Questions and Answers

I’ve been nursing a minor, and so far inexpensive, addiction to AQA recently. It’s not just wanting to know the answer to a question when I’m not online, it’s not just being too lazy to look something up myself; it’s more like wanting to know what someone else thinks the answer is.

After the usual ego-boosting questions, to settle an argument with Rebecca’s Jonathan I asked…

Where was Captain Cook Killed?
Captain James Cook was killed on 14 Feb 1779 by the natives of Sandwich Island, now known as Hawaii. Captain James Cook was also a mapmaker.

Factually correct, and with a bonus piece of info too. (you only pay for the questions… the answers are free). Jonathan still technically owes me a pound for this. Jonathan says he asked AQA whether he was gay, and the response was something like: people who ask that question are more likely to be gay than people who don’t, and so on balance of probabilities, yes.

In a reflective state of mind, I asked…

How can I tell right from wrong?
AQA suggests that to tell right from wrong you should always ask yourself if you would want someone to do the same to you. If not, you’re probably wrong

Hmmm. Less the categorical imperative than ‘do unto others’. I wonder if AQA is a ‘faith-based’ question-answering service. I reckon it should be possible to triangulate AQA’s philosophical position in ten questions or less, but I don’t quite know where to start.

Once I’d noticed there was a viewing terrace at the top and doors at the bottom of the Duke of York’s column, I became annoyed that the latter weren’t open to provide access to the former (there is not enough access to tall things in London, generally), and I asked…

Why is the Duke of York’s column closed to the public?
Admission to the Duke of York Column & ascent to the summit should be accessible between 12pm & 3pm in winter & 12pm & 4pm in summer. Admission 6d each.

Uh-oh. Out of date information. But er… out of date information in pre-decimal currency? This is sloppy work.

I was once again reflective, when I asked…

What is the difference between contemporary art and modern art?
The term ‘contemporary art’ generally refers to today’s art whereas the term ‘modern art’ applies to art from the late 19th century until the 1970s.

Which was a very predictable answer indeed. That might be the trouble with MOMA.When Ruth was delayed on her journey home by a person in front of a train, we briefly discussed our own preferred methods of suicide and then asked…

How many people commit suicide by jumping in front of trains and tubes each year?
Around 50 people commit suicide by jumping in front of a London Underground train each year (200 from all trains in the UK); around 1 every week.

Which was many more than I’d reckoned. And a disproportionate number (a fifth of all of them) are in London. Is this because of the improved efficiency of London Transport? Are Londoners more depressed, or do people head to London to kill themselves as well as find themselves? This could be an expensive line of questioning.

And late one night & maudlin, I asked it, only slightly ironically…

Why do fools fall in love?
Fools fall in love because they do not recognise the signs of mutual attraction. However, some bitter folk would argue that all people in love are fools.

Fair point, & cute, if a little faux-cynical. But I spot a small logical error… AQA appears to be answering why fools fall unrequitedly in love, not in love at all. Surely it’s possible for fools to be in love, have that love requited and still be fools. What I was asking is why? But on further reflection, it’s a sensible answer, and I’m beginning to think that maybe Diana Ross was asking the question wrong in the first place.

I’ve read that AQA keep a record of the questions asked by individual users. Looking back at these questions, I’m beginning to worry they’ll send social services round to my mobile phone. There are vacancies in the UK once again: I wonder how much they pay.

2 responses to “Questions and Answers

  1. Concerned Edmonton Resident

    Diana Ross was only copying. The question was originally asked by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. This was one of the first British rock n’roll number ones – after Haley and Kay Starr, but before Elvis. This is the 50th anniversary of the year rock n’roll took over the charts and should be commemorated alongside Suez and Hungary.

    Google keep complete records of everything you google, which is why I keep googling FUCK OFF SNOOPING GOOGLE.

    Does AQA know if entropy can be reversed?

  2. mmmm. We’ll correct the pence to pence, and in recompense how about a copy of our book? email us your address and we’ll put it in the post. (NB – you can ask a free question from

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