river nile jeff bezos and blue whale

How good is your general knowledge?

Do you know who the world's richest woman is? Or which country was first to abolish the death penalty?

If this was a game show, you would have just lost.

Read on to prepare yourself for the next time you get quizzed!

blue whale swimming

What is the largest animal on Earth? 

The average full-grown blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the world's largest mammal and the largest animal overall. 

On average, they are around 20 - 30 m (65 - 100 ft) long and weigh c. 160 tonnes (176 tons), but larger specimens have been recorded by both length and weight throughout history. 

The heaviest whale ever was caught in the Southern Ocean on 20 March 1947. The female blue whale weighed 190 tonnes (418,878 lb) and measured 27.6 m (90 ft 6 in) long.

The longest whale ever landed at the whaling station in Grytviken, South Georgia in the South Atlantic in 1909. Again a female, it was was documented as measuring "107 fot". The Norwegian fot (or "fod") is equivalent to 313.74 mm (as of 1824), therefore the whale was 33.57 m (110 ft 1.6 in).

How short is the world’s shortest woman?

The shortest woman living (mobile) is Jyoti Amge (India, born 16 Dec 1993), who measured 62.8 cm (24.7 in) in Nagpur, India, on 16 December 2011.

Jyoti also holds the record for the shortest actress. She played Ma Petite in the TV series American Horror Story: Freak Show (premiered 8 October 2014).

nile aerial photo

Which river is the world's longest?

The world's longest river is The Nile, which is 6,695 km (4,160 miles) in length, measured from its farthest stream in Burundi until it’s mouth at the Mediterranean sea.

Its main source is Lake Victoria in east central Africa and it cuts through 10 other countries before getting to Egypt; Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Sudan.

What is the tallest building in the world?

The world’s tallest building can be found in Dubai, UAE. The Burj Khalifa Tower measures 828 m (2,716 ft 6 in) tall. It was developed by Emaar Properties and was officially opened on 4 January 2010. 

The impressive structure is twice the height of the Empire State Building and almost three times the size of the Eiffel Tower.

Almost 26,000 hand-cut glass panels were used in the construction of the building, which takes approximately three months to clean from the top to the bottom.

jeff bezos is suit shutterstock

Who was the world's first centibillionaire?

This probably won’t come as a surprise, Jeffrey Preston Bezos (USA), the founder of the massive ecommerce platform Amazon, was the world’s first centibillionaire, meaning his personal wealth surpassed $100 billion.

Blue Origin, the aerospace company he founded in 2000, also broke five record titles in 2021. 

A lesser known fact, however, is the identity of the world’s richest woman.

That title goes to Françoise Bettencourt Meyers (France), who has an estimated worth of $73.6 billion (£53.058 billion €61.09 billion), as published by Forbes on 5 March 2021. 

She is the only daughter and heiress of Liliane Bettencourt, who was one of the principal shareholders of beauty company L'Oréal.

What is the highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time?

As of the week ending 1 March 2020, the Broadway production of Disney's The Lion King had grossed $1,680,389,582 (£1,310,480,000) since previewing in October 1997, making it the most successful Broadway musical of all time. The musical has toured in over 100 cities across 20 countries and on every continent except Antarctica.

The highest-grossing "straight" play on Broadway – as opposed to a musical – is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, written by Jack Thorne from a story conceived by Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany (all UK). 

The two-part play has sold 1,324,815 tickets across 783 performances (and 34 previews) at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway and grossed $174,056,581 (£133,350,000) in its lifetime up to 8 March 2020.

Portrait of Louis XIV King of France

Who is the longest-reigning monarch of all time?

Although Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (as well as 14 other Commonwealth realms), is the longest-reigning monarch living, she is not the longest-reigning of all time.

The title for the longest-reigning monarch ever goes to King Louis XIV, who ruled France for 72 years 110 days (14 May 1643- 1 September 1715).

The longest reigning pharaoh ever was Pepi II Neferkare, who, according to the Turin Canon, a papyrus ledger of Ancient Egyptian rulers, took power circa 2281 BCE aged 6 and reigned for approximately 94 years. This has been disputed by some Egyptologists, who believe his reign was more likely to have lasted 64 years.

Which country has the worst air pollution?

According to the IQAir 2020 World Air Quality Report, the country with the worst air pollution is Bangladesh.

The South Asian country, has an average PM2.5 particulate pollution level of 77.1 μg/m³. 

Despite this level being lower than what was reported in 2018 (97.1 μg/m³), it is still almost eight times the maximum level considered acceptable by the World Health Organization.

According to IQAir, the main causes of pollution in Bangladesh are "vehicular emissions, fumes from factories and brick kilns, as well as dust accumulations from various sources".

What video was the first to receive 10 billion views on YouTube?

The first YouTube video to receive 10 billion views is “Baby Shark Dance”, achieved by PINKFONG (Republic of Korea), on 13 January 2022.

PSY’s Gangnam Style became the first video of any kind to receive 1 billion views online, with 1,000,382,639 views on YouTube as of 21 December 2012.

robert downey junior

Who is the richest actor in the world?

The highest-grossing actor at the global box office (leading roles), according to The-Numbers.com, is Robert Downey Jr (USA), who played the Marvel comic book character Tony Stark/Iron Man for over a decade, among other roles. 

The 29 movies starring Downey in the lead role have accumulated a staggering global box-office gross of $14,394,122,678 (£10,341,900,000) as of 20 April 2021.

The record holder for the highest-grossing actress at the global box office (leading roles) is Scarlett Johansson (USA), who plays fellow Marvel superhero Black Widow in the Avengers films.

Which television programme is the longest running sitcom ever?

The longest running sitcom of all time is Last of the Summer Wine, a British television show that finished in 2010 after 37 years and 31 series.

Every episode was written by the same person, Roy Clarke, one of the world’s most prolific sitcom writers.

Last of the Summer Wine holds the record for the longest running sitcom by longevity, the current longest running sitcom by episode count is Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (SAB TV). The show, which had aired 3,000 episodes as of 24 September 2020, was created by Asit Kumarr Modi and produced by Neela Film Productions Private Limited (all India).

Sultan Kosen sitting on a sofa

How tall is the world’s tallest man?

The tallest living man and the tallest person alive today is Sultan Kösen (Turkey, b.10 December 1982) who measured 251 cm (8 ft 2.8 in) in Ankara, Turkey, on 8 February 2011.

Sultan also holds the record for largest hands on a living person. Each of his hands measures 28.5 cm (11.22 in) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger. He also previously held the record for largest feet on a living person, though this record is now held by Jeison Orlando Rodríguez Hernández (Venezuela). 

Sultan towers over many things including telephone boxes and has a specially designed home that accommodates his height in his village of Dede köy. 

The tallest person ever was Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA), who was 272 cm (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.

Who has had a no.1 on the UK albums chart in the most consecutive decades?

Kylie Minogue (Australia/UK) has achieved UK No.1s on the Official Albums Chart in five consecutive decades: 

  • 1980s - Kylie; Enjoy Yourself (4 July 1988; 9 October 1989 )
  • 1990s - Greatest Hits (24 August 1992)
  • 2000s – Fever (1 October 2001)
  • 2010s - Aphrodite; Golden; Step Back in Time – The Definitive Collection (5 July 2010; 6 April 2018; 28 June 2019)
  • 2020s - Disco (6 November 2020)

Her latest album, Disco, her 15th studio release since her 1988 self-titled debut, became No.1 on the UK Official Albums Chart on 19 November 2020 after selling almost 55,000 copies. It was the biggest opening sales week for any album in the UK in 2020.

flag of Venezuela

Which country was the first to abolish the death penalty?

The first country to permanently abolish the use of capital punishment for all crimes was Venezuela. The sentence was struck from law in 1863 during the presidency of Juan Crisóstomo Falcón.

Venezuela was followed by San Marino in 1865 and Costa Rica in 1877. 107 countries have now completely abolished it.

Who has the most Oscar nominations of all time?

Walt Disney (USA) received a total of 64 nominations during his career, the last of which he won posthumously in 1969 for Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (USA 1968) as Best Short Subjects, Cartoons.

The most Oscar nominations for living person is 52, and was achieved by John Williams (USA) in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 13 January 2020.

The most Oscar nominations for an actor/actress is 21, and was achieved by Meryl Streep (USA) during the Oscar nomination announcements in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 23 January 2018.

What is the fastest land speed ever recorded?

The official land-speed record (measured over one mile) is 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mi/h) (Mach 1.020) was set by Andy Green (UK) on 15 October 1997 in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, in Thrust SSC. 

The Thrust SSC is the first car to break the sound barrier, and is powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey 202 jet engines which generate 222 kN (50,000 lb) of thrust.

It has been alleged that Budweiser Rocket Car, driven by Stan Barrett (US), reached a speed of 1,190.377 km/h (739.666 mi/h) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, on 17 December 17 1979. 

However, the published speed of Mach 1.0106 was not officially sanctioned by the USAF, as the Digital Instrument Radar was not calibrated or certified. The radar information was not generated using the vehicle directly but by an operator aiming a dish using a TV screen.

Which song has the most weeks at number one in the USA?

The song with the most consecutive weeks at No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 is the 'country rap' single "Old Town Road", by Lil Nas X (USA, b. Montero Hill) with 19 weeks between 13 April and 17 August 2019. 

The country-music veteran Billy Ray Cyrus (USA) was credited as a featured artist on the official remix from week 2 - 19 of the song's record-breaking stint at number one.  

What is the highest-grossing film series of all time?

The highest-grossing film series at the global box office, as of 16 March 2021, is Star Wars

At that time, the 12 Star Wars movies had collectively grossed $10,320,189,178 (£7,417,740,000) worldwide. This figure includes re-issues and special editions. A lot of money, that is! 

Who has had the most Grammy nominations?

Jay-Z (USA, b. Shawn Carter) has a career total of 83, most recently racking up three nominations for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards (2022).

In doing so, he surpassed the achievement of Quincy Jones (USA), whose 80 Grammy nominations were awarded between 1961 and 2019. 

Paul McCartney’s two rock nominations ahead of the 2022 ceremony took him ahead of Jones on 81 nominations and two behind Jay-Z.