What is Qwikipedia?

Ever been on Wikipedia to look up an article? More often than not, we start with one topic, click a few links and within no time are reading about something else.

Qwikipedia is a game that tries to quench this curiosity in us. The objective is to get to a particular wiki page, starting from a specific article, using minimal clicks. There is no single correct answer, so we might surprise ourselves by finding new routes each time!

Friday’s Free rider

Blue whale —> Gemini 4

Blue whale

At 30 metres in length and 170 tonnes or so in weight, the blue whale is the largest animal known. It is a marine mammal and there are three subspecies found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Scientists have estimated that blue whales can live as long as about 80 years; however, studies of individuals have only gone up to 34 years. Do you know that whales can produce coherent sounds that are like songs? Pygmy blue whales off the coast of Srilanka have been recorded repeatedly producing a four-note “song.” This is special to the pygmy blue whale species, none of the other species have been noted producing songs like this. Blue whales are listed as endangered species. They are usually not found in extremely cold regions, but rare sightings have been noted to the north of Iceland near the islands of Spitsbergen and Jan Mayen.

Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen is a Norwegian volcanic island about 373 sq km in area and partly covered by glaciers. It was formed by the volcanic activity in the region. It is now a natural reserve area –entry into the island and staying there are strictly monitored. The only allowed inhabitants of the island are the Norwegian army personnel or members of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Though there are so few inhabitants, the island has a Country Code, “SJ” (along with Svaalbard, a neighbouring island) and Internet country code “.no” and amateur radio call sign prefix, “JX”.

It is believed that the Vikings of the medieval period knew about Jan Mayen; however, the knowledge seems to have been lost with the disappearing of Viking colonies in the 14th century. The island was rediscovered in early 17th century.

Call Sign

In the field of broadcasting or radio communications, a call sign is a designation, or name, given to a radio transmitting station. International call signs are used for amateur, broadcast, commercial, maritime and, sometimes, military radio. Each country is assigned a set of prefixes by the International Telecommunication Union and the call sign of the country begins with these prefixes. In India for example, some of the call signs begin with prefixes ranging from VU to VW. Aircraft also use call signs for easy identification. They follow the pattern of stating their country prefix followed by a unique set of numbers and alphabets. Manned spacecraft also make use of call signs. The pattern however is not standardized. In the Gemini-4 space mission, the call sign used was Houston, the place where the spacecraft had been housed.

Gemini – 4

Gemini – 4 was the second manned space flight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Gemini project. The flight took place in 1965. It was the first for the US in many ways – the first US space flight to circle the world four times, the first US flight in which the astronaut took a space walk and the first US flight in which many experiments were carried out. Though it was a great flight, during re-entry it had problems and the computers failed. Still the crew landed without any harm being done. This spacecraft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

So the path that we have traversed today is:

Blue whale —> Jan Mayen —> Call Sign —> Gemini-4

Three clicks!

Hop over. Its time for the next question:

Saturday’s Surfer

Madame Tussauds—> Hiroshima

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