Monday, May 29, 2017

The New Monday Quiz Gets Into the Holiday Spirit, Except Unfortunately It's Not One of the Cheerful Holidays

It's Memorial Day in the United States.  Like most holidays, this one has at least two "meanings."  For a lot of people, it is the beginning of the summer season, one of a pair of generic bank holidays with Labor Day bracketing the season on its autumnal end. 

The intent of the holiday, of course -- and the way it is still observed by many people -- is to honor the country's war dead.  Like most countries, we have plenty of those.  Why?  Well, lots of young men die in wars because young men from other countries are told it is OK to kill them.  Many more die because the process of trying to kill people without being killed yourself forces soldiers into dangerous situations where they might easily drown, be crushed, starve, suffocate, or -- most commonly -- catch a lethal disease or infection and not be able to seek treatment.  

In most wars, deaths among soldiers are fewer than those among people who are not considered to be taking part in the killing.  Civilians are sometime killed incidentally or accidentally, because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time; sometimes they are killed out of spite or in order that soldiers or those who control them can steal their possessions or land.  Often, a war disrupts economic and agricultural activity to such an extent that people hundreds of miles from the nearest fighting will die of starvation.  

The Quiz today is about the world's war dead.  Sometimes I think that if people thought about war this way more often, without the narrative trappings of duty, heroism, patriotism, and grievance that always come attached, there would be fewer wars.  But I realize that's kind of naive.

It is always very difficult to specify how many people died as the result of a war.  However, almost any military historian would say that well over 2,000,000 people died in some of the conflicts on this list, and that well under 200,000 died in the others.

For each conflict -- regardless of what else we might think of it -- was it a "big war" or a "little war" in these terms?

1. The Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1920-present
2. The Bosnian War (1991-1995)
3. The Falklands War (1982)
4. The Mexican American War (1846-1848)
5. The Mongol Conquests (the 13th century)
6. The Russian Civil War (1917-1923)
7. The Second Congo War (1998-2003)
8. The Spanish American War (1898)
9. The Taiping Rebellion (China, 1850-1864)
10. War in Afghanistan, 2001-present
11. World War I (1914-1918)
12. World War II (1939-1945)

Answers go in the comments! 

Two weeks ago, the New Monday Quiz asked you whether elements were among the smallest five, or if they were numbered 25 or higher.  Here's the answers:

1. Beryllium -- little (4)
2. Boron -- little (5)
3. Bromine -- BIG (35)
4. Cobalt -- BIG (27)
5. Helium -- little (2)
6. Hydrogen -- little (1)
7. Iridium -- BIG (77)
8. Lithium -- little (3)
9. Manganese -- BIG (25)
10. Zinc -- BIG (30)

UnWise Owl predicted that anybody who answered would take a clean sweep, and he was right.  He, Morgan, and Dr. Schnell all know their periodic table, or at least the first bit. They therefore replace Susan as Incan Emporer of the Quiz, and now oversee this rather grim quiz week as a sort of Incan Triumvirate.


DrSchnell said...

1. little
2. big
3. little
4. little
5. big
6. big
7. big
9. little
11. big
12. big

Unwiseowl said... the spirit of the holiday, I shall attempt to be less flippant than usual.

1. I feel like this has been bubbling along for a while, but is probably still little.
2. Little?
3. Little.
4. Little.
5. Mongols were scary. Let's go big, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was small after all.
6. I feel like this was a biggie.
7. African, so chronically underreported, probably big.
8. Surely little.
9. Probably big, because China is big.
10. Little.
11. They did call it the Great War. Big
12. Big