QI (2003) s08e08 Episode Script


Hello! Hello, hello! Hello! Welcome to QI.
We bring you a television first.
A quiz show with no answers! Tonight, we depart from the certainties of every day life to explore the realm of hypothetical questions, or do we? It is a job for only the finest minds, by which I mean Johnny Vegas, the possible Sandi Toksvig, and the increasingly unlikely, Alan Davies.
APPLAUSE Now, tonight is the 99th recording of QI.
To celebrate, we have with us the man who thought it all up in the first place.
He can dish it out, but let's see if he can take it, Mr John Lloyd.
APPLAUSE They all have Let's open our minds now to the possibilities of question one.
What's the best way to weigh your own head? LAUGHTER Any thoughts? Well, cut it off, obviously! Yes, then someone else could weigh it.
KLAXON that would be the problem.
It slightly caught me out and I was applauding myself.
Alan Davies! was applauding myself insincerely.
That is what Soviet leaders do, or chimpanzees! Why would you want to weigh your own head? It's a boys' thing.
Imagine some poor woman married to a scientist, she's wormed the dog, fed the children, and her husband goes, "Good news, I have weighed my own head!" LAUGHTER It may not seem like the most useful thing to do, but it does employ interesting scientific ideas upon which we all depend.
Is it that thing that David Frost used to tell that joke, "Do you want to lose 12-pounds of unsightly fat? Cut off your head!" He used to tell that a lot.
What is one of the most famous ancient moments of scientific discovery? What did he do? Put your head in a bucket.
that right.
Join in.
I was going to weigh myself, go to the swimming baths and bob and get people to feed me until I sank.
Then come back out and weigh myself again.
That sounds more scientific.
displacement of the water you can tell and the density of your head is about the same and you get a close approximation.
You can put apples in You could bob for apples to make it fairer.
What did your head weigh when you tried this? What would you say is the average weight? The University of Sydney has a department where they weigh heads.
Dunking them in buckets? Is it 12-pounds.
It is 4.
5 to 5 kilos.
2 About 12-pounds.
Well done.
I will give you a point for 12-pounds, John.
You have negotiated a point.
Surely you should give those points to David Frost?! What if you get a pocket in your ears? A pocket? The air pocket.
Take your fingers out, you won't hear the answer! LAUGHTER The bones, you have bones that are denser than water and air pockets that are lighter than water.
Together, it does seem that the head average is about water, so it is a good displacement test.
There is a modern piece of technology that can do it Bound to be a laser.
scan and they can tell the density of every part of the brain and the skull and all the rest of it and tot it all up.
My dad's got heavy eyes.
Has he now? You weighed his eyes? Not weighed them.
He leans forward.
Honestly! He doesn't like leaning forward because he thinks they are going to come up.
Like those springs you can buy.
We got rid of novelty dad.
This is mental dad! My grandfather had two glass eyes and yet he could see, so what happened was - it is sad, he lost one eye - he was ill - and he had a glass eye made that was like his perfectly working blue Scandinavian eye and he had one made that was bloodshot and it was known as "grandfather's party eye" and when he was going out he would take out the false blue one and he would put the bloodshot one in and he would say, "I'm going out and I won't be back until they match!" APPLAUSE Fantastic.
I seem to remember thought he had two glass eyes like that! Did he have a hole at the back where somebody put their Was your granddad Nooky Bird? you know anything about Sir Francis Drake? Something to do with bowling? He was in the Navy.
Let's move on from Francis Drake.
What do you know about Sir Walter Raleigh? He invented the bike.
His wife carried his head in a velvet bag after he died.
Walter was executed.
You can see why John invented the show.
It was on Buzzcocks last week! Was it? Was it a sealed bag, like a cool box? I don't know.
People did keep heads.
I bet it was a few years before anyone wanted to sit next to her at dinner, do you not think? "Is she going to bring the head?" Very fine.
Don't know how he got there.
Like many of the questions tonight, there is no one correct answer, but dunking a head in the bucket might be a good start.
If that hasn't got you scratching your head, when might you engage in paradoxical undressing? You are dressing, but you are undressing.
Is it counterintuitive dressing? Taking your clothes off if Jeremy Clarkson asked you would be would be silly.
It is taking the clothes off when taking clothes off looks like the worst possible idea you could have.
Is it some mental thing that it does to you.
It may be mental, it may be physical.
is very unpleasant! It is.
Can we go back to the previous picture? is one of the peculiar side-effects of hypothermia, when you are dying of cold.
Almost the last thing you do, very commonly, is take all your clothes off.
People think, it is part of the fact that your blood vessels near your skin tend to give up and open.
It may be that people feel very hot.
Because you never survive once you got to that stage, you can never ask someone why they did it.
I was in freezing water once and I screamed a lot and I was shocking pink and I felt hot.
Maybe I was seconds from death.
Maybe you were.
Well, what sort of temperature do you think would start you on the road to hypothermia, body temperature? is the temperature in here? LAUGHTER I would say pretty quickly.
Maybe four or five degrees below the normal.
35 degrees Celsius, bunce your body temperature gets below that.
In the coldest cities in the world, hypothermia is very rare.
It is much more common in Britain where it doesn't get very cold at all.
There is a very remarkable Briton called Louis Pugh.
He is able to control his own body temperature.
He is the only person known to science who can do what he can do.
He can swim in cold conditions unlike anybody else and he is able to raise his body temperature at will.
It is completely startling.
He can stop himself shivering.
He is incredible.
We contacted him.
He said he thought he could do He is not coming in here because it is freezing! He said he thought he could do this because he had trained himself over years and years to do these endurance swims in incredibly cold waters and his body saw it coming and prepared for it.
Cold water has a bad effect on a boy.
I bet he doesn't fill his swimming trunks! This is not that unusual.
We went on this yoga thing recently and the yoga teacher was saying these people in India can do this body-raising thing and they did some scientific tests in the States where they shipped in these guys, you know, with turbans on, and they put wet towels on them.
They would literally steam the towels dry in a few minutes.
Can you hire these people? Yeah.
A good act.
They would get on Britain's Got Talent.
It would have to be good.
What can you do? I can dry this towel! could do patterns on a wet towel - it's art.
The last thing people do when they are freezing to death is take all their clothes off.
Now it is time for a round of quick-fire hypotheticals.
So, all you have to do is tell me the first thing that comes into your head.
Let's say you found a fallen tree in the forest, right? Obviously, it fell down before you arrived.
Did it make a sound as it fell? Ooh, no.
KLAXON No-one is going to say "yes".
you know where this question comes from? It is a famous Bishop Barclay.
There is no-one to hear a sound Is there a sound? It depends what you mean by "sound"? Sound is the vibration of the eardrum.
Is it? It depends.
Part of the definition of "sound" is there has to be a recipient.
There is the thing that makes the noise and the transmission of the noise and the reception of the noise.
If there is no reception, maybe the noise doesn't exist.
Other things are vibrating, whether that vibration counts as a sound.
There isn't any sound if there is no-one to hear it.
The speed of sound and it is only what happens in the ear, how do you get that speed between that and the ear? LAUGHTER I'm Maybe by the time that tree has fallen, that sound is half-way around the world and making some more Are you sure about this? Well, no-one is sure.
That is the point.
That is why it is a hypothetical.
No-one knows.
To a physicist, they would say the prop gaigs of soundwaves is sound.
Whether or not -- the propogation of soundwaves is sound.
I disagree.
You are welcome to.
It can only become a soundwave when there is an ear to receive it.
We talked about - did you know light is invisible? In a dark vacuum, if you shoot a beam of light across the eye balls, you can't see it.
You can only see what the light hits and it is the same thing.
People say that's a stupid answer because the definition of light is something that goes into your eye and is then received.
We have all kinds of things like knot ears.
Are you saying it is not sound if it registers on a recording device that is left there without a human, that it is bending the needle of a recording device? Does the machine not hear? bishop Barclay I talked about you, not Bishop Barclay.
It is not as simple as to say "yes" or "no".
Go on, son! You've got him.
It's a good question.
I thought you said there was no right answer.
That is why it is a good question.
There is no right answer.
Your "yes" and your "no" is Whatever I said If the tree fell down and there was no-one there to see it fall, it should still be upright! LAUGHTER Very true.
You are right.
you keeping well, Alan? Until that tree fell over It is a quick- fire hypothetical so we move on.
All right.
You are talking to an alien I can't do quick-fire Yes, you can.
If it takes a long time, is it still a quick-fire? Good point.
We will find out.
APPLAUSE Very good point.
You are talking to an alien in a distant galaxy by radio.
How could you explain which is right and which is left? Breaker-breaker.
That would do it, would it? He would know It would depend what height mast he had.
It should.
LAUGHTER There's got to be alien truckers! It is fair point.
I would tell him what's left and right and if he has a smoky Are we looking at any common reference point? You can't Can you see Mars? We are on the right of that.
LAUGHTER Can you see the spot on Jupiter? You would have to have something to reference.
There is no explanation without reference to a physical world that someone can identify.
You can't explain it just without language.
That is the point.
they visited in a ship, you could give them a temporary tattoo.
could do that, which is why we framed the question saying tattoos were out.
Sorry, I'm a problem solver by nature.
It is good.
might not have because we always draw them in that shape, what if they have got four eyes and eight arms and they don't have one or two hands? Exactly.
They might have other dimensions They might have 19 versions of left.
Can you imagine that on a sat-nav?! Left- ish.
Why do we always draw them like that? They might have one eye in the middle of their head.
ones that probed me looked nothing like that! Do you have a thing in your head where you forget which is left and right? Do you do that? walk into traffic.
Do you have a problem? I don't.
If I have to think, I remember the thumb I used to suck when I was a small child.
That is my right hand.
It is like a therapy session this! There was a wonderful story about Asian captain and he had a silver box and every time he came into port he would open up the box and put it away.
After many years service, he finally died, his second in command wanted to have a look at the silver box, it said, "Port-left, starboard - right.
" That is brilliant.
You can't really find out.
A lorry-load of birds are being weighed on a weighbridge.
At some moment all the birds simultaneously rise off their perches and flap in the air.
They are all alive? Yeah.
Does the lorry weigh less when they rise up in the air? Yes.
If they are not in contact, no Is it sealed the lorry? It has a tailgate, it is locked up.
They are inside the lorry.
Wouldn't there be pressure from the air? It is not, they don't, it weighs the same.
It has something to do with, it is very similar to if you weigh yourself and you go and do a number two and weigh yourself again you don't lose the weight of the number two.
There we are in a slightly different territory.
LAUGHTER You are right.
The answer is not too poo on the scale! Leave the scales Are you serious? don't lose it It weighs the same and I can't remember the reason why.
I know this.
They all lift off at the same time? The fact is, it is a bird, the bird, the lorry system, they are in the - I know it is weird.
Is it sealed? If you are carrying a bowling ball and you are on the scales and you throw it in the air It is something Because it is sealed, you and the air have created that weight.
Wherever the birds put themselves in there, it still weighs the same.
The interesting question Don't pass it off that easily! If it is an open-top lorry and they are all sitting on a perch and they jump up slightly higher, and then they are out of the system, they are no longer part of the lorry-bird system, it would be lighter.
Well done, everybody.
That was perhaps - perhaps it is time to move on! Hypothetical problems are the curse of the practical man.
What would happen if a Siamese cat was put in the fridge? He wouldn't know if it was alive or dead.
You are referred to his cat.
I learnt about this on Horizon.
You don't know whether it is alive until you open the door.
What is the question? LAUGHTER What would happen to the cat? It would get cold.
What would happen to the fridge? There would be less milk left.
It would eat all the tuna and milk.
Something quite extraordinary would happen.
It would turn into an ordinary cat.
into a dog.
No, no.
Nothing that remarkable.
Meow-woof! Let's see what is particular about the Siamese cat.
It's got a white body and a black tail and black ears and black mouth and black socks.
Black extremities.
What is particular about the extremities of any mammal? They are cold.
So if you put the whole animal in a fridge It goes black.
You are absolutely right.
Its fur has this colourant that keeps it pale in warm blood heat.
Only a small difference in temperature down, it will lose the weight.
When you take it out, will it go back? It would be trying just for a laugh! I don't like cats very much.
I'm sorry.
So many cats, so few recipes! LAUGHTER You could also try it on a Himalayan rabbit! Please don't try it.
Do you know about buttered cat? There is a recipe! You put butter on their paws to stop them There is that.
This is a paradox.
There are two laws.
If you have a piece of buttered toast and drop it, what happens? It falls butter side down.
If you So if you were to put piece of toast with butter up and attach it to a cat, right, what would happen? The cat would drop and it would have to revolve forever! LAUGHTER Because the two laws would compete and it would be in total balance.
Would it work with margarine? I don't know.
The law doesn't state the margarine falls downwards.
What about I Can't Believe It's Not Butter?! What if it was margarine but the cat believed it was butter? The placebo effect? Brilliant! You have all got the point.
What if cats discovered this and started to migrate? Where would they go? LAUGHTER I don't know! It is just a cat with a piece of toast! Let's keep it from them! So, the point is, if you put a Siamese cat in the fridge for long enough - and it would have to be a long time, probably weeks - it would go black.
You must not do that.
After that voyage through a land where there are no wrong answers we come to the realm of general ignorance.
Put your fingers on your buzzers.
Stop me when you know what I'm talking about.
It is found all around the world.
It is active at night.
It is almost totally blind.
A bat.
KLAXON You were so right until the last part.
Not blind then.
Anteater? No.
a mole? A mole is the right answer! I said mole! Did he say mole, ladies and gentlemen? AUDIENCE: Yes! Sound is just a thing and it didn't travel! APPLAUSE If you didn't hear me say it, I didn't say it! You need the points, I suspect.
I probably do.
There are 1,100 different species of bat and it is sightless.
How many moles are there in Ireland? None.
There are none.
Why? Separation of Ireland from the rest of the place, they never got back because it was an Ireland.
They could tunnel! Oh sweet.
Almost certainly, all photographs of moles that are taken are of dead moles.
They fluff them up That is terrible.
Their eyes are always It is like the greeting cards pictures, the cat and the deckchair, they are all dead! Yes, moles are as blind as bats, bats aren't.
Finally, the ultimate hypothetical question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? LAUGHTER Chicken.
No! KLAXON The egg.
egg is the right answer.
There is that wonderful joke, chicken and egg have made love, the chicken says, "That answers that old question!" LAUGHTER Anyone who can ask that question hasn't understood evolution.
A chicken evolved from reptiles that laid eggs themselves so those eggs were coming well before there was a chicken, so it did indeed come first the egg.
What is the longest recorded time for flight? 16 seconds, something like that.
-- 13 seconds, something like that.
It is 13 seconds.
Is it really? APPLAUSE That is one of the oldest internet pieces of trivia I know apart from a duck's quack does not echo and no-one knows why.
we know that isn't true.
So, anyway, birds evolved from egg-laying reptiles so there were definitely eggs before there were chickens, so we emerge older but not much wiser at the end of the only quiz show to offer no answers, just more questions.
Had there been answers, let' see who would hypothetically have won.
Our winner tonight with two points is Sandi Toksvig! APPLAUSE In second place is John Lloyd with minus one.
On paper, in
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