1. 4 by 3 and 1, square 4, Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine.

    Wang, the philosopher, teaches his friend Kin-Fo a lesson about the value of life. The adventures of Kin-Fo turn out to be a good example of practical philosophy.

    Find information about Chinese philosophy.

    Predictably for such a broad topic as Chinese Philosophy, there is a great deal of material on the Web.

    Chinese portrait of Confucius
  2. 10 by 6 and 4, square 14. Redouble the number of points, square 24, Michel Strogoff.

    As the raft with refugees floats over the lake Baikal, the travellers see great bursts of gas coming up from the bottom of the lake.

    What is the cause of this phenomenon?

    One of the many unique features about Lake Baikal is a lot of geothermal and hydrothermal activity, the results including some gases found in no other large body of water on Earth.

    Schematic representation of processes occurring in Lake Baikal
  3. 8 by 5 and 3, square 32. Redouble the number of points, square 40, Nord contre Sud.

    After the abduction of Zermah and Dy, Texar takes them to his refuge in the Everglades. Jules Verne describes the Everglades as “horrible and superb at the same time”.

    Find a geographical description of the Everglades.

    The best geographical descriptions I have found for Florida’s unique “river of grass” both center on Everglades National Park, the largest of the many protected areas in that ecosystem and thus the nucleus for activism to preserve the entire region.

  4. 9 by 6 and 3, square 49, Claudius Bombarnac.

    Claudius Bombarnac describes his voyage across southern Russia, giving impressions of the landscape, villages, and his fellow travellers.

    Find an account of a real voyage along this railroad.

    While it’s not quite the same train, this Chronicles Directory will lead you into a trip on the TransSiberian Railway taken by two photojournalists (over a Foggesque 83 day span). Days 44 through 47 were spent in Kazan, capital of Tartarstan (and thus both Strogoff & Bombarnec territory), where these travellers looked into the effects of the Chechen war.

    Map of the region of Kazan
  5. 4 by 3 and 1, square 53, Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais.

    The object of this journey is to measure a part of a meridian. The length of a meridian is needed to calculate the exact length of the metre, which is defined as 1/40,000,000 part of the meridian (that is, in Jules Verne’s time).

    When was the metre first introduced, and in which countries is it officially used nowadays?

    Here are the webpages maintained by the Metric Action Committee, which supplied my answers: History and News.

    The “meter” is of course the eponymous unit of the metric system (the name derives from the Greek word “metron”). The French Academy was first commissioned to devise a new standardized system of weights and measures in 1793 (although metric units incorporate various reform schemes put forth even before the Revolution, so Talleyrand for one is sometimes identified as an "inventor" of the meter). The Academy’s decimal system was adopted officially in 1795, but perhaps more importantly given the THREE RUSSIANS & ENGLISHMAN base of this question is 1798 was the first survey to fix the official length.

    It is much easier to say which countries do NOT use the metric system – which indeed since 1960 has been officially called the Systeme Internationale d’Units (abbreviated “SI”). Only the United States of America, Liberia, and Myanmar (Burma) don’t follow this global standard. And in point of fact the USA has actually officially defined its units of measure in metric units since 1893 (i.e. the inch is defined in terms of meters), and now uses the metric units even in internal commerce (why you find soft drinks in “odd” sizes like 1.6 ounces). However, the American public has continually resisted full metric conversion, and there is yet no political will to impose metric names as well as metric units on the American marketplace.