October 13, 2008
Here are some puzzles. Test your sense of reality!
If you give up, the answers are a mouse-click away.
What was Uncle Sam's last name?
The names of which pair of Shakespearean characters appear
on the astronomer Tycho Brahe's coat of arms - in the list of
For which 1998 referendum in Washington D.C.
did the United States Congress pass a
special bill to prevent the votes from even being counted?
What is the following sentence about?
"Such a brivla, built from the rafsi for the component gismu and cmavo,
is called a lujvo."
When was the Roman empire sold, and who bought it?
Which famous buildings were named after a form of food -
or was it the other way around?
Which bird can sleep with half its brain while the other
half stays awake?
Which 39-year-old female mathematician was rumored in 1999 to be
secretly in charge of one of the world's largest countries?
Which famous philosopher is also known as the RaMBaM?
What is the slogan of the Unity party, which did so well
in the 1999 Russian parliamentary elections?
When was the toothpick invented?
What is the size of New Jersey, shaped like a dog bone, and named
after a famous woman?
What noun can only be correctly used in the singular, according
to the first edition of Henry Fowler's famous book "Modern English
Where was the Republic of Rough and Ready, and why did it secede
from the United States of America?
Which part of North America still belongs to France?
When public high school teacher John Maurer wore a beige hat
to school, the principal said it was unacceptable. When
he wore a blue hat, he was reprimanded again. And when
he wore a red hat, he was forced to stop teaching there.
What did Britain's "Act Against Multipliers" prohibit,
and why did the chemist Robert Boyle fight (successfully) to have it repealed?
Which would-be state was not allowed to join the United States,
and lasted only 4 years after its founding?
Hint: later, its capitol building mysteriously disappeared.
As of February 2004, five of the ten richest people in the world had
the same last name. What is it?
Edward Witten is probably the most famous string theorist in the world.
Why is he teaching particle physics on a street
corner - with a megaphone?
How is the phrase hanky panky related to the transubstantiation
of the body of Christ?
Which animal has a tusk 2 to 3 meters long that grows through its
Why did a patch of the Indian Ocean
15,000 square kilometers in size glow with an eerie white light
so bright it could be seen from space for three nights?
In which part of the world is it most likely for a woman
to claim that her child's father is a dolphin?
Why do zookeepers give orangutans and other endangered
species birth control pills?
Which region containing about 40 houses belongs to one country
but is entirely surrounded by a ring-shaped portion of a second country,
which in turn is surrounded by the first?
Which neutral territory in Europe flirted with making Esperanto
its official language before the Germans invaded?
Why should you be careful if you meet someone whose passport
is from the British West Indies?
Due to a plumbing mistake, which liquid came pouring
out the faucets in dozens of homes in Marino, Italy?
What happened when Fidel Castro's brother took a ride in
this flying car?
Which organization, whose motto is now "Praise God for All",
once played an influential role in getting certain goods to be sold in
quantities that are multiples of a rather awkward prime number?
In Korea, which job do they only allow blind people to do?
Who owns all the unmarked mute swans on the River Thames?
And, who owns the marked ones?
What do Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan have in common, besides
having long names?
Which three well-known varieties of mushroom are actually the same
Which country has the most wild camels?
© 1999-2006 John Baez