arthur Sullivan

The Pirates of Penzance (New Year’s Eve, 1879): a comic look at duty, obligation, and respectability
Patience (1881): a satire of the aesthetic movement
Iolanthe (1882): a satire of the law, the House of Lords, and the war between the sexes
Princess Ida (1884): a spoof of women’s education and male chauvinism, based on Tennyson’s poem The Princess: A Medley
The Mikado (1885): their longest-running hit (672 performances in its original production), a satire of English bureaucracy, thinly disguised by a Japanese setting
Ruddigore (1887): an upside look at Victorian melodrama (originally called Ruddygore)
The Yeoman of the Guard (1888): their only joint work with a serious ending, concern a pair of strolling players caught in a risky intrigue at the Tower of London in the 1500s
The Gondoliers (1889): a satire of class distinctions
Utopia, Limited (1893): a satire of business and the Joint Stock Company Act
The Grand Duke (1896): their only financial failure, and their last collaboration, it concerns a troupe of actors taking political power

***

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.

Tough Trivia, 6/1/21

Welcome back from the long weekend. I hope you had a good time. Today’s Arts question is also a bit of history: Gilbert and Sullivan are one of the most famous duos of theatrical creators. Dramatist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) wrote the libretti, and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) wrote the music. Together, they created enduring entertainment that to this day is the inspiration of theatrical companies still performing their works, fan clubs and societies worldwide, and even the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. But how many of their collaborations can you name? Bonus points for listing them in chronological order.

***

640px-Nasa-logoFriday’s question was: Acronymia. Acronyms are useful things. They make it much easier to say, for instance, SHIELD, rather than Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (though that’s a poor example, because I hate with a passion the contrived acronyms, most often used for government programs, that just happen to form words). At any rate, good acronyms are time-saving linguistic constructions, though often—through continual use—we come to forget what the letters in the acronym stand for (or that it was an acronym at all). Thus, your Tough Trivia question for today is to come up with the words from which these acronyms were formed.

The answers are:

ZIP Code: Zone Improvement Plan
NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
scuba: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
AIDS: acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group
laser: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
radar: radio detection and ranging
ATM: automated teller machine
PIN: personal identification number (so you don’t need to call it a PIN Number!)
AM and PM: ante meridiem and post meridiem

***

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.