Take a crack at these 10 questions inspired by the Great State of California!. Most questions have clues within them to make the answer ‘workoutable’. So what are you waiting for? Put on your thinking hats and see how many you can get right!
1. ‘International Orange’ is a color specification used in the aerospace industry to set things apart from their surroundings. It is similar to ‘Safety Orange’, but deeper and with a more reddish tone (see a variant of this color specification as used by NASA for astronaut space suits in the picture below). Its most famous use came in 1937 and prevails to this very day. Where has International Orange been put to its most famous use?
Show Answer‘International Orange’ is the shade of paint on the Golden Gate bridge. This shade has been used to paint the bridge since its inauguration in 1937. The color was chosen in order to increase visibility to ships.
2. The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. While the initial groups who came in search of the precious metal were small in size and comprised mostly of local Californians, by 1849 tens of thousands started arriving from other states as well as countries around the world. What was the nickname given to these fortune-seekers arriving from far and wide? (This nickname is now more famously the name of a local sports team)
Show AnswerForty Niners (from the year 1849). San Francisco’s football team gets its name from here.
3. Measuring 45 feet in height and 350 feet in length, this sign was originally created in 1923 as a temporary advertisement for a local real estate development. However, with the rise of a famous industry nearby it became an internationally recognized symbol and was left standing there. What are we talking about?
Show AnswerThe Hollywood Sign
4. The Magdeburg hemispheres are a pair of large copper hemispheres, with mating rims. They were used to demonstrate the power of atmospheric pressure. When the rims were sealed with grease and the air was pumped out, the sphere contained a vacuum and could not be pulled apart by teams of horses — as demonstrated by a famous experiment by Otto von Guericke on 8 May 1654. The experiment (as depicted in the picture below) was the inspiration for a famous logo adopted by a company founded in San Francisco in 1853. They were trying to demonstrate how tough and rugged their product was. Which company?
5. A small incorporated town in the California Bay Area has an interesting feature (thanks to space running out in San Francisco in the early part of the twentieth century) which inspired its humorous motto: “It’s great to be alive in ______” (town name blanked out). Identify this town which has its own BART station. What is the unique feature that inspired its motto?
Show AnswerColma. Colma became the site for numerous cemeteries after San Francisco outlawed new burials within city limits in 1900, then evicted all existing cemeteries in 1912.With most of Colma’s land dedicated to cemeteries, the population of the dead—about 1.5 million, as of 2006—outnumbers that of the living by a ratio of nearly a thousand to one. This led to the humorous motto: “It is great to be alive in Colma”.
6. ‘Free Solo’ is a 2018 documentary film that went on to win Best Documentary at the 91st Academy Awards. It features Alex Honnold performing a daredevil act in a famous National Park without protective equipment — something that had never been attempted before. He is pictured below showing off the body parts needing the most strength to pull off the feat he achieved. What feat?
Show AnswerClimbing up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Alex Honnold’s 2017 accomplishment of free soloing El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park, is regarded as one of the greatest athletic achievements of all time..
7. Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, both prolific home run scorers for the Oakland A’s baseball team in the 1980s and early 90s were given the nickname ‘Bash Brothers’ for their trademark celebration of bashing each other’s forearms (pictured below). More than two decades later, another famous duo playing a different sport were given a similar sounding nickname because of their uncanny ability to score in a particular way in their sport. What nickname did ‘Bash Brothers’ inspire in another sport and which duo was it given to?
Show AnswerSplash Brothers given to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors because of their 3-point scoring abilities. Splash is a reference to the basketball falling perfectly through the hoop causing the net to ‘splash’.
8. The Olympics have been held in California thrice so far, with Los Angeles hosting two of these three events in 1932 and 1984. Name the other California host of the Games which were held in 1960. This place was recently in the news because of a decision to drop a word from its name as it was deemed to be a slur used historically against Native Americans.
Show AnswerSquaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe — the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. In August 2020, a decision was made to drop the word ‘squaw’ from the name of the resort as it is a slur used historically against Native Americans
9. The person in this picture served as United States Secretary of Transportation between 2001 and 2006 as the only Democratic Cabinet Secretary in the George W Bush administration. A San Jose native born to Japanese immigrant parents, his contributions to society were recognized in 2002 by naming a major transportation hub in the city after him. Identify this person.
Show AnswerNorman Mineta. The San Jose airport is named after him.
10. Which 600 mile historic road from Spanish Colonial times connects the 21 Spanish Missions in California stretching at its southern end from the San Diego area Mission San Diego de Alcalá, all of the way up to the trail’s northern terminus at Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, just north of San Francisco Bay?
Show AnswerEl Camino Real