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Tales of Great Power

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Aug 29, 2017 9:09:43 AM

hurricaneOn this day in 1876, Charles Franklin Kettering, the American engineer and longtime director of research for General Motors Corp. (GM), was born in Loudonville, Ohio. Of the 140 patents Kettering obtained over the course of his lifetime, perhaps the most notable was his electric self-starter for the automobile, patented in 1915. He started Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (aka DELCO), which merged into General Motors. With GM head Alfred P. Sloan, he founded the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York. On this date in 1949, the Soviet Union detonated their first atomic bomb. In 1961, Hurricane Donna formed. And in 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast of the US.

See if you’re a self-starter today with our vocabulary quiz. Do you glow in the dark or will you be blown away by the challenge?

1. fission

(a) the union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous quantities of energy when certain light elements unite

(b) to raise (as an atomic nucleus, an atom, or a molecule) to a higher energy level

(c) the splitting of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of large amounts of energy

(d) one of two or more atoms or elements having the same atomic weights or mass numbers but different atomic numbers

2. walkover

(a) to start (as a motorcycle) by means of a kick-starter

(b) a jack of the same suit as the starter in cribbage

(c) a horse race with only one starter

(d) to have crankshaft rotation especially by external means (as by a starter)

3. sirocco

(a) a cyclone in the middle or high latitudes often containing a cold front that extends toward the equator for hundreds of miles

(b) the southern edge of the eye of a hurricane, remarkable for its soft and fragrant breezes

(c) a tropical cyclone with strong winds of over 39 miles per hour but less than hurricane intensity

(d) a hot or warm wind of cyclonic origin from an arid or heated region

4. nicad

(a) a rechargeable storage battery that has a nickel cathode and a cadmium anode

(b) a detonation device used in Soviet-style nuclear warheads

(c) an cadram-nickel alloy that expands little on heating

(d) a pale alloy of gold especially with nickel or palladium that resembles platinum in appearance

5. voltaic

(a) a battery of solar cells (as in a spacecraft)

(b) of, relating to, or producing direct electric current by chemical action (as in a battery)

(c) being or having an organic ring composed of carbon atoms

(d) fourth in order or rank

6. oncogene

(a) a gene having the potential to cause a normal cell to become cancerous

(b) a substance or agent causing cancer

(c) a segment of DNA that is equivalent to a gene and that specifies a single functional unit (as a protein or enzyme)

(d) the hereditary material of the germ cells

7. cowl

(a) a low wheeled platform for supporting the body when working under an automobile

(b) an ornamental grating at the front end of an automobile

(c) the top portion of the front part of an automobile body forward of the two front doors to which are attached the windshield and instrument board

(d) an overhead metal bar on an automobile that is designed to protect the occupant in case of a rollover

8. MacPherson strut

(a) a component of an automobile suspension consisting of a shock absorber mounted within a coil spring

(b) a type of vehicle construction (as of an automobile) in which the body is integral with the chassis

(c) a sharp repetitive metallic noise caused by abnormal ignition in an automobile engine

(d) Elle’s moves on the runway

9. Beaufort scale

(a) a scale in which the destructive power of a nuclear bomb is indicated by numbers from 0 to 12

(b) a scale in which the force of the wind is indicated by numbers from 0 to 12

(c) a scale in which the impact of a cancerous tumor is indicated by numbers from 0 to 12

(d) a scale in which the power of a battery is indicated by numbers from 0 to 12

10. neutron bomb

(a) a canister of large individual atomic bombs that is dropped from an aircraft

(b) a hydrogen bomb or shell whose casing is contained upon explosion and heated to 6500 degrees Fahrenheit in order to melt through a protective barrier

(c) one of the many small bombs that make up a cluster bomb

(d) a nuclear bomb designed to produce lethal neutrons but less blast and fire damage than other nuclear bombs



Correct answers:

1c; 2c; 3d; 4a; 5b; 6a; 7c; 8a; 9b; 10d


How we see you:

All 10 Definite self-starter
7-9 You like research
4-6 The wind’s blowing but you’re hanging in there
2-3 Still looking for a cure
0-1 You totally bombed out


Intro text: history.com

Definitions: Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary


The smarter people share this vocabulary quiz (and their score) with their friends on Facebook. Most others just share the quiz. Doing so always makes you smarter!


Topics: vocabulary test, vocabulary

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