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 Post subject: Geography quiz for 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Geography quiz for 2011

By John Flinn, Special to The SF Chronicle


Maybe we're splitting hairs here, but when Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Juarez "the most dangerous city in America," we felt obliged to point out that Juarez isn't actually in America. It's in Mexico, if you want to get all technical about it.

(And by "America," Perry was clearly referring to the United States, not "the Americas," in his talk last February with reporters.)

In the spirit of bipartisanship, we'll also point out that President Obama's staff recently mixed up Wyoming and Colorado on the press badges for his tour of Western states. Apparently those big, rectangular states all look alike.

Obviously an ignorance of geography is no handicap in American politics. Here's your chance to find out if you know better - our annual Geography Quiz.

It's not a serious test of knowledge, but rather a way to illuminate some fun facts we've stumbled upon, usually in the process of looking up something else. We hope it convinces you that our planet is a pretty darned interesting place, one well worth getting to know better.

There are no prizes for getting them all right, just the warm, quietly smug feeling that comes from realizing you know the globe better than the men who aspire to be leader of the Free World.

1. The reason it's officially called "Great Britain" is because there's also a "Little Britain." Where is Little Britain?

2. In last year's Miss America pageant, Miss Wyoming said her state "touches more than any of the others - but never inappropriately." A funny line, but, alas, not true. Wyoming borders six states, but two others share borders with eight states apiece. Can you name either?

3. The city of Nimes, in the Languedoc region of France, is the originator of a certain kind of fabric that grew to become very popular. What is it?

4. This continent's highest mountain is named for a hero of the American Revolution - who happened to be from Poland. Which continent? Bonus points if you can name the mountain.

5. It's officially known as "The Will Rogers Highway," although hardly anybody calls it that. It's also been called "America's Main Street." What do we know it as?

6. Other than Hawaii and Alaska, which U.S. states are likely to have residents older than the states themselves?

7. What major city's name officially starts with "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de" and ends with "del Rio de Porciuncula"?

8. Which is larger: Great Britain or California?

9. Which is larger: the Sahara desert or the United States?

10. Which is larger: Greenland or Australia?

11. You can get from New Mexico to Missouri by crossing just one state. Which one?

12. They don't call it Abyssinia anymore. What do they call it?

13. They don't call it Rhodesia anymore. What do they call it?

14. They don't call it British Honduras anymore. What do they call it?

15. They don't call it Persia anymore. What do they call it?

16. They don't call it East Pakistan anymore. What do they call it?

17. They don't call it Ceylon anymore. What do they call it?

18. What percentage of the U.S. population lives in the Eastern time zone?

19. You can get from Bulgaria to Iraq by crossing just one country. Which one?

20. Which two seas are connected by the Suez Canal?

21. What is the only U.S. state capital that shares a border with a foreign country?

22. Which continent is Greenland considered part of?

23. We all know (well, most of us, anyway) that Turkey straddles the traditionally accepted border between Asia and Europe. So does Russia. But which nation is partly in Asia and partly in Africa?

24. What motto do state prison inmates stamp onto the license plates they manufacture in New Hampshire?

25. If you want to surround yourself with 101 Dalmatians - the people, not the dogs - which country would you need to visit?

26. What's the only U.S. state named for a Greek island?

27. Three countries give you the choice of sunning yourself on either Mediterranean or Atlantic beaches. Name them.

28. If you were standing on the Khyber Pass, which countries would be on either side of you?

29. If you were standing on the Brenner Pass, which countries would be on either side of you?

30. What is the only state in New England that doesn't have an Atlantic coast?

31. Which two cities sit 5,772 miles apart, at either end of the Trans-Siberian Railway?

32. Which normal-sized European nation (as opposed to micro-states such as Monaco and Liechtenstein) does not belong to the European Union or NATO, and didn't even join the United Nations until 2002?

33. Six countries use the rupee as their currency. How many can you name? We'll spot you India.

34. What is the only country in which you can see cheetahs and penguins in the wild?

35. Twice a day, New Brunswick's St. John River reverses course and flows backward for 80 miles from its mouth. Why?

36. In which modern country is the site of Carthage?

37. What was the British capital of India before New Delhi? (No, not Old Delhi. Nice try.)

38. What is the only continent bisected by both the equator (zero degrees latitude) and the prime meridian (zero degrees longitude)?

39. The Danube River flows through the capitals of four nations, more than any other river. Name them.


40. William Stukeley, an English archaeologist who was a contemporary of Isaac Newton and astronomer Edmund Halley, claimed in 1752 that the Great Wall of China was visible from the moon with the naked eye. Aside from the fact that no one would be in position to check for another 217 years, was he correct? And if so, are any other man-made structures visible from the moon?

41. What is the only African capital named after a U.S. president?

42. There was talk this year of Greece dropping the euro and going back to the drachma. If Portugal, Italy and Spain were to do the same, what would be the names of their new/old currencies?

43. Approximately what percentage of the earth's surface is covered by water?

44. The Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are actually the submerged peaks of a famous mountain range. Which one?

45. The Chinese call this the Chang Jiang. What do we know it as?

46. If you stood perfectly still at the North Pole, after a few minutes you would no longer be standing at the North Pole. Why not?

47. In parts of Great Britain you often see, in addition to the Union Jack, a white flag with a thin red cross, known as St. George's Cross. What does it represent?

48. Which country has more time zones - Russia or China?

49. Which South American lake is known as the Lake of the Clouds?

50. If you rode a ferry 'cross the Mersey, what city would you be in?


ANSWERS BELOW --- NO PEEKING DUCK!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:16 pm 
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2011 Geo Quiz answers

1. The French region of Brittany is "Little Britain." It got its name as Romanized Celts migrated there as they fled invading Angles, Saxons and other Germanic tribes after the withdrawal of the Roman legions from Britain.

2. Tennessee borders Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. Missouri borders Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

3. The cotton twill made in Nimes originally was called Serge de Nimes, which eventually was shortened to "denim." The first trousers made of it were sewn in the Italian port of Genoa, which the French call Genes and we pronounce "jeans."

4. Mount Kosciuszko, at 7,310 feet, is the highest mountain in Australia. In 1840, a Polish explorer named what was thought to be Australia's highest mountain in honor of General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Polish national hero and chief engineer of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. But a couple of decades later it was discovered that the mountain was actually a few feet lower than a neighboring peak. Rather than explain the mistake to the heirs of Kosciuszko, the entire nation of Poland and Australian peak-baggers, the New South Wales Lands Department merely swapped the names of the two mountains.

5. Route 66. Before Bobby Troup's iconic 1946 song, "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66," it was commonly called "Highway 66." It no longer exists as a federal highway: The last stretch was decommissioned in 1984 after modern interstate freeways took its place. Stretches of it have been reclaimed as state highways and designated "Historic Route 66."

6. Anyone nearing 100 in Arizona or New Mexico would have been around to see those states join the Union. (Arizona joined on Feb. 14, 1912, New Mexico on Jan. 6, 1912.) Anyone living in Oklahoma when it gained statehood would be 104 if alive today. (It joined Nov. 16, 1907.) And in the unlikely event any people in Utah are 115 years old, they would have been around when their state joined the Union. (Jan. 4, 1896.)

7. The full name of Los Angeles is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula" - "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River." Porciuncula" was the name Spaniards originally gave to the Los Angeles River.

8. California (163,000 square miles) is nearly twice the size of Great Britain (88,000 square miles).

9. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is slightly larger than the Sahara desert (3.5 million square miles). The Sahara, by the way, is the world's largest desert by far. It's seven times the size of the second-largest, the Gobi Desert.

10. Greenland appears substantially larger on a Mercator Projection map because this method of pressing a three-dimensional sphere onto a two-dimensional piece of paper causes large distortions as you approach the poles. But in reality Australia is nearly three times the size of Greenland.

11. Oklahoma.

12. Ethiopia.

13. Zimbabwe.

14. Belize.

15. Iran.

16. Bangladesh.

17. Sri Lanka.

18. Just under half. A little over 30 percent lives in the Central time zone, about 5 percent lives in the Mountain time zone, a little under 15 percent lives in the Pacific time zone and just over half a percent lives in the Hawaiian and Alaskan time zones.

19. Turkey.

20. The Mediterranean and the Red seas.

21. The eastern city limit of Juneau, Alaska, shares a border with British Columbia.

22. Although Greenland politically is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, geographers consider it to be part of North America.

23. Egypt. Most of it is in Africa, but the Sinai Peninsula is in Asia.

24. "Live free or die."

25. Dalmatia is a region of Croatia - it includes Dubrovnik - and is believed to be where the firehouse mascot of the same name originated.

26. Rhode Island. The explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano thought it looked like the Greek island of Rhodes.

27. France, Spain and Morocco each have Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts (and beaches). And no, Gibraltar does not quite touch the Atlantic.

28. Pakistan and Afghanistan.

29. Italy and Austria.

30. Vermont.

31. Moscow and Vladivostok.

32. Switzerland.

33. The countries that use the rupee, in addition to India, are Nepal, Pakistan, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

34. South Africa.

35. The incoming tides in the Bay of Fundy, which can reach 50 feet, push all that water upstream.

36. Tunisia.

37. Calcutta, now spelled Kolkata, was the first British capital of India.

38. Africa. Each line passes through the continent, but the point at which they intersect is out in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria and several other countries.

39. Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary; and Belgrade, Serbia.

40. You would need vision that is 17,000 times better than 20/20 to see the Great Wall from the moon. So the answer (for humans, anyway) is no. In fact, no man-made structures can be seen with the naked eye from the moon. Under optimal conditions, a number of manmade structures, including the Great Wall, are visible from low earth orbit to those with exceptional eyesight. It is doubtful, though, that a very large beaver dam in Canada was ever visible from outer space, as was claimed in the Ottawa Globe and Mail in 2010.

41. Monrovia, the capital of Liberia - a country founded by former slaves from the United States - was named for President James Monroe.

42. Portugal's pre-euro currency was the escudo; Italy's was the lira; Spain's was the peseta.

43. Water covers slightly more than 70 percent of the earth's surface.

44. The Andes.

45. The Yangtze River. But that's just the local name for one small stretch of the river near the city of Yangzou. Western missionaries mistakenly applied it to the entire river.

46. The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. What you're standing on is actually drifting pack ice.

47. It is the flag of England. Each of the countries of Great Britain - England, Scotland and Wales - has its own flag. Northern Ireland currently does not.

48. Russia has nine time zones; China has just one - Beijing time. (Officially, that is. Unofficially, Xinjiang and Tibet are two hours later.)

49. Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia at an altitude of 12,500 feet.

50. Liverpool, England.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:16 am 
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Just had a quick look at the quiz & could probably answer 10 confidently, 10 with a bit of thought, 10 by guessing & the rest .........not a clue! :lol:

It's only 6am here so my brain hasn't really woken up. I will try again later but my knowledge of North American geography obviously need improving! :lol: (ps I have NOT looked at the answers yet).

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:20 pm 
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Thanks... :o( I hate exams... With that said, i got about 25% of them correct, and three that I got wrong were because I didn't read the question properly.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Not a huge exam buff either here (lol), but with Andrea's prodding I did most of it and got around 28-30%... although, I did write down cotton and not Denim, (which I think should count as Denim is cotton..haha).

I like geography though and found this to be "as fun as a test could be". I even learned some new stuff, which is always cool. :8

Mike

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