Field of Science


Optimism and Pessimism (a quiz)

Does everybody have a sharpened pencil?

1. A scary new type of drug-resistant bacteria has emerged in the UK. It appears to have come from____, where British people are traveling to _____.
a. Thailand/receive experimental stem cell treatments
b. America/take advantage of the weak dollar
c. Morocco/stay in Sex-and-the-City-2-themed hotels
d. India/have cosmetic surgery

2. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has declared that the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic is:
a. now peaking in the southern hemisphere
b. leading to a secondary pneumonia pandemic
c. just a lot of hype
d. over

3. If you're home with the flu, why not occupy yourself with a Rubik's cube? After 15 years of research, a programmer has determined that any Rubik's cube can be solved in just:
a. 80 moves
b. 50 moves
c. 20 moves
d. 15 moves

4. You already knew that orangutans are bad dieters, but did you know that they're also excellent at charades? This week, scientists published an overview of pantomimes they've seen orangutans act out. Which of the following was NOT included?
a. "I'd like a haircut."
b. "Your fly is open."
c. "Hurry up and open this coconut for me."
d. "Wipe that dirt off your face."

5. Earlier this year, Stephen Hawking made the surprising assertion that we shouldn't try to contact extraterrestrials, because intelligent aliens are probably mean. This week, in another bizarre blend of scientific optimism and pessimism, he said that:
a. If we can just avoid wiping ourselves out for another 200 years or so, humans will be able to survive by colonizing other planets.
b. HIV is going to solve the planet's overpopulation problem.
c. After global warming melts the ice caps completely, the ocean will be able to absorb a lot more carbon.
d. Humans will probably invent time travel shortly before our civilization collapses, thereby allowing someone to go back in time and warn us.

Answers are in the comments.

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