Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Thursday Quiz XCIII

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is a twelve item is-it-or-isn't-it test of your knowledge, reasoning, stamina, and moxie!

Remember always the Fundamental Rules of the Thursday Quiz:

1. The Thursday Quiz is a POP quiz. No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. Violators will never be able to look at themselves in the mirror again.

2. Don't get all stressed out about it! It's supposed to be fun!

Small Countries II

Just like waay back in TQXIX, some of the following are bona fide independent countries, and the information presented about them is true. The others are NOT countries, and the information presented about this is a delicious brew of plausible untruth and devious misdirection. Oh, except I might have also taken a perfectly real country and made up a bunch of crap about it. Your task, just like in real life, is to tread the border between reality and madness.

Sorry there's so much text this week.

1. Anguilla. Capital: Princeton. Independent since: 1918. Excepting Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, Anguilla has the largest population in the Caribbean, the most important regional airport, and the most prestigious national university, and it serves as the headquarter for both the Caribbean Union and the regional free-trade association. Having shaken off French rule following World War I, it was also the first small-island country in the region to become independent. Ironically, because it has a well-rounded economy that is not completely dependent on tourism, Anguilla is less familiar in countries that think of the Caribbean simply as a playground.

2. Bhutan. Capital: Thimphu. Independent since: unknown. This isolated Himalayan country gets occasional great press for its pursuit of "Gross National Happiness" instead of conventional economic development, but at a second glance the mass expulsion of its Nepali minority population smacks of a less-fashionable ethnic cleansing.

3. Cameroon. Capital: Yaoundé. Independent since: 1960. This (mid-sized, really) African country enjoys more political and social stability than many of its African neighbors, which may or may not have brought well-being to the average citizen but which has certainly been to the benefit of oil and timber interests. Cameroon was formerly divided into British and French colonial sectors, and tensions between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians remain among the country's biggest political issues.

4. Cape Verde y Principe. Capital: Principe. Independent since: 1814. Though these mid-Atlantic islands were liberated from Portugal by the British in one of the many sideshows of the War of 1812, they have long maintained cultural and political connections to Lisbon. Once thriving ports-of-call for transatlantic trade -- Principe was the "principal" stop on the route from Europe to the Caribbean -- the islands lost much of their economic base when the development of steamships made a mid-crossing stopover unnecessary.

5. Dheshet. Capital: Amaninantu. Independent since: unknown. Nestled in the remotest reaches of the Himalayas, Dheshet is one of the few bona fide monarchies persisting in the modern world. Formally, its exports include barley, timber, gypsum, and potatoes, but let's get real: narcotics trafficking is almost certainly the greatest source of foreign currency. The local language, Peshian, is related to no other known dialect.

6. Gambia. Capital: Banjul. Independent since: 1965. Gambia -- or more properly "The Gambia" -- is the smallest country on the African mainland, consisting of a strip about 20 miles wide along the Gambia River. Peanuts are the main export crop, but there is plenty of subsistence agriculture in this reasonably peaceful and stable and somewhat politically repressive country.

7. Guinea-Bissau. Capital: Bissau. Independent since: 1974. Portuguese Guinea became independent after French Guinea did, so the larger of the two former colonies already had dibs on the name "Guinea." Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest places in the world, continues to suffer the kinds of coups and assassinations that many African states have put behind them. The icing on the cake? It has recently emerged as a transshipment points for Latin American drug cartels.

8. Guyana. Capital: Georgetown. Independent since: 1966. With fewer than a million people, this small English-speaking country on South America's Caribbean coast has limited international clout and is perhaps best known for its tropical wildlife. Its cultural points of interest include such attractions as the world's largest all-wood cathedral and the world's fourth-longest floating bridge.

9. Oman. Capital: Muscat. Independent since: 1741 or so. Being the Middle East country that outsiders know the least about is a pretty good sign; Oman has been largely free of the kinds of strife and violence that have troubled many of its neighbors. Oil revenues have been good to the country, but diminishing reserves and a lack of economic diversity are often on the Sultan's mind. Oh, and speaking of the Sultan -- Oman has made some gestures towards democracy and representative government, but the monarchy here remains among the world's strongest, raising concerns about whether the country's stability will continue when the current highly capable leader goes the way of all kings.

10. San Marino. Capital: Dogana. Independent since: 301. Founded by a stonemason dodging a forced labor assignment from the soon-to-be Emperor Diocletian, spared by Napoleon after some skillful diplomatic sucking-up, exempted from Italian unification out of appreciation for sheltering people facing persecution because of their support for unification, this little neighborhood in the Apennines has had an unlikely path to nominal independence in the modern world. It maintains relations with more than 100 other countries and is a full member of most major international bodies; is everyone in San Marino an ambassador?

11. Turkmenistan. Capital: Tashkent. Independent since: 1983. When Turkmenistan was the first Central Asian province of the Soviet Union to declare its independence, western media heaped praise on the scrappy new country's national aspirations. Years later, this mountainous, semi-arid country is mired in a nightmarish totalitarian dictatorship. Officially, its level of wealth per capita is among the world's lowest, but off the record Turkmenistan is widely suspected of being the main source of uranium for Iran, its neighbor to the southwest. Some of the money from this illicit trade likely pays for the many heroic statues of the president-for-life that grace the boulevards of the capital.

12. Tuvalu. Capital: Funafuti. Independent since: 1978. With around 12,000 citizens, this Pacific Island nation beats out only The Vatican and Nauru in terms of total population. Since this population is spread out over 9 separate reefs and atolls, it is safe to assume that it's a country with a bit of a small-town feel. The highest point reaches an elevation of slightly over 4 meters, so Tuvalu keeps a close eye on the ocean levels and uses its status as member of international organizations to support action on global warning.

Submit your stodgy old answers in the comments.


Karin said...

1. I don't think so.
2. I do think so.
3. Yes, unless you've made up a bunch of crap about it.
4. Oh, crap. I thought they were French speaking.
5. I don't think so.
6. I do think so.
7. I do think so, but I thought it was French speaking, although I base that a disintegrating memory of the banana man who spoke French, but was he from Ginuea Bissau or Ginuea Konakry? Damn. I'm gonna say no.
8. IDK, so sure.
9. I do think so, unless you've made up a bunch of crap about it.
10. IDK, so no.
11. I do think so, unless you've made up a bunch of crap about it.
12. I do think so, unless you've made up a bunch of crap about it.

Can I please go to bed now?

Elaine said...

Aha. The old "Drown 'em in verbiage" trick!

1. Okay
2. Yes
3. Hmmm. Time for a No? Even if it sounds plausible... No.
4. Yes
5. No
6. Yes
7. No
8. Well... Yes, but...(If you go there, don't drink the Kool-Aid.)
9. Yes
10. Hmmm. Yes
11. Agree
12. This is total Funafuti. No

It is sad to see what a talented BS artist M5000 is becoming, no?

Cartophiliac said...

1. isnt'
2. is
3. is.
4. is
5. isn't (sounds like one of your forgotten lands)
6. is
7. is
8. is most famous for purple kool-aid
9. is
10. is
11. is
12. is also a location on Survivor

The Calico Cat said...

I recognize a bunch as "IS" so I'll just call out number 5 as an "isn't."

La Gringissima said...

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

d said...

1. i think no. there's a country that sounds like that though. antilla? antigua?
2. yes
3. cameroon is a real country, right? does it have timber? does any country in africa have timber? ok. i'll say yes.
4. sure
5. i'll
6. um. gambia is a real country...ok. sure.
7. hmm. ok.
8. sure
9. yes (i'm nervous, i've had to many yeses in a row.)
10. i'm gonna say no.
11. hmmm. no.
12. yes! i've read about this in 'outside' magazine. (i think. i hope. otherwise i look like a moron. which i'm certainly used to.)

Snowgirl said...

1. no
2. yes
3. yes
4. no
5. no
6. yes
7. yes
8. yes
9. yes
10. no
11. yes
12. yes

More sure of actual existing countries than the facts...and hi M5K

mrs.5000 said...

1 no
2 yes
3 yes
4 yes
5 no
6 yes
7 yes
8 no
9 no
10 yes
11 yes
12 no

nichim said...

1. No
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. No
6. No
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. Yes
10. No
11. Yes
12. Yes

Perhaps I am too credulous this morning.

DrSchnell said...

1. well, they're in the Caribbean, but I don't think they're independent. And they're pretty poor, which makes me think the rest of your stuff is nonsense also.
2. Yes. Gross National Happiness rules! It has long been the winner of my medal for "best socioeconomic indicator".
3. yes
4. no. I think you may be describing the Canaries here, but it's certainly not Cape Verde. Cesaria Evoria is a great singer from there, though.
5. No such thing.
6. True. Also, if you look at a detailed map, you can see how the Europeans took a compass (the pointy-stick-and-pencil variety from geometry class) and traced out the boundaries a certain distance from the Gambia River.
7. true.
8. True. They also have great Kool-Aid, I hear.
9. true
10. There's way too much BS-sounding stuff here. So false.
11. Part true, mostly bullshit. Independent along with the rest of the former USSR in the early 1990s, and Tashkent is not its capital. But they do have a megalomaniacal president for life - I think he's the dude who had the months of the year re-named after himself and other members of his family. But I might be mistaking it for one of the other Stans.
12. true

By the way, if you lived in the northeast this year, you'd be in luck - late blight is wiping out tomato harvests left and right (our CSA just plowed under their entire planting). Our garden hasn't been hit yet, but it's likely only a matter of time. It's a disease related to the potato blight, travels by wind, and it pretty much kills off tomato plants within a couple of weeks of being infected. Stupid wet, cool summer!

Elizabeth said...

Give the man a new atlas and he goes nuts!

1. Sounds vaguely familiar, so yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes?
4. Mmm - no.
5. Definitely no.
6. Yes?
7. Yes?
8. Yes.
9. Yes.
10. No, but for some reason I want to say yes.
11. Yes.
12. Yes.

Wow, way too many "yes" answers there. You may mock my geographical abilities at will.

Dug said...

1. no
2. no - I'm a bit uncomfortable with that description
3. yes - Seems basically copacetic
4. no - Principe is part of Sao Tome
5. nah
6. yes
7. yes
8. yes - I have no reason to doubt this description
9. yes - ""
10. no for same reason as #2
11. no - description is good but isn't Tashkent in Uzbekistan?
12. yes I guess.

Ben said...

Today I'm following Calico Cat's advice and guessing "no" on all the ones I don't know:

1. no
2. no
3. no
4. no
5. no
6. I really want to guess "yes" on this, but I can't be sure about all of the details, so my answer has to be: no.
7. no
8. no
9. no
10. no
11. no
12. no

How did I do?

Chuckdaddy said...

Alright, I want to do well on this as revenge for falling for your fake country bios before. Bring it on!

1. No?
2. Yes!
3. No?
4. Yes (and good music too)
5. Made up! No
6. Yes
7. Yes
8. And Jim Jones. Yes
9. No.
10. Yes (I hope that's true)
11. Hmmm. I knew they have oil or gas, didn't know about uranium. And the old crazy president with the statues died, although I bet his staues are still around... I'll go "yes"
12. Yes

Aviatrix said...

1. Real - I know it has an airport
2. Real - friend went there
3. Real - near Canada alphabetically
4. Crap - familiar, but not enough to have been that important
5. Crap - and gypsum?
6. Real - details sound plausible
7. Real - in a map quiz recently
8. Real - not sure about cathedral
9. Real - and not complete bullshit
10. Crap - real place, don't believe details
11. Real - sad enough to be true
12. Real - I'll believe the details

Anonymous said...

1. Anguilla is not independent, and even Puerto Rico has a larger population.
2. Bhutan is real
3. Cameroon is real, though the short history neglects its German roots.
4. It's actually Sao Tome and Principe, and its located off the coast of Africa, not really in the center of the Atlantic Ocean (the Azores may fit that description, though).
5. I may be crazy, but wasn't Dheshet one of those "Forgotten Lands?"
6-7. Both are real
8. Guyana is probably most famous for Jim Jones, but I know Guyanese-Americans are great people.
9-10. Oman and San Marino are real with accurate descriptions.
11. Tashkent is actually the capital of Uzbekistan, so I'm sure the other descriptions may be partly true and partly true of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan also.
12. I thought Tuvalu was larger than 12,000; this may be an apt description of Palau.

boo said...

Whew. I finally got here in time.

1. Isn't
2. Is
3. Is
4. Is
5. Isn't
6. Is
7. Is
8. Isn't
9. Isn't
10. Isn't
11. Is
12. Isn't

Oh man this was wild guess time for me. I did enjoy reading the text though.

Elaine said...

Who IS this masked Korean?

Eversaved said...

I know it's Friday but I got my days confused again and since you haven't posted answers yet...

Michael5000 said...

Stop. Put down your pencils.

1. Anguilla. It's a real Caribbean island, but it's a small British protectorate. It has one of my favorite names for a capital: "The Valley." Everything here is crap I made up.

2. Bhutan. YES.

3. Cameroon. YES.

4. Cape Verde y Principe. Nah. There's a Sao Tome y Principe, and there's a Cape Verde, but the description here is crap I made up.

5. Dheshet. Nah. Dheshet is a... well, just Google it.

6. Gambia. YES.

7. Guinea-Bissau. YES.

8. Guyana. YES.

9. Oman. YES.

10. San Marino. Actually, YES.

11. Turkmenistan. Little elements of truth in this one, but NO: 1983 is a decade early for a Soviet breakaway, Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, and I cut and pasted the description from the bogus country of Rajzistan in TQXIX.

12. Tuvalu: FOR REALS.

Michael5000 said...

Top honors go to DrSchnell, who doubted on San Marino but otherwise swept the field.

Lots of people scored 10/12, so there will be lots of Green Stars today. But Cartophiliac and La Gringissima got there first, for the Silver and Blue respectively.

The Greens go to d, Snowgirl, Dug, and Eversaved. Dug's Green completes the second ever "hat trick" -- his collection now has exactly one Gold, one Silver, one Blue, and one Green -- and he thereby becomes the 20th Quiz Legend, possessor of a complete set of Stars. w00t!

Michael5000 said...

@DrSchnell: Condolences on your tomato disease.

@Elizabeth: I'll take a raincheck on the mockery.

@Ben: Ooh, wrong day for the "all no" gambit....

@Anonymous: Gotta have a name if you're going to play....

@Elaine: No, we're back to Chinese now. I'm pretty sure it's just a robot; I'm deleting a message or two a day now.

Elaine said...

I can't believe I am getting suckered by all of your fiendish trick answers. I thought old people were wily thanks to our vast experience!....but now I see we're just Old. Phooey.