QI (2003) s16e14 Episode Script


Welcome to QI, where tonight we've gone absolutely pathological.
Pathology is the study of diseases, so let's examine tonight's case studies.
The alarmingly feverish Rhod Gilbert.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The worryingly pale Ed Byrne.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The incurably romantic Sindhu Vee.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And my own raging headache LAUGHTER .
Alan Davies! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Now, you can ring for a nurse at any time.
So, Rhod goes BELL RINGS Nurse! Ed goes BELL RINGS Nuuuurse! Sindhu goes BELL RINGS Nuuurse! Nurse! Nurse! Nurse! Nurse! Nurse! Nurse! LAUGHTER Sounds serious, yeah.
Alan goes MUSIC: The Funeral March by Frederic Chopin LAUGHTER Hey-ho.
We begin in the Pacific Islands.
When is the best time for a coconut to fall on your head? Could it be just before you're about to impersonate a horse in a recording studio? LAUGHTER When you're feeling a little shy.
Come on.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Is it when you're asleep? No.
It is in fact When you're awake? Yes.
When you're awake, yes.
The answer is in the daytime.
Is your head harder in the day? No, you heal faster in the day.
In fact, you heal twice as fast.
I like the idea that your head gets harder in the day and softens up at night.
LAUGHTER No, we have cells called fibroblasts and these help heal a wound when the skin is cut.
And they seem to kind of switch on and off in sort of day and night cycles.
It's likely that it's evolutionary because historically people were more likely to get injured during the day.
And it has a really serious medical application because if you can trick the body into thinking it's day all the time, people who've had surgery might mend more quickly.
Do you think that's going to change now that most accidents happen on a Friday or Saturday night? Because eventually we will evolve so that we heal quicker after that.
And also after a few pints.
We are slow to evolve is all I can say, Ed.
Speak for yourself.
LAUGHTER He was a lizard this morning.
I had a friend who had a coconut fall on his head, Sandi.
Ask me if he was upset.
Was he upset? Oh, he was desiccated.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Here's the thing, if you were hit on the head by a coconut in the Pacific, in sort of the 19th century, they might use the offending coconut to patch you up.
They cut out the damaged part of the skull and then they replaced it with coconut shell.
No! Yes, taken at a very precise growth stage called niur, and new bone would grow around it.
Would they also take the hair off the coconut and just put it on like a little wig? No, it's a younger part of the coconut, at an earlier growth stage, when it wouldn't have all the hair on it.
People would throw balls at your head.
But you can also replace broken or missing bones with wood and the new bone would grow around it.
Really?! I know.
You'd think that it's only an old thing but it is absolutely something that people are trying these days.
You use a coconut patch when you're trying to wean yourself off Bounty bars.
LAUGHTER What you want to do is, you want to protect the brain so new bone can grow over it.
So does it expel the coconut part or does it just become a permanent part of your head? No, it becomes a part of it.
It becomes like a scaffold.
But when you get dandruff, you can put it in your rice.
AUDIENCE GASPS APPLAUSE There was a 2001 study of the period 1994 to 1999 and one in 29 of all injuries that were presented to the surgical departments in the Pacific Islands were related to the coconut palm.
85 people fell out of a coconut tree.
16 people had a coconut fall on them.
Three had the whole tree fall on them.
LAUGHTER One kicked the tree and injured his foot.
LAUGHTER And then a coconut fell on him.
And then a coconut fell on his head.
Anybody know where the word coconut comes from? Is it something to do with the fact that you can see a face in one? It is that.
So, Coco refers to a character in Portuguese folklore.
The name means grimace or grinning boogey man.
So it was basically Portuguese and Spanish seafarers from that period.
And the three holes on the top of the coconut represent the face.
In the Philippinesyou've spent time in the Philippines.
I grew up there.
It's known as the tree of life.
The coconut tree.
They use all parts of it.
You know, they build their houses from it, you eat it, they use every part of the coconut.
Now, this is in the Philippines.
It's the Coconut Palace Court.
This is a government building built entirely from coconuts.
Now, here's the thing, we were going to try and open a coconut but I don't trust any of you boys at all, so I've only given Sindhu the coconut.
And what I thought is, you could have the coconut and a hammer and a screwdriver.
No, no.
You don't need a hammer and screwdriver? No.
Do you want the boys to mansplain what you need to do to open it? They're probably going to anyway so do you guys want to get into it? Actually, because we open coconuts all the time, whenever you do anything auspicious, you start with a coconut LAUGHTER OK.
This is the way it goes.
There you go.
APPLAUSE Brilliant! Oh, that's so impressive.
Here's the thing, it's something you do before any auspicious prayer or anything or when you get something new.
And, you know, people take it, like, if your grandmother's involved, she takes it very seriously, so, when we got a new car, she did it.
Not in front of the car.
But On the car? On the car.
LAUGHTER And it didn't work because the car is not concrete, so she said, "This is very inauspicious.
You have to return the car.
" LAUGHTER How many cars did you go through before you found one that? No, no, we didn't.
We told her, oh, you know, "Granny, go sleep.
" And then when she woke up, we said, "This is another car.
" But did you just strike it in a particular place? You have to hold it here.
And if it doesn't crack the first time, it's your fault and you've done something inauspicious and your mother gives you a tight slap.
So, really, you just learn from the beginning.
But what if the reason you want to open the coconut is to drink the coconut water inside? These coconuts are not the drinking ones.
Those are the green ones.
It's "coconutally" nuts how versatile the coconut is.
How can you tell the sex of this skeleton by looking at its bones? The pelvis.
The pelvis.
You're absolutely right.
Why? What about the pelvis? Is a man's pelvis wider so he can take up more space on a train? LAUGHTER Yeah.
What is that about? How big can a person's testicles be? I mean LAUGHTER I always find it weird that boys have to shift it about a bit.
You never see a woman on a tube go, "What's that doing up there?" LAUGHTER Anyway, nothing to do with anything.
So a woman has got child-bearing Something to do with child-bearing hips.
So there is no 100% accurate way if you look at a skeleton of telling whether it is male or female, but the pelvis is probably the most reliable.
That's female, that one.
The way you can tell that's female is there's a large sign under it says female.
LAUGHTER The pelvic gap - that's the space between the top of the thighs, it's wider on a female.
The hip bones flare slightly more outwards.
All of these things allegedly aiding childbirth.
Never tell a woman actually having childbirth that it's fine, she's got the pelvis for it.
LAUGHTER You can sex a watermelon, I think.
Or is that a myth? But if you do, they throw you out of the greengrocer's! LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE So, trying to decide if a skeleton is a male or female, we use the Phenice method.
It was named after an American physical anthropologist called T.
And it should only be used on sexually mature skeletal remains.
And then it's 96% to 100% accurate.
So, for example, we can't be entirely certain because we don't have they full skeleton, about the sex of Lucy, who is our famous Australopithecus ancestor.
She was found in Ethiopia and dates back to about 3.
2 million years.
What can't we be sure about? We can't be sure it was a girl.
Because we only have 40% of the I'd go out on a limb, to be honest.
LAUGHTER Especially with the name Lucy as well.
LAUGHTER I'm going to try and help you with this, Rhod, that's not a contemporary picture.
LAUGHTER We only have 40% of the skeleton.
What we do have is a big bit of the pelvis.
That's got a large pelvic knot.
And that suggests that it is a female but there is an awful lot of ambiguity.
Does anybody know why she's called Lucy? After Lucille Ball.
There was a popular song at the time when she was discovered.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was a popular song.
And they were so excited when they discovered her remains.
LAUGHTER That is a real picture, Rhod, if that helps you.
I was going to say.
So, during pregnancy, I love this, the female secretes a hormone called relaxin.
And what happens is, the joints between the pelvic bones loosen very slightly.
So why have we got a picture of? That is a pocket gopher.
Why have we got a picture of a pocket gopher? They live in the pelvis? They live in the lady's pelvis.
They live Yes.
They come out just like that.
That's it.
And what's most fascinating is how they meet one another.
There was a professor called Frederick Lee Hisaw, and he studied the sex life of pocket gophers.
They are small prairie He just kept looking in his pocket.
"Here we go, here they are.
They're at it!" Take notes.
Little tiny prairie animals live in burrows, a bit like a mole.
And he discovered "I'm going to put you in the other side in a minute.
" "Get off her!" Suddenly, I'm really anxious that I've got one up my pelvis.
No, but you're the perfect host, you see, you don't even know it's there.
I'm not sure if that was a compliment.
Anyway .
he studied the sex lives extensively of pocket gophers, that's how he discovered this hormone called relaxin.
But the pelvises of women, as they get older, they're about 8% narrower than those of middle-age females.
And it suggests that the female pelvis, it constricts in older adults.
That's when that gopher leaves.
The surest way to sex a skeleton is to poke around at its pelvis.
Describe an ancient Egyptian pregnancy testing kit.
Surely, once an Egyptian becomes ancient, they can't get pregnant.
One of them is a stand-up comedian, by the look of it.
"I'll just do a quick five.
" I think, once they start wrapping you in bandages, that's a pretty good sign you're going to be a mummy.
GROANING AND APPLAUSE I reckon it's something to do with food cravings.
If some ancient Egyptian lady was insisting on having squirty cream on her camel's hoof.
It's like a Mary Berry recipe.
I meant camel's hoof as a food, is what I meant.
Like mayonnaise on chocolate fingers.
You know what I meant.
You know what I meant! Strange food combinations is what I meant.
No is the answer.
It's not squirty cream on your camel's hoof? Well, weirdly I know! What are the chances? So there are various papyruses, they're known generally as the Berlin Papyruses.
And it contains the following - another test for a woman who will bear or a woman who will not bear.
Wheat and spelt, let the woman water them daily with her urine.
If they both grow, she will bear.
If the wheat grows, it will be a boy.
If the spelt grows, it will be a girl.
If neither grows, she will not bear.
So, already they have some sense of the chemical changes in a woman.
And in 1963, archaeologists tested this ancient medicinal folklore.
Now, the girl/boy thing, absolute hogwash, but 70% accurate as a predictor of pregnancy against non-pregnancy.
A pregnant women's wee would cause germination of a seed? Yeah.
Whereas if she's not pregnant, it wouldn't? Yes, correct.
Because there's, like, a chemical in it? Yeah, because of the changes in the woman.
There's an even earlier test described in the Brugsch Papyrus, that's around 1350 BC, and it involves a watermelon.
Now we're talking! They have the squirty cream.
A watermelon pounded is mixed with the milk of a woman who has borne a son, and is given to the patient to drink.
If she vomits, she's pregnant, if she only has flatulence, she will never bear again.
Hang on.
If she vomits, she's pregnant? I mean, that's a pretty good sign regardless.
I have to say, the other bit about her farting, not proved to be true.
That's just a weird thing.
By the 1920s, they knew that there's a specific hormone - it's called hCG - is present in the urine of pregnant women.
And they used to inject the urine into sexually immature rabbits and rodents, and then on the fifth day, the animal was killed, and autopsied to examine the state of the ovaries.
And then pregnant women would have had bulging masses found on the ovaries.
So when I was a child, it was the thing that women said, because I grew up in the United States.
They'd say, "How's Mrs So And So?", and somebody would say, "The rabbit died," and that meant she was pregnant.
The beginning of 2018, IKEA advertised its range of cots with a flyer in magazines.
It revealed a discount code when urinated on by a pregnant woman.
So you ripped the page out of the magazine, and you peed on it, and if the discount code was revealed, you were a pregnant woman, you could get money off your cot.
What, in store? I don't think you did it in store It was fine to do it at home.
Pregnancy tests have come a long way since the days of ancient Egypt, but now, describe an ancient Egyptian prophylactic.
That is a really horrid picture, isn't it? Prophylactics from ancient civilisation, they are always some part of some animal that the man puts over his That's what it usually is.
Probably a camel's hoof.
Could be.
It's usually It's a pig's bladder or something, except you have to ask the pig to look away, obviously.
Can't you use, like, from the segment of an orange, with the I haven't heard that one.
Just, like, one little piece of an orange, or? Just over the Yeah, I read that somewhere, I read it years ago.
I'd need the whole orange, mate.
Wouldn't it be awful for the boy who needs a mandarin? So here's the thing - Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, they all viewed contraception as entirely the woman's responsibility.
The only well-documented contraception methods are female-controlled, so 1550 BC, that's how far back we're going, there's a manuscript.
Women were told to grind dates, acacia tree bark and honey together into a paste, apply the mixture to fibre from cotton plants, so basically a kind of cotton wool, and then insert that where you would normally keep a pocket gopher.
Actually, saying that, the gopher itself is quite an effective contraceptive.
There was a guy in 1928, a Dr Declan, he came up with anti-baby marmalade.
Two spoonfuls on bread every morning.
It was mostly made of peas, and it didn't work.
The German for the contraceptive pill is anti-baby pill, which is rather straightforward, isn't it? Yeah.
So it does what it says on the tin.
By now, they could have invented a baby pill.
Yes, save you all that bother of the Oh, the bother Because the window of opportunity is very small.
So it didn't realise for about two years, you've got between about 4.
30, 4.
45 on Friday To make it happen.
You've got to be ready to go, there and then.
Have you got to get in there while the gopher's out, you mean? Yeah! Have a look at this picture.
This is supposed to be the earliest possible evidence of condoms.
It is from the Grotte des Combarelles in France.
It's a cave painting, and it supposedly represents a condom.
I think it needs quite a lot of imagination.
I mean, I suppose it's a prophylactic if there's him and then the bull is the prophylactic, and then the girl is somewhere behind the bull.
Oh, yes, that's a good thing.
Now, time for an experiment.
I'm going to show you what happens when water reacts with magnesium and silver nitrate.
So I'd ask the panel to put their safety goggles on, please, and I have to charge this.
Are you ready? Woo-hoo! You didn't do that! I did.
Isn't that fantastic? That didn't come from that.
I love that.
So that is what happens when water reacts with magnesium and silver nitrate.
Can anybody tell me when a reaction like that happens in the body? When you've eaten a lot of very spicy food and you have gas.
It's a really specific moment, like that, but on a much, much smaller scale.
Sneezing? Ejaculation? Well, you're close Conception.
It is the moment when the sperm and the egg meet for the very first time.
ALAN SINGS OPERATICALLY Sparks literally fly.
ALAN MIMICS EXPLOSION So when a sperm enzyme activates a human egg, there is an explosion of zinc, and the team from Northwestern University in Illinois took images of an egg's zinc storage capability, each one This gopher with a tiny camera.
APPLAUSE So, the human egg has got about 8,000 zinc compartments, and each one contains around a million zinc atoms, so at the point of conception, they're all released in a display that looks just like tiny fireworks, and it goes on for about two hours.
So did you just fire semen at that? Is that what that was? So is it like a firework display? Yes.
Different ones co No! But tiny, darling, it's not as big as that Yeah, yeah, I realise that It looks just like a display, and it goes on for two hours, because you have to understand, we've got 8,000 zinc compartments OK, we're going to have another go, but I'm going to let you all have a go.
I'm a 50-year-old man.
That's a bit far away.
Are you ready? Yeah, so ready.
Ready? Pull it out now, as it were What do we do? Three, two, one, fire! Whoo! Whoo! Come on, boys! Oh, for goodness' sake No baby for you! How was it for you? APPLAUSE I can go on for two hours, Sandi! Did that one not go off? No.
No baby for you.
Can I just say that I've been asked to tell you not to try this at home? I have no idea how you would get hold of magnesium and silver nitrate, but please don't.
There we are.
Do not do this, other than in the presence of an expert.
That is amazing.
Do you feel like it reflects on your manhood in any way that you couldn't do it? Yeah? Yeah, I do, actually, yeah.
No, I A little bit, a little bit.
It was nothing to do with the water pistol, and everything to do with the receptacle.
We had a baby.
We did, we did make a baby.
If I'm honest, we were a bit too quick, but Can I just say? It was fine for you.
Now, if you're feeling clueless, it's time for the poisoned chalice of General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
How much stomach acid causes heartburn? Too much.
So, not that.
It is NOT too much.
What does anybody else think? It's not caused by stomach acid at all? No, not correct either.
Somewhere in the middle! Not really.
Are you wanting us to say too little? It is too little.
The answer is too little.
Too little.
Thank you.
Don't say that to Sandi Toksvig! It's not true! Can we point out that you made that joke? Don't try and project it onto me.
He's staying and you're going, so there we are.
Heartburn, usually the result of too little stomach acid.
If the stomach has less acid, it's not so efficient at killing microbes.
It gives yeasts and pathogenic bacteria a chance to thrive.
These produce gas.
They increase the pressure in the stomach to such an extent that the oesophageal sphincter is forced open, and that allows the acid to escape and to burn the oesophagus.
So acid reflux can be caused by lack of acid.
What unusual physical trait do these people have? Yes? What unusual physical trait do they have, or are they about to have? What do they have? Yes, Ed? They've had ribs removed.
No, that's the weirdest thought.
No, they have not! Have you never heard that urban legend about various celebrities who've had ribs removed so they could auto-fellate? AUDIENCE MURMURS No, I genuinely have not.
Do not gaslight me.
Do not act like I have made this up.
OK, I've never heard of that.
Sindhu, help me.
I think they have too many joints.
Too many joints? There's something going on.
Are they double jointed? No.
That's a common misnomer.
We think that people who are flexible somehow have double joints.
They have a condition called joint hypermobility or joint laxity, and it basically means they can move their joints further than most people.
10-15% of people have it to some extent, so it's not all that uncommon.
But in order to qualify as being hypermobile, you have to be able to do it without practising or without stretching.
It's just something that you are born with.
So there are some tests we can do to see if anybody here has it.
Can you bend your fingers back over 90 degrees? Which I simply can't do.
Anybody? No.
Try it in the audience.
Have we got anybody who's hypermobile? You are hypermobile, darling? If you can just show us Oh! Oh, yes! Were you always able to do that? It's something you are born with.
Can you touch your wrist with your thumb.
Wow! OK.
Sindhu can do it.
Oh, yeah, you've got it.
Sindhu's found a loophole.
Yeah, I'm doing it.
And there's a scale of how hypermobile people are.
It's not actually always a good thing.
There's a guy called Gary "Stretch" Turner.
He has an extreme case of something called Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
It causes very loose joints, but in his case, he's got really stretchy skin.
Which one's him? ED: They do say owners start to look like their pets.
He can stretch his stomach out into a table that can hold three pints of beer.
It's not a good thing.
It can cause terrible joint pain.
What's going on with the dog? Well, we think maybe the dog has got it as well.
The dog looks much more confused than that man.
The dog is like, "Oh, God, I'm a bat.
" I think the more unusual thing about this dog is he's got human arms.
Now, what is a compound fracture? Ed? When you break more than one bone at the same time.
I didn't say that! I said more than one bone.
No, it isn't even that, so if you were to break Fine, but that's not what I said! I appreciate what I said was also wrong.
APPLAUSE I forgive you.
If you break lots of bones, or you break a bone in many places, it's just a multiple fracture.
If you have a compound fracture, then that is a break like that.
GROANING I hate to see that.
It's a break resulting in an open wound, so it compounds the injury.
Ah! So the doctor has got two issues to deal with.
They not only have a broken bone to deal with, they've also got a big hole in the skin, basically, where the bone is sticking through it.
But there are lots of different types of fracture.
There's a transverse fracture, that's a fracture at right angles to the normal way in which the bone goes.
The green stick is really more of a bend in the bones.
It's what happens to children sometimes.
And this one here, comminuted fracture, when the bone fragments into several different pieces, and then an impacted fracture is when the ends are driven into each other.
Anybody broken a bone? Not one of me own! I just couldn't carry that off, could I? That was pathetic, Ed.
That was pathetic.
Let's have a look at you being hard again.
I'm moving about so I'm harder to hit.
I'm moving about so I'm harder to hit.
It seriously looked like a gopher was coming out your arse.
APPLAUSE A compound fracture is one in which the bone sticks out of the body.
Which plant gives your toothpaste its flavour? Mint.
There was originally mint in peppermint, but here's the thing Can I have the "sorry," then, please? APPLAUSE If you get a bad harvest, and the crop is lost, then you simply can't make any toothpaste.
Much more reliable to make synthetic menthol, which is most commonly made out of turpentine oil.
You get that by tapping pine trees.
So the mint flavour in most toothpastes comes from pine.
All of which brings us to the persistent pain in the neck of the scores.
Entirely healthy, but coming last with -12, Sindhu.
APPLAUSE Is that good or bad? Is that good? Running a slight temperature with -5 in third place, it's Rhod.
APPLAUSE Distinctly feverish, with 5 points, Alan.
APPLAUSE And hot, hot, hot, in first place with 7 points, it's Ed.
APPLAUSE So, my thanks to Sindhu, Rhod, Ed, and Alan, and I leave you with this tale from Dr Travis Stork of Nashville, Tennessee.
A nurse once handed a man a urine specimen container.
"The bathroom's over there," she gestured.
A few minutes later, the patient came out of the bathroom.
"Thanks," he said, returning the empty container, "but there was a toilet in there, so I didn't need this after all".
Thanks very much.