Behind the Headlines

MATLAB and Simulink behind today’s news and trends

Just call me Cliff (Clavin, that is.) 7 MATLAB trivia questions for National Trivia Day!

Today is National Trivia Day. Yes, it’s a “thing.” So, for today, you can call me Cliff.

Cliff Clavin was the character in the television show Cheers, who seemed to know a fact or two about anything and everything! He came out with great trivia that wasn’t always accurate, such as when he explained what the acronym DNA stands for.

Now, 10 months into writing the Behind the Headlines blog, I also have the (not-so-endearing) ability to spout factoids on a wide range of topics. These factoids come from a variety of sources, all tied to technology. They are true facts, however, not Clavinesque misinformation.

    • For example, did you know that the average apple in a US grocery store was picked 11 months ago? That factoid is courtesy of a TED Talk on CityFARM by Caleb Harper from MIT.
    • How about the fact that the amount of hydrogen (tritium isotope) in a laptop battery and the amount of hydrogen (deuterium isotope) found in 20 gallons of water would be enough fuel to power an average household for 9 years. Thank you, fusion!
    • Did you know Einstein’s birthday was March 14th… as in Pi Day? 3.14…

Now for some MATLAB-based trivia from the Behind the Headlines blog:

      1. How many NFL concussions were reported in 2015?
      2. In what year did Rudolf Kálmán first describe the Kalman filter in technical papers?
      3. How many people are killed by mosquitoes annually?
      4. In addition to Pikachu, how many creatures are there in Pokemon Go?
      5. In 2016, Advanced LIGO proved gravitational waves exist. What is the smallest disturbance that can be detected in the observatories’ 4-km-long vacuum tubes?
      6. Speaking of accuracy, what is the accuracy of the robot-assisted eye surgery system, Preceyes?
      7. How many drones were registered with the FAA in Natick, MA, as of May 2016?

Click here to jump to the answers.









The Answers:

      1. 271 concussions were reported by NFL players in 2015.
      2. The Kalman filter first appeared in technical papers in 1960.
      3. Mosquitoes kill over 725,000 people per year.
      4. 150. But not all had been seen at the time of the post!
      5. Advanced LIGO can detect changes in one of the arms as small as an attometer, or 1 × 10−18meters.
      6. The robot-assisted surgical system can move the instruments in 1/1000th-millimeter increments, or 1 × 10−6 meters.
      7. 57 of the 460,000 hobbyist drones were registered in Natick, and 1 for commercial use.

Click here to jump back to questions.


Cheers everyone! And tomorrow, please go back to calling me Lisa.

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