Kent State University professors John Dunlosky and Katherine Rawson compared the general knowledge of 671 college students in 2012 versus a cohort tested by Thomas Nelson and Louis Narens back in 1980. By using Nelson and Narens’ same 300 questions, Dunlosky and Rawson were interested in establishing new norms for general knowledge that could be used by other researchers (e.g., those studying memory loss). For example, it’s perfectly logical that most college students today don’t have a clue about era-specific pop culture trivia, such as the identity of the cartoon character Popeye or Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto.
However, along the way to new normative nirvana, Dunlosky and Rawson also discovered that the current crop of college students failed to grasp perennial and essential facts of geography, history, science, math, and the arts.
Try your hand at the the following ten questions (answers provided below). If it’s any comfort, not one of the 671 college students tested by Dunlosky and Rawson answered any of these questions correctly.
- What is the highest mountain in South America?
- What was the name of the largest Confederate military prison during the Civil War?
- What is the last name of the author of The Brothers Karamazov?
- What is the last name of the first person to run a mile in under four minutes?
- What is the name of the mountain range that separates Europe from Asia?
- What was the last name of the U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia in 1960?
- What is the last name of the person who allegedly said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”?
- What was the last name of the captain of the British ship “Bounty” when the mutiny occurred?
- What is the last name of the Cuban leader whom Fidel Castro overthrew?
- What is the last name of the man most responsible for photographing the U.S. Civil War?
Ponder no more try these answers...
Answers: Aconcagua, Andersonville, Dostoevsky, Bannister, Ural, Powers, Hale, Bligh, Batista, Brady.
Cook's notes:These appetizers are easy to put together sure to be a crowd pleaser.Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Skewers
Recipe from Taste of Home makes 12 kabobs
These appetizers can be made up early in the day before serving and stored in refrigerator. The basil does wilt a little, but they still look fine. As far as the mozzarella goes, I chose the ciliegine, or cherry-sized, mozzarella balls. Depending on the brand available at your grocery store, you may find slightly larger sizes, or smaller, such as the perline variety. Personally I liked using mozzarella that was about the same size as the grape tomato, so I tried to match them up.
- 24 grape tomatoes
- 12 cherry-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls
- 24 fresh basil leaves
- 2 TB. olive oil
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- On each of 12 wooden appetizer skewers, alternately thread two tomatoes, one cheese ball and two basil leaves; place on a serving plate.
- In a small bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar; drizzle over kabobs just before serving.
Recipe from Taste of Home makes 15 appetizers
- 2/3 cup diced tomatoes, patted dry on a paper towel
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 5 TB. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp. prepared pesto
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1 package (1.9 oz.) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
- In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheeses, pesto and pepper.
- Spoon heaping teaspoonfuls into tart shells. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 15 appetizers.
Salami-Olive -Cheese -Tomato Kabobs
- Salami slices
- grape tomatoes
- Cheddar cheese slices
- green olives, drained and patted dry
Herbed Cheese with Tomatoes and Pecans
- cucumber slices, thick slices and patted dry
- garlic herb soft cheese
- chopped pecans
- cherry tomatoes, halved and patted dry
- Assemble as shown in the photo