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Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening, good evening and welcome to QI,
where, tonight, we'll be taking in a magnificent miscellany
of things beginning with M.
Please welcome the mundivagant Rhod Gilbert.
The marmoraceous Noel Fielding.
A woman of great muliebrity, Cariad Lloyd.
And macerating in the corner, Alan Davies.
Their buzzers are... ALAN MUMBLES
-What did you say?
-I haven't understood any of the words so far.
Well, macerating, what do you think that means?
I don't know. Something you would do in a garden, I'd have thought.
-No, that's masturbating.
You clearly have a much more private garden than I've got.
Macerating is steeping in liquid to thin out.
You do it to grapes to make wine, you macerate.
-So what was mul... Multi...
It means womanliness, wifely womanliness.
Oh, like "mujer" in Spanish.
Women eat those.
You are a linguist, aren't you? You studied languages, didn't you?
Yeah, I did study language.
It sounds like the word I gave you was rather appropriate,
if you speak languages, because it sounds as though you're mundivagant,
which is what I called you. One who wanders the world.
-There you are, a world wanderer.
-HIGH-PITCHED: That's you!
Oh, that came out oddly.
-And I think you were marmoraceous.
-Noel was marmoraceous.
-Sounds like a delicious marmalade.
-It's called that because a chicken one day laid an orange.
Yeah, and all the chicks said, "Look at the orange mama-laid."
And that's how it got its name. ALAN GROANS
-That was just dreadful.
-QI will be replaced in the autumn.
Is it breasty?
No, marmoreal is of marble and marmoraceous is marble-like.
Marble isn't really a compliment, though, is it?
-"Oh, I love that Noel Fielding, he's like marble."
-I'm like a...
-I'm like a bag of marbles.
-"He's such a character!
-"He's such a character, he is!"
-What are you, a world wanderer?
You're a womble and I was a marble.
Not sure I'm happy with that.
Womanly is surely a compliment for anybody?
I'd be complimented with being called womanly.
In fact, I often am because of my breasts.
But on with the buzzers.
They're, frankly, a miscellany of musical mischief.
Noel goes... DRUMROLL
Rhod goes... DRUMROLL
MUSIC: God Save The Queen
And Alan goes... DRUMROLL
GUILLOTINE BLADE SWOOSHES
Now, then, what was the matter
with the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy children's chemistry set?
Did it have uranium in it or something?
LAUGHTER It sure did.
-Kids glowing green.
That's what U-238 is. Yeah, absolutely.
It contained uranium
and other sources of alpha, beta and gamma radiation,
including good, healthy polonium...
LAUGHTER ..which was in there.
Yeah. And it included a Geiger counter
and instructions on how to mine for uranium and...
This is the start of the Iranian weapons programme.
-LAUGHTER Yes, exactly.
-"We have the kit."
The packaging said it was completely safe and harmless.
It was sold in 1951, 1952, for 49.50,
-which is about £300 now.
-So, it was pricey.
If you wanted your polonium even then, it'd cost you.
And that's why they stopped making it.
Cos it was too expensive?
Yeah, the margins were not good enough
for them to make much of a profit on it.
As you see, it says along the top,
"Another Gilbert Hall of Science product" and the...
-It also says exciting and safe.
-That's right. Absolutely.
I'm not sure those two things go together.
LAUGHTER They don't, do they?
My friend in science dared me to eat some iron filings and I did it.
I got in a lot of trouble...
Cos my teacher was a magnet. No, but...
-I had to go...
-Could you then draw a beard?
Could you, like, move it around?
I had to go and see the head science teacher and stand in front
of the whole class and explain I'd eaten iron filings.
And for about two years, I was the boy that ate iron filings.
That's a Channel 4 documentary, isn't it?
Was it uncomfortable when it came out?
Well, we had to drink a weird solution
and then I didn't notice when it came out.
Oh, did it dissolve them like acid or something?
I was hoping that I would, you know, maybe have some sort of,
you know, strontium turd come out.
Well, the guy responsible was called Alfred Carlton Gilbert
and he came up with a number of sets for children.
I mean, there was a chemistry set which contained ammonium nitrate,
which is the principle ingredient for fertiliser bombs.
-He liked the good stuff, didn't he?
Yeah, he liked, exactly, the good stuff.
The first experiment in that kit
was to make gunpowder. LAUGHTER
He just didn't like children, did he?
LAUGHTER His most famous invention
is huge in America.
It's the American equivalent of Meccano,
-which is called Erector.
-And there it is.
Are there giggles from our audience because it contains the word erect?
LAUGHTER Well, there you are.
They're still all smiling now. "Ooh, love that word."
I just love the idea
that you can make a Ferris wheel out of erections.
-It interconnects with any penis.
Sorry, Stephen. I was doing the Ferris wheel
as if it were attached to my cock.
-I'm so sorry.
-Fair enough. LAUGHTER
-I'm lowering the tone again.
-I accept that.
But it was all part of that time - 1950s -
this incredible worship of the nuclear bomb.
And it even got to the stage where you could get a cereal toy,
which was an atomic bomb ring, celebrating The Lone Ranger series.
There it is. There's the atomic bomb inside a ring
and it contains polonium alpha,
so it gives off brilliant flashes of light
as part of nuclear disintegration,
so that your little boy and your little girl
each have one from the cereal packet and they flash.
But it's weird that this was for The Lone Ranger,
which you may remember was a Western set in the 19th century.
-Yeah, it's a cowboy.
But somehow, he had the atom bomb in what's a very complicated story.
-He had an atomic bomb in his ring?
That's one of my favourite ever sentences on this show.
-And that's when he was running
the Erector amusement park.
-"I've got an A-bomb in my ring."
You sounded like Jeremy Clarkson then.
Jeremy would love an A-bomb in his ring.
A cowboy with an A-bomb in his ring.
So, he's got an A-bomb in his ring and then decades later,
James Bond comes along and all his watch does
is fire a dart into a mouse or something, isn't it?
-It gives you a dead leg.
-I've basically got
-The Lone Ranger's costume on tonight.
-Have you got an A-bomb in your ring?
I have, yeah.
At the end of the show, I'll let that off...
But this is rather...
..like a small firework display.
We'll all gather round to see the lights.
This is not like, "Oh, we found this obscure present
"in some cereal packs for a four-month period."
-Over a million of these were made.
It was a big promotion.
There was a boy as late as the '90s - '94 -
who tried to construct a nuclear reactor
in his mother's shed in his garden in Michigan.
He was the Nuclear Boy Scout.
There are his badges, including, top left,
he's holding up the nuclear badge.
-I didn't know Scouts had one, but they seem to.
He can't even fix a blind.
They called him the Radioactive Boy Scout
and when I said he was trying to construct a nuclear reactor,
I mean it. He was trying to construct a nuclear reactor.
His safety included wearing a lead poncho.
Where do you find a lead poncho?
-Noel's got one. Noel's got one.
-Yes, you have one. Yes!
-You must have a lead poncho.
You're the only person who would have a lead poncho.
I keep it next to my strontium turd.
-He's not going to make a nuclear...
He's got an arrow to show which way up his top goes on.
LAUGHTER There is that.
And he threw away his clothes after each session
that he was in his mother's shed.
He was in the middle of purifying thorium
-when he was rumbled by the authorities.
And his shed was found to be 1,000 times more radioactive
than background radiation and was buried in the desert.
LAUGHTER It was!
How did they take his shed to the desert?
-Must have been a chopper.
"We're going to have to take the birdbath as well. This is..."
"This washing line - that's right out, mate."
"And the trellis. The trellis has got to go."
-"Dad's barbecue - gone, mate. Gone."
So, if you want to really light up your children's faces,
you could get them a radioactive chemistry lab.
Which place, beginning with M, holds the world's deadest parties?
LAUGHTER Milton Keynes? Oh, dear.
-Michael Gove's underpants.
Oh! How amazing.
You got Maidstone. Thank you for that.
Well, no, it's an island - one of the largest islands on Earth.
The Malagasy people. The Malgache people.
Yeah, every few years, they dig up their ancestors
and have a party and dance with them over their heads.
LAUGHTER Yeah, I know.
-Not as weird as a radioactive chemistry kit.
-No, it isn't.
They dig them up.
-They dress them in silk...
Dress them in silk scarves. Yeah.
-It's what we do in Camden.
They also spray their ancestors' bodies with perfume,
perhaps understandably... LAUGHTER
..and they bathe them in sparkling wine.
After the dance, the corpses are placed on the ground like that.
See, there are the corpses in winding sheets and so on.
-Oh, too weird. Too weird.
-Yeah. And the elders tell their children
about the significance of their relatives.
But they also tell the dead ancestors
about the children that have been born since the ancestors died.
So, they have a sort of two-way communication, as it were,
about their families.
They should have booked a bigger hall.
Yeah. Well, yes, it's full and bouncy.
It's amazing. That's amazing.
We don't talk about death enough, just to bring up in a comedy show.
I am NOT getting my grandma out...
-..in a potato sack.
-I know what you mean.
-We hide away from it here.
-I'm with you, Cariad.
-We don't talk about it at all.
-Other cultures are much more open.
I don't. I'm a Goth. I'm all over it.
-I sleep in a coffin.
No, you're right, we do.
We don't like to talk about it, but they celebrate it.
They do. It's rather wonderful.
-Do they drink at the party?
-You must have to.
-I think so.
Do they sometimes get home and think, "Oh, shit,
"I've left Grandma somewhere"?
-On the bus!
Supposedly, they do it because they've had a dream
in which an ancestor's visited them
and told them they're cold in their grave
and that they want to come up.
This ceremony, it's called a Famadihana,
and the whole taboo and folklore system of Madagascar is called fady
and it's very strong.
It's much stronger than it is in many other countries
and despite all the pressures on Madagascar,
as they are on all countries. It seems a bit grim,
-but I think it's fine.
-Quite nice, I think.
-I like it.
Two things they're known for - that and square guitars.
LAUGHTER Yes. Yeah, it does.
Well, there you are.
Now, from morbidity to meals.
How could you get out of prison using nothing but a decent lunch?
Visit the... You know, you get a last meal, don't you,
-if you're going to get the electric chair?
Is it, they do a competition, if you name the right meal, you get...
If it's vegetarian lasagne, you're free.
If someone said lasagne and they were like,
"Are you sure you want BEEF lasagne? Not vegetarian?"
-The prisoner doesn't have the lunch.
-Oh, the governor has a good lunch.
It's not the governor.
And he just feels like, "Oh, let them all go, I feel great!"
It's not someone inside the prison,
it's someone who might have the power to get you out of prison.
-A magistrate type...
-Yeah, the parole board.
-It's the parole board.
-Not Mao Tse-tung! That was a wild guess.
Wouldn't that have been amazing if you'd been right?
That's some judges. But this is actually...
-The experiment was done...
-They're so pleased with themselves.
"Your hair looks ridiculous." "I know!"
They're actually meeting up to say, "Listen, Bill's a good hairdresser,
"but he can only really do the spaniel way, we've got to get someone else."
It was a study that was done on the Israeli parole board, actually.
At the start of each day,
judges granted about two thirds of applications for parole.
As time went on, they approved fewer and fewer and fewer,
until just before lunch, they approved virtually none.
Then they had lunch and then they were incredibly generous again
-and gave everybody parole.
So the process was in fact completely impartial, it was nothing to do
with the ethnicity or even the severity of the crime.
It just seemed to be generally repeated day after day after day,
it was to do with how hungry they were, yeah.
-I can understand that.
So if you're in court, what should you do, then? What's the best...
You would do all in your power for your case to be heard after lunch,
-So if I say I can't make it in the morning, for example...
-But if you're in prison...
-I'd have thought it'd be the opposite.
When you're coming to lunch, you're just getting hungry,
"Let them off, let them off, quick, let's just get the lunch."
But you're grumpy, aren't you? So you're more like, "Oh, no."
"Execution, execution, execution!
"When are those fish fingers getting here? Execution!"
Maybe they should just have snacks...
you know, little bowls of nuts. Just keep them going.
-Yeah, that would do it.
Probably not a good sign if you're in the dock
and then someone's looking at the menu.
"Yeah, what is it?
"I'll have the banoffee. Yeah, yeah, get rid of this guy."
Just take a Kit Kat with you and say, "Before you sentence me,
"would you like a Kit Kat?"
"You can go!"
-Well, one of the really annoying...
-"I feel marvellous!"
It's annoying for someone like me, not for any of you,
is that willpower, it seems, is driven by glucose,
that your willpower is stronger
if your blood sugar is registering good levels of glucose.
So if, like me, you're fighting constantly not to be a fat bastard...
..then you need the willpower not to eat.
-But you get the willpower by eating lots of sugar.
-Oh, my God.
So you're in a terrible catch-22. It's like, "Oh, I can't, oh, no.
"Tell you what, I'll have lots of sugar, then I'll be able
"to not eat... Oh! That doesn't work."
It is easier to not eat a cake after you've eaten a cake.
"I'm not eating any more cakes! That's it for me!"
-I'm like that with drinking.
"This is definitely my last time."
The trouble is, plates are too big.
If plates were smaller, people would eat less.
And when you fill them up, you're too full.
So you should just have smaller plates.
-But then you should make everything smaller.
-We should try that.
-The Alan Davies small plate diet.
Small plates, but keep them in the distance.
Long spoons and binoculars!
Takes so long, you get bored.
I'm just going to eat one of those tiny Brussels sprouts.
All right, so.
Now for a serious medical malady.
Show me the symptoms of bicycle face.
-That's with goggles.
-No, these are wheels.
Oh, I see. Sorry. Of course they're wheels!
Is bicycle...? What is bicycle face?
When you get sucked off by your Grifter?
-Sorry. I'd better go.
No, that's the right answer!
That's what I've got written on the card.
LAUGHTER That's amazing!
On my card in THIS universe, on the other hand...
LAUGHTER ..I've got something else.
The Literary Digest, in 1895, warned women cyclists...
-I don't know why I'm looking at you.
-I'm a woman.
You've identified me as a woman.
-It's going to get worse, I'm afraid.
-This thing is.
"Overexertion, the upright position on the wheel
"and the unconscious effort to maintain one's balance
"produces a wearied and exhausted bicycle face.
-"The main symptoms..."
-No-one will marry you!
"The main symptoms are a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes..."
-I wasn't sure where you were going to stop at.
"..as well as being flushed or pale."
-Either of those.
And, "Wearing a haggard, anxious expression."
-That's just the fear of patriarchy.
-"I'm under so much pressure."
-Well, there was a worry.
Some doctors said that,
"Cycling would irritate the pelvic organs
"and stimulate women to disturbing lusts."
-If you can't get it at home,
-you get it on a bike, right, ladies?
Get your stimulated pelvic organs.
Well, there's a downside, according to a French expert...
-..who said, "It would ruin the female organs
"of matrimonial necessity."
Now, Cariad, tell me, your organs of matrimonial necessity...
Excuse me? What are you asking me?
I'm just hoping that they haven't been ruined by bicycling.
"Hello, Wembley! We're the Female Organs Of Natural Necessity."
-It's funny cos the clitoris...
-HE INHALES SHARPLY
-Shall we draw a picture?
LAUGHTER She said it! She said it!
She said it! SHE IMITATES ALARM
I've drawn a rainbow, everyone.
-It's all right.
Where's Sue Perkins when you need her?
The clitoris is actually a very large organ...
And it's just literally the tip of an iceberg.
When you say, "LITERALLY the tip of an iceberg..."?
-I knew I was looking for it in the wrong place.
-There was an artist in New York...
-In the Arctic Ocean.
Yeah. An artist in New York.
She made, like, this - obviously not to scale - clitoris
and she got women to ride on it, but it literally...it's huge.
It's, like, there's this bit
and then there's these two other huge bits that are in the body.
-I was looking behind you.
-Behind just here.
-It's giant. It's way bigger...
-But you have two, don't you?
It's one under each arm, yes?
LAUGHTER Have I got this wrong?
-Alan, help me out.
-I didn't bring mine with me today.
So, to say it damages the vital organs is...
So, how much more of it is there, then? Going...?
Oh, my God. Guys, do we have to, like...?
Is this the bit where I tell you about...explain it to you?
A woman at some point in your life
should have explained this to you, but perhaps...
I've never seen such fear in all your faces.
Do you think people will believe it if I say that my penis
-is only the tip of the iceberg?
There's a lot more under the surface
-you haven't seen.
There's a huge nerve ending
coming out right out of the top of my head.
Well, whatever it may or may not do to the organs of female
matrimonial necessity, bicycling did cause a lot of men to get
rather angry and concerned about the fact that women were doing it.
Do you know for what reason?
-Cos they were afraid. They were allowed to move.
If they move, what else are they going to do? Vote? Think?
Be allowed on panel shows? No, we've got to stop it! That's dangerous.
There's a man coming home early from work
and the wife's in bed with a bicycle.
She's got five gears!
Well, early bikes were designed, some of them, for women to ride...
Yes, because the idea of women being astride was considered rude.
Also, the amount of skirts they had must have made it quite
-hard to literally get on a bike.
-How the heck do you pedal side saddle?
-The pedals were all at one side, were they?
-Yeah, I guess.
She's got a woman underneath that skirt pedalling for her.
Some poor cockney woman going, "I'll do it, I'll do it.
"It's an 'ard job, ma'am, but it's worth it."
Anyway, bicycle face was a medical condition
that would apparently only affect lady cyclists.
Now for a bit of mid-show magic.
Would you like to learn the mysteries of the Magnus effect?
-Yes, is the answer, yes, you would. Thank you.
-Yes, I would.
What is the Magnus effect? Well, it's about spin.
It's about how spin... This could work very badly.
I'm not good at this. Oh, there we are.
Watch out for your organs of matrimonial necessity.
-Yeah, that's it.
-No, that's not it.
-That'll go into my face.
-That's going to hit you, yeah.
OK, so, the idea is that this should spin and then...
Why don't you have a try?
Behind you I'll show you an effect of it on a football,
which you may be familiar with - taking a corner like this.
You'll see the classic bend, which we're all familiar with now.
David Beckham, of course, a master of it. And it's the same principle.
We couldn't afford to have a moving image of him.
Yeah, it's all about the pressure of the air building up
on the opposite sides of the spin and pushing the ball.
-Oh, well guessed, though! Fine.
-It was more of a propel.
-Come on, Rhod. Oh, that was good.
Alan's got a bicycle-faced look.
Yeah, that was not bad.
Noel, go on, show them how it's done.
Oh, yes! That's the effect.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
That's the effect there, Noel, what you did there.
You see, it went up like that. It was the pressure,
because the spin creates that and the air pushes it up.
-That's how I'm getting home tonight.
So, I'll show you another version of it
using those two cups stuck together.
Excellent. You see, it jumps up like that and then goes down.
-Noel's was pretty good.
-There you are. Well done.
Now, how would this bird make an offer you couldn't refuse?
Oh, yeah, that bird. He does your tax returns.
It's called a brown-headed cowbird, rather unimaginatively.
It's got a brown head and it's on a cow.
I just don't want to know how it got the brown head.
I don't want to think about how it got the brown head.
Oh, stop it! LAUGHTER
"That's as far as I can go!" "All right, stop there."
"Now flap. Now flap your wings!" "I can't!"
You haven't seen the cow's legs. They're blue.
And we have to forget the cow in this instance,
other than the fact that it's in its name.
It is a parasitic bird, in a sense. A brood parasite.
Do you know what a brood parasite might be?
-What's a brood?
-A family of parasites.
-If you're broody.
-You want to have more parasites.
You want to have... LAUGHTER
The type of parasite it is is a brood parasite.
That's to say it's parasitic in the way
-that it occupies a host's birthing place.
Not womb in this case cos they don't have wombs, do they, birds?
-Oh, I thought it was in the cow.
-Oh, no, no. It's the bird.
-It's the bird that's the parasite.
-It's a brood parasite.
It lays its eggs in someone else's nest.
I'd love if it was the cow that was the parasite!
LAUGHTER Living off the bird.
That would be such a flaw for a parasite -
to have to wait for the bird to land on you.
Running around getting underneath birds.
Painting an H on your own back.
-Put a nest on your back.
With a vacant sign.
Yeah, it's a brood parasite, it lays its egg like that.
-As does, more famously, our...?
Cuckoo's the Great British brood parasite.
That nest wasn't on the back of that cow, was it?
No. I did say, "Forget the cow,"
but I knew that wasn't going to be a helpful remark.
-I couldn't forget the cow, Stephen.
It's a question of why the birds put up with it.
Why does the one that lays the blue eggs in this instance
allow that to happen?
Why doesn't it just get rid of the egg?
-The answer is it does...once.
If it tries it, a bird that's laid that egg will come back
and absolutely destroy the nest and everything in it.
And the mother bird learns this and next time it builds...
laboriously builds a new nest, laboriously lays her own eggs...
Next time a brown-headed cowbird comes along to lay their egg
they go, "Yeah, you can have it, I'll look after it, it's no problem."
-It's basically a protection racket. They're gangster birds.
-Oh, my God.
-Hence the phrase, "Make you an offer you can't refuse."
But it works.
So which one...was it the one with the blue eggs or the other one?
The blue eggs is like the nice guy who runs the Italian delicatessen
-for his family all these years.
-Exactly, that's it.
And then the other egg is the guy who comes round going,
"You're going to look after my egg, otherwise I'll come round..."
-Or, "You'll find a job for my boy, you'll find him a job."
"You see this egg? You know what I'm going to do to this egg
"if you don't look after the other egg?"
And then he sma...and then he throws it out.
Eventually, cos it's evolution, they'll start spraying
-their own blue egg that brown colour.
"Hey, someone's already done me. Leave it."
You're right, that's quite likely, isn't it?
Why haven't they evolved just to lay enough eggs so there's no gap?
That's what I'd do.
Good point. You'd think they would, wouldn't you?
Stop leaving a gap!
Anyway, that's brown-headed cowbirds.
Now, what starts with M and nearly destroyed the world
470 million years ago?
You try... I can feel us being led by this image...
-..in a direction.
You're right, I'm going to warn you, I'm in a good mood,
do not say meteor or meteorite, or meteoroid.
-Don't say either of those.
-It looks like the logo for MasterChef.
Which is branding a pterodactyl. But...
That's what we hope happens here every week.
Is it mitochondria? Is it something like bacterial...
Well, it's a life form, you're absolutely right.
It's a life form that destroyed all other life forms,
virtually, on Earth.
It was the Ordovician-Silurian extinction event.
-But it begins with M, this particular life form.
-It got rid of all the oxygen... Sorry?
It wasn't a mouse. You've got the right consonants.
Consonants. All right. M...m...m...
-Muh and a suh.
Muh and a suh. It's wonderful how he's coming on, isn't it?
-Yes, moss is the answer.
-Yeah, hard to believe. Moss.
It was like a phage, it ate away at rocks...
-..even altering them chemically.
Hey, Cariad, there's an iceberg like your clitoris.
I mean this, Alan, you can get more...
If you've just joined the show...
I can usually predict almost everything
that's going to be said on this show,
but "There's an iceberg like your clitoris" is a new one for me.
That's exactly what I was talking about.
Don't just work with what you see.
You've got to work with more underneath it.
-Not moss on it, is there?
Keep the moss on, what's wrong with you?
You don't want to look like a child.
Wear your moss and be proud, ladies.
Interestingly, you only get moss on the north side of a lady.
-That seems fair.
It depends how long she's been at the bus stop.
There's types of moss that destroy other types of moss,
but it takes, like, sort of, you know, hundreds of years.
-But if you were to watch it,
you would see what is essentially a horrible war...
There's moss that destroys itself, like Kate Moss.
Well, this moss used to eat the rocks and it would create
a chemical reaction with phosphorus, reacted with CO2,
sucked it from the atmosphere.
So it was a whole series of these reactions.
And that used up almost all the oxygen,
destroying life forms everywhere.
It took about 35 million years for this process to work
and it was 470 million years ago.
-We should keep an eye on moss now, in case it ever...
-We should, yeah.
..gets an idea again to take over.
I've always had my suspicions about moss.
Bitchin' about lichen.
There's the nasty moss that destroyed everything a long,
long time ago, but there's... How many species, do you think, of moss?
-Two? Right, OK. 200?
-It's, like, thousands, isn't it?
-I'm going to give you the points.
There's 14,000, and the rarest form of moss in the world -
extremely rare - and it's in Britain.
It's in Derbyshire.
And it's feather moss.
And it's so rare, Derbyshire feather moss, that there's only
a single yard of it in a stretch of river in the Peak District.
-What, there's one yard? In the world or...?
-In the whole world.
There's one species. And its location is secret.
Have they at least put a little fence round it?
The location is secret.
How well guarded it is I don't know, somebody crosses the river...
They don't want to leave that to chance. They should put
one of the yellow things they have in the supermarket up.
-What if somebody stands on that?
-I know, it's amazing, isn't it?
Absolutely incredible. There you are. Good old Derbyshire.
Now, from moss to moths.
Why would you want to blow up a moth's penis?
Really the question should be why wouldn't you?
You've run out of balloons at a kids' children's party.
-Blow it up like destroy it, or...
-Inflate it, yeah.
-..like, with a foot pump?
It takes a certain kind of person to invent something
to increase the size of a moth's penis...
-It certainly does.
-It really does.
It takes an Australian.
And it takes a device that they've invented called...
-"Get your lips round that, fella."
LAUGHTER And it's called...
"We're going to have to float downstream or we'll die."
And it's called the phalloblaster.
The phalloblaster is what pumps up the penis of a moth...
Come here, little fella,
I'm just going to increase the size of your penis.
Did we...did we answer the why...
-Why would we?
-Yeah, why? Why?
I love the idea that they blow up the penis,
-then let it go and it goes...
-HE MIMES DEFLATING BALLOON
LAUGHTER Well, what it is...
And the moths go, "Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
There are a lot of species of insect that are impossible to determine
the actual species except by an inspection of the genitalia.
Oh, some doctor said, "It's the only way I could find out
"if it was a man, so I blew it and now I know."
They used to use...
"Because otherwise I wasn't sure. Leave me alone, Mary..."
I thought moths were just butterflies from the '70s.
So, forward, the phalloblaster.
It uses a stream of pressurised alcohol
to fill and inflate the insect's penis.
And if anyone knows about pressurised alcohol, it's an Australian.
I don't think that's a...
"Can we have two streams of pressurised alcohol, please?"
That's not a scientific experiment, that's an Australian stag do.
It basically is.
When the alcohol evaporates, you see, it hardens the tissue
and then you're left with one much larger, hardened organ that...
This is the sort of thing you should put in a kit for a teenage boy.
How do they do this? Because the thing is...
Have we come on to the why yet, as well?
Do they hold the moth and then do it?
Because you know when you hold moths, the gold stuff
comes off their wings and they can't fly any more
and they have to walk home.
It explains why they're always trying to get to the moon, no?
Bloody hell. I'd be out of here, as well.
They've been told there's spare penises up there...
"I've had enough of this, I'm off."
When you said, "I'm off," it sounded like "I...moth."
-Like a very thoughtful moth.
-Do take thee, other moth.
-I thought he was just talking Welsh. I-moth.
I-moth. Well, it's cowin' lush, either way. So, um...
See, I speak Welsh.
Now, this man invented toilet vinegar.
What other bright ideas did he have?
Waterproof fish and chips?
-The triple beard.
-Is it Thomas Edison?
-It's not Thomas Edison.
-With the light bulb.
-Bright idea, you see.
You're right, very clever, that was brilliant. Smarter than we've been.
-Is it Jack Torch, inventor of the torch?
Is toilet vinegar something to do with cleaning?
It's toilet vinegar in the sense of toilet water.
-It's supposed to be...
But, in fact, it would work for cleaning.
But if I told you his name, you might guess what he invented
which is in a related field.
His name was Rimmel.
-Oh, did he invent...
-Not the lipstick, no.
-Not the blusher.
-Absolutely right, mascara.
Why weren't things going off then?
If I'd said things, it would all have gone off.
Finally you've worked out the pattern...
If you start guessing things, it goes off!
That's how it works.
-It's just that fair.
-Just cos she's a girl!
Oh, no! Now then.
Ahh, she's a girl who knew the right answer.
Ahh, I can't believe it.
There's an urban myth that mascara contains...?
-Have you ever heard of this?
It is made of dogs. The French don't care.
You know what they're like. They're cruel.
Some people think it's made of bat guano. Bat droppings.
-Oh, my goodness.
-It's because it has guanine in it
and guanine is made from fish scales.
Robin, take that and make some mascara.
He looks like...
Be proud of yourself.
-Is bat guano poisonous?
He was very much a perfume-y sort of person.
In plays in the Victorian era, as the curtain went up,
there would be a waft of perfume for each scene, different perfume,
and he would be credited in the programme - "Perfume by Rimmel."
Talking of inventors, you mentioned Edison,
-but actually, John Logie Baird, who's best known for...?
-His first invention, which you can guess what it might be...
-He didn't invent the chair.
-Chair first, then the television.
It's a perfect suite of inventions.
-The remote control, then the television.
TV listings, no.
-Anger. Jeremy Kyle, he invented Jeremy Kyle.
Television first and then anger.
"It's all shit!"
-It was actually nothing to do with television.
Was it the hairdryer?
It was a pair of socks that went over the socks you already wore.
I mean under, sorry, they went under.
You've got your socks and then under them
you've got these socks that are impregnated with
borax to keep them dry, so that the borax absorbs the moisture.
Why did they go under the other socks?
Why didn't he just have those socks?
Why would they love sockses...sockses that keep your feet dry?
Cos there's a very damp environment.
-Where did you have damp feet as a bad thing?
-In the river.
-In the trenches.
-In the trenches.
-The soldiers loved them.
-It was the one thing that kept morale high.
While their friends were being gassed and blown to pieces,
they'd turn to each other and say, "Mind you, my feet are dry."
"It's this borax, I've heard, it's wonderful."
"I haven't eaten for a week and Freddie's bought it,
"but my feet feel marvellous."
-It's quite a leap to go from socks to television.
-It is, isn't it?
That's why we thought it was interesting.
And now it's time for us to leave the maelstrom of miscellany
and move into the murky waters of general ignorance.
Fingers on mushroomoids.
Who invented the motorway?
Is it someone like Diddy David Hamilton? It's someone well known.
That really was drawn out weirdly!
From where...which bottom drawer of the mind did he arrive?
-I'm talking about which country.
-Which country first had a motorway?
A lot of people might have thought it was Germany
-because the Nazis were famous for the Autobahn.
-Is it us, then?
-Is it the M1?
-It was actually America, the first one.
It was called the Long Island Motor Parkway, or LIMP,
and it was opened in 1908.
They want to invent the...
The thingy barrier quite quickly as well. Look at that!
No cat's eyes there.
Originally they used to just bury a cat up to its neck.
The what? The first cat's eyes?
The Victorians... The ladies were going, "Argh!",
the cats were buried in the ground and the men were furious.
Then they'd dig them up two years later and dance around with them.
It's all knitting and fusing together.
It was greeted on its opening with the headline
"First of the Motorways is Opened", so I think it definitely counts.
The first motorway in Europe wasn't German, either.
It was a toll road between Milan and the northern Italian lakes.
It was built in 1924. It was pretty basic, though.
-Looks like a river.
-What is the definition of a motorway, then?
-Motor traffic only.
-It's got a Welcome Break.
-Yeah, it's got a Welcome Break.
-Is that what it is, motor traffic only? Is that...?
-No horses, no bicycles, pedestrians.
The Nazis weren't even responsible for the first German motorway,
in fact, which was built in 1932.
What did the Nazis ever do for us?
The motorway was invented in America, or Italy, but not Nazi Germany.
After you die, what's the last bit of your body to stop beating?
The internal section of the clit...
-Now, you see... RHOD:
It's known as the foot, Alan, in mountaineering circles.
-The foothills are the clitoris.
-Oh, is it the shadow?
Excuse me? LAUGHTER
Did those iron filings ever have any effect on you?
Well, just imagine if you were lying in a coffin
and your shadow was going, "Great, what am I going to do now?
-"I could be someone else's shadow."
Do you know about the little pulsing, beating hairs we have in our body?
Oh, in your digestive system?
They're tiny. We have them all over the body.
In the nose, not the nostril hairs, they're big,
but the tiny, tiny little...
Like moss. They're called cilia.
-What, the little hairs in your nose?
-No, not the visible ones.
-I was going to say, I feel really guilty,
I machined mine out this morning.
They're like little...
Are they the ones that collect mucus?
Microscopic little bulrushes there,
and they beat in waves to pass things backwards and forwards.
You can test if you put saccharin in your nose...
I know it sounds suspicious...
You trying to get us into trouble or...?
"No, Officer, I'm trying something...
"It's a QI thing. You put..."
Pulling up in a lay-by on the A40. "It's saccharin, Officer."
If you just dab saccharin on your nostrils, right...
And wait, don't push it up or sniff it up, or anything like that,
just wait until you can taste it in the back of the throat.
-And that's the action of the cilia pulling it up.
Like tiny elves passing to each other.
So, yeah, they studied 100 cadavers, scientists,
and found that not only did the cilia keep moving for up to 20 hours,
but the beat of them slowed down at a consistent pace, regardless
of external factors, like temperature and so on.
-That's so sad.
-It could help forensic investigators, though,
-work out the time of death.
-They kept trying to keep...
"Come on, lads. Keep going, he might come back."
Why would they continue doing that?
Cos they weren't ready to let it go...
Let it go, cilia.
They even transport molecules to the retina's light-sensitive cells.
-They're very amazing.
-Quite useful, aren't they?
They help propel sperm and waft eggs through the oviduct.
That's...that's one for you.
I have ovaries.
Just in case anyone who watched the programme didn't know that I had
a clitoris, ovaries and a vulva, we've discussed mine this evening.
-Shall I get my rainbow out?
I've got a Ferris wheel on me cock so don't worry too much.
-We're both having a good time.
-Everyone relax, everyone relax.
Shall I waft my eggs over to your Ferris wheel...
Yeah, oh-ho! Oh-ho!
I would say your matrimonial necessities
-have had a damn good airing this evening.
They didn't need it, they definitely didn't need it.
Well, that brings me to the matter of the scores,
and how fascinating they are.
Actually, really fantastic because way out in the lead
with a magnificent plus eight is Cariad Lloyd.
In a superb second place, with plus four - Noel Fielding.
And no disgrace to be on minus seven - Rhod Gilbert.
Incredible. I'm happy with that...
And pretty good for him,
minus 29 - Alan Davies.
Well, that's all from Cariad, Rhod, Noel, Alan and me.
And I leave you with this quote about mystery
from Sir Arthur Eddington, the great physicist.
"Something unknown is doing we don't know what." Goodnight.