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"As "Seinfeld" fans know, George told his unemployment insurance investigator that he was interviewing with Vandelay Industries as a latex salesman. This quiz will explore what George might be expected to learn if he actually got the job."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
Art Vandelay wants his employees to know a little something about the history of rubber. Where did rubber originate?
Mr. Vandelay also tests George by telling him that, contrary to a popular misconception, the latex used in making rubber is not the sap of a rubber tree. Is this statement true or false?
Vandelay Industries got its start in the 1870s in the country which was the center of the rubber trade at that time. What country was this?
Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
As a big player in the 19th century rubber trade, Vandelay Industries lost out when a European national "stole" tens of thousands of rubber tree seeds and took them to Europe. What European country does Mr. Vandelay tell George the company still has a grudge against for this seed-snatching?
Next, Mr. Vandelay tells George that, after the seeds were germinated in Europe, there was a plan to begin commercial cultivation of rubber trees in Southeast Asia. Where were the seedlings first sent?
Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Mr. Vandelay told George about the rapid decline of the Brazilian rubber industry in the early 20th century. The rubber barons had a virtual monopoly of rubber production in the late 19th century, and they owned huge tracts of rainforest, where the rubber trees were located relatively far away from each other. What was the main reason Brazil's global market share of rubber fell to around 50% by 1910?
By planting trees closer together, collection and processing of the latex was much more efficient on the Asian plantations
The trees responded better when planters talked to them in languages other than Portuguese
A nasty disease wiped out Brazilian rubber trees around this time
Although the species of the trees used in both regions were the same, they responded better to the Asian climate
Concurrently with the development of the rubber industry, great strides were made in the technology of working with rubber, which drove up the demand for latex. One of Vandelay Industries' important customers is an American tire company named for the inventor of the process of vulcanization. Who was this inventor?
Mr. Vandelay also proudly showed George a garment which he called a "macintosh", waterproofed through a process discovered in the early 19th century. What is this garment?
Mr. Vandelay also told George about a shift in the worldwide rubber market starting in the 1940s. Synthetic rubber was growing in importance, and there was a resurgence in the development of rubber production in the Americas. Thinking geopolitically, why were the big rubber companies looking for options other than latex from Southeast Asia at this time?
widespread labor unrest on the plantations
legal action stopped the production of latex in Sri Lanka
a tsunami wiped out hundreds of acres of Asian rubber trees
Japanese conquests during World War II were threatening the rubber plantations
Mr. Vandelay tells George not to worry; the natural rubber industry is quite healthy, because developments in the manufacture of a certain transportation-related item required the use of natural rubber. What item is Mr. Vandelay talking about?
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Compiled Jun 28 12