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Answers to The Conversation’s news quiz 🧠

How closely do you read The Conversation U.S.? You can see answers to questions included in our newsletter below.

Found a fascinating factoid in one of our articles? Send a suggested question to and we may include it in a future quiz. Please include the article link and paste the passage where you found your new nugget of knowledge.

July 1, 2022

About how much of the water used in the Colorado River Basin is consumed by farmers?

A) 25%
B) 33%
C) 50%
D) 80%

Answer: D. From the story A water strategy for the parched West: Have cities pay farmers to install more efficient irrigation systems

June 24, 2022

When was the nation’s first red flag law, which would allow police to take guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others, passed?

A) 1999
B) 2012
C) 2016
D) 2018

Answer: A. From the story Red flag laws saved 7,300 Americans from gun deaths in 2020 alone – and could have saved 11,400 more

June 17, 2022

The urban heat island effect was first described in what year?

A) 1818
B) 1856
C) 1931
D) 1972

Answer: A. From the story Satellites zoom in on cities’ hottest neighborhoods to help combat the urban heat island effect

June 10, 2022

According to the World Health Organization, rates of depression and anxiety in the first year of the pandemic increased worldwide by what percentage?

A) 5%
B) 10%
C) 25%
D) 33%

Answer: C. From the story Therapy on the go: Mildly depressed or simply stressed, people are tapping apps for mental health care

June 3, 2022

Between 1995 and 2016, how many Texas public schools experienced a shooting on school grounds during school hours?

A) 7
B) 14
C) 25
D) 33

Answer: D. From the story The lasting consequences of school shootings on the students who survive them

May 27, 2022

The Golden Records on the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes contain spoken greetings in how many languages?

A) 12
B) 25
C) 55
D) 110

Answer: C. From the story What the Voyager space probes can teach humanity about immortality and legacy as they sail through space for trillions of years

May 20, 2022

About what percentage of proteins in the human body need zinc to properly function?

A) 5%
B) 10%
C) 20%
D) 25%

Answer: B. From the story Zinc is a metal essential to life – scientists have discovered a protein that helps keep cells alive when zinc levels are low

May 13, 2022

True or false? Octopuses are found in every ocean in the world.

A) True
B) False

Answer: A. From the story What does an octopus eat? For a creature with a brain in each arm, whatever’s within reach

May 6, 2022

The Colorado River supplies water to about how many people?

A) 5 million
B) 15 million
C) 30 million
D) 40 million

Answer: D. From the story Western river compacts were innovative in the 1920s but couldn’t foresee today’s water challenges

April 29, 2022

About what percent of people with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at advanced stages?

A) 25%
B) 33%
C) 50%
D) 70%

Answer: D. From the story Ovarian cancer is not a silent killer – recognizing its symptoms could help reduce misdiagnosis and late detection

April 22, 2022

How many countries make up the Arctic Council?

A) 3
B) 5
C) 8
D) 12

Answer: C. From the story Why freezing the Arctic Council is bad news for global security

April 15, 2022

In what year did the Maxwell House first introduce the Maxwell House Haggadah?

A) 1919
B) 1923
C) 1932
D) 1965

Answer: C. From the story How a coffee company and a marketing maven brewed up a Passover tradition: A brief history of the Maxwell House Haggadah

April 8, 2022

About how many states in the U.S. have passed bills to make Daylight Saving Time permanent?

A) 5
B) 10
C) 15
D) 20

Answer: D. From the story 5 ways Americans’ lives will change if Congress makes daylight saving time permanent

April 1, 2022

About how many people in the U.S. have alopecia areata, or hair loss to a particular area?

A) 330 thousand
B) 750 thousand
C) 1 million
D) 1.5 million

Answer: C. From the story What is alopecia? It’s no laughing matter for millions of Black American women

March 25, 2022

How many asteroids are named after Jesuit astronomers?

A) 16
B) 25
C) 34
D) 52

Answer: A. From the story Who are the Jesuits?

March 18, 2022

About what percentage of dogs in North America over the age of 1 are affected by osteoarthritis?

A) 20%
B) 33%
C) 40%
D) 50%

Answer: A. From the story For dogs with arthritis, daily activities don’t have to be painful

March 11, 2022

About how many avian species possess spurs on their legs or wings?

A) 20
B) 70
C) 130
D) 170

Answer: D. From the story Deer have antlers, walruses have tusks – here’s why so few birds have weapons of their own

March 4, 2022

What is the regolith?

A) Craters on the Moon
B) The powdery top layer of the Moon
C) Remains of things that crash into the Moon
D) Water ice

Answer: B. From the story A rocket is going to crash into the Moon – the accidental experiment will shed light on the physics of impacts in space

February 25, 2022

About how many American households have at least one pet?

A) 50 million
B) 70 million
C) 90 million
D) 115 million

Answer: C. From the story How the presence of pets builds trust among people

February 18, 2022

When was “Yokohama, California,” the first book of fiction to be published by a Japanese American, published?

A) 1941
B) 1949
C) 1975
D) 1978

Answer: B. From the story Toshio Mori endured internment camps and overcame discrimination to become the first Japanese American to publish a book of fiction

February 11, 2022

Pure water will not freeze until it is cooled to about what temperature?

A) -40 F
B) -5 F
C) 0 F
D) 32 F

Answer: A. From Olympic skiers and snowboarders are competing on 100% fake snow – the science of how it’s made and how it affects performance

February 4, 2022

About how many countries permit return-free filing, in which the government notifies taxpayers of taxes owed or a refund?

A) 5
B) 15
C) 30
D) 50

Answer: C. From The IRS already has all your income tax data – so why do Americans still have to file their taxes?

January 28, 2022

About how many cooperative observers send weather data to the National Weather Service?

A) 3,100
B) 4,600
C) 8,700
D) 10,500

Answer: C. From How is snowfall measured? A meteorologist explains how volunteers tally up winter storms

January 21, 2022

About how many COVID-19 tests in the U.S. have been performed by medical laboratory professionals as of January 2022?

A) 320 million
B) 520 million
C) 860 million
D) 1 billion

Answer: C. From The omicron variant is deepening severe staffing shortages in medical laboratories across the US

January 14, 2022

The brain requires what percent of the human body’s energy needs to perform all of its functions?

A) 2%
B) 20%
C) 40%
D) 60

Answer: B. From How does excess sugar affect the developing brain throughout childhood and adolescence? A neuroscientist who studies nutrition explains

January 7, 2022

True or false: You taste different flavors on different parts of your tongue?
A) True
B) False

Answer: B. From What’s the difference between sugar, other natural sweeteners and artificial sweeteners? A food chemist explains sweet science

December 17, 2021

American mistletoe is in the genus Phoradendron, which translates to which of the following in Greek?

A) thief of the tree
B) witches’ broom
C) kissing plant
D) plant strangler

Answer: A. From Mistletoe – famous for stolen holiday kisses – is a parasite that steals water and nutrients from other plants

December 10, 2021

What year was the first image of Santa Claus produced?

A) 1835
B) 1843
C) 1863
D) 1889

Answer: C. From How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts and a tree

December 3, 2021

Muscle mass makes up what percentage of body mass in most mammals?

A) 15%
B) 30%
C) 40%
D) 50%

Answer: B. From Sea otters demonstrate that there is more to muscle than just movement – it can also bring the heat

November 26, 2021

How long has Thanksgiving been called “Turkey Day?” At least since:

A) 1870
B) 1900
C) 1920
D) 1950

Answer: A. From Talking turkey! How the Thanksgiving bird got its name (and then lent it to film flops)

November 19, 2021

In what year did the Surgeon General officially identify tobacco products as addictive?

A) 1979
B) 1988
C) 1998
D) 2002

Answer: B. From Foods high in added fats and refined carbs are like cigarettes – addictive and unhealthy

November 12, 2021

How many songs did Paul McCartney reveal the origin of in his new book?

A) 74
B) 154
C) 177
D) 213

Answer: B. From What Paul McCartney’s ‘The Lyrics’ can teach us about harnessing our creativity.

November 5, 2021

In the U.S., what percentage of atheist scientists say they are culturally religious?

A) 29%
B) 40%
C) 60%
D) 73%

Answer: A. From Many scientists are atheists, but that doesn’t mean they are anti-religious.

October 29, 2021

Which of the following substances produces yellow hues in leaves during the fall?

A) Chlorophyll
B) Carotenoid
C) Xanthophyll
D) Anthocyanin

Answer: C. From Climate change is muting fall colors, but it’s just the latest way that humans have altered US forests

October 22, 2021

What year did the pentagram – a five-pointed star associated with Wicca – become a permitted symbol for military gravestones?

A) 1970
B) 1997
C) 2007
D) 2017

Answer: C. From Wiccans in the US military are mourning the dead in Afghanistan this year as they mark Samhain, the original Halloween

October 21, 2021

What is the most-read article in the history of The Conversation U.S. to date?

A) Should I kill spiders in my home? An entomologist explains why not to

B) How effective is the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?

C) American slavery: Separating fact from myth

D) Explainer: Is it really OK to eat food that’s fallen on the floor?

Answer: A, but the wrong answers are all in the Top 10.

October 15, 2021

In what year did the first known reference to vampires appear in a manuscript?

A) 503
B) 1047
C) 1504
D) 1725

Answer: B. From More ‘disease’ than ‘Dracula’ – how the vampire myth was born

October 8, 2021

What year did Syukuro Manabe and his colleague, Richard Wetherald, use a simplified version of their climate model to perform the first quantitative study of the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

A) 1955
B) 1967
C) 1979
D) 1992

Answer: B. From Winners of 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics built mathematics of climate modeling, making predictions of global warming and modern weather forecasting possible

October 1, 2021

How many tattoos does Ötzi the Iceman have?

A) 3
B) 26
C) 42
D) 61

Answer: D. From What Ötzi the prehistoric iceman can teach us about the use of tattoos in ceremonial healing or religious rites

September 24, 2021

As of September 2021, how many known near-Earth asteroids are there?

A) More than 7,000
B) More than 11,000
C) More than 26,000
D) More than 42,000

Answer: C. From A giant space rock demolished an ancient Middle Eastern city and everyone in it – possibly inspiring the Biblical story of Sodom

September 17, 2021

How many Muslims live in Latin America?

A) 250,000
B) 500,000
C) 1 million
D) 1.7 million

Answer: D. From Chile has a growing Muslim community – but few know about it

September 10, 2021

As of 2021, what percentage of Wikipedia biographies in English are about women?

A) 7.2%
B) 15.5%
C) 18.1%
D) 28.3%

Answer: C. From The women who appear in Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ are finally getting their due, 700 years later

September 3, 2021

When did Wicca come to America?

A) 1880s
B) 1940s
C) 1960s
D) 1980s

Answer: C. From What is Wicca? An expert on modern witchcraft explains.

August 27, 2021

Poisons made up what percentage of drugs in the Chinese pharmacopeia in the imperial era?

A) 5%
B) 20%
C) 30%
D) 50%

Answer: B. From Poison or cure? Traditional Chinese medicine shows that context can make all the difference.

August 20, 2021

According to the Health Nutritional Index, eating one hot dog costs a person how many minutes of “healthy” life?

A. 27
B. 36
C. 60
D. 103

Answer: B. From Individual dietary choices can add – or take away – minutes, hours and years of life

August 18, 2021

When you sneeze, what’s the top speed of mucus particles expelled from your nose?

A. 20 mph
B. 40 mph
C. 60 mph
D. 100 mph

Answer: D. From A pediatric nurse explains the science of sneezing

June 24, 2021

How many calories does a top Tour de France cyclist burn on a day of mountain racing?

A. 4,000
B. 6,000
C. 8,000
D. 10,000

Answer: C. From Tour de France: How many calories will the winner burn?

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