Geometry QI XL


Geometry

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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Transcript


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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Go-oo-oo-ood evening, good evening, good evening

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and welcome to QI.

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Tonight, as Plato said, "Let no-one untrained in geometry enter here,"

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for our theme is geometry.

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And sitting around our conic section tonight, we have the shapely Johnny Vegas.

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APPLAUSE

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The curvaceous Rob Brydon.

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APPLAUSE

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The hyperbolic David Mitchell.

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APPLAUSE

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And a square peg in a round hole, Alan Davies.

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APPLAUSE

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So let's hear your geometrical buzzers. Rob goes...

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# Bermuda Triangle

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# It makes people disappear... #

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And Johnny goes...

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# You're so square Baby, I don't care... #

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David goes...

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# Like a circle in a spiral Like a wheel within a wheel... #

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And Alan goes...

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# The wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long... #

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I thought we'd begin tonight with some fashion tips. Johnny, you're looking very svelte.

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What's your secret?

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Well, it's a tidy neck.

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-A tidy neck?

-Yeah, and a button hole just left casual enough,

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so if a lady should approach you, she's going, "There's room for change, but not too much."

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Oh, that's the secret...

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Two buttons down, part slag, part hero.

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Anyone have any thoughts as to why he might be looking or might not be looking svelte?

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Is it to do with the direction of his stripes?

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It is to do with the direction of his stripes.

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It is, look at the picture there. It's accentuating my breasts.

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-On the left, that's Alexander Armstrong.

-It does look a bit like him.

-It does.

-Extraordinary.

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They make fat people wear stripes and you can tell how old they are. It's like cutting a tree in half.

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-It's supposed to be that vertical stripes may you look slimmer, but they don't.

-You're right.

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-That's the point.

-Absolutely right.

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People should wear the... the horizontal ones

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that Johnny is sporting.

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It's very interesting because almost everybody thinks that vertical stripes make people look slimmer.

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In prisons, sometimes women have asked for vertical, rather than horizontal stripes,

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so that they look leaner, or they think they do,

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but research from a man called Dr Peter Thompson of York University

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has found that the large majority think the one in the vertical stripe is larger

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than the one in the horizontal stripe when they are the same size.

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It's a bit like when you're hot. The best way to cool down is not by drinking a cold drink.

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-Rob Brydon.

-By going into an air-conditioned building.

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And then having a cold drink.

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Surely, this shows, actually, that it makes no difference at all

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because we're determining whether wearing vertical or horizontal stripes makes you look thinner

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and you can't tell by looking. You have to do research.

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The difference is so slight that you have to do research with hundreds and hundreds of people.

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Basically, people look as fat or thin as they are.

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-You are...

-I beg to differ.

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I have a friend who's quite short and he likes to wear vertical stripes because they make him look taller.

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Only when he's not standing next to anyone.

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It's not going to make him look taller than a taller man.

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It's all relative. He'll just say, "There's a normal-sized man next to an enormous man!"

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"Oh, he's taken his striped shirt off. It's a tiny man next to a normal man."

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I've missed your angry logic, David, I have to say.

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It just alternates, doesn't it? For ages, you think vertical stripes make people look thinner.

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Then you say, "She's wearing vertical stripes, so she must be fatter than she looks."

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So suddenly, horizontal stripes start making you look thin.

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"She must be thin, otherwise she'd never dare wear horizontal stripes."

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Then they go, "No, horizontal stripes make you look thinner." "Oh, she must be fat."

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APPLAUSE

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So these are the things that go through your mind when you see someone wearing stripes?

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What happens when you see someone with polka dots and you're going, "She must be nine mile long"?

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Contrary to popular belief, horizontal stripes are more slimming than vertical ones.

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While we're admiring fine lines... David, you may know this cos you're bright.

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Not that you others aren't.

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I'll feel terrible if I don't!

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Why do columns around the Parthenon look straight?

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Because they are.

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-You see, I don't think I know this and I think I'm going to say something embarrassing.

-Go on.

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It gets wider, so that it looks straight.

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It's further away at the top, so to stop it looking like it's tapering, they made it wider.

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This was the theory for a long time. It's a thing called entasis.

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If a column is exactly straight, from a distance it looks as if it bows inwards.

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The secret is to make it bow slightly outwards, so from a distance, it looks straight.

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But it turns out this isn't what they did after all.

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-It's Alan's first answer which is they look straight cos they are straight.

-That's not a question!

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Why does this man look thin? Because he is!

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That... That has taken me on a whole circle!

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A train of thought going, "The reason they look straight is because they are."

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This is why I struggled at school!

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-It's the Q of QI...

-If a train travels at 40mph

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and leaves at 9 o'clock and arrives in Glasgow at 12 o'clock, how did it get there?

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And you're going, "Cos it did!"

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LAUGHTER

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-It's sort of that.

-It's not sort of that. It's very confusing!

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It's the Q of QI. It is going round in a circle, but with a twiddly bit at the end.

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Why does that look straight?

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Because it's not.

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That would have been a question. Why does that look straight?

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Because it is!

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Sometimes...

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Because it is!

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-Sometimes things look...

-It's straight!

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-Please don't be unhappy, Johnny.

-I'm not. I'm just confused at the start!

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Let me un-confuse you because the same man who discovered...

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-I try!

-You do, Johnny.

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No, seriously, listen. The same man... Do you remember what his name was, who discovered that hoops...?

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-Peter Thompson.

-He also discovered that the straight lines on the Parthenon...

-He's good with lines.

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-..are straight because they're straight?

-He is here tonight in the studio.

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Where are you, Peter? He's wearing a straight moustache.

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-Hello, Peter Thompson.

-Hello.

-You've upset Johnny, but what's your point?

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He's looking fantastically slim tonight because he's wearing horizontal stripes. It is true...

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I'll still have a heart attack.

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-They won't stop that.

-Thanks to the stripes, I'll be in denial.

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DAVID: What do you have to wear to look not dead when you are?

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Why am I looking so good?

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You look good because you're wearing horizontal stripes. They make you look taller.

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Vertical stripes will make you look wider, certainly.

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-Which is against what everybody believes?

-Yes, but someone has to do the science to show what is true.

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If you're really fat, it won't make a lot of difference because the effect's not that big.

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LAUGHTER

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You may have aroused the beast within Johnny.

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I give you my theory!

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Peter Thompson, thank you very much indeed. Dr Thompson, everybody!

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-APPLAUSE

-Excellent. There you are.

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Who was it, though, that first saw some pillars that looked straight

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and thought that must be because they bulge, rather than that they're just straight?

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I think it does exist, this entasis, but not on the Parthenon.

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There are other places where it does happen,

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where from the right distance, they look straight.

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Other people believe they may be bowed for structural reasons, that it helps them stand up more.

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Are you good on Greek Doric and other such columns?

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I'm amazing, don't get me started.

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Would you like to see some Greek columns and identify them for me?

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-Those are the three classic orders.

-I have these in a book in my loo and I've forgotten to memorise them.

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Any thoughts? Anyone know?

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The right-hand one they've got slightly wrong, haven't they? It's slightly too far to the right.

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That's the way they hold up. That's the Corinthian order, the most decorated.

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It starts on the left with the Doric and then the middle is Ionic.

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There's one thing that's really missing, one thing that's so common.

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The rest of the building.

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LAUGHTER

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Arches. They had so much, the Greeks, but never an arch.

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So they didn't have a vault or dome.

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-So nothing round in Greek architecture.

-No arches at all?

-No.

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-It's all segmental and...

-The Romans must have found that hilarious

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when they invaded.

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What, you say your husband's a builder?

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When's he home, cos I've got some notes for him.

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-What do the words mean?

-Doric?

-Yeah.

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It's a part of Greece and Ionia was in the Ionian Sea.

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-Corinth - Gulf of Corinth.

-They're regions?

-Yeah, named after regions.

-For an extra point, Stephen,

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what makes these different to Christopher Wren's columns at the Guildhall in Windsor?

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-Let me turn the tables on you.

-No, no, no...

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There are fables about how his columns don't reach the ceiling.

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It's also said of his library at Trinity in Cambridge,

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that they insisted on extra columns,

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and the guides always tell you this, so it probably is true, and he said

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it doesn't need them, but they said it would fall down.

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So he put in extra columns, but left a gap about that thick.

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This is what the guide at Windsor told me, to prove he could do it.

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But my point is, if you'll let me get it out,

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is that these DO touch the ceiling.

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You're right, they do. Beautifully put and points for you at once.

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Surely, even with Christopher Wren's buildings, some of the columns must...

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No, you're thinking of David Copperfield.

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Floating floors.

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He was a great architect, but didn't invent the hover ceiling.

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That was David Blaine, they just hovered like that.

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-APPLAUSE

-Very true.

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I've seen so many people who've bought Council homes and put these up.

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-Yeah, these columns.

-I've passed them every day and never questioned.

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-No.

-The different styles and nuances.

-Yeah.

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And there's a name for every single part.

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What about the two lions on the gate post?

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-Do you have lions on your gate post?

-Geoff and Marge.

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That answer was quick enough for me to believe you do.

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Very pleasing. Well, there you are.

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The columns on the Parthenon look straight because they are straight.

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Now look at these two shapes. They have names, right?

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-Kerpow!

-Well, one is the kiki and the other is the bouba.

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-Tell me which is which.

-Bouba's on the right, clearly.

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-Would you agree with that?

-Kiki's the spiky one.

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-Would you agree?

-I would say kiki is the splodgy one and bouba is the spiky one.

-The other way round?

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What would you say, Johnny? I hate to think!

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I would say they should go back to their dating agency.

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LAUGHTER

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-And ask for a refund.

-Shall we ask the audience what they think?

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If you think kiki is the one on the left, put your hand up.

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That's a huge majority.

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Who thinks kiki may be the one on the right?

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-There's a few of you going along with Rob.

-Are you all Welsh?

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There is no right or wrong answer.

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Wolfgang Kohler was a, was a...

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-A pirate!

-That's the word I was after(!)

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Arr-arr-arr-arr!

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APPLAUSE

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I was...

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I wanted to say "psychologist". I looked at you and all I could think of was "psychiatrist".

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I don't know if it's the same in other languages,

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but in English, point sounds pointy, blob sounds blobby.

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The point is it's true in all languages.

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That "kiki" sound to anybody, whatever their culture, they would think that was the spiky one.

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-Crack and blob.

-And the bouba thing, they would think of as blobby.

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-Is it a form of onomatopoeia?

-It is a form of "honour", as you say, "matter", as you point out, "peer".

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Well done. That's exactly what I would say. It seems to go deep within us, whatever our cultures.

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In other languages, for example, in Huambisa, which is a South American language,

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98% of people who didn't speak Huambisa, when seeing the words "chunchuikit" and "mauts",

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thought that if one was a fish and one was a bird, "chunchuikit" would be a bird and "mauts" a fish.

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-Flap-flap-flap.

-Yeah, there is a deep onomatopoeia within...

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And yet the Welsh word for "carrot" is "moron".

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-LAUGHTER

-Is it?

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There we go again, bucking the trend.

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If "moron" was going to be a word for a food,

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I'd say it would be for something more like a mousse or a pate.

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A potato. I would say a baked potato.

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-They're quite blunt - carrots.

-Yes, but...

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"Moron" is the Greek for "blunt", which is why it means "obtuse, blunt-witted".

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"Oxy" is "sharp", "moron" is "blunt", hence oxymoron being a...

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Carrot is right for carrot because it's crunchy. "Carrot", when you bite it, "carrot"...

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Moron, there's nothing "moronny". Unless you're being inappropriate with your carrot and going...

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What about onion rings?

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-More-ish.

-Exactly.

-Yeah, moreish, rather than moron.

-What rule do they come under? Onion rings?

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Let's not... It's not that every single word in every language is onomatopoeic.

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-They often are, though.

-They often are, yes.

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-Desk!

-Yeah...

-Desk!

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Tin, tin, tin, tin.

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Boo-oo-oo-ook.

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Pen!

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This is how you teach a chimp to speak.

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Well, then, pay attention. Paper!

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APPLAUSE

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Very mean and most unjustified.

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And mother and father in a lot of languages, "mother" is the "ma-ma" towards you

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and "father" is the "ba" and "da" away from you.

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-Speaking as a father, can I say that my parenting doesn't consist of that?

-No, it's the baby doing that.

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-The mother is towards me and the father is over there. He's "da", he's there.

-But what if he's here?

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-Yeah, all right, but mostly...

-Don't get cross with me!

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He's asked you some absolutely ludicrous things and you've sat there going, "Oh, your northern charm!"

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I give you one query and you look at me like I'm an arse!

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-I can't answer...

-You've done this before on this show!

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From now on, you're my friend and my pet, Rob. I'm very sorry.

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Maybe I think you can take it more and that Johnny's a little more vulnerable.

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He's got big, soft, sad eyes. Look, you see?

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-My eyes are soft!

-That's true.

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No, your eyes are keen. Mine are soft, yours are keen.

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-Mine are not keen.

-You're looking for a weakness, whereas I...

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-I just...

-Johnny has the eyes of trust. You have the eyes of prostitution.

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LAUGHTER

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Whoa!

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I thought I was watching the Mr Men behind Alan's head!

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I'm giving them different names.

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What names have you given them?

0:17:220:17:25

Mr Frost and Gonorrhea.

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LAUGHTER

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-He does look like Mr Frost, actually.

-Whoa!

-Yeah, but he doesn't look like Gonorrhea, but I...

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I've never seen Mr Gonorrhea in the series with Arthur Lowe's voice.

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It looks like a humpbacked duck.

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-I don't know. I like the bright colours.

-Yes, yes.

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I like my eyes and the fact that you leave me alone when I go quiet.

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Well done, everybody there, tarts and chimpanzees and all.

0:17:500:17:55

After that display of topological trickery, perhaps we should get back to our books.

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Can you tell me what the most successful textbook of all time is?

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Is it the one that teaches you what LOL means and LMAO?

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-It probably is now.

-Yeah.

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No, what's our theme for the day?

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-Geometry.

-It's the...

-Logarithms.

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-Not logarithms.

-No, not logarithms!

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LAUGHTER

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-Oh!

-Do you want my eyes? He might listen to you.

0:18:230:18:27

Stephen, is it logarithms?

0:18:270:18:29

No, but it's a jolly good guess.

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-Some ancient geometrical textbook written probably by a Greek.

-Kites For Beginners!

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-Euclid.

-Euclid is the right answer, David Mitchell.

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Euclid, Euclid's Stoicheia, Euclid's Elements.

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The propositions of Euclid are all about planes and conical sections

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and all the forms of the circle and the square,

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the provable facts of geometry that are the basis of everything, the physics that came afterwards.

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So he turned up and said, "This is why all the buildings have been falling down."

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Engineering obviously owed a huge amount to it.

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Many mathematicians believe his book is perhaps the most beautiful of all the mathematical books.

0:19:060:19:12

We're looking at one of the earliest editions. What does it say there? "The most" something "philosopher".

0:19:120:19:19

-I'm brilliant with Latin.

-No, it's written in English.

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LAUGHTER

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APPLAUSE

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But the names... You're right, the names are written in Greek there.

0:19:290:19:34

Yeah, and that's what threw me.

0:19:340:19:37

Queen Elizabeth I's court magician, John Dee. Have you heard of him?

0:19:370:19:41

-Hmm.

-He was an extraordinary man who worked as a spy.

0:19:410:19:45

-Can you tell me the cipher he used as a spy?

-Invisible ink?

0:19:450:19:49

No, he had a particular cipher, his call sign.

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And a writer many, many years later, who was extremely learned in the ways of the world,

0:19:520:19:57

despite being thought of just as a thriller writer, used it...

0:19:570:20:01

-Ian Fleming.

-Yes.

-007.

0:20:010:20:04

-Exactly. It was John Dee's call sign.

-I sense points.

-Yes, you will have seven points.

0:20:040:20:09

-Seven points!

-I could give you 700, written backwards. That's too much.

0:20:090:20:13

I'm not going to speak again!

0:20:130:20:16

He was also one of the people responsible for bringing Euclid to the attention of the world.

0:20:160:20:21

Although he was known as a magician, he was all kinds of different things.

0:20:210:20:25

-Was he an astrologer as well?

-Absolutely right, yeah.

0:20:250:20:29

Interestingly, or quite interestingly, which is all we're after, it was a pop-up book,

0:20:290:20:34

Euclid, when John Dee produced it. Little pop-up geometric shapes.

0:20:340:20:38

Pop-up books were for adults way back then.

0:20:380:20:43

The thing is with pop-up books, when you read normal books, you end up putting them in front of you

0:20:430:20:48

and kicking them from behind cos you think they're lazy.

0:20:480:20:51

LAUGHTER

0:20:510:20:54

-ALAN: Oh, come on, do something!

-Come on, what's going to happen?

0:20:540:21:00

And then, as a 19-year-old, you explain the difference between an illustration and a pop-up.

0:21:000:21:06

That difference is? For points?

0:21:060:21:08

If you kick the book hard enough, you break the spine and it's hard to take it to a second-hand bookshop.

0:21:080:21:14

-Most of the pages fall out.

-They would.

-You could do a pop-down book.

0:21:140:21:18

-That'd be like a good murder weapon.

-Hold a pop-up book upside down.

0:21:180:21:23

That'd be really bad if you're paranoid.

0:21:230:21:26

If you open a book and every time you open a page, it goes...

0:21:260:21:29

And what happenned to the giant?

0:21:320:21:34

Ssh!

0:21:340:21:35

Oh, now, um...

0:21:350:21:38

Euclid's Elements has been a mathematical bestseller for over 22 centuries.

0:21:380:21:43

Let's get our noses out of our text books and into our tuck boxes.

0:21:430:21:46

What do you call a left-handed lemon?

0:21:460:21:49

A potato.

0:21:490:21:52

No, but you're thinking along the right lines.

0:21:520:21:55

We're talking about molecules and their arrangement.

0:21:550:21:58

-You mean the opposite to a lemon?

-Exactly. The mirror image of it's molecular arrangement.

0:21:580:22:04

-An orange.

-Is the right answer! There's a lemon, obviously.

0:22:040:22:07

-Seven points?

-There's an orange. Seven points!

0:22:070:22:10

You know I'm good at catching.

0:22:100:22:13

You can stop a roll.

0:22:130:22:14

No, you can't.

0:22:140:22:16

LAUGHTER

0:22:160:22:18

There's a lemon for you.

0:22:180:22:19

Who else wants one? Well done.

0:22:190:22:22

Have a lemon. There you are.

0:22:220:22:25

I'm all right, Stephen. LAUGHTER

0:22:250:22:27

Do they make scissors for both?

0:22:300:22:32

LAUGHTER

0:22:320:22:34

Or just...

0:22:340:22:35

Does...

0:22:360:22:37

APPLAUSE

0:22:370:22:41

Does a lemon cut out boys and girls together in a piece of paper

0:22:410:22:44

and the orange is going, "I'm rubbish at this!"?

0:22:440:22:47

"Cos I'm left-handed"?

0:22:470:22:49

Yeah, it just looks like a bunch of oranges falling over.

0:22:490:22:52

It's along those lines, Johnny, yes.

0:22:520:22:55

the arrangement of the aroma molecules is exactly the same, except a mirror-image.

0:22:550:23:00

The result is as different a smell as the smell of a lemon to an orange.

0:23:000:23:04

If you smell an orange from the wrong direction, it smells like a lemon?

0:23:040:23:07

It doesn't quite work like that because this particular quality - chirality -

0:23:070:23:11

is present in our nose molecules, too.

0:23:110:23:14

It hooks onto them and we recognise them in the same way.

0:23:140:23:18

So the molecules, as it were, dock with other molecules?

0:23:180:23:22

They kind of do. It's all very chemical, obviously.

0:23:220:23:25

It's interesting because all these chemicals that are discovered to be right-handed and left-handed -

0:23:250:23:30

like glucose! Only right-handed glucose can be metabolised by the body.

0:23:300:23:33

And so natural glucose in sugar, for example, is all right-handed

0:23:330:23:37

and all the left-handed ones are the diet ones - sucrose and that sort of thing -

0:23:370:23:42

which aren't metabolised - you can eat as much as you like without gaining weight

0:23:420:23:45

because they don't get metabolised by the body. So there are useful sides to this handedness.

0:23:450:23:50

You've got to go in and ask for right-handed fruit?

0:23:500:23:53

LAUGHTER

0:23:530:23:54

Are you left- or right-handed?

0:23:540:23:56

I'm right handed, but my friend thinks he's right-handed but his wife thinks his handwriting's

0:23:560:24:04

-so bad because he's left-handed and lives in denial.

-Oh!

0:24:040:24:08

Any left-handers? Are you all right-handed? Do you know the proportion

0:24:080:24:12

-of right-handed people around the world, as opposed to left-handed people?

-Nine out of ten.

0:24:120:24:17

It's a little less, they think it's between 70 and 90.

0:24:170:24:20

-It'll be far less when the war comes.

-The what?

0:24:200:24:23

-The Morecambes?

-The war comes.

0:24:230:24:26

-What's a Warcombe?

-The left-handed and the right-handed.

-Warcombe?

0:24:260:24:29

-No, when the war...

-Oh, when the war comes! I'm sorry.

0:24:290:24:33

LAUGHTER

0:24:330:24:35

-I'm so sorry.

-Morecambe?!

-I thought it was a family called the Warcombes!

0:24:350:24:41

Surely one day, the right-handed will rise up and crush the left-handed.

0:24:410:24:46

-They may do.

-Yeah, cos there's no way I'm feasting on that.

0:24:460:24:50

Fair point. I think.

0:24:500:24:52

But yeah...

0:24:520:24:54

So, yes. Is there a prevailing theory as to why right-handedness is the most common?

0:24:540:24:59

Isn't it sides of the brain? Different sides do different things,

0:24:590:25:03

you look off to the right when you're making up a lie,

0:25:030:25:05

you look to the left if you're recalling something real.

0:25:050:25:08

I would imagine it's to do with that and how straight the columns are within your brain.

0:25:080:25:13

And whether or not they actually touch the roof of your head.

0:25:130:25:17

The molecules that make oranges smell orangey and lemons smell lemony

0:25:170:25:21

are the same, just mirror images, so a left-handed lemon, in a sense, is an orange.

0:25:210:25:27

-How many cricket pitches are there in Kansas?

-One big one!

0:25:270:25:31

Well, certainly it's a big square shape, but not a cricket pitch shape, Kansas.

0:25:310:25:38

-It's to do with the measurement of corn, it's... It's nothing like that?

-No, you're on the right lines.

0:25:380:25:44

Americans, how do they measure? Do they use the metric system, or a version of our imperial system?

0:25:440:25:50

-They use yards and feet and miles and things like that.

-And the length of a cricket pitch, which is...?

0:25:500:25:55

-22 yards.

-22 yards, and it's called a chain.

0:25:550:25:58

-OK.

-And when America was being measured out, they used these ancient English measurements.

0:25:580:26:05

A chain is 22 yards, there are ten chains to a...?

0:26:050:26:08

A word that's still used in sport.

0:26:090:26:11

-Furlong?

-A furlong! Brilliant. More points! Seven points! 80 chains to a...?

0:26:110:26:17

-Mile.

-Mile.

-Mile, yes. We're doing very well here! And an acre is ten square chains.

0:26:170:26:22

That's where an acre is derived. And this man, Gunter, Gunter's chain -

0:26:230:26:28

he actually had a chain that he used, like that, to measure out the land.

0:26:280:26:33

So the whole of the northern Midwestern states were initially into blocks of 24 miles by 24.

0:26:330:26:39

Within that, sub-divided into 20 chains by 20 chains, known as forties, cos that would be 40 acres.

0:26:390:26:44

You may remember in The Grapes Of Wrath, that the farmstead is the smallest type

0:26:440:26:48

of farm, which is known as a forty.

0:26:480:26:51

-I know a thing about the forty...

-Yes?

-..the 40 acres.

0:26:510:26:54

-Yeah.

-Did they not, when they had the emancipation of the slaves, were they not each entitled to a forty?

0:26:540:27:00

-That was indeed right.

-And a mule. Which is why Spike Lee called his company 40 Acres and a Mule.

0:27:000:27:05

-That's the thing I know about the forty.

-Seven points again! It's like the seven times table.

0:27:050:27:10

APPLAUSE

0:27:100:27:14

-And is the country still divided by the Willie Nelson Line?

-Yes, you can see them there.

0:27:150:27:21

Because Kansas, which is one of the most rectangular of any of the states, almost perfectly so,

0:27:210:27:26

you can actually calculate how many it is.

0:27:260:27:29

And it's 3,474,386,388 cricket pitches would fit in. Apparently.

0:27:290:27:37

-That's quite different to the answer I had in mind.

-Is it? Well, you can save it

0:27:370:27:41

by telling me, what's the capital of Kansas?

0:27:410:27:44

-Arkansas.

-No, that's another state! I need the name of the...

0:27:440:27:50

Kansas City?

0:27:500:27:51

Oh, it's not, oh!

0:27:510:27:53

-All those sevens!

-I've lost all my points!

0:27:530:27:56

Squirreled all your sevens away. It's Topeka.

0:27:560:27:59

-Topeka, Kansas?

-I've never even heard of Topeka.

0:27:590:28:03

-Topeka Mockingbird?

-Topeka Mockingbird!

0:28:030:28:06

GURGLING CHUCKLE

0:28:060:28:08

Little gurgle! But actually, in terms of real cricket pitches for playing cricket on,

0:28:100:28:16

seven that we can find in Kansas. Which is more than you might expect.

0:28:160:28:20

Not in a state of that size, that's hardly any!

0:28:200:28:23

-Well, for America...

-They've got room for more than 3 billion more!

0:28:230:28:27

They've got room for more, but... Is that you or Mike Gatting?

0:28:270:28:31

Of course, if you're talking about that area, Elvis would be one of the most famous citizens.

0:28:320:28:38

Now, where was Elvis born? Does anybody know? Tupelo.

0:28:380:28:40

Tupelo, Mississippi, yeah.

0:28:400:28:42

Of course, then moved to Memphis, in a different state, Tennessee.

0:28:420:28:46

And that was where he became very, very famous and started off in 1955

0:28:460:28:51

with "That's All Right, Mama", which was the Sun Records label

0:28:510:28:54

at that point, in Memphis. Then he signed with RCA Victor Records in New York.

0:28:540:29:00

With them, he did "Heartbreak Hotel". Right the way through the movie years...

0:29:000:29:04

He turned his back on Sam Phillips, that was...

0:29:040:29:06

Well, no, because Sam came to his opening night in Vegas in '69,

0:29:060:29:10

and Elvis can be heard saying, "Sam, this one's for you."

0:29:100:29:12

I think Sam, with the greatest respect, is more my area than yours,

0:29:120:29:16

which is not something I ever thought I'd get a chance to say.

0:29:160:29:20

He then went on, until his untimely death in 1977.

0:29:200:29:25

I hadn't said anything for a while.

0:29:250:29:28

-LAUGHTER

-The date of his death?

0:29:280:29:30

August 16th, 1977.

0:29:300:29:32

APPLAUSE

0:29:320:29:34

It's like Radio 2 in the middle of the night!

0:29:340:29:37

He has come out with such bilge!

0:29:390:29:43

And you sit there like we're in Rain Man, loving it!

0:29:430:29:46

I come out with something factual,

0:29:470:29:50

and there are a lot of Elvis fans out there who will be loving that.

0:29:500:29:54

Why are they all catching? Why is nobody playing in the middle? Did no-one explain cricket for them?

0:29:540:29:59

They are, but they're behind that bloke.

0:29:590:30:02

-So he was waiting to go in?

-Nothing to see!

0:30:040:30:07

Anyway, after that bombshell... And I do love you, Rob, I want you to know that. I really, really do.

0:30:070:30:13

Yeah, but don't say it while you're reading something else.

0:30:130:30:16

-I've got it written down.

-That's what my dad always did on my birthday -

0:30:160:30:21

"Of course I love you, I'm reading it here, it's what your mother wrote."

0:30:210:30:24

Tell me the oldest international sporting fixture on Earth.

0:30:240:30:29

-England v Australia at cricket.

-No. It is cricket, though.

0:30:290:30:32

-England v Scotland at cricket.

-No, it's America v Canada at cricket.

0:30:320:30:36

We'll take a bird's-eye view now.

0:30:360:30:39

What's the best place to go to look into the future?

0:30:390:30:44

-A sci-fi convention.

-A sci-fi convention?

-Yeah.

0:30:440:30:48

Right, OK. Maybe.

0:30:480:30:52

-When you see the stars and the sun, that's old light.

-That's looking into the past.

0:30:520:30:58

-Do you have to go past that?

-You look backwards because history teaches us the future.

0:30:580:31:04

Because from history, we learn patterns.

0:31:050:31:09

And as Dr Phil says time and time again,

0:31:090:31:11

the greatest indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour.

0:31:110:31:16

-When are you going to realise he's not interested?

-I'm so...

0:31:160:31:21

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:31:210:31:23

-Tell him you're interested.

-I'm very interested. A very good answer.

0:31:240:31:29

Unlike when you speak, he's not frightened.

0:31:290:31:32

Just to return briefly... Just to pull the reins in a little,

0:31:340:31:39

there is a place where physically you can look into the future.

0:31:390:31:42

-You're not literally looking into the future.

-Is it by the International Date Line?

0:31:420:31:47

-Exactly.

-Does it have the magic hill where you're going up, even though you're...

0:31:470:31:53

-No, it's not that. No, this is literally the date line.

-You see, that was stupid!

0:31:530:31:59

-It wasn't stupid.

-I knew that was wrong and he went, "Of course not, Johnny." He just doesn't like you.

0:31:590:32:05

-This divides...

-Thanks, Stephen.

-That's fine.

0:32:050:32:08

So if you're on... Looking at it, we'd say the left-hand side of that red line, right?

0:32:080:32:16

In time, it's ahead of the right-hand side,

0:32:160:32:19

so if you were to fly from Los Angeles in America to Sydney, Australia,

0:32:190:32:24

you would lose a day, as I did a few months ago.

0:32:240:32:27

If I stood perfectly on that line...

0:32:270:32:30

-You'd drown.

-Let's just say...

0:32:300:32:33

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:32:330:32:36

Unless you stood on the very spot.

0:32:360:32:39

If I stood on that line and there's an accident,

0:32:390:32:42

could I jump over the line and stop yourself from doing it?

0:32:420:32:47

-LAUGHTER

-Aside...

0:32:470:32:50

You could warn yourself. You could wave back and...

0:32:500:32:54

-You're thinking of Michael J Fox.

-Can you jump back and stop yourself making mistakes?

0:32:540:33:00

-You can't literally do that, but...

-You lost a day flying, so it was two days later...

0:33:000:33:06

I went on the 18th of December and I arrived on the 20th.

0:33:060:33:09

-Having only lived one day?

-Yeah.

-You were only a day older, yet the world was two days older.

0:33:090:33:15

Part of the world was two days older.

0:33:150:33:17

If you did that every day, you'd live twice the number of days of most humans

0:33:170:33:23

and would appear, despite only having lived, say, 80 years, to have lived for 160.

0:33:230:33:28

-Yes.

-"Amazing, a 160-year-old man! What did he achieve?" "Nothing. He had a lot of airline fuel."

0:33:280:33:33

Would you struggle to hold down a job?

0:33:330:33:36

-Yes.

-Yeah.

-Yes, you would.

-In terms of a pension?

0:33:360:33:41

You could maybe do it if you lived on the Diomede Islands. They're at the very top.

0:33:410:33:46

-What's that area of water between Russia and...?

-Bering Strait.

-Exactly. We can zoom in there.

0:33:460:33:51

There's the International Date Line and Big Diomede and Small Diomede, the greater and the lesser Diomedes.

0:33:510:33:58

If you were stood with your child and he had a pet rabbit and it died,

0:33:580:34:03

could you jump over that time line with the rabbit...

0:34:030:34:07

-It would come back to life, still be ill and die.

-..and jump back with it?

0:34:070:34:12

I'm going to ask you what your opinion is. What do you think?

0:34:120:34:16

I think, me personally, but I'm selfish,

0:34:160:34:19

-what I would do, I'd get a jet ski and stay on the line and go round the world.

-Right.

0:34:190:34:25

-Yes.

-And stay at my perfect weight and this age for the rest of my life.

0:34:250:34:31

I would go round the world continually following that line,

0:34:310:34:34

shouting advice and being mistaken for God.

0:34:340:34:37

-LAUGHTER

-And if...

0:34:370:34:40

if you followed the line all the way over the pole, where would you end up?

0:34:400:34:44

So the line doesn't go all the way round?

0:34:440:34:46

-Yes, it does. The other side of the pole...

-He'd end up in Greenwich, eventually.

-The Greenwich Meridian.

0:34:460:34:52

Is it mean time where people go, "He's not God, he's Satan"?

0:34:520:34:55

-The point is, the line is arbitrary.

-"Fill yer boots!"

-We decided to draw a line.

0:34:550:35:00

Somewhere, we had to divide the world up,

0:35:000:35:03

-for maps and for navigation...

-How did we do that?

-We decided that...

0:35:030:35:09

-We didn't!

-Yes, we did, literally, Britain, we did.

-But we didn't!

0:35:090:35:12

No, our culture did, some hundred years ago.

0:35:120:35:15

-We nominated Greenwich to be the line...

-So why can't...

-When we discovered the Earth was round

0:35:150:35:20

and discovered how these things would best be parcelled out,

0:35:200:35:23

we said, let's have a meridian line, about which the rest will go, and we put it through Greenwich,

0:35:230:35:28

-where the Naval colleges were.

-So, a line is straight cos it's straight, but I can't be God on a jet ski?

0:35:280:35:33

That's about right. That seems to be the sum of it.

0:35:330:35:36

I wouldn't be surprised if my parents came in and had a word with you

0:35:360:35:40

and asked if Johnny could be taken to another class because they feel Rob isn't learning.

0:35:400:35:46

APPLAUSE

0:35:460:35:48

That's exceptionally well expressed.

0:35:500:35:54

Hang on. The International Date Line is wiggly. The Greenwich Meridian isn't.

0:35:540:35:59

It passes round territories and island groups.

0:35:590:36:02

So two houses on the same street aren't on two different days?

0:36:020:36:06

It tries to avoid going through land. The closest it gets is there.

0:36:060:36:10

-Does Small Diomede look at Big Diomede and watch people get older faster?

-Yeah, exactly.

0:36:100:36:16

If you're standing on Big Diomede, you are looking at the past.

0:36:160:36:21

If you stand on Little one...

0:36:210:36:24

It's Friday and you're on Big Diomede, you see them on Thursday.

0:36:240:36:28

-And you're already drunk.

-Yeah.

-And they're hungover!

0:36:280:36:32

-Are you ready to move on?

-Yes.

0:36:320:36:35

-So the best place to see into tomorrow...

-I'm tired of being odd.

0:36:350:36:39

Oh, bless! The best place to see into tomorrow is the Diomede Islands

0:36:390:36:43

on opposite sides of the International Date Line.

0:36:430:36:46

Where does the extra square in this diagram come from?

0:36:460:36:49

Those two are the same size and made up of elements of the same size.

0:36:490:36:55

There's a white square there, a bit's missing.

0:36:550:36:58

-Oh, yeah.

-How can that be?

-Because some of the triangles...

0:36:580:37:03

Have a look at it actually happening.

0:37:030:37:06

That one goes there, that one goes there, that goes there...

0:37:060:37:10

Like so, like so, like so.

0:37:100:37:12

-So now there's more space in there?

-Yeah. That can't be possible, can it?

0:37:130:37:18

Yet my eyes tell me it is.

0:37:180:37:20

It's not even longer. It's the same, isn't it?

0:37:200:37:24

-Yeah.

-Um...

0:37:240:37:26

-It is a cheat.

-That's witchcraft!

-It is rather.

0:37:260:37:30

Funnily enough, it was a magician who discovered this.

0:37:300:37:34

-It's five blocks high, the same number of blocks long by the look of it.

-It's a very small, subtle cheat.

0:37:340:37:41

The hypotenuse in the top one and the bottom one seem to be the same, but they are curved.

0:37:410:37:46

The red triangle has a ratio of 5 to 2, the blue triangle has a ratio of 8 to 3,

0:37:460:37:51

so the two triangles are not similar.

0:37:510:37:54

-It's going like that and like that?

-One has a slightly dipped line, the other has a slightly "up" line.

0:37:540:38:00

The eye assumes they're straight and is puzzled by that gap.

0:38:000:38:04

-We thought you'd like that. It's quite interesting.

-I quite like it.

0:38:040:38:08

It's Curry's Paradox. It's simply a trick.

0:38:080:38:11

The gap appears because the hypotenuse is imperceptibly bent.

0:38:110:38:16

-All of which brings...

-Curry's Paradox?

-Yeah.

-Should you buy the insurance?

0:38:160:38:21

LAUGHTER

0:38:210:38:24

-Or just risk it?

-All of which brings us squarely up against General Ignorance,

0:38:240:38:29

so fingers on buzzers. What's the best place to punch a shark?

0:38:290:38:34

In a pub.

0:38:340:38:36

In a pub after loads of pork scratchings when he's really dehydrated

0:38:380:38:44

and then you look really hard and people who aren't sharks go, "Don't want to mess with him!"

0:38:440:38:51

-In the eye.

-In the eye is right.

0:38:510:38:53

A lot of people think the nose. They may be confusing it with dogs, but the eye is the best place.

0:38:530:39:00

The eye or the gill. More people in the world are bitten by New Yorkers every year than they are by sharks.

0:39:000:39:06

Not in the water, though!

0:39:060:39:09

-You have to take into account the relative seriousness of that event.

-Well, no, actually.

0:39:090:39:14

81% of victims attacked and bitten by sharks suffered minor injuries.

0:39:140:39:19

How many New Yorkers a year bite someone's leg off?

0:39:190:39:23

I don't know, but they may cause rabies and other hideous diseases.

0:39:230:39:27

-Oh, well...

-Certainly more people are killed in America by lavatory accidents than sharks.

0:39:270:39:33

What saddens me is 120 million sharks every year are killed by us human beings.

0:39:330:39:38

-For their fins.

-Just for their bloody fins!

-Just for what?

-Fins.

-Shark fin soup.

0:39:380:39:43

The rest of their body is thrown in the water. A shark fin is tasteless as well.

0:39:430:39:48

-Chicken stock is added to it to give it flavour.

-But I hate sharks.

0:39:480:39:52

They're beautiful animals. They don't harm anybody.

0:39:520:39:56

Because you find them ugly?

0:39:560:39:57

I think they're scary. They're incredibly scary.

0:39:570:40:01

Every cell in my body, when I see that, says, "It is the enemy!"

0:40:010:40:05

They've got far more reason to be scared of a human than a human has of a shark.

0:40:050:40:10

-Most mammals see human beings in the same way.

-Look at the miracle of their teeth!

0:40:100:40:15

That's extraordinary. They have rows of teeth. Their teeth go backwards.

0:40:150:40:19

They bite, they fall out and the next one literally comes forward.

0:40:190:40:23

They've got a conveyor belt of rows of teeth.

0:40:230:40:27

More impressive than that, Stephen, is how she's managed to do her lipstick under water.

0:40:270:40:33

It is rather. Very pretty.

0:40:330:40:35

Your talk of razor-sharp teeth on a conveyor belt is making them sound quite sweet(!)

0:40:350:40:40

A shark's nose is a shade too close to its mouth to go jabbing around there, so go for the gills or eyes.

0:40:420:40:49

How many legs does an octopus have?

0:40:490:40:51

-Oh, I mean...

-Ahh!

-Ahh!

0:40:510:40:54

-The clue is in "octo".

-Does it vary depending on the breed?

-Two.

0:40:540:40:58

-Two legs is the right answer.

-I saw one in panto.

0:40:580:41:02

APPLAUSE

0:41:020:41:05

That's to say, when octopuses move around on the bottom of the ocean,

0:41:050:41:10

they use two of their tentacles for ambulatory gait

0:41:100:41:14

and the other four they use for holding food, so they could be said to have two legs and six arms.

0:41:140:41:20

How much of the moon can you see from the Ea-arth?

0:41:200:41:24

LAUGHTER

0:41:240:41:26

Well...

0:41:280:41:30

You can see one side of it.

0:41:310:41:33

Yes. There is this strange thing called libration which is like vibration beginning with an L.

0:41:330:41:39

It's a thing that was noted by quite a few of the early astronomers.

0:41:390:41:43

Can I say... Sorry, Stephen, but if that's an acceptable way of defining a word...

0:41:430:41:50

-What?

-"Libration - it's like vibration, but beginning with an L."

0:41:500:41:55

-Just so you could picture it in your heads. Is that bad?

-I was with you already with "libration".

0:41:550:42:01

I thought you might have heard it as "libation".

0:42:010:42:04

-What does it mean?

-I was about to tell you, then somebody came and said...

-It wasn't me!

0:42:040:42:10

I'll tell you. You get this jiggling effect.

0:42:100:42:13

-Basically, you can see about 59% of the surface of the moon from Earth.

-At one time?

0:42:130:42:18

Obviously, when it's a new moon or whatever, it's a lot less,

0:42:180:42:22

but you can see 59% of the surface, rather than just 50.

0:42:220:42:26

And that cosmic wobble brings us to the end of another QI show.

0:42:260:42:30

It's time to check the form and see what scores we're dealing with.

0:42:300:42:34

It's absolutely fascinating. It couldn't be "fascinating-er"!

0:42:340:42:38

We have a tie, would you believe it, for third place -

0:42:380:42:43

Rob and Johnny on plus two!

0:42:430:42:46

APPLAUSE

0:42:460:42:49

Well, in second place, of course, with four points,

0:42:510:42:56

is David Mitchell!

0:42:560:42:58

APPLAUSE

0:42:580:43:01

-I've got a feeling this is divisible by seven - 21 points for Alan Davies!

-Thank you.

0:43:010:43:07

CHEERING

0:43:070:43:09

And that's all from this geometrical edition of QI,

0:43:150:43:18

so it's good night

0:43:180:43:19

from Johnny, Rob, David, Alan and me. Good night.

0:43:190:43:22

APPLAUSE

0:43:220:43:25

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:380:43:42

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0:43:420:43:45

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