Only 4% of People Will Ace the Hardest General Knowledge Drill Ever

By: Zoe Samuel
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Only 4% of People Will Ace the Hardest General Knowledge Drill Ever
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Everyone likes to think of themselves as knowing a good amount of stuff. We're all great at dinner parties, after all, with our sparkling anecdotes, hilarious jokes and endless but never excessively wielded string of arcane and intriguing truths. Who hasn't dazzled a potential love interest by rattling off some fascinating fact about how deep space isn't actually empty after all, knowing what's really lurking at the bottom of the ocean, or being able to tell them the precise amount of rat feces that's legally permitted by state and federal authorities to be in that dish they're in the middle of eating (don't Google this if you intend to ever eat happily again)? Who hasn't appealed to a potential employer by knowing the history of their industry, a useful tidbit about their favorite sporting hobby,or a handy hint about the particular tipple they prefer at the end of a working day? Who has not silenced their boring or controversial relatives by artfully diverting a conversation about who exactly is coming where and doing what to whose job by pulling out an obscure observation about the shedding habits of grass snakes or the local history of the neighborhood?

If you haven't recently enjoyed such an opportunity, now is your chance! Let's get started.

What is the capital of Mali?
Addis Ababa
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Mali is a West African country and former imperial power whose capital, Bamako, is the fastest-growing city in Africa. It is on the Niger River.

What is the fastest land animal?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Cheetahs have been clocked at short distances going over 70 mph, making them the fastest land animal.

How many Amendments does the US Constitution have?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are 27 Amendments, though only 26 are in force as the 21st repealed the 18th (the one that prohibited alcohol).


What is the ruling house of Sweden?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The House of Bernadotte has held the Swedish throne since 1818.

What is the collective noun for bears?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sometimes a group of bears is called a sloth. This may be because of the sloth bear. It would be much cooler if it were a Goldilocks though!

What is the maximum number of times you can fold any piece of paper?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's a curious feature of how folding works that eventually the paper will get too fat along the fold to successfully fold again.


Why did some people in 2013 argue the American penny should no longer be manufactured?
Copper prices were so high that the pennies cost more to make than they were worth.
Pennies are really annoying.
They wanted to replace the image of Abraham Lincoln with that of Martin Luther King.
There was a spate of people swallowing pennies as a YouTube challenge.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Pennies were indeed worth more melted down than they were as pennies. People have often argued that pennies are so hefty that they actually slow down the financial system.

What is the lowest speed light has ever gone?
299,792,458 meters per second
671,000,000 mph
38 mph
407 mph
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you put light through an ultracold atomic gas, it goes much slower than you might expect. "Light speed" is the measure of how fast it goes in a vacuum.

What is a thagomizer?
A way of measuring "thag", which means the density of steel
A special kind of paint-drying gun
A military laser that was briefly tested before being surpassed by superior technology
The spike on a stegosaurus' tail
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The thagomizer was named by cartoonist Gary Larson in a 1980s cartoon from his popular "Far Side" series.


How many feature films did Monty Python make?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Python features are Life of Brian, Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life. Otherwise Python are primarily known for their sketch show and songs.

What animal was Pollyanna, who lived on board a submarine for six weeks?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Pollyanna lived on HMS Trident for six weeks after Russians gave it to the Brits!

What is special about the Dutch village of Giethoorn?
Its name is a portmanteau of two different languages' word for "village".
It has no roads, just canals.
Everyone in it has won the lottery at least once.
It has a microclimate that means it is always snowy.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Giethoorn is unusual for having no roads at all. Even Venice has a few of them, but Giethoorn is all canals!


What makes Antarctica's "Blood Falls" red?
Oxidized salty water
Blood, duh
Acid rain
Bauxite deposits
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The water is tainted by iron oxide, and it really is bright red. It's a beautiful and chilling sight.

What is the name of the satirical parliamentary candidate who ran against three British Prime Ministers in the last 35 years?
Screaming Lord Sutch
Mr. Fishfinger
Bus-Pass Elvis
Lord Buckethead
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

All four answers were "real" satirical candidates who stood in the British elections - which tend to attract a lot of such people as just about anyone can enter for a few hundred pounds. Lord Buckethead has been a couple of different people, however, and thus has a certain longevity. He has stood against three Tory Prime Ministers. British elections require all candidates to stand in a row while results are read, and then shake hands, meaning the serious candidates have to stand on camera next to the silly ones and pretend not to feel undermined.

There once lived a man who has been struck by lightning more than once. How many times was he hit?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Roy C. Sullivan simply kept getting hit by lightning and eventually was so distressed by it that he shot himself.


What is Harry Houdini's real name?
Trick question: Harry Houdini is his real name.
Bert Smith
Eric Weiss
Jesse Mullins
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Harry Houdini was a from a Jewish Polish background. His real name was Eric Weiss, but he changed it to honor his hero Robert Houdin and also to sound less ethnically distinct.

What is the nationality of the creator of German chocolate cake?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You knew this had to be a trick, didn't you? Samuel German named the cake for himself but now, of course, everyone thinks it's German as in the nationality.

Which letter is the most recently added to the English alphabet?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The letter J does not exist in the Roman alphabet, as you can see from the way they spelled eg Julius Caesar or Jesus as Iulius or Iesus.


What game are the British Royal Family not allowed to play?
Anything undignified
Monopoly, because it gets too vicious
Stratego, because someone might beat the Queen
Chess, because it is Russian and thus communist
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Apparently the Royal Family abolished Monopoly from family gatherings as they are too competitive. It is well known that they love charades though.

What is special about myotonic goats?
They taste like chicken.
They can talk.
They faint when they are surprised.
They can jump three times their own height.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Myotonic goats get a temporary paralysis when they are very shocked, and fall down and die. It's not clear why evolution favored this particular adaptation.

What special livestock can you see at the Exuma Cays?
Dancing bears
Dogs with gills
Swimming pigs
Snorkeling chickens
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The swimming pigs live on a reef sometimes that can get wet when the tide comes in - so they just swim until the water goes out again! They are left over from a shipwreck a couple hundred years ago.


What famous couple were played by voice actors Russi Taylor and Wayne Allwine, who married as a result of playing the roles?
Popeye and Olive Oyl
Mickey and Minnie Mouse
Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote
Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

These two voice artists played Mickey and Minnie and then fell in love and married. One imagines their vows sounded very creative indeed.

What fossil is believed to have inspired the myth of the cyclops?
Woolly mammoth
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The mammoth's skull has a hole located in such a way as to seem like there is one big eye in the middle

What percentage of the sand on Omaha Beach was discovered to be made up of shrapnel from the D-Day landing?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

So many munitions were fired on this beach that 4% of its "sand" is actually crushed-up shrapnel.


What images will you find on the exterior of every building in the village of Zalipie, Poland?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The whole village is decorated with flower murals, which attract many tourists.

Other than food, what do sea otters store in their underarm skin pouches?
Rocks for opening clams and mollusks
GPS trackers inserted by conservationists
Poison sacs for stopping enemies
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Otters use little rocks for opening clams and other shelled creatures - but since you can't always find a rock, they carry them around if they find a good one.

What was the result of the lawsuit filed in 1854 by Elizabeth Jennings Graham?
Columbia Law took its first female student.
New York city transit was desegregated.
The minimum wage was created.
The first workers' unions in New York were founded.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Elizabeth Jennings Graham heroically refused to leave the streetcar (as required by then existing law) 100 years before the Civil Rights movement really kicked off, and the result was desegregation of streetcars. Sadly wider society did not learn their lesson, meaning Rosa Parks had to do the same thing 100 years later.


What was the BBC's first report on April 18, 1930?
"Some fellow named Adolf Hitler is getting traction in Germany, but we do not think he will last."
"We have decided to call this economic period the Little Depression, as it will be over soon."
There was none!
"There's a man in India called Mahatma Gandhi who is organizing marches, but we do not think he will affect much there."
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Yep - it was a really boring day, apparently, as the reporters informed the viewers, ""There is no news." As they said this: Hitler was rising to power, the stock market was in a shambles as world trade collapsed following the Wall Street Crash, the Dust Bowl was kicking off across half of the USA, and Mahatma Gandhi had recently started marching across India. None of these things apparently rated coverage, though!

Who founded the US city of Miami?
John Miami
Rosa Miami
Julia Tuttle
Henry Flagler
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This makes Miami one of very few cities founded by women and the only major US one. Tuttle persuaded Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to build the railway down to Miami and incorporated the city with its mighty population of 300. It is now the most important port in the southeastern USA.

Why were Kelloggs' Corn Flakes originally invented?
To prevent masturbation
To encourage sexual desire
To help athletes carb-load before the newly-founded New York marathon
To monetize leftover pieces of corn that nobody else wanted
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Kellogg was a religious zealot who thought that eating anything too nice or delicious would surely induce naughty behavior, and invented corn flakes to be so boring that nobody would be provoked into such lustfulness. It seems abundantly clear that it didn't work.


What song is sung annually on the surface of Mars?
Mars Mission Counter by Tangerine Dream
Life on Mars by David Bowie
Happy Birthday
Venus and Mars by Wings
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Curiosity Rover sings Happy Birthday to itself, every year on August 5, the anniversary of its arrival on Mars. As the Mars year is longer than the Earth year (and the Mars day is 40 minutes longer), it is technically getting further and further out of sync with the Martian year.

Who is the famous tongue-twister "She sells seashells by the sea shore" really about?
Trick question: it's not about a real person.
Mary Anning
Molly Malone
Moll Flanders
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Famous paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847) was a great British scientist whose exploration of Jurassic marine fossil beds in Dorset added greatly to our understanding of the dinosaurs!

What are baby puffins called?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

They really are called pufflings and they are every bit as cute as the name implies.


What percentage of water on the planet is currently tied up in ice and snow?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This still represents more than 2/3 of the freshwater on the planet.

Which of these is definitely NOT a name for a kind of star?
Black hole
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A supernova is a collapsed star. A pulsar is a star with a very regular light signature. A black hole is (usually) a massive star that collapsed a very long time ago (though sometimes they may be as old as the universe or galaxy). A quasar, however, just looks like a star through a telescope due to all the light it gives off, but it's actually a supermassive black hole plus a disk of gas, and not a star at all.

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