Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Thursday Quiz XXXIII

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is an "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always what keeps catastrophe at bay:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will have to make it on their own.
This Week's Category is frankly kind of depressing.

Really Terrible Disasters

Some of the following are actual tragedies that unfolded more or less as described. Others have been garbled or fabricated in the now-familiar Michael5000 fashion. Can you sort out the truly grim from the falsely grim?

1. 1138. Aleppo, Syria. In one of the first major disasters about which we have anything resembling reliable records, a major earthquake or series of earthquakes devastates the Middle East. Stone castles and fortifications, common in the region because of the Crusades, are especially vulnerable to the quake and especially unforgiving to people caught inside. Authorities of the time estimate a death toll of 230,000.

2. 1865. The Mississippi River. The Sultana, a steamboat transporting Union soldiers recently freed from Confederate POW camps, explodes and burns. Passengers are unable to escape the severely overcrowded boat, and 1700 people perish -- more than will later die on the Titanic.

3. 1889. Johnstown, Pennsylvania. With the Conemaugh River already flooded, Johnstown is defenseless when a dam fourteen miles upstream collapses. 2200 people die when a debris-laden wall of water 60 feet high hits the town at around forty miles per hour.

4. 1903. St. Joseph, Missouri. A series of four massive tornados strike the then-important industrial center over the course of a single long night. When the smoke clears, the city is in ruins and 782 of its citizens have died in collapsed or burning buildings. The city's site is subsequently abandoned.

5. 1931. Yellow River Valley, China. A massive rise of the great Chinese river overwhelms crude flood-control measures and submerges vast areas of land that has been undergoing rapid population growth. Somewhere between one and four million people die either directly or in the subsequent pandemics and famines. This makes the event even worse than the 1887 Yellow River Flood, which killed somewhere between one and two million.

6. 1936. New Jersey. Nearly 1400 people with the misfortunate to be aboard or below the massive airship Hindenburg perish in an explosion and crash that remains today the worst aviation disaster of all time (excepting only the terrorist attacks of 2001).

7. 1942. Los Angeles, California. In February 1942, a accidental explosion at a gas station sparks fast-spreading hysteria in a city afraid that it will be the next Pearl Harbor. Panic and stampeding in crowded public places, gradually degenerating into three days of rioting, arson, and anarchy, leave around 350 dead before President Roosevelt calls in the Army to restore order.

8. 1947. Texas City, Texas. The U.S. Grandcamp, a ship loaded with nitrogen fertilizer, explodes catastrophically, killing at least 581 people in the harbor and nearby neighborhoods. It is the worst industrial accident in U.S. history.

9. 1970. East Pakistan. The Bhola Cyclone flattens and submerges many coastal areas and offshore islands in one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Anemic government response exacerbates the death toll; this soon becomes a leading impetus for Bangladesh's succession from Pakistan. Somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people lose their lives in the floods.

10. 1982. Washington state. Mt. St. Helens erupts explosively. Nearly 3200 people near or downstream from the mountain die in the resultant avalanches, flooding, and fire, or from asphyxiation or the direct force of the explosion. It is the most devastating volcanic eruption in American history.

11. 1984. Bhopal, India. Sloppy maintenance and lax procedures (or possibly sabotage) allow a heavier-than air pesticide to escape from an urban chemical plant and settle over the densely-populated surrounding area. 3800 die immediately; the total, longer-term death toll from the event is around 20,000 and still rising today.

12. 2002. Lagos, Nigeria. A fire in a marketplace spreads into an urban military base. The weapons depot explodes, raining fire and ammunition over much of the city. At least 1100, but probably many more, die from the explosion, building collapses, secondary fires, and from being trampled or drowned in the civic canal during the ensuing panic.

Submit your answers in the comments while you still can.


Cartophiliac said...

1. false
2. true
3. true
4. false
5. false
6. true
7. true, didn't John Belushi star in that one?
8. false
9. true
10. true
11. true
12. false

The Calico Cat said...

plausible, but probably false
ummmmm so not sure about that one
sounds about right
true (The first one that I remember from real life)
don't doubt it

d said...

1. my gut says no,but my gut is often a liar, but i'm still gonna say no.
2. i think yes.
3. is there a johnstown penn? i guess not anymore! sure.
4. no. there's still a st joe, mo. i've been there.
5. no
6. yes
7. i'm gonna say no.
8. sure, why not?
9. really? a million people? i'm gonna say no.
10. yes. this is the only one of these i'm sure about.
11. sure
12. it's probably false, but i'll say true. just 'cause.

Rebel said...

I am once again relying on my knowledge gleaned from documentaries on PBS.

6. tricky... the Hindenburg did crash & burn (culprit was ultimately determined to be highly flamable paint on the surface of the balloon - not so much the hydrogen cells) but I'm not sure if there were really that many people on board. I'll say 'is'.

10 isn't. Fortunately the blast was on the side of the mountain that faces away from Portland so while we got a ton of ash, most of the destruction was in uninhabited (by humans) forest. Also geologists had been noticing a lot of seismic activity and had been warning people to get off the mountain. A few people decided to stay on the mountain despite the warnings, and they died - but no where near 3,200 people. "isn't"

Elizabeth said...

1. Fabricated.
2. Truly grim.
3. Truly grim.
4. Fabricated.
5. Truly grim.
6. Garbled.
7. Fabricated.
8. Truly grim.
9. Truly grim.
10. Garbled.
11. Truly grim.
12. Fabricated.

Karin said...

Okay, I admit I don't know a lot of these, but I do know at least one, maybe two. So...

1. falsely grim, way too many people
2. false, never heard of it, but that doesn't mean anything
3. could be true, why not
4. hmm...don't think so
5. false, way too many people and two massive floods in one generation? I'd like to think not.
6. Truly grim, oh the humanity (unless you changed the date/place)
7. LA seems prone to rioting at certain times, but I'll say false
8. Really? Fertilizer? False. But what do I know.
9. I have no idea. False.
10. False. Tricksy, this happened before I moved here in 1982. My cousins sent pictures and a jar of ash that I showed in Show-n-Tell back in NY in 1980. My teacher was thrilled. Plus, what Rebel said.
11. Truly grim.
12. No idea. Umm..true.

mrs.5000 said...

OK, time for some disastrous guessing. . .
1 yes
2 no
3 yes
4 no
5 yes
6 yes
7 yes
8 no
9 yes
10 no
11 yes
12 yes

Jennifer said...

Aww, no Great Molasses Flood?

boo said...

I think these re all going to be guessing so I will indicate otherwise if not.

1. is
2. isn't
3. isn't
4. is
5. isn't
6. isn't
7. is
8. isn't
9. is
10. isn't
11. is
12. is

I was thrown by the numbers. But I found it interesting how I was less likely to doubt the catastrophe in other countries. It's ignorance no my part of course, but my mind went to something like "surely I would have heard about this and remembered." But that's just silly as many quizzes have shown later when I come back and realize all I did not know and must have learned at some point.

karmasartre said...

1 / F
2 / T
3 / T
4 / T
5 / F
6 / T
7 / F
8 / T
9 / F
10 / F
11 / T
12 / F

Michael said...

Too... sleepy... to... adjudicate....

Will try to get to it tomorrow AM.

Quiz is still technically live in the meantime, if you want to give it a shot....