Special Sub-Topic: Anyone for Seconds?
|Let's start with geography. What is the SECOND largest (non-continental) ISLAND in the world? It is divided roughly in half into two separate countries.|
New Guinea. New Guinea is located north of Australia and southeast of Southeast Asia. The eastern half of the island is the independent nation of Papua New Guinea, and the western half consists of two Indonesian provinces. At about 786,000 square km, it is second in area only to Greenland. The Honshu island of Japan is the second island in the world in population size, after Java.
|Continuing with second largest in size theme, let's expand our horizons to the solar system. What is the SECOND largest MOON in our solar system? Its name might lead you to believe it is the largest.|
Titan. While Ganymede orbiting Jupiter is the largest moon in the solar system, Titan orbiting Saturn certainly sounds like the larger, doesn't it? The name did not come into common use until the mid-1800s when John Herschel suggested names for Saturn's moons. At that time, Titan was thought to be the largest moon, slightly larger than Ganymede. The confusion was due to Titan's thick, opaque atmosphere. A Voyager 1 flyby in 1980 confirmed that Titan's surface diameter made it second in size to Jupiter's largest moon.
|Now to the second smallest: what is the second SMALLEST (by mass) known MAMMAL, indigenous to limestone caves in Thailand and Burma? (Hint: only one of the species listed is actually a mammal.)|
Kitti's hog-nosed bat. Also known as the Bumblebee bat, the tiny, vulnerable-species creature is about 3 cm at full growth and 2 g in mass, the weight of a dime or euro cent. The Etruscan pygmy shrew is slightly larger in length at 3.6 cm in mature body length but lighter at about 1.3 g, so it takes the prize as the lightest mass mammal. The incorrect answers were all non-mammalian, the zunzun being the native name for the bee hummingbird on Cuba, the caiman being a crocodilian, and the eleuth a frog.
|How about second in birth order. Who, according to the Bible, was the SECOND child born?|
Abel. They are all in the same nuclear family, but Abel went from being the second child born (Gen 4:2) to the first murder victim (Gen 4:8) at the hand of his jealous older brother, Cain. The story of Cain and Abel is also told in the Qur'an. It has been referenced and reflected in many tales since, from Dante to Stephen King.
|Dante Alighieri's works referenced many Biblical stories and characters. In the "Divine Comedy" opus, "Inferno," what SIN would put you in the SECOND Circle of Hell? (Hint: Dante discovered Paolo and Francesca there.)|
Lust. The Second Circle of Hell was adjacent to the relatively benign Limbo of the First Circle. Those who gave in to carnal lust and did not repent were buffeted by an eternal storm in the Second Circle. The really bad circles of Hell were the Eighth Circle for fraud or treachery, with flames and pools of excrement, and the Ninth Circle lake of ice for traitors. The Biblical Cain, as a blood-traitor, is encased in ice up to his face.
|A seven-course dinner need not be sinful. Which of the following might you expect to serve in the SECOND course of a seven-course culinary extravaganza?|
Shrimp bisque. The generally accepted order of a seven-course meal is an appetizer, then soup, salad, pasta or fish, sorbet, meat, and dessert. Shrimp bisque is a cream soup and in a small cup it would be a wonderful second course. Amuse-bouches are appetizers, or a pre-appetizer prepared by the chef and intensely flavored. The sorbet or sherbet is a palate-cleanser and generally comes midway through the courses.
A beer, of course, is an alternative second course, for the answer to the joke, "What is a seven-course meal for an American male?" Answer: a six-pack and a hot dog. Not exactly a culinary extravaganza.
|You've heard of the 'second fiddle.' You might find one in a string quartet. Which of these instruments are NOT generally found in a classical string quartet, though?|
Piano. Chamber music was designed to be played in a private room with a small group of instrumental musicians. The four instruments in a traditional string quartet are first violin, second violin, viola and cello. The grouping can be modified by adding a piano, but then it is called a piano quintet, or by replacing one of the violins with a piano, when it is called a piano quartet. Chamber works have also been composed adding special instruments, such as the clarinet to the basic four. Mozart's popular "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings" is such a work.
|Sometimes figuring out second place is tricky. Which of the following Star Wars movies is "Star Wars, Episode II?"|
Attack of the Clones. George Lucas made six movies in the "Star Wars" series, but he styled the first three, released from 1977-1983, as an ongoing, serialized sci-fi story with the subtitles "Episode IV: A New Hope," "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back," and "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi." (For the very picky, the original release of Star Wars in 1977 did not have a subtitle, but episode IV was added to the opening crawl in a 1981 re-release after the first sequel, called episode V, hit theaters. I remember being slightly puzzled in the movie theater on opening day in 1980, seeing the "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" in the opening crawl.)
Lucas revived the franchise in the 1999-2005 prequel trilogy of Star Wars episodes I, II, and III. I wonder if he'll continue the story with a trilogy of episodes VII, VIII and IX?
|What was the COGNOMEN, or hereditary nickname, of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, both of whom were renaissance men of Classical Rome, being authors, orators, military officers, lawyers, naturalists and philosophers? (Hint: remember the name of this quiz.)|
Secundus. Gaius Plinius Secundus was born in A.D. 23 and died in 79 while trying to rescue friends from the devastation of the eruption of Vesuvius which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. His nephew and adopted heir, Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), observed the eruptions at the time and described the volcanic activity in extraordinary detail in several letters. Pliny the Elder adopted the cognomen "Secundus," meaning "prosperous," as he was born to the middle class and prospered through military service, civil service, and his writings. Pliny the Younger took up the same cognomen as his uncle.
|And now for a question on a different kind of second -- a second of time. How long is a NANOSECOND?|
One billionth of a second. To get an idea how quick this is, it takes a little over one nanosecond for light to travel a distance of one foot, or about three nanoseconds to travel a meter. By the way, a thousandth of a second is a millisecond. A millionth of a second is a microsecond, and a trillionth of a second is called a picosecond.
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