Where is Ken Now?

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

I’ve been reading Ken Jennings blog for a few months now and I have also subscribed to his weekly trivia email that on a good week I can answer maybe one or two questions. To give you an idea of how hard some of these are, here is last weeks quiz:

  1. What classic American toy was originally invented as a wallpaper cleaner?
  2. What’s the more common name of Leontopodium alpinum, subject of the last song Oscar Hammerstein II ever wrote?
  3. Whose official title, until he lost power in 1979, proclaimed him “Conqueror of the British Empire”?
  4. What novel was adapted into successful silent movies called “On the Barricade” and “The Bishop’s Candlesticks”?
  5. What ballroom dance is named for the vaudeville actor who originated it at the New York Theater in 1914?
  6. Inside what world landmark can you see a plaque bearing the equation “y = -127.7 ft x cosh(x/127.7 ft) + 757.7 ft”?
  7. What unusual distinction is shared by these famous folks? Lucille Ball, Joseph G. Cannon, Mia Farrow, KD Lang, John Lennon, Eddie Mathews, and Marilyn Monroe.

The answers are after the break.

In any event, I’ve noticed several Seattle references while I was reading his blog. Either Ken visits Seattle quite a bit…or….he moved. A quick check of Wikipedia not only confirms this, but that he’s a Washington native:
From en.wikipedia.org:

Born in Edmonds, Washington, Jennings grew up in Seoul, South Korea (1981–1992) and Singapore (1992–1996)…Jennings attended the University of Washington during his freshman year….Now residing just outside Seattle, Washington, Jennings identifies himself as an avid comic book and movie buff with a website listing his top 2,000 favorite movies.

One other random trivia, Ken’s web site hosted by the same company as my site, Bluehost…and they do a bang up job!

  1. What classic American toy was originally invented as a wallpaper cleaner? Play-Doh. Many readers tell me, in helpful Heloise fashion, that this still works (well, as long as you use white). Many more readers, unfortunately, guessed Silly Putty. Usually, I try to arrange the questions so that the answer that makes the most sense is actually right, but in this case, I guess you just had to know that Silly Putty was instead invented as a World War II-era attempt at synthetic rubber. Sorry. (Other wrong answers that I liked: Silly String, Super Soaker, Wacky WallWalkers, and “Chambermaid Barbie.”)
  2. What’s the more common name of Leontopodium alpinum, subject of the last song Oscar Hammerstein II ever wrote? Edelweiss.
  3. Whose official title, until he lost power in 1979, proclaimed him “Conqueror of the British Empire”? Idi Amin of Uganda. Most of the wrong answers here were guesses of “the Shah of Iran.”
  4. What novel was adapted into successful silent movies called “On the Barricade” and “The Bishop’s Candlesticks”? Les Miserables. Wow, that sort of makes two Broadway-musical questions in one week.
  5. What ballroom dance is named for the vaudeville actor who originated it at the New York Theater in 1914? The foxtrot, named for comedian Harry Fox.
  6. Inside what world landmark can you see a plaque bearing the equation “y = -127.7 ft x cosh(x/127.7 ft) + 757.7 ft”? Probably the hardest question this week. Many players came up with great guesses that hadn’t occurred to me when I wrote the question (the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Westminster Abbey, various bridges) though quite a few solvers realized that the equation’s in feet, not meters, and is therefore probably American. Math helps quite a bit here: even if you don’t graph the equation, you might see the hyperbolic cosine function and recognize it as a catenary (the shape formed by a hanging chain). You might even see the negative sign and realize that the landmark must be an *upside-down* catenary. If you’re Raj Dhuwalia, you solved for x = 0 and got y = 630 ft., and knew that that’s the height of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Easy, right?
  7. What unusual distinction is shared by these famous folks? Lucille Ball, Joseph G. Cannon, Mia Farrow, KD Lang, John Lennon, Eddie Mathews, and Marilyn Monroe. For a change, a Question Seven that many trivia diehards would see right off, instead of having to puzzle over all week. All seven appeared on the cover of a well-known magazine’s very first issue: TV Guide, Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy, respectively.
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