Nice move, smarty pants! The Great Smart People/Dumb Things Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Why did Bill Clinton ultimately face impeachment?

The affair and that famous stained dress were part of the investigation into Clinton's on-the-job behaviors, but it was lying under oath that actually led to his impeachment trial.

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When Gary Hart dared the press to catch him cheating on his wife, what was his exact quote?

As if cheating on your wife isn't enough, Hart egged on the press, telling them that they would be "bored" if they followed him around.

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What was the name of the infamous boat where Gary Hart and Donna Rice got caught canoodling?

If you're going to cheat on your wife and dare the press to catch you, maybe don't get busy on a boat named "Monkey Business."

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Name that gentleman's club! Where did Savvis CEO Robert McCormick ring up a $241,000 tab?

Scores was the upscale club where McCormick made some very bad – and very expensive – decisions.

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What mistake did Richard Nixon make that ended up costing him his presidency?

Nixon didn't know about the Watergate break-in before it happened, but instead of coming clean when he found out, he dug that hole even deeper by helping to cover it up.

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What's the official name for making mistakes because you are just too sure that you're right?

There are whole studies on the bias blind spot and how and why folks confident in their smarts sometimes make terrible assumptions.

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Which of these did Stephen Glass do to cover up his source falsification at The New Republic?

Jukt Micronics, the tech company that Glass cited in his article "Hack Heaven," never existed. Yet he created a phony Web site for it to cover his tracks.

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Even Einstein, genius among geniuses, wasn't an infallible fella. What dumb mistake did he make over and over?

Einstein was a physics and math whiz, but his work was often sloppy. In fact, author Hans Ohanian wrote a whole book – "Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius" – on Einstein's various mathematical flubs.

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Steve Jobs was no doubt a business and computer genius, but what bad decision did he make involving his health?

Those alternative treatments may have done more harm than good and possibly even cost him his life. Early surgery might have stopped the cancer from spreading from his pancreas to the rest of his body.

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Which medical journal published Andrew Wakefield's falsified data linking vaccines to autism?

It took The Lancet 12 years to retract the falsified paper.

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What childhood disease had a resurgence after Dr. Andrew Wakefield's faked research results linking the MMR vaccine to autism?

Many concerned parents have been foregoing the MMR vaccine, causing a spike in cases of the measles.

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What animal did Thomas Edison electrocute to try to prove that alternating current (AC) electricity was unsafe?

Edison actually performed a series of animal electrocutions, culminating in the elephant. He called it "getting Westinghoused," after one of the developers of AC electricity.

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Why did X-ray pioneer Elizabeth Fleischmann eschew safety gear, despite evidence that repeated radiation exposure could be deadly?

Fleischmann was afraid that if she suited up to protect herself from radiation, it would scare off her patients. She died from radiation poisoning at age 46.

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Who did journalist Jonah Lehrer plagiarize?

Lehrer got caught copying entire paragraphs of his own words from the Wall Street Journal in pieces he wrote for The New Yorker.

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Self-plagiarism was just one of Lehrer's journalistic sins. What was the big dumb thing that actually ruined his career?

Another reporter questioned some of the Bob Dylan quotes in Lehrer's book "Imagine," and Lehrer lied about their origin. He'd actually made many of them up.

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What was tactical genius Napoleon's fatal error that lost him both the war of 1812 and his war with Russia?

History repeats itself, and fighting a war on two fronts is a notoriously bad move. Napoleon's lust for power overcame his common sense as a general.

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Because of Orly Taitz's relentless pursuit of Obama's birth certificate, what nickname did the media give her?

The so-called "birther queen" not only demanded Obama's birth certificates but also tried to keep him off of primary ballots in several states.

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Orly Taitz has an extensive education. On top of being a lawyer, what other profession can she boast of?

Taitz also has a dentistry degree.

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How did Gen. Petraeus try to secure e-mails between himself and his lover?

You'd think that someone who keeps and finds secrets for a living would know that e-mail providers save drafts on the server, just like sent e-mails!

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When Grover Cleveland was running for the U.S. presidency in 1884, the opposing party accused him of fathering an illegitimate child. What did Cleveland do in response?

Surprisingly, Cleveland confirmed the charge was true -- perhaps he felt freer to do so because he was a bachelor at the time. Smart move. He was elected president twice, the only person to do so non-consecutively and he married two years into his first term.

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About This Quiz

Book smarts don't equal street smarts, and public figures that we consider super savvy are just as capable of pulling spectacularly bad moves as the rest of us. Want to test your own smarts? Take our quiz!

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