Quiz show. Stephen Fry grapples with geometry in this extended show, with guests Johnny Vegas, David Mitchell, Rob Brydon and Alan Davies.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Go-oo-oo-ood evening, good evening, good evening
and welcome to QI.
Tonight, as Plato said, "Let no-one untrained in geometry enter here,"
for our theme is geometry.
And sitting around our conic section tonight, we have the shapely Johnny Vegas.
The curvaceous Rob Brydon.
The hyperbolic David Mitchell.
And a square peg in a round hole, Alan Davies.
So let's hear your geometrical buzzers. Rob goes...
# Bermuda Triangle
# It makes people disappear... #
And Johnny goes...
# You're so square Baby, I don't care... #
# Like a circle in a spiral Like a wheel within a wheel... #
And Alan goes...
# The wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long... #
I thought we'd begin tonight with some fashion tips. Johnny, you're looking very svelte.
What's your secret?
Well, it's a tidy neck.
-A tidy neck?
-Yeah, and a button hole just left casual enough,
so if a lady should approach you, she's going, "There's room for change, but not too much."
Oh, that's the secret...
Two buttons down, part slag, part hero.
Anyone have any thoughts as to why he might be looking or might not be looking svelte?
Is it to do with the direction of his stripes?
It is to do with the direction of his stripes.
It is, look at the picture there. It's accentuating my breasts.
-On the left, that's Alexander Armstrong.
-It does look a bit like him.
They make fat people wear stripes and you can tell how old they are. It's like cutting a tree in half.
-It's supposed to be that vertical stripes may you look slimmer, but they don't.
-That's the point.
People should wear the... the horizontal ones
that Johnny is sporting.
It's very interesting because almost everybody thinks that vertical stripes make people look slimmer.
In prisons, sometimes women have asked for vertical, rather than horizontal stripes,
so that they look leaner, or they think they do,
but research from a man called Dr Peter Thompson of York University
has found that the large majority think the one in the vertical stripe is larger
than the one in the horizontal stripe when they are the same size.
It's a bit like when you're hot. The best way to cool down is not by drinking a cold drink.
-By going into an air-conditioned building.
And then having a cold drink.
Surely, this shows, actually, that it makes no difference at all
because we're determining whether wearing vertical or horizontal stripes makes you look thinner
and you can't tell by looking. You have to do research.
The difference is so slight that you have to do research with hundreds and hundreds of people.
Basically, people look as fat or thin as they are.
-I beg to differ.
I have a friend who's quite short and he likes to wear vertical stripes because they make him look taller.
Only when he's not standing next to anyone.
It's not going to make him look taller than a taller man.
It's all relative. He'll just say, "There's a normal-sized man next to an enormous man!"
"Oh, he's taken his striped shirt off. It's a tiny man next to a normal man."
I've missed your angry logic, David, I have to say.
It just alternates, doesn't it? For ages, you think vertical stripes make people look thinner.
Then you say, "She's wearing vertical stripes, so she must be fatter than she looks."
So suddenly, horizontal stripes start making you look thin.
"She must be thin, otherwise she'd never dare wear horizontal stripes."
Then they go, "No, horizontal stripes make you look thinner." "Oh, she must be fat."
So these are the things that go through your mind when you see someone wearing stripes?
What happens when you see someone with polka dots and you're going, "She must be nine mile long"?
Contrary to popular belief, horizontal stripes are more slimming than vertical ones.
While we're admiring fine lines... David, you may know this cos you're bright.
Not that you others aren't.
I'll feel terrible if I don't!
Why do columns around the Parthenon look straight?
Because they are.
-You see, I don't think I know this and I think I'm going to say something embarrassing.
It gets wider, so that it looks straight.
It's further away at the top, so to stop it looking like it's tapering, they made it wider.
This was the theory for a long time. It's a thing called entasis.
If a column is exactly straight, from a distance it looks as if it bows inwards.
The secret is to make it bow slightly outwards, so from a distance, it looks straight.
But it turns out this isn't what they did after all.
-It's Alan's first answer which is they look straight cos they are straight.
-That's not a question!
Why does this man look thin? Because he is!
That... That has taken me on a whole circle!
A train of thought going, "The reason they look straight is because they are."
This is why I struggled at school!
-It's the Q of QI...
-If a train travels at 40mph
and leaves at 9 o'clock and arrives in Glasgow at 12 o'clock, how did it get there?
And you're going, "Cos it did!"
-It's sort of that.
-It's not sort of that. It's very confusing!
It's the Q of QI. It is going round in a circle, but with a twiddly bit at the end.
Why does that look straight?
Because it's not.
That would have been a question. Why does that look straight?
Because it is!
Because it is!
-Sometimes things look...
-Please don't be unhappy, Johnny.
-I'm not. I'm just confused at the start!
Let me un-confuse you because the same man who discovered...
-You do, Johnny.
No, seriously, listen. The same man... Do you remember what his name was, who discovered that hoops...?
-He also discovered that the straight lines on the Parthenon...
-He's good with lines.
-..are straight because they're straight?
-He is here tonight in the studio.
Where are you, Peter? He's wearing a straight moustache.
-Hello, Peter Thompson.
-You've upset Johnny, but what's your point?
He's looking fantastically slim tonight because he's wearing horizontal stripes. It is true...
I'll still have a heart attack.
-They won't stop that.
-Thanks to the stripes, I'll be in denial.
DAVID: What do you have to wear to look not dead when you are?
Why am I looking so good?
You look good because you're wearing horizontal stripes. They make you look taller.
Vertical stripes will make you look wider, certainly.
-Which is against what everybody believes?
-Yes, but someone has to do the science to show what is true.
If you're really fat, it won't make a lot of difference because the effect's not that big.
You may have aroused the beast within Johnny.
I give you my theory!
Peter Thompson, thank you very much indeed. Dr Thompson, everybody!
-Excellent. There you are.
Who was it, though, that first saw some pillars that looked straight
and thought that must be because they bulge, rather than that they're just straight?
I think it does exist, this entasis, but not on the Parthenon.
There are other places where it does happen,
where from the right distance, they look straight.
Other people believe they may be bowed for structural reasons, that it helps them stand up more.
Are you good on Greek Doric and other such columns?
I'm amazing, don't get me started.
Would you like to see some Greek columns and identify them for me?
-Those are the three classic orders.
-I have these in a book in my loo and I've forgotten to memorise them.
Any thoughts? Anyone know?
The right-hand one they've got slightly wrong, haven't they? It's slightly too far to the right.
That's the way they hold up. That's the Corinthian order, the most decorated.
It starts on the left with the Doric and then the middle is Ionic.
There's one thing that's really missing, one thing that's so common.
The rest of the building.
Arches. They had so much, the Greeks, but never an arch.
So they didn't have a vault or dome.
-So nothing round in Greek architecture.
-No arches at all?
-It's all segmental and...
-The Romans must have found that hilarious
when they invaded.
What, you say your husband's a builder?
When's he home, cos I've got some notes for him.
-What do the words mean?
It's a part of Greece and Ionia was in the Ionian Sea.
-Corinth - Gulf of Corinth.
-Yeah, named after regions.
-For an extra point, Stephen,
what makes these different to Christopher Wren's columns at the Guildhall in Windsor?
-Let me turn the tables on you.
-No, no, no...
There are fables about how his columns don't reach the ceiling.
It's also said of his library at Trinity in Cambridge,
that they insisted on extra columns,
and the guides always tell you this, so it probably is true, and he said
it doesn't need them, but they said it would fall down.
So he put in extra columns, but left a gap about that thick.
This is what the guide at Windsor told me, to prove he could do it.
But my point is, if you'll let me get it out,
is that these DO touch the ceiling.
You're right, they do. Beautifully put and points for you at once.
Surely, even with Christopher Wren's buildings, some of the columns must...
No, you're thinking of David Copperfield.
He was a great architect, but didn't invent the hover ceiling.
That was David Blaine, they just hovered like that.
I've seen so many people who've bought Council homes and put these up.
-Yeah, these columns.
-I've passed them every day and never questioned.
-The different styles and nuances.
And there's a name for every single part.
What about the two lions on the gate post?
-Do you have lions on your gate post?
-Geoff and Marge.
That answer was quick enough for me to believe you do.
Very pleasing. Well, there you are.
The columns on the Parthenon look straight because they are straight.
Now look at these two shapes. They have names, right?
-Well, one is the kiki and the other is the bouba.
-Tell me which is which.
-Bouba's on the right, clearly.
-Would you agree with that?
-Kiki's the spiky one.
-Would you agree?
-I would say kiki is the splodgy one and bouba is the spiky one.
-The other way round?
What would you say, Johnny? I hate to think!
I would say they should go back to their dating agency.
-And ask for a refund.
-Shall we ask the audience what they think?
If you think kiki is the one on the left, put your hand up.
That's a huge majority.
Who thinks kiki may be the one on the right?
-There's a few of you going along with Rob.
-Are you all Welsh?
There is no right or wrong answer.
Wolfgang Kohler was a, was a...
-That's the word I was after(!)
I wanted to say "psychologist". I looked at you and all I could think of was "psychiatrist".
I don't know if it's the same in other languages,
but in English, point sounds pointy, blob sounds blobby.
The point is it's true in all languages.
That "kiki" sound to anybody, whatever their culture, they would think that was the spiky one.
-Crack and blob.
-And the bouba thing, they would think of as blobby.
-Is it a form of onomatopoeia?
-It is a form of "honour", as you say, "matter", as you point out, "peer".
Well done. That's exactly what I would say. It seems to go deep within us, whatever our cultures.
In other languages, for example, in Huambisa, which is a South American language,
98% of people who didn't speak Huambisa, when seeing the words "chunchuikit" and "mauts",
thought that if one was a fish and one was a bird, "chunchuikit" would be a bird and "mauts" a fish.
-Yeah, there is a deep onomatopoeia within...
And yet the Welsh word for "carrot" is "moron".
There we go again, bucking the trend.
If "moron" was going to be a word for a food,
I'd say it would be for something more like a mousse or a pate.
A potato. I would say a baked potato.
-They're quite blunt - carrots.
"Moron" is the Greek for "blunt", which is why it means "obtuse, blunt-witted".
"Oxy" is "sharp", "moron" is "blunt", hence oxymoron being a...
Carrot is right for carrot because it's crunchy. "Carrot", when you bite it, "carrot"...
Moron, there's nothing "moronny". Unless you're being inappropriate with your carrot and going...
What about onion rings?
-Yeah, moreish, rather than moron.
-What rule do they come under? Onion rings?
Let's not... It's not that every single word in every language is onomatopoeic.
-They often are, though.
-They often are, yes.
Tin, tin, tin, tin.
This is how you teach a chimp to speak.
Well, then, pay attention. Paper!
Very mean and most unjustified.
And mother and father in a lot of languages, "mother" is the "ma-ma" towards you
and "father" is the "ba" and "da" away from you.
-Speaking as a father, can I say that my parenting doesn't consist of that?
-No, it's the baby doing that.
-The mother is towards me and the father is over there. He's "da", he's there.
-But what if he's here?
-Yeah, all right, but mostly...
-Don't get cross with me!
He's asked you some absolutely ludicrous things and you've sat there going, "Oh, your northern charm!"
I give you one query and you look at me like I'm an arse!
-I can't answer...
-You've done this before on this show!
From now on, you're my friend and my pet, Rob. I'm very sorry.
Maybe I think you can take it more and that Johnny's a little more vulnerable.
He's got big, soft, sad eyes. Look, you see?
-My eyes are soft!
No, your eyes are keen. Mine are soft, yours are keen.
-Mine are not keen.
-You're looking for a weakness, whereas I...
-Johnny has the eyes of trust. You have the eyes of prostitution.
I thought I was watching the Mr Men behind Alan's head!
I'm giving them different names.
What names have you given them?
Mr Frost and Gonorrhea.
-He does look like Mr Frost, actually.
-Yeah, but he doesn't look like Gonorrhea, but I...
I've never seen Mr Gonorrhea in the series with Arthur Lowe's voice.
It looks like a humpbacked duck.
-I don't know. I like the bright colours.
I like my eyes and the fact that you leave me alone when I go quiet.
Well done, everybody there, tarts and chimpanzees and all.
After that display of topological trickery, perhaps we should get back to our books.
Can you tell me what the most successful textbook of all time is?
Is it the one that teaches you what LOL means and LMAO?
-It probably is now.
No, what's our theme for the day?
-No, not logarithms!
-Do you want my eyes? He might listen to you.
Stephen, is it logarithms?
No, but it's a jolly good guess.
-Some ancient geometrical textbook written probably by a Greek.
-Kites For Beginners!
-Euclid is the right answer, David Mitchell.
Euclid, Euclid's Stoicheia, Euclid's Elements.
The propositions of Euclid are all about planes and conical sections
and all the forms of the circle and the square,
the provable facts of geometry that are the basis of everything, the physics that came afterwards.
So he turned up and said, "This is why all the buildings have been falling down."
Engineering obviously owed a huge amount to it.
Many mathematicians believe his book is perhaps the most beautiful of all the mathematical books.
We're looking at one of the earliest editions. What does it say there? "The most" something "philosopher".
-I'm brilliant with Latin.
-No, it's written in English.
But the names... You're right, the names are written in Greek there.
Yeah, and that's what threw me.
Queen Elizabeth I's court magician, John Dee. Have you heard of him?
-He was an extraordinary man who worked as a spy.
-Can you tell me the cipher he used as a spy?
No, he had a particular cipher, his call sign.
And a writer many, many years later, who was extremely learned in the ways of the world,
despite being thought of just as a thriller writer, used it...
-Exactly. It was John Dee's call sign.
-I sense points.
-Yes, you will have seven points.
-I could give you 700, written backwards. That's too much.
I'm not going to speak again!
He was also one of the people responsible for bringing Euclid to the attention of the world.
Although he was known as a magician, he was all kinds of different things.
-Was he an astrologer as well?
-Absolutely right, yeah.
Interestingly, or quite interestingly, which is all we're after, it was a pop-up book,
Euclid, when John Dee produced it. Little pop-up geometric shapes.
Pop-up books were for adults way back then.
The thing is with pop-up books, when you read normal books, you end up putting them in front of you
and kicking them from behind cos you think they're lazy.
-ALAN: Oh, come on, do something!
-Come on, what's going to happen?
And then, as a 19-year-old, you explain the difference between an illustration and a pop-up.
That difference is? For points?
If you kick the book hard enough, you break the spine and it's hard to take it to a second-hand bookshop.
-Most of the pages fall out.
-You could do a pop-down book.
-That'd be like a good murder weapon.
-Hold a pop-up book upside down.
That'd be really bad if you're paranoid.
If you open a book and every time you open a page, it goes...
And what happenned to the giant?
Oh, now, um...
Euclid's Elements has been a mathematical bestseller for over 22 centuries.
Let's get our noses out of our text books and into our tuck boxes.
What do you call a left-handed lemon?
No, but you're thinking along the right lines.
We're talking about molecules and their arrangement.
-You mean the opposite to a lemon?
-Exactly. The mirror image of it's molecular arrangement.
-Is the right answer! There's a lemon, obviously.
-There's an orange. Seven points!
You know I'm good at catching.
You can stop a roll.
No, you can't.
There's a lemon for you.
Who else wants one? Well done.
Have a lemon. There you are.
I'm all right, Stephen. LAUGHTER
Do they make scissors for both?
Does a lemon cut out boys and girls together in a piece of paper
and the orange is going, "I'm rubbish at this!"?
"Cos I'm left-handed"?
Yeah, it just looks like a bunch of oranges falling over.
It's along those lines, Johnny, yes.
the arrangement of the aroma molecules is exactly the same, except a mirror-image.
The result is as different a smell as the smell of a lemon to an orange.
If you smell an orange from the wrong direction, it smells like a lemon?
It doesn't quite work like that because this particular quality - chirality -
is present in our nose molecules, too.
It hooks onto them and we recognise them in the same way.
So the molecules, as it were, dock with other molecules?
They kind of do. It's all very chemical, obviously.
It's interesting because all these chemicals that are discovered to be right-handed and left-handed -
like glucose! Only right-handed glucose can be metabolised by the body.
And so natural glucose in sugar, for example, is all right-handed
and all the left-handed ones are the diet ones - sucrose and that sort of thing -
which aren't metabolised - you can eat as much as you like without gaining weight
because they don't get metabolised by the body. So there are useful sides to this handedness.
You've got to go in and ask for right-handed fruit?
Are you left- or right-handed?
I'm right handed, but my friend thinks he's right-handed but his wife thinks his handwriting's
-so bad because he's left-handed and lives in denial.
Any left-handers? Are you all right-handed? Do you know the proportion
-of right-handed people around the world, as opposed to left-handed people?
-Nine out of ten.
It's a little less, they think it's between 70 and 90.
-It'll be far less when the war comes.
-The war comes.
-What's a Warcombe?
-The left-handed and the right-handed.
-No, when the war...
-Oh, when the war comes! I'm sorry.
-I'm so sorry.
-I thought it was a family called the Warcombes!
Surely one day, the right-handed will rise up and crush the left-handed.
-They may do.
-Yeah, cos there's no way I'm feasting on that.
Fair point. I think.
So, yes. Is there a prevailing theory as to why right-handedness is the most common?
Isn't it sides of the brain? Different sides do different things,
you look off to the right when you're making up a lie,
you look to the left if you're recalling something real.
I would imagine it's to do with that and how straight the columns are within your brain.
And whether or not they actually touch the roof of your head.
The molecules that make oranges smell orangey and lemons smell lemony
are the same, just mirror images, so a left-handed lemon, in a sense, is an orange.
-How many cricket pitches are there in Kansas?
-One big one!
Well, certainly it's a big square shape, but not a cricket pitch shape, Kansas.
-It's to do with the measurement of corn, it's... It's nothing like that?
-No, you're on the right lines.
Americans, how do they measure? Do they use the metric system, or a version of our imperial system?
-They use yards and feet and miles and things like that.
-And the length of a cricket pitch, which is...?
-22 yards, and it's called a chain.
-And when America was being measured out, they used these ancient English measurements.
A chain is 22 yards, there are ten chains to a...?
A word that's still used in sport.
-A furlong! Brilliant. More points! Seven points! 80 chains to a...?
-Mile, yes. We're doing very well here! And an acre is ten square chains.
That's where an acre is derived. And this man, Gunter, Gunter's chain -
he actually had a chain that he used, like that, to measure out the land.
So the whole of the northern Midwestern states were initially into blocks of 24 miles by 24.
Within that, sub-divided into 20 chains by 20 chains, known as forties, cos that would be 40 acres.
You may remember in The Grapes Of Wrath, that the farmstead is the smallest type
of farm, which is known as a forty.
-I know a thing about the forty...
-..the 40 acres.
-Did they not, when they had the emancipation of the slaves, were they not each entitled to a forty?
-That was indeed right.
-And a mule. Which is why Spike Lee called his company 40 Acres and a Mule.
-That's the thing I know about the forty.
-Seven points again! It's like the seven times table.
-And is the country still divided by the Willie Nelson Line?
-Yes, you can see them there.
Because Kansas, which is one of the most rectangular of any of the states, almost perfectly so,
you can actually calculate how many it is.
And it's 3,474,386,388 cricket pitches would fit in. Apparently.
-That's quite different to the answer I had in mind.
-Is it? Well, you can save it
by telling me, what's the capital of Kansas?
-No, that's another state! I need the name of the...
Oh, it's not, oh!
-All those sevens!
-I've lost all my points!
Squirreled all your sevens away. It's Topeka.
-I've never even heard of Topeka.
Little gurgle! But actually, in terms of real cricket pitches for playing cricket on,
seven that we can find in Kansas. Which is more than you might expect.
Not in a state of that size, that's hardly any!
-Well, for America...
-They've got room for more than 3 billion more!
They've got room for more, but... Is that you or Mike Gatting?
Of course, if you're talking about that area, Elvis would be one of the most famous citizens.
Now, where was Elvis born? Does anybody know? Tupelo.
Tupelo, Mississippi, yeah.
Of course, then moved to Memphis, in a different state, Tennessee.
And that was where he became very, very famous and started off in 1955
with "That's All Right, Mama", which was the Sun Records label
at that point, in Memphis. Then he signed with RCA Victor Records in New York.
With them, he did "Heartbreak Hotel". Right the way through the movie years...
He turned his back on Sam Phillips, that was...
Well, no, because Sam came to his opening night in Vegas in '69,
and Elvis can be heard saying, "Sam, this one's for you."
I think Sam, with the greatest respect, is more my area than yours,
which is not something I ever thought I'd get a chance to say.
He then went on, until his untimely death in 1977.
I hadn't said anything for a while.
-The date of his death?
August 16th, 1977.
It's like Radio 2 in the middle of the night!
He has come out with such bilge!
And you sit there like we're in Rain Man, loving it!
I come out with something factual,
and there are a lot of Elvis fans out there who will be loving that.
Why are they all catching? Why is nobody playing in the middle? Did no-one explain cricket for them?
They are, but they're behind that bloke.
-So he was waiting to go in?
-Nothing to see!
Anyway, after that bombshell... And I do love you, Rob, I want you to know that. I really, really do.
Yeah, but don't say it while you're reading something else.
-I've got it written down.
-That's what my dad always did on my birthday -
"Of course I love you, I'm reading it here, it's what your mother wrote."
Tell me the oldest international sporting fixture on Earth.
-England v Australia at cricket.
-No. It is cricket, though.
-England v Scotland at cricket.
-No, it's America v Canada at cricket.
We'll take a bird's-eye view now.
What's the best place to go to look into the future?
-A sci-fi convention.
-A sci-fi convention?
Right, OK. Maybe.
-When you see the stars and the sun, that's old light.
-That's looking into the past.
-Do you have to go past that?
-You look backwards because history teaches us the future.
Because from history, we learn patterns.
And as Dr Phil says time and time again,
the greatest indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour.
-When are you going to realise he's not interested?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Tell him you're interested.
-I'm very interested. A very good answer.
Unlike when you speak, he's not frightened.
Just to return briefly... Just to pull the reins in a little,
there is a place where physically you can look into the future.
-You're not literally looking into the future.
-Is it by the International Date Line?
-Does it have the magic hill where you're going up, even though you're...
-No, it's not that. No, this is literally the date line.
-You see, that was stupid!
-It wasn't stupid.
-I knew that was wrong and he went, "Of course not, Johnny." He just doesn't like you.
So if you're on... Looking at it, we'd say the left-hand side of that red line, right?
In time, it's ahead of the right-hand side,
so if you were to fly from Los Angeles in America to Sydney, Australia,
you would lose a day, as I did a few months ago.
If I stood perfectly on that line...
-Let's just say...
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Unless you stood on the very spot.
If I stood on that line and there's an accident,
could I jump over the line and stop yourself from doing it?
You could warn yourself. You could wave back and...
-You're thinking of Michael J Fox.
-Can you jump back and stop yourself making mistakes?
-You can't literally do that, but...
-You lost a day flying, so it was two days later...
I went on the 18th of December and I arrived on the 20th.
-Having only lived one day?
-You were only a day older, yet the world was two days older.
Part of the world was two days older.
If you did that every day, you'd live twice the number of days of most humans
and would appear, despite only having lived, say, 80 years, to have lived for 160.
-"Amazing, a 160-year-old man! What did he achieve?" "Nothing. He had a lot of airline fuel."
Would you struggle to hold down a job?
-Yes, you would.
-In terms of a pension?
You could maybe do it if you lived on the Diomede Islands. They're at the very top.
-What's that area of water between Russia and...?
-Exactly. We can zoom in there.
There's the International Date Line and Big Diomede and Small Diomede, the greater and the lesser Diomedes.
If you were stood with your child and he had a pet rabbit and it died,
could you jump over that time line with the rabbit...
-It would come back to life, still be ill and die.
-..and jump back with it?
I'm going to ask you what your opinion is. What do you think?
I think, me personally, but I'm selfish,
-what I would do, I'd get a jet ski and stay on the line and go round the world.
-And stay at my perfect weight and this age for the rest of my life.
I would go round the world continually following that line,
shouting advice and being mistaken for God.
if you followed the line all the way over the pole, where would you end up?
So the line doesn't go all the way round?
-Yes, it does. The other side of the pole...
-He'd end up in Greenwich, eventually.
-The Greenwich Meridian.
Is it mean time where people go, "He's not God, he's Satan"?
-The point is, the line is arbitrary.
-"Fill yer boots!"
-We decided to draw a line.
Somewhere, we had to divide the world up,
-for maps and for navigation...
-How did we do that?
-We decided that...
-Yes, we did, literally, Britain, we did.
-But we didn't!
No, our culture did, some hundred years ago.
-We nominated Greenwich to be the line...
-So why can't...
-When we discovered the Earth was round
and discovered how these things would best be parcelled out,
we said, let's have a meridian line, about which the rest will go, and we put it through Greenwich,
-where the Naval colleges were.
-So, a line is straight cos it's straight, but I can't be God on a jet ski?
That's about right. That seems to be the sum of it.
I wouldn't be surprised if my parents came in and had a word with you
and asked if Johnny could be taken to another class because they feel Rob isn't learning.
That's exceptionally well expressed.
Hang on. The International Date Line is wiggly. The Greenwich Meridian isn't.
It passes round territories and island groups.
So two houses on the same street aren't on two different days?
It tries to avoid going through land. The closest it gets is there.
-Does Small Diomede look at Big Diomede and watch people get older faster?
If you're standing on Big Diomede, you are looking at the past.
If you stand on Little one...
It's Friday and you're on Big Diomede, you see them on Thursday.
-And you're already drunk.
-And they're hungover!
-Are you ready to move on?
-So the best place to see into tomorrow...
-I'm tired of being odd.
Oh, bless! The best place to see into tomorrow is the Diomede Islands
on opposite sides of the International Date Line.
Where does the extra square in this diagram come from?
Those two are the same size and made up of elements of the same size.
There's a white square there, a bit's missing.
-How can that be?
-Because some of the triangles...
Have a look at it actually happening.
That one goes there, that one goes there, that goes there...
Like so, like so, like so.
-So now there's more space in there?
-Yeah. That can't be possible, can it?
Yet my eyes tell me it is.
It's not even longer. It's the same, isn't it?
-It is a cheat.
-It is rather.
Funnily enough, it was a magician who discovered this.
-It's five blocks high, the same number of blocks long by the look of it.
-It's a very small, subtle cheat.
The hypotenuse in the top one and the bottom one seem to be the same, but they are curved.
The red triangle has a ratio of 5 to 2, the blue triangle has a ratio of 8 to 3,
so the two triangles are not similar.
-It's going like that and like that?
-One has a slightly dipped line, the other has a slightly "up" line.
The eye assumes they're straight and is puzzled by that gap.
-We thought you'd like that. It's quite interesting.
-I quite like it.
It's Curry's Paradox. It's simply a trick.
The gap appears because the hypotenuse is imperceptibly bent.
-All of which brings...
-Should you buy the insurance?
-Or just risk it?
-All of which brings us squarely up against General Ignorance,
so fingers on buzzers. What's the best place to punch a shark?
In a pub.
In a pub after loads of pork scratchings when he's really dehydrated
and then you look really hard and people who aren't sharks go, "Don't want to mess with him!"
-In the eye.
-In the eye is right.
A lot of people think the nose. They may be confusing it with dogs, but the eye is the best place.
The eye or the gill. More people in the world are bitten by New Yorkers every year than they are by sharks.
Not in the water, though!
-You have to take into account the relative seriousness of that event.
-Well, no, actually.
81% of victims attacked and bitten by sharks suffered minor injuries.
How many New Yorkers a year bite someone's leg off?
I don't know, but they may cause rabies and other hideous diseases.
-Certainly more people are killed in America by lavatory accidents than sharks.
What saddens me is 120 million sharks every year are killed by us human beings.
-For their fins.
-Just for their bloody fins!
-Just for what?
-Shark fin soup.
The rest of their body is thrown in the water. A shark fin is tasteless as well.
-Chicken stock is added to it to give it flavour.
-But I hate sharks.
They're beautiful animals. They don't harm anybody.
Because you find them ugly?
I think they're scary. They're incredibly scary.
Every cell in my body, when I see that, says, "It is the enemy!"
They've got far more reason to be scared of a human than a human has of a shark.
-Most mammals see human beings in the same way.
-Look at the miracle of their teeth!
That's extraordinary. They have rows of teeth. Their teeth go backwards.
They bite, they fall out and the next one literally comes forward.
They've got a conveyor belt of rows of teeth.
More impressive than that, Stephen, is how she's managed to do her lipstick under water.
It is rather. Very pretty.
Your talk of razor-sharp teeth on a conveyor belt is making them sound quite sweet(!)
A shark's nose is a shade too close to its mouth to go jabbing around there, so go for the gills or eyes.
How many legs does an octopus have?
-Oh, I mean...
-The clue is in "octo".
-Does it vary depending on the breed?
-Two legs is the right answer.
-I saw one in panto.
That's to say, when octopuses move around on the bottom of the ocean,
they use two of their tentacles for ambulatory gait
and the other four they use for holding food, so they could be said to have two legs and six arms.
How much of the moon can you see from the Ea-arth?
You can see one side of it.
Yes. There is this strange thing called libration which is like vibration beginning with an L.
It's a thing that was noted by quite a few of the early astronomers.
Can I say... Sorry, Stephen, but if that's an acceptable way of defining a word...
-"Libration - it's like vibration, but beginning with an L."
-Just so you could picture it in your heads. Is that bad?
-I was with you already with "libration".
I thought you might have heard it as "libation".
-What does it mean?
-I was about to tell you, then somebody came and said...
-It wasn't me!
I'll tell you. You get this jiggling effect.
-Basically, you can see about 59% of the surface of the moon from Earth.
-At one time?
Obviously, when it's a new moon or whatever, it's a lot less,
but you can see 59% of the surface, rather than just 50.
And that cosmic wobble brings us to the end of another QI show.
It's time to check the form and see what scores we're dealing with.
It's absolutely fascinating. It couldn't be "fascinating-er"!
We have a tie, would you believe it, for third place -
Rob and Johnny on plus two!
Well, in second place, of course, with four points,
is David Mitchell!
-I've got a feeling this is divisible by seven - 21 points for Alan Davies!
And that's all from this geometrical edition of QI,
so it's good night
from Johnny, Rob, David, Alan and me. Good night.
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