Weird Science! The Friday News Quiz (Oct. 4, 2013)

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Each week, Discovery News tracks dozens of stories of the strange and interesting in the world of science. Test your knowledge of the week's news with the Weird Science quiz. In this edition: old-time baseball, rogue jellyfish and free beer.
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Question 1 of 10
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1.ResearchersinCaliforniasaythey'vefinallydevelopedabetterwhat?
  • Mousetrap
  • Monkey wrench
  • Mosquito repellent
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The research team claims they've discovered four natural chemicals that could work as well or better than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. In a rare public announcement, Mother Nature herself expressed approval of the study. "Ugh, mosquitoes -- useless, viscous little things," she said. "I'm really sorry, I don't know what I was thinking there."
  • Mongoose Calmer-Downer
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2.Koreanofficialshavedevelopedanewdefenseagainsttherecentcoastaljellyfishscourge.Whatisit?
  • Jellyfish-eating sharks
  • Jellyfish-fighting robots
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The alarmingly named Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm, or JEROS, uses GPS and cameras to find jellyfish and shred them with special propellers. Engineers have high hopes for the technology, which could potentially be calibrated to target other dangerous creatures, like crooked hedge fund managers.
  • Decoy jellyfish
  • The seductive but predatory peanut butter fish
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3.Inoneofitslastactsbeforethegovernmentshutdown,Congressunanimouslypassedasciencebillconcerningwhat?
  • Hydroelectric power
  • Hormone therapy
  • Homeopathic medicine
  • Helium
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, passed on Sept. 25, loosens restrictions on federal reserves of the element. Lawmakers hope to avoid a repeat of the tragic Helium Crisis of 1974, which saw several major U.S. cities knee-deep in depleted foil novelty balloons.
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4.Newresearchsuggeststhatcreativethinkingcanbestimulatedbywhat?
  • A pleasant view
  • A messy desk
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Professor Kathleen Vohs and fellow researchers at the University of Minnesota found that being surrounded by clutter can promote creative thinking and stimulate new ideas. Vohs said the study was inspired by her own messy desk: "It was out of control, and I thought -- well, I can either clean this or get the grad students to study it...."
  • A meditation practice
  • tetrahydrocannabinol
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5.AvendingmachinecampaigninBulgariarewardsuserswithfreebeerfordoingwhat?
  • Voting
  • Boating
  • Standing still
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Part of an Amstel beer ad campaign, the vending machines dispense a free beer if the user -- monitored by motion detectors -- stands still for three minutes. Bulgaria, a longtime world leader in the sedentary arts, gets this week's Proper Priorities award.
  • Fighting for their right to party
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6.Aforthcomingbookexaminesanemergingculturaltrendregardinghowwehonorourwhat?
  • Spouses
  • Mothers
  • Dead
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Baylor University researcher Candi K. Cann's most recent project involves the modern ways we mourn the dead, via socials networks, tattoos and clothing. In a related item, yes, Abe Vigoda is still alive. We checked.
  • National debt
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7.Inthenewsci-fifilm"Gravity,"openingthisweek,astronautsarestrandedinspaceafterencounteringwhat?
  • A rogue asteroid
  • A cloud of space debris
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: In the movie, astronauts George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are stranded in orbit after encountering a messy and lethal cloud of space junk. They did start thinking more creatively, though.
  • A solar flare
  • An Imperial Star Destroyer
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8.Thebaseballpostseasonkickedoffthisweek,andhistoricalresearchrevealsthatinold-timebaseball,umpireswerewhat?
  • Revered and respected
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: In the late 19th century, baseball games had only one umpire, who was typically seated on the sidelines under an umbrella and provided with free food and beer, according to historical accounts. On the other hand, average starting salary for today's umpires is $120,000. (This is true.) History marches on.
  • Reviled and abused
  • Reusable and recyclable
  • Recombinant and genetically engineered
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9.Thecauseofmysterious"underwatercropcircles"offthecoastofJapanhasfinallybeenrevealed.Whatisit?
  • Harmonic vibrations
  • Hydrologic cycles
  • Horny pufferfish
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: According to new research, the intricate seafloor patterns are apparently made by pufferfish looking to attract mates. In short, the circles are created for the same reason that males of any species do anything, ever, since the beginning of time.
  • Helium legislation
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10.Anewresearchstudyhasarrivedatsomeintriguingconclusionsregardingrobotsandwhat?
  • Craving
  • Shaving
  • Engraving
  • Bathing
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: New research out of Georgia Tech's School of Psychology suggests that people would be uncomfortable with human-looking robots giving them baths. So just FYI on that -- university research departments think of everything.
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