100 questions to determine the fate of the world. 100 answers to save it. Who would have picked a scenario like this ?
But wait just a little ahead of myself here. Need to back track a couple of days to the day the world was forever changed no matter what the outcome of the 100 questions is. Now I know that books and authors and reporters and media are very fond of saying things are world changing events and hyping stuff up just to sell more copies or get higher ratings. This time however the simple fact is that it was a world changing event comparable to none that had happened before.
June 16th 2017 was a day like any other. The world drifted along as it had done for the last few thousand years or more. People were born, people died, people fell in love, people fell out of love. Babies cried, teens rebelled, old people rocked on their rocking chairs. No one thought that almost everything they had believed about the world or in fact the universe was wrong or rather incomplete. Simply put there was more out there than anyone knew. Sure lots of people had wanted there to be more for a long time hence the popularity of science fiction and Star Wars type movies.
The reality was different than anyone had thought possible. When it happened, no expert could come up with a previous version similar to what actually was real. Despite many thousands of ideas about aliens and different worlds and first contact none of them fitted the bill. The Universe was not as any of us had believed it to be. And a large percentage of the human race was disappointed especially all those who wanted a free ride in life. Most people whenever they thought about it thought that man was the dominant species, that whatever came along man would conqueror it and continue on being in charge. And why wouldn't they ? Hollywood had been telling us that for generations with movies like Independence day and the like. Evil aliens turn up, throw everything they have at the earth but in the end a hero steps up and wins the day for mankind. There is almost always a happy or at least a hopeful ending except in zombie movies of course, but everyone knows zombies aren't real - well everyone over 30 anyway.
So 10am New Zealand time - I use the time where I was - the rest of the world knows what time it was where they were. Its not likely to be something anyone would forget especially as it just happened a couple of days ago. And
"All men lead lives of quiet despair" a quote that often found its way into my thinking. I can't recall who said it or even if i am quoting it right. But I believe it to be very true. Certainly it summed up my life well.
60 years old, single, divorced, most days didn't talk to anyone except on the other side of the computer screen. Not quite busy enough to have no time to think but too busy to get out and about much. After a while there is no desire to go out anyway. I had my farm and cows and TV [ mostly British crime shows like Midsummer Murders, New Tricks, Lewis and the like ] and Facebook - lots of friends there, most of whom i had never met nor ever would. Plenty of books to read when there was time and of course porn - the joys of having the internet - lots of free stuff and far less complicated than actually having to deal with real people. Tried that once and that was enough.
Every day seemed like an unfulfilled day. It always seemed like i had so much potential but never seemed to ever reach any of it. There were so many things i thought I could have done or should have done and as time went by, it got harder and harder to even try any of them. I could have been just about anything if i had tried. Okay yes i loved being a farmer and yes i was pretty good at it but there always seemed to be more just sitting under the surface. More that I was capable of, at least in my own mind anyway. If you haven't done something then the jury's out on whether or not you could do it. just because you say you can or believe you can doesn't make it so. not until you've actually done it. I never had enough money or the right woman or this or that - excuses were easy to think of. And excuses saved having to make any effort to try new things.
It was so easy just to sit back and watch TV or read a book to pass the time. Or talk on Facebook - really Facebook was more of a way to waste time than anything else. It sucked you up into it and consumed you and took over your waking hours. You had to get back to it to see what other people were doing and saying and what the news was. You know things about peoples lives that you have never met and that you didn't need to know and didn't want to know but it was definitely a drug, an addiction even. And when you posted a photo or made a comment, well you just had to check in to see how many people liked your photo or commented on it or commented on your comment. And the more "friends" you had the more things appeared on your timeline that they all posted and the longer it took each day to read thru them all. It is an ongoing time waster that sucks all the real life out of people.
Yet I loved facebook and all its facets. I enjoyed the farm and cow side of it. Seeing photos from all round the world and hearing, or should that be reading, what my friends were getting up to each day. For a farmer stuck on a farm its a great thing. For a cattle breeder even better. I could see a photo of a freshly calved heifer by a new bull posted from anywhere in the world literally seconds after the photo had been taken and equally show my photos to the world just as fast. And being on Facebook meant you knew things faster than people who weren't on it - the hot news went around the world faster than ever before. In a smug sort of way one felt sorry for the non Facebook users out there.
So yeah many people would consider my life to be a very sorry, sad state of affairs. And yes often it felt like i was just marking time till it happened. What the "it" was i didn't know. Until i won the lotto and could all the things i never had the money for before. Until I met the perfect woman and could start to enjoy life. Until I got too old to keep milking cows twice a day , every day, 365 days of the year. Or could no longer physically do it anymore and when you are nearly 60 that feels like it could happen at any time. Oh yes there were lots of "it's" I was waiting for. Never however, in my wildest dreams did I imagine the it that finally happened.
Woke up as usual and went to milk, fed the cows, did the usual jobs and went inside to se what had happened in the world while i was asleep. I still hadn't graduated to the latest ipad, ipod, iphone or itv or whatever most of the planet used and couldn't live without these days. I didn't even like my cell phone and only checked it once a day for any messages. Anyway everyone who knew me and was on Facebook knew that leaving me a PM was the best way to contact me. Plugged computer in, turned it on , had a wash and got some food and went back to the bed room to check out the world. My home page as it has been for many years is Facebook and i had about 80 notifications - quite common - since i didn't have a life i had a lot of friends on Facebook.
But the timeline was only about one thing - something called the FEDERATION. People seemed to think the end of the world had come or something. Right - deep breath and start checking out things - clicked on local TV news page and yeah top of the page FEDERATION - is it real or a hoax ?
1] What is Puddleglum ?
1a] A Marsh Wiggle
2] Who is the greatest farmer that has ever lived on planet earth ?
2a] King Solomon
3] What two occupations does Steele Rudds main character have ?
3a] Member of Parliament and Farmer
4] On the banks of which river was earths greatest civilisation founded ?
4a] Tiber River - Roman Empire
5] There have been a few people from other planets that have ended up on Earth over the last few thousand years. All were fleeing criminals. Name any of those you think had the biggest influence on the human race. There are five possible answers - you just need to name one for full marks.
5a] Genghis Khan, Maximilien Robespierre, Attila the Hun, Leopold II of Belgium, Talat Pasha
6] Name 5 British prime ministers between 1800-1940 - surnames will do. each correct answer is worth 0.2 points
6a] Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, William Pitt, Gladstone [ samual ? ] Chamberlin ?
|William Pitt, the Younger (Tory)||1783–1801|
|Henry Addington (Tory)||1801–1804|
|William Pitt, the Younger (Tory)||1804–1806|
|Baron Grenville (Whig)||1806–1807|
|Duke of Portland (Tory)||1807–1809|
|Spencer Perceval (Tory)||1809–1812|
|Earl of Liverpool (Tory)||1812–1827|
|George Canning (Tory)||1827–1827|
|Viscount Goderich (Tory)||1827–1828|
|Duke of Wellington (Tory)||1828–1830|
|Earl Grey (Whig)||1830–1834|
|Viscount Melbourne (Whig)||1834–1834|
|Sir Robert Peel (Tory)||1834–1835|
|Viscount Melbourne (Whig)||1835–1841|
|Sir Robert Peel (Tory)||1841–1846|
|Earl Russell (Whig)||1846–1852|
|Earl of Derby (Tory)||1852–1852|
|Earl of Aberdeen (Coalition)||1852–1855|
|Viscount Palmerston (Liberal)||1855–1858|
|Earl of Derby (Conservative)||1858–1859|
|Viscount Palmerston (Liberal)||1859–1865|
|Earl Russell (Liberal)||1865–1866|
|Earl of Derby (Conservative)||1866–1868|
|Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative)||1868–1868|
|William E. Gladstone (Liberal)||1868–1874|
|Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative)||1874–1880|
|William E. Gladstone (Liberal)||1880–1885|
|Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)||1885–1886|
|William E. Gladstone (Liberal)||1886–1886|
|Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)||1886–1892|
|William E. Gladstone (Liberal)||1892–1894|
|Earl of Rosebery (Liberal)||1894–1895|
|Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative)||1895–1902|
|Arthur James Balfour (Conservative)||1902–1905|
|Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal)||1905–1908|
|Herbert H. Asquith (Liberal)||1908–1915|
|Herbert H. Asquith (Coalition)||1915–1916|
|David Lloyd George (Coalition)||1916–1922|
|Andrew Bonar Law (Conservative)||1922–1923|
|Stanley Baldwin (Conservative)||1923–1924|
|James Ramsay MacDonald (Labour)||1924–1924|
|Stanley Baldwin (Conservative)||1924–1929|
|James Ramsay MacDonald (Labour)||1929–1931|
|James Ramsay MacDonald (Coalition)||1931–1935|
|Stanley Baldwin (Coalition)||1935–1937|
|Neville Chamberlain (Coalition)||1937–1940|
|Winston Churchill (Coalition)||1940–1945|
7] Do you believe in one God, no God or many Gods ?
7a] any answer earns one point - no wrong answer
8] Name the greatest farmer in history on planet Earth
8a] King Solomon
9] Name the greatest title for a series of books and the author
9a] A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight by Henry Williamson
Question and answer from the Federation - one per hour