Wiz Quiz 4: Of Oil Prices and Food Crises…

Oil prices going up, up and up...


The international selling price of unrefined petroleum (commonly referred to as the oil price) has once again gone up to US Dollars 100 per barrel, causing concerns worldwide.

The ‘oil barrel’ is an old measure that has survived from the early days of the petroleum industry that originated in the Pennsylvania oil fields.

In the early 1860s, when oil production began, there was no standard container for oil, so whiskey barrels were used. Although actual barrels are no longer used to transport crude oil — and most petroleum is now moved around in pipelines or oil tankers — the measure is still in use. Since it was standardized in 1872, how many US gallons are in one barrel of oil?

This is one of 15 questions I asked in this week’s Wiz Quiz column in the Daily News, titled Of Oil Prices and Food Crises…

Once again, my co-compiler Vindana Ariyawansa and I offer a ‘mixed bag’ of questions, covering subjects ranging from culture and sports to science and business. These take off from some recent news stories and current concerns. For example, we hear about world oil prices rising (again!), and extreme weather causing food shortage in some parts of the world. When news reports mention oil barrels and talk about Malthusian scenarios, do we know what they really mean?

Read this week’s Wiz Quiz to test your current affairs knowledge!

Wiz Quiz 2: A Handful of Oscars!

It’s the film award season once again! Awards for the best performances and technical accomplishments in feature films released during 2010 will be announced during the first quarter of 2011.

The best known – and most sought after – film awards are presented by the (American) Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Official called the Academy Awards, they are better known by their informal name ‘Oscars’.

‘A handful of Oscars’ is the title on our weekly Wiz Quiz this week in Daily News. Film buff Vindana Ariyawansa and I have chosen a few of the great many records and outstanding feats from the rich and colourful history of Oscar awards.

There aren’t too many notable Asians in this history, but we’ve focused on some: Satyajit Ray, Dr Haing S. Ngor
Akira Kurosawa and Ang Lee among them.

The first Academy/Oscar Awards ceremony was held on 16 May 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honour outstanding film achievements of the 1927/1928 film season. The 83rd Oscar awards ceremony is scheduled for 27 February 2011, and will honour the best of films released during 2010. Nominations for the 2010 Awards have just been announced, on 25 January 2011.

Click here to see full list of Oscar Award nominations for 2010