AlterNet's Weekly 'How News-Smart Are You?' Quiz


Did you hear the latest about flight 370? What can possibly shock you about all of those viral cat videos?

What did you miss in this crazy world of ours over the last week? Take the below quiz and find out. All of the answers can be found in stories that appeared at

  1. These days, it's not easy being a recent college graduate. Sky-high tuition rates have created a situation where more and more college grads are sinking under the weight of student loans. A new report reveals student loans have the highest delinquency rate of all loans Americans owe, amounting to an astounding $1.08 trillion. Among the other grim news for grads:
    1. One-third of Millennials say they would have been better off working than going to college.
    2. Debt-saddled grads are ending up living with their parents because they can't afford to rent a place and pay their loans.
    3. More loan-addled grads are ending up with stress disorders and seeking medication for anxiety.
    4. All of the above.
  1. The dairy industry, in cahoots with Big Pharma, is selling the public on milk, which has been linked to obesity and other ailments, as healthy and necessary, even to cultures — Native Americans, Asians, North Africans and South Americans — where lactose intolerance is the norm. Here's how:
    1. They're pushing drugs that have life-threatening consequences in order to get lactose-intolerant people to drink milk.
    2. They're pushing genetically altered drugs as a cure for milk allergies.
    3. They're pushing expensive, injected drugs designed for people with autoimmune diseases.
    4. All of the above.
  1. Measles are back in the United States. The disease, which was wiped out in the U.S. in 2000, is causing great grief among public health scientists because not only is measles the most contagious disease on the planet right now, but it also is returning at a time when more and more Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children. Among the alarm bells epidemiologists are sounding:
    1. In Europe, all it took was for the vaccination rate to dip below 80 percent for the disease to become endemic, as if it had never been eradicated.
    2. While the rate of vaccination is 90 percent in the U.S., 50 percent of new parents said they would not vaccinate their child for fear of autism.
    3. We could be back to the 500,000 cases per year in the U.S. before the measles vaccine was introduced in the 1960s within a year.
    4. All of the above.
  1. The fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is now being used by the Christian right-wing to validate some of their core beliefs. Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, recently opined that the missing plane could be a sign of a major event. Which of the following did she say:
    1. The missing plane was taken because most of the people on board were followers of Islam.
    2. The missing plane is a little taste of what The Rapture is going to look like.
    3. The missing plane is God's way of telling the world to start paying attention to his power.
    4. All of the above.
  1. Speaking of Malaysia Flight 370 — and, these days, what news channel isn't? — which of the following was actually said by bona fide news anchors or reporters on cable over the last week?
    1. The alien abduction theory is beginning to sound as plausible as any other.
    2. It took 2,000 years to find Noah's Ark so we may never know the fat of the airplane.
    3. Why couldn't it be a black hole?
    4. All of the above.
  1. The new Fox "Cosmos" series is becoming quite the magnet for controversy, and its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who called the theory of evolution a scientific fact, quite the punching bag for Creationists. Among the main lines of attack:
    1. Creationists say the show insults all believers with its Godless view of the universe.
    2. Creationists say the show is ridiculous because it pushes "liberal causes" such as global warming and climate change. 
    3. Creationists say that the show is indoctrinating youth to be amoral, Godless Obama supporters. 
    4. All of the above.
  1. Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a 3,500-member group of former cops, judges and district attorneys who believe all drugs should be legal, spent the bulk of his career as a narcotics officer. What did he say changed his mind about the current methods in this country of fighting drugs through policing and incarceration?
    1. Franklin said sending people to prison for drugs makes them worse off than when they went in because prison destroys their future prospects except for the drug trade.
    2. He said that in the world of prohibition, the price of drugs is hyper-inflated, leading to more illegal activity — robbing, stealing, etc. — to support the addiction.
    3. Franklin became convinced that the current policies create violence after his former partner, working undercover with the FBI, was shot in the head by a mid-level cocaine dealer.
    4. All of the above.
  1. The pro-life movement's determination to punish women for their babies being stillborn has a new poster child: Rennie Gibbs, who was 16 when her baby was born stillborn. Mississippi prosecutors have been trying to put Gibbs on trial for murder since autopsy tests turned up traces of a cocaine byproduct in the baby's blood. Seven years of legal wrangling later, a judge is expected to soon decide whether to allow Gibbs to be tried for murder. If convicted, Gibbs would face life in prison. To Gibbs's defenders, this unprecedented case is unfair because:
    1. Experts who later examined the medical record say the most likely cause of death was the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck.
    2. Gibbs was still a child herself when she got pregnant.
    3. Gibbs was poor and uneducated.
    4. All of the above.
  1. Everyone knows that cat videos are among the most popular, shared items on social media and YouTube. But a recent conference on the economy of cat videos at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, revealed just how popular. Which of the following statements about video cat love is true?
    1. More people visit the grave of the original Morris the Cat from the 9Lives commercials than all the monuments to the presidents and the Statue of Liberty combined.
    2. Henri le Chat Noir, the series of moody videos in black and white that are such a hit on YouTube has spawned an HBO series and a $1 million advance for its second book, even before the first is out.
    3. Grumpy Cat, Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat have their own "meme manager" whose job is to build their online brands.
    4. All of the above.
  1. Discrimination against students of color in public school begins younger than previously thought. New data from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Data Collection reveals that unequal treatment can begin as early as preschool and continues through K-12. What else did the Dept. of Education discover?
    1. There were 8,000 toddlers suspended from preschool in 2011.
    2. Of the preschoolers suspended in 2011, 45 percent were black and 26 percent were white, even though their rates of enrollment were nearly the reverse.
    3. The cards are stacked against minority students such that a third of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino student do not offer chemistry.
    4. All of the above.


1)a; 2)d; 3)a; 4)b; 5)b; 6)b; 7)d; 8)a; 9)c; 10)d.

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