Trivia Testers : Down and Around

Figure 1

Down And Around

From the North Pole, one can only go southward. Not being the trusting type, rather than following the slightly suspicious-looking sign pointing every which way with directions and distances to several of the world’s major cities, you decide to set out on your own. Unfortunately, you forgot your watch. The problem is that, to know where one is going, one must know the meridian being followed. Without a way to tell time, how could one determine one’s longitude?

  1. easily, with a nautical or astronomical almanac
  2. by using a Jovilabe
  3. by examining the shadow of any object stuck vertically in the ground
  4. wait until dark

Latitude is easy, of course. Longitude isn’t. Columbus couldn’t tell how far East or West he was without a means of reckoning time. A century later, Galileo invented the Jovilabe, which was an instrument for determining an observer’s longitude (without the use of time) by observing the rotation of Jupiter’s satellites. Celestial navigation works too, of course; Saint Exupery used the Southern Cross as a guide to navigating down the coast of Africa, and kept it on his left while flying up the coast of Africa to Europe. Acceptable answers are either or both choice B and D. Of course, if it’s much past the middle of March, you could be waiting about six months before it got dark enough to find your way via the night sky.

Honorable Mention
Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is named after

  1. the first licensed pilot in the state of Illinois, Desmond O’Hare
  2. the son of a mobster who worked for Al Capone
  3. Teddy Roosevelt’s eldest daughter
  4. the brother of Kate O’Leary (whose cow supposedly started the great Chicago fire of 1871)

Answer: This story is schmaltzed up a bit, but here it is. It’s mostly true. (I didn’t write it, however.)

“During the course of World War II, many people gained fame in one way or another. One man was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. One time his entire squadron was assigned to fly a particular mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to fill his fuel tank. Because of this, he would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to leave formation and return.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he could see a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading toward the fleet to attack. And with all the fighter planes gone, the fleet was almost defenseless. His was the only opportunity to distract and divert them.

Single-handedly, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes and attacked them. The American fighter planes were rigged with cameras, so that as they flew and fought, pictures were taken so pilots could learn more about the terrain, enemy maneuvers, etc. Butch dove at them and shot until all his ammunition was gone, then he would dive and try to clip off a wing or tail or anything that would make the enemy planes unfit to fly. He did anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships.

Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction, and Butch O’Hare and his fighter, both badly shot up, limped back to the carrier. He told his story, but not until the film from the camera on his plane was developed, did they realize the extent he really went to, to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nations highest military honors. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago was named after him.

Prior to this time in Chicago, there was a man named Easy Eddie. He was working for a man you’ve all heard about, Al Capone. Al Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic, but he was notorious for the murders he’d committed and the illegal things he’d done.

Easy Eddie was Al Capone’s lawyer and he was very good. In fact, because of his skill, he was able to keep Al Capone out of jail. To show his appreciation, Al Capone paid him very well. He not only earned big money, he would get extra things, like a residence that filled an entire Chicago city block. The house was fenced, and he had live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.

Easy Eddie had a son. He loved his son and gave him all the best things while he was growing up; clothes, cars, and a good education. And because he loved his son he tried to teach him right from wrong. But one thing he couldn’t give his son was a good name, and a good example.

Easy Eddie decided that this was much more important than all the riches he had given him. So, he went to the authorities in order to rectify the wrong he had done. In order to tell the truth, it meant he must testify against Al Capone, and he knew that Al Capone would do his best to have him killed.

But he wanted most of all to try to be an example and to do the best he could to give back to his son, a good name. So he testified. Within the year, he was shot and killed on a lonely street in Chicago. These may sound like two unrelated stories, but Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.”

Humble Beginnings
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in part owes its start to

  1. a barnstormer and an entrepreneur
  2. the Weaver Aircraft Company (a.k.a. Waco)
  3. a flying squirrel
  4. a moose

As the story goes, a well-to-do entrepreneur from Cincinnati named T. Higbee Embry had a vision of educating the people of his city about the potential of flight, and in the early 1920s, he drove to a local airport to take a flying lesson. A barnstormer by the name of John Paul Riddle took Embry for a ride in a Curtiss Jenny. Seven days later, Embry soloed in a Waco. A close friendship resulted, and on December 17, 1925, exactly 22 years after the historic flight of the Wright Flyer, Riddle and Embry founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, where it was located from 1926 to 1930. They were the first distributorship for Waco. The company soon opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. For a complete story on this “Harvard of the skies” see The Sky is Home, by John McCollister and Diann Davis. Sorry folks, no flying squirrel, and no moose. The answer is choice A.