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The All New All New Groundspeak UK Pub Quiz

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Clutching at etymological straws, the only domesticated insect that I can think of is the honey bee and I suspect that the "A" comes from the same root as "Apiary", which is a "posh" name for a beehive, and that one of the "M"s comes from the latin for honey (Mellitus or something like that). Perhaps the other "M" comes from a region name (it won't be "west" as that's occidentus IIRC).


Anyway, best guess is the honey bee. You said these creatures are confined to the margins of Britain, which tells me I'm wrong but hopefully it'll give someone else a clue?


Edited to add: I see MTH pipped my guess to the post. (When will I learn to post first and add explanations after! ...)

Edited by Pajaholic
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A guess you want... a guess you'll get!

The only "Ratel" I can think of is a mechanised troop carrier used by the South African army. The British used something similar called a "Scorpion".... so is a Ratel a South African Scorpion?


Edited cos I can't speel

Edited by Pharisee
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I first heard about them on Top Gear and it's all true; fearless and keen on going for the dangly bits. Thanks for the Ding.


A change of direction...

I've discovered a game called Kerbal Space Program (highly recommended) and it's taught me a lot about orbital mechanics in recent weeks. So here's a question about changing orbits. You may have heard of retro engines which face in the direction of travel. 'Retro-fire' is used to slow a ship by applying a retrograde force, perhaps to perform a 'de-orbit burn' to push a spacecraft into an atmosphere. Over the Earth that's reentry, over Mars or another planet with an atmosphere it would be aero-breaking (to change a fly-by orbit using friction) or aero-capture (to pull a fly-by into orbit or to slow an orbit enough that you're landing. It can't be reenty if you've never been in that atmosphere before) So! My question is this: What's the opposite of retrograde?

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Gets a Ding. You thrust along your line of motion to raise your apsis (apogee, aphelion), or periapsis (pericentre, perihelion), or both. That's a prograde force.


What MTH describes is apparent retrograde motion caused by one object 'over-taking' another in their orbits, but some bodies have true retrograde motion, where the secondary object (star, planet, moon) is orbiting in a direction opposite to the spin of its primary. In our solar system the biggest body to do this is Triton, the moon of Neptune. While Venus spins in the same direction as the other planets around the sun, it spins on its own 177-degree (upside-down) axis backwards. Pluto's 120-degree axis means it's technically spinning retrograde too, although it spends a long time with a pole pointing sunwards. And that's science :)


Over to Betelgeuse.

Edited by Simply Paul
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Would that be the Ort Cloud?


Some interesting pictures from Russia on the news this morning.


DING! Oort cloud. Named after the dutch astronomer Jan Oort who posited its existence in 1950. He was a remarkable chap who also discovered the galactic halo, the direction and distance of galactic centre and, although it wasn't postulated at the time (1920s), the evidence for dark matter. The Oort cloud itself is thought to be the remnants of the protoplanetary disc that formed the solar system.


The CCTV video of the fireball over Russia was incredible :) I would have loved to have seen that first hand!


I'll be out tonight with my telescope if the skies clear. :)


Over to you...

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IIRC, the 'proper' letters are: A B C Ch D Dd E F Ff G H I J L Ll M N O P R S T U W Y. So there are 25 of those. However, there are also soft and nasal mutations (ph, rh, th, ng), which might be considered letters. So I'll try 25 without mutations and 29 with.


DING! Correct. As a primary school teacher we say there are 29 letters to the alphabet.

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Your luck holds true. A DING! for you, sir. :)
Thanks very much. Taking a tangent, Sputnik is an interesting object. Although the original is long-since-burnt-up, several 'contemporary', Soviet-made copies exist - either development or back-up units. Most are in museums (as are many replicas) but one is owned by a remarkable individual with a link to Geocaching. The second person to wear the Union flag in orbit, the second in orbit to be the child of a previous generation 'naut (their father Owen flying on Skylab and a shuttle mission) and the only private individual to own an object on the moon. They would have been the first 'space tourist' if it wasn't for the Dot-Com crash, are a keen magician, and shot a short sci-fi film while in space; the first. They also officiated over the first zero-gee wedding, on a 727 'vomit comet'... But who are they?! (I used Google to set the question but please don't to answer it. There should be enough info above for you to get the name I'm after.)
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