Saturday, 27 December 2014

Writing - Some of the questions of 2014 answered.

1. What are frostquakes?


Answer: Frostquakes are the loud cracking of frozen soil caused by expanding ice beneath the surface, occurring after a plunge in temperatures following wet weather.

These occurrences were experienced in parts of Canada.

2. How do you drive in floods?

Flooded car in Somerset, 2014

Answer: Stay out of water more than six inches deep. Drive slowly in a low gear with high revs to prevent water entering the exhaust.

This advice would have been quite useful to a number of drivers on the Somerset levels earlier this year.

3. What does Boko Haram mean?

Answer: "Haram" means forbidden in Arabic, while the Hausa language phrase "ilimin boko", denoting the style of schooling created in Nigeria by colonialists, was shortened to "boko" and has come to mean Western-style education. So "Western education is a sin" is a workable translation.

4. How long can someone survive in a life raft?

Answer: Lengthy periods of survival in a life raft have been known in warm waters but in cold or choppy waters the chances lessen. Access to drinking water, usually from rainfall, is vital to lasting more than a few days.

5. What language did Jesus speak?

Answer: Aramaic would have been Jesus's first language, with Hebrew used for scholarly questions. He may also have known some Greek.

6. Why does the sum 7x8 catch people out?

Times table test

Answer: UK Chancellor George Osborne refused to attempt this mathematical question, which had embarrassingly flummoxed Labour's Stephen Byers in the late 1990s. "I've made it a rule in life not to answer," the man in charge of the economy told a group of children who interviewed him in July. But research has found that 7x8 is only the seventh hardest multiplication sum, with 6x8 throwing most people.

7. Where does the phrase 'boots on the ground' come from?

New Jersey National Guard troops march as they pass in review during the New Jersey National Guard's annual Military Review

Answer: The word "boot", a synecdoche (a figure of speech where the part represents the whole) meaning soldier, was used as long ago as World War One. The earliest known use of the full expression "boots on the ground" came in 1980, in a story in the Christian Science Monitor about the Iran hostage crisis.

Now that may be the truth of where the phrase came from but in fact the man who over uses the phrase is the special envoy to the Middle East one Mr Tony Blair.

God Bless