Friday, March 09, 2018

Tech That 2018 -- Annual KQA Tech Quiz -- Finals Clockwise

Questions and Answers from the Finals of the Tech Quiz -- Clockwise round that @venkyiimb and I conducted @kqaquizzes

1.        X was drawn to develop alternatives to the traditional springs-and-shocks suspensions after his experiences of owning a 1957 Pontiac with a fledgling air suspension, and a 1967 Citroën with an always-leaking hydraulic suspension.
The active suspension system borrowed heavily on the technology used by the company that X created. This was created as a skunkworks project inside his company, and was named Y, to hide the true nature from the company’s accounting department.
It uses electro-magnetic motors powered by electric power amplifiers and switches, which work together to make the wheels bounce up and down over obstacles, while the body of the car remains still. The technology received great acclaim technically for the ride quality that it provides when it was launched in 2004, but never became a commercial success.

Who was X?
What was the name of the Project (Y)?
Why didn’t the technology become a commercial success despite being the best available?

Amar Bose
Project Sound
The usage of special metals and a powerful computer system made the system extremely heavy and unsuitable for commercial cars

2.        Born in Vermont, he trained to become a blacksmith in the mid-19th century and moved to Illinois to ply his trade. Almost immediately after moving there, he found that the cast iron plows were not working well in the tough prairie soil.
He remembered the needles he had previously polished by running them through sand as he grew up in his father's tailor shop, and came to the conclusion that a plow made out of highly polished steel and a correctly shaped moldboard would be better able to handle the soil conditions with its sticky clay.
This plow became a great success, selling more than 10,000 in a single year and is known by a moniker that indicates the plow’s contribution to farming in the region.
Who was the inventor of this plow and what is the moniker?

John Deere –“The Plow that broke the plains”

3.        Before 1948, clocks from other parts of the country, when used in Southern California would lose 10 minutes every hour. When newcomers moved from outside the region, they paid to have their old devices retro-fitted to work in SoCal, or simply bought a new device that worked in SoCal. This peculiar issue is attributed to a decision by Louis Bell in 1893.
SoCal itself regularly saw such scenes from 1936 onwards after a particular ‘source’ went live.
What is happening in the pictures and why did this start happening in 1936?
What was the decision taken by Louis Bell in 1893 that led to these issues?

Resetting of Electric Clocks from50Hz operation to 60Hz operations
1936 –Power from Hoover Dam started flowing into SoCal at 60Hz, that required re-calibration of devices
Louis Bell had decided to use 50 Hz when the Mill Creek Plant (plant from which SoCal drew power) was installed with 3-Phase transmission. This made SoCal an electrical enclave as the Rest of the country worked at 60Hz.

4.        The Literary Digest was a magazine that is largely remembered for the circumstances surrounding its demise. In 1936, it had polled ten million individuals (of whom about 2.4 million responded, an astronomical total foranyopinion poll), and had predicted Alfred Landon’s win over Franklin Roosevelt. However, FDR won with more than 61% of the votes. The magazine was so discredited by this discrepancy that it soon folded. One of the reasons for the failure of this poll is attributed to sampling bias, given that they polled three wealthy groups, who turned out to be outliers.
Which three sources did they get the list of 10 million people to poll that led to sampling bias?

Their own readers, registered automobile owners, telephone users all of whom were wealthier than the average American at the time.

5.        The logo shown below was created for a problem discovered by Jann Horn as part of his work for Project Zero.
The problem gets its name because of the root cause - speculative execution (a technique used by modern CPUs) –and the fact that it was not easy to fix and would haunt the industry for some time.
Name the problem.
Why is Project Zero called Project Zero?

It is Google’s Security team to find Day Zero vulnerabilities (or vulnerabilities not yet discovered)

6.        An open source system for automating deployment , scaling and management of applications, it was originally designed by Google and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
Commonly referred as K8s it gets its name from the Greek word for, ”helmsman or pilot”.
The original codename for this was Project 7 to indicate that they were building a friendlier version of the existing in-house system, referencing a TV series character, who was a friendly, foil to the female captain.
What is the name of this project and why was the codename Project 7 used for this project?

The “Seven of Nine” borg from Star Trek

7.        In exploring different ways to increase the downforce in a Formula 1 racing car, this designer took inspiration from the Chaparral 2J “Sucker Car”. The modification was covered by a dustbin lid when not in use, but using the modification would prove to be tricky as there was a rule banning moveable aerodynamic devices.
Who was the designer?
What was the modification?
How did they overcome the rule to use the modification?

Gordon Murray
The Fan in the BT46B “Fan Car”
Brabham claimed that the fan was for cooling the engine, and not for improving the aerodynamics

8.        This machine was primarily designed and used to calculate artillery firing tables for the US Ballistics Research Laboratory.
However the first programs that were run were to check the feasibility of thermo-nuclear weapons, and in the development of Monte Carlo methods.
Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman worked on these machines, but were not recognized for over 50 years, and most historians termed them, “Refrigerator Ladies”.
What is the name of this machine ?
What work did these women do?
What does the term “Refrigerator Ladies” mean?

First programmers of ENIAC
Historians mistook them as models like in Refrigerator ads

9.        The system was introduced to the Tour de France in 1937, greatly helping the riders faced with changing gradients. The name of the system is technically incorrect as the components either drive or are driven by a chain rather than being driven by each other.
Campagnolo, SRAM and a Japanese company are the major manufacturers of this system.
A British band’s 1967 album’s title is a malapropism of this system’s name, and alluded to a 19thcentury Prime Minister.
Name the system.
What was the title of the album?
How did riders handle the changing gradients before the arrival of this system in Tour De France?

Derailleur Gears –Shimano being the Jap company
Disraeli Gears
The riders dismounted and changed the wheels before the Derailleur gears were allowed.

10.     In 1963, Robert Kearns was driving through a light rain, when something irritated his already troubled vision. He went on to create a breakthrough that was modelled on the human eye.
He showcased his creation to Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, but they implemented it without giving him any credit. Kearns fought against the auto industry, which argued that any inventive act must come into the mind of an inventor as a kind of epiphany, and not as a result of tinkering.
This specific argument in patent law is known by a 3-word phrase that was effective from 1941 to 1952. The same phrase is also the name of a movie about Robert Kearns’ struggle against the auto industry.
What was the creation? Please be specific.
What is the 3-word Phrase?

Intermittent Windshield Wipers
Flash of Genius

11.     This subsidiary of Western Digital announced in 2013 that they had replaced air in spinning hard drives to increase the spin speed, as well as the density of drives, while reducing the noise and power consumption significantly.
The effect of this technology is seen in the consumer market, with higher density drives with capacities of 10 TB/12 TB per drive at lower price-points and power consumption. The technology however, requires a hermetically sealed compartment to ensure that the element replacing air does not escape from the drives.
What was the element that replaced air?


12.     An erroneous example cited for perpetual motion is that of an overbalanced wheel. The wheel consists of a cog and several spokes with weights on the ends. Hinges allow the weights and spokes to move, altering the center of gravity of the device and causing it to spin. However, as it spins, the spokes at the top of the wheel flip down, adding to the momentum by keeping it off balance and cause the wheel to turn indefinitely.
A variation of this kind of wheel consisting of curved or tilted spokes partially filled with mercury, was first suggested in the 12th century.
Who was the person who suggested this or by what name is this hypothetical perpetual motion machine commonly known ?

Bhaskara/ Bhaskara’s

13.     The French word for whirlwind is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement to counter the effects of gravity. This is normally done by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece is stuck in a certain position.
While it was originally an attempt to improve accuracy, these mechanisms are still included in modern expensive watches as a novelty.
The first production of this mechanism was in the 19th century.
What is the mechanism called?
Who first produced this mechanism and for whom?

Louis Breguet created the first tourbillon for Napolean Bonaparte

14.     This instrument, displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, was operated by the keyboardist of the band that performed the first concert with surround sound. As he operated the joystick, the sound would move from one speaker to another.
The instrument is a panning control for a sound system consisting of four speakers (the equivalent of a modern day 4.0 system). It derives its name from the Arabic word meaning, ‘direction’, and is also an angular measurement in a spherical co-ordinate system.
What is the name of the instrument and what’s the sound system called?
Which band performed the first surround sound concert?

Azimuth Coordinator
Quadraphonic sound
Pink Floyd

15.     The industry was a large employer in Chile employing 60,000 workers in the extraction of caliche. Before the saltpetre from caliche was discovered, the Peruvian guano was mined for the same purpose. Both these activities went into a severe decline, due to a technical process that was developed 7000 miles away.
The process today consumes more than one percent of humanity's energy production, and is responsible for feeding roughly one-third of its population. This is rather ironic as one of the inventors of the process, went on to play a major role in weapon-izing of chemicals, and the creation of a cyanide-base gas that would kill more than 1 Million people in WWII. He would personally oversee the use of his chemical weapons in a battle in WWI.
What were caliche and Peruvian guano used for?
Who was this “Father of Chemical Warfare”, and what was the trade name of this?

They were used to extract naturally forming nitrates to use as fertilizers
Fritz Haber of Haber –Bosch Process
Zyklon B

Prelims of Tech That 2018

No comments: