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The year from AAA to ZZZ: It’s the Insights quiz!

4 January 2012
by Patrick Love
cow pictures are popular for some reason

This was our most popular photo in 2011 and in 2010

We’re glad you read the Insights blog, but if you’re a true follower you learn it off by heart, so this is your chance to win a blogtastic prize in our 2011 annual quiz(1)

1st prize: A year’s supply of punctuation marks. Imagine how much more interesting your prose will be!!!  Want to add a note of incredulity to your questions???  Or prepare your reader to die… laughing???!!!

2nd prize: Paid internship(2)


 Here goes!!! Good… luck!!!

A is for A. Triple A is to debt what the triple Axel is to ice-skating. Who was worried about the euro area falling on it’s A (Add your own Anatomical Allegory) due to sovereign default?

A. China’s finance minister.

B. Former Lehman’s boss Richard S. Fuld.

C. The OECD’s Chief Economist.

D. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

B is for Bullets. Magic ones or silver ones, we’re obsessed by them at the OECD and are afraid people think they really exist. This can give a plaintively murderous tone to our teachings, for instance, when we say there’s no magic bullet to solve unemployment, it sounds like we wish governments would shoot the jobless. But we’re not the only ones in denial. Who else says there’s no magic (or silver) bullet?

A. The Lone Ranger

B. The Economist

C. The IMF

D. The National Rifle Association

C is for conflict. No conflict-affected fragile state has achieved any of the UN’s Millennium Development goals, nor is any of them likely to do so by the 2015 target date. What should their priorities be instead according to the g7+ group of developing countries and their partners?

A. Roadbuilding and telecommunications.

B. Trade and foreign investment.

C. Peacebuilding and statebuilding.

D. Fair elections and a free press.

D is for Diarrhoea. Outbreaks are usually due to various well-known causes, but certain practices can make the problem worse, including:

A. Skinning snakes.

B. Killing leopards

C. Riding elephants.

D. Photographing monkeys.

E is for Epistemology. Knowledge is power, as Francis Bacon never actually said, although Thomas Hobbes did. Whoever said it, becoming an epistemic influence is obviously a smart move, but who managed this recently?

A. The KGB.

B. The BBC.

C. The OECD.

D. Wikipedia.

F is for Forecasts. “With the underlying conditions sound, we believe that the recession in general business will be checked shortly and that improvement will set in during the spring.” This forecast in the Harvard Economic Society’s January 18 weekly letter was referring to:

A. The 1930s Depression.

B. The subprime crisis.

C. The 1997 Asian financial crisis

D. The end of the boom.

G is for Twenty. The OECD is closely involved in shaping the G20 agenda and in carrying out its work. One of our lesser-known proposals to tackle a global challenge (as we call problems) is AMIS, or to give it its full name:

A. Agreement on Multilateral Investment Statistics.

B. Agricultural Market Information System.

C. Analogue Mobile Information Sequencing.

D. Ammunition Mainly Including Silver.

H is for Happiness. Some people claim that childhood was the happiest time of their life, making you wonder what the rest of it was like if potty training and going to school was as good as it got. The happiest time is happier in some places than others though, and a report on 21 developed countries suggested that the most miserable kids are to be found in:

A. Japan.

B. France.

C. The UK.

D. The US.

I is for Investment. It’s also for indoors and inefficient. Indoor air pollution from inefficient biofuel-burning stoves will soon cause more premature deaths in developing countries than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. What percentage of global energy investments would eradicate the problem?

A. 9%

B. 1%

C. 3%

D. 13%

J is for Joybubbles. Joe Engressia, who later changed his name to Joybubbles for obvious reasons, was the world’s first:

A. Blind photographer.

B. Hacker.

C. Radar operator.

D. Professional baseball umpire.

K is for kissing. Most of us have tried it, and many people enjoy it, but according to one best-selling guide, unless it can’t be avoided, you should never kiss:

A. Your boss.

B. Your cat.

C. Your children.

D. Yourself.

L is for Luddites. The machine-wrecking Luddites were not the ignorant technophobes the name has come to be associated with, and they even aroused the sympathy of one the 19th century’s best-known authors. Who? (Bonus point for giving the name of the book)

A. Emile Zola.

B. Herman Melville.

C. Charlotte Brontë.

D. Charles Dickens.

M is for Melancholy. According to our data, one in five workers in OECD countries suffers from depression or another mental illness, possibly linked to work-related stress. According to an earlier study, which of these does not provoke melancholy?

A. Exercise.

B. Study.

C. Poverty.

D. Cabbage.

N is for Nobel. Did you know that Winston Churchill got the Nobel Prize for literature and that they gave the 2011 prize for medicine to a dead man? OK smartypants, what did economist Elinor Ostrom get it for?

A. Her work on resources management.

B. Her work on financial market volatility.

C. Her work on game theory.

D. Her work on asymmetric information.

O is for the OECD. Of course. We are famous for many things (aren’t we?) but some of our greatest contributions to human progress are unknown to the general public. Which of these do we set standards for?  

A. Tax treaties.

B. Cucumbers.

C. Nuclear safety.

D. Testing cosmetics.

P is for Protection. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone wasn’t protected by a Swedish patent, so Ericsson reverse engineered it and started the phone business we know today. Philips did something similar with the incandescent light bulb in the Netherlands before going on to invent and invest in cassette tapes and CDs. Examples like this fuel the debate about much intellectual property protection there should be, but quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to patents. Over the past 20 years, patent quality has:  

A. Declined by 20%.

B. Increased by 20%.

C. Remained stable.

D. Stopped being measured.

Q is for Quality. The OECD has developed a Better Life Index to allow citizens to create their own definition of quality of life. It combines a number of different topics, but does not include:  

A. Safety.

B. Mobility.

C. Health.

D Housing.

R is for Ricardo. The 19th century economist David Ricardo was responsible for developing the theory of comparative advantage. This has been described as a concept that is:

A. Calculable and counterintuitive.

B. True and non-trivial.

C. False but practical.

D. Objective though indefinable.

S is for Sex. We share our 50th anniversary with Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The jury in the court case for obscenity against the book decided that it was, all things considered:

A. A fair representation of social relations at the time of writing.

B. A useful if unorthodox introduction to gardening.

C. Suitable reading for your wife and servants.

D. Written by a man with a soul so black he would obscure even the darkness of hell.

T is for Titles. Thanks to sophisticated spying software we got cheap when the News of the World closed, we can track how you actually use this site and adjust content to meet your (pleasingly low) expectations. That’s why we’re thinking of just writing titles next year. Do you know which of these ones we didn’t use in 2011?

A. Rats rejoice as India goes mad.

B. More power to your grannies.

C. Dracula, Prince of shopping.

D. Bugs, drugs and death.

U is for Unfair. The drive for alternative energies is accelerating, but not everybody is pleased. A prominent economist publicised the case of one group complaining about unfair competition from solar energy. Which group?

A. Candlemakers.

B. Shale gas operators.

C. Windfarmers.

D. Biofuel crop growers.

V is for Violence. Over 100 million people died in wars during the 20th century. In the 21st century, even more could be killed by something else according to the WHO. What is it?

A. Famine.

B. Road traffic.


D. Antibiotic resistance.

W is for the Weekend. According to scientists (as they say in the papers) analysis of 500 million tweets shows that people are happier at the weekend. The study also claims that people:

A. Tend to get up later at the weekend.

B. Often stay out late on Friday night.

C. Go shopping more at the weekend.

D. Wish the weekend was longer.

X is for the Higgs boson field, better known by its nickname, h(x). Makes a change from the xylophone, doesn’t it? But that’s not the question. The question is: the photo of a simulated Higgs event that illustrates the article about the Higgs boson has a caption quoting James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake because:

A. Joyce invented the word “quark”.

B. The Finnegan-Joyce manifold describes the topology of the Higgs boson.

C. We didn’t know it was Joyce and just liked the sound of it.

D. Joyce’s literary executor worked at the OECD.

Y is for Youth. Globally, things are getting better for children across a whole range of indicators according to Unicef but once they get a bit older, the benefits may be wiped out. In Brazil for instance, various programmes saved the lives of 26,000 babies aged 1 year or less. Over the same period, 81,000 15-19 year-olds:

A. Died of drug overdoses.

B. Were murdered.

C. Were kidnapped.

D. Suffered fatal injuries at work.

Z is for ZZZ. We’re trying to avoid zebras as well as xylophones, so this one’s about sleep. Or sleep-deprivation to be more exact. Who complains about this, as well as being “isolated” and “troubled”? 

A. European central bankers.

B. Chinese exchange students.

C. African peacekeepers.

D. American truckers.

Tiebreaker In case more than one person enters the competition we may need a tiebreaker, so here it is: Which of the above questions does not refer to a post published in 2011?

A. A

B. B

C. C.

D. D

E. Etc

Click here to see the answers and to calculate your score

(1) You love phone contracts, don’t you?

(2) You pay.

3 Responses
  1. dunce permalink
    January 20, 2012

    (all that to say, I got three right)

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  1. The year from AAA to ZZZ: It’s the Insights quiz! | all you need
  2. Best links of the web:12-01-04, nr 461 | Lukas Daalder

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