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This programme contains some strong language.
GOOD evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening and welcome to QI,
where this week I shall be messing with your minds.
Joining me on the psychiatrist's couch,
we have the open-minded Sarah Millican.
The sharp-minded Josh Widdicombe.
The broad-minded Tommy Tiernan.
Oh, never mind, it's Alan Davies.
So, let's be mindful of their buzzers.
MUSIC: Always On My Mind by Elvis Presley
MUSIC: Got My Mind Set On You by George Harrison
MUSIC: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz
And Alan goes...
-'Mind the gap. Mind the gap.'
So, it's time to get down to minding our own business.
Alan, we've been working together now for 13 years,
playing together, I like to think of it.
-But of course.
And we get on like a, like a mouse on fire.
Was it love at first sight?
Oh, yeah, absolutely, Stephen.
That's such a shame.
No. No, it wasn't.
Well, it's about the mind and another capacity of the mind,
one of its most important capacities, that begins with M.
-Memory is right, yeah. Absolutely.
Can we really remember things?
13 years ago, emotional states,
do we remember them accurately?
Things like falling in love at first sight.
But isn't there a difference between fact and truth?
-13 years of QI saps us.
-Keep going, we like this.
This could really help me on this show, you know.
So, I would remember stuff from my childhood that my father says
didn't happen, but there's truth in the memory.
-I have a memory, he would suggest that it never happened,
of him holding me by the ankles over the side of a ship.
And he says he...
So, he thinks that's a false memory syndrome event.
He questions it, but I know that the feeling of being held by the ankles
over the side of a ship by my father speaks a truth of my childhood.
-That the facts may not support.
-It doesn't mean...
-Is your dad...?
-It's very profound and correct.
So there's truth in the feeling of the memory,
so the feeling is nothing to do with facts.
You wouldn't fail a lie detector test
if you explained that memory to a polygraph.
-Much to my father's chagrin.
I think I've got the opposite,
cos I think my first memory is something that I've been told
so many times happened, that I don't think I do remember it.
-Yes, so that's the opposite of what happened to Tommy.
-You've had yours reinforced by your family.
Does that make you worry that you might be a robot?
And like they've just been,
all these memories have just been uploaded.
Well, we're all a bit like that.
Certainly in terms of falling in love at first sight, there was
a survey of 10,000 people in long-term relationships
and half of the men in that survey
said they fell in love at first sight.
A quarter of the women said they fell in love at first sight.
So a lot of men were fooling themselves.
No, what that is, though, I think that's just the law of averages,
because say like you're a single man, I think when I've been single,
I fall in love with women 20 to 30 times a day.
-So, the law of averages,
eventually the one I get together with,
she'll be one of the 400,000 I fell in love with.
There is a sense in which many people would say
that despite this view of women's sentimental literature
and the rest of it, men are far more sentimental than women.
Women are practical and less sentimental
-and they probably have a clearer...
-Why has he got it facing away from him though?!
That's so rude!
On the other side of the wallet, it's a picture of Stephen.
Bound to be.
He's looking at the back of your head.
Yeah, maybe that's what it is.
That's rather, you see there he's all dreamy-eyed
-and maybe you're clear-eyed.
-Well, women are more practical
because they've got more shit to get done.
-That's what it is.
Do you know that story about the journalist who interviewed
a busy sort of woman and said they were doing this
survey about who makes the important decisions in your household.
She said, "Oh, my husband makes all the important decisions, I make all
"the trivial decisions, like what the children should wear and what they
"should eat and how much we should spend on our household budget, and
"where we should go on holiday and what sort of car we should drive.
"But my husband makes all the important decisions, like whether
"there should be a United Nations presence in Bosnia for example."
That sort of sums up basically men fantasising about political things,
where women get on with the real business of life, maybe.
-I don't think I fell in love at first sight.
I don't think so. I don't think, that makes it sound...
I've never been so hurt in my life.
There are other memory tricks.
Can you remember what you were doing when the World Trade Center was hit?
Yes. I was one of the first people in England to find out
because I was watching lunchtime Neighbours.
One of the four people to find out then.
And they interrupted, it was at the end of lunchtime Neighbours.
-They crossed straight to New York.
-So, you saw the first plane go in?
-Yeah. Well, first, I saw Lou close up the pub.
A friend of mine was living in New York when it happened,
-And slept through it.
He'd been out drinking the night before.
-This friend of yours, was he Irish?
"Bloody hell, what's going on?"
"Where the fuck is everybody?"
"What a night!"
-What a night!
Well, a lot of people will tell you that they saw the first plane
go in to the tower on 9/11 and then the second
and then them both falling.
What they can't have seen is the first plane going in.
That was only shown on television on the second day.
Because it would have been very suspicious
if they'd cut to New York before that plane hit the tower.
Josh, that's exactly what the conspiracy theorists think
because George W Bush said, you know,
"Seeing that plane go in to the first tower, my heart sank."
Everyone said, "Ah, he saw it,
"that means he must have had a secret camera watching it,
"that means he must have planned it,"
but, in fact, it just means he had a faulty memory like many people.
-Cos he was reading a book about my first goat, was it?
To children, yeah, not just to himself.
Well, similar to your memories,
they have found that research has convinced 70% of participants
that they had committed crimes, including theft and assault,
during their adolescence, even though none of them had.
They just talked to them about it and they said,
"According to your parents, you did this," and social pressure,
most people are able to retrieve memories of things they've done.
"You stole a car when you were... Don't you remember?"
And they kind of go, "Oh, yeah.
"Yes, yes, I did, that's right."
When my father can't sleep, he says he lies in bed
and tries to remember things he's never remembered before.
That's very, that's profound.
Yes, well, we'll do an experiment actually with memory
a little later on.
So there we are. I can't remember what kind of point
I was trying to make there.
But fortunately, neither can you.
Now for something that should seriously mess with your mind,
how much would you pay for a machine that can print money?
Nothing, because the person you bought it from wouldn't need cash.
Well, I'm going to put it up for offers, because I've got
a machine which I hope you will see is able to print money.
What I've got is a piece of paper,
which is the right size.
And my printer, which is pretty accurate.
-At least if I print it well.
-Ah, very good.
Well, there it is.
-There you go.
-What do you think?
There you are.
So, how much would you pay for that machine?
I'd pay a tenner, because...
And then I'd go out onto the South Bank and make loads of money.
We'll keep that.
We'll keep that, we'll keep that ten and maybe we'll see
if we can make more money later on.
But, this idea of making money, of course goes
deep, deep, deep into human nature,
and there was a man called Victor Lustig,
who was one of the great conmen of the time who, unlike me,
cheated and built a machine that actually didn't print money at all,
whereas mine, as you can see, genuinely does.
He, in his lifetime, sold the Eiffel Tower -
twice - so he was pretty good.
But he also built a machine for creating 100 bills
and then he would sell the machine for 30,000.
It was very successful, he went to prison.
I was given a rose underneath the Eiffel Tower once.
-Just handed a rose.
-You were given a rose?
Yeah, it was so lovely and I didn't think
-I looked especially nice that day but maybe I did.
-I am sure you did.
And then the same man ran after my husband for 15 Euros.
I think if you had a machine that made money...
-As I do.
-..as you do...
-..I think it would drive you demented
and I think you'd probably knock great craic out of it
for about a year and then you'd do anything to get rid of it.
Would you make the money at home or would you just keep
the machine in your handbag?
It would be a curse cos you'd never leave the machine.
You wouldn't be able to leave the machine.
Yes, I make about 2,000 or 3,000 every morning
and if I need more, I will come back.
Are you talking about voice-over work?
So, yeah, you probably weren't completely convinced
by my moneymaking machine. but tell me this,
which do you find most convincing - the IKEA Effect,
the Rhyme As Reason Effect
or the Frequency Illusion?
Is the IKEA Effect just arrows on the floor?
Is that what that is?
Just not being able to get out of anywhere ever.
That, if you can...
Is that prison? Is that prison?
Prison with tea lights.
It may be better understood by saying things like
if you make crab apple jelly, say, or jam - in my case, apricot jam,
I made last year, it's just the best apricot jam there ever was.
I knew this, it's a fact.
It's the best apricot jam anyone's ever tasted.
But I'm told that it's part of the IKEA Effect. In other words,
if you've made it yourself from your own ingredients, you just think it's
better than anything else that you can buy in a shop or anything else.
-Is that why people are really smug about their babies?
Basically, they are an IKEA Effect.
Do you ever have any equivalent of that effect?
I am fierce fond of a decent bowel movement.
I like that.
I will often call my wife and children in and...
"Look what Daddy made.
"Even while I was reading!"
-That is preferable to if you're a fan of someone else's
though, isn't it?
I'm huge fan of Alan Davies's bowel movements.
That's very unlikely.
I think things like you're going through the forest
and you see a hole up a tree and you throw a stone at it
and the first one, your stone goes straight in the hole.
There's never any one around.
There's never any one to watch you, that's true. That's very satis...
Squirrel comes out going...
Well, let's move on to the second in our list, then, which is
the Rhyme As Reason Effect.
What do you think that can be about?
Is that like, "No pain, no gain"?
-Or, "Treat them mean, keep them keen" would be another.
-Oh, like, there's loads of alcohol ones,
isn't there, like, "If you drink wine you'll be fine" and...
-Oh, yeah, yeah.
-"Beer, you'll be queer."
Only shots, yeah.
But that did work, didn't it, Stephen?
It did, yeah, yeah. It worked on me.
-"Only shots, you'll get the trots", that sort of thing.
Yeah, all the boozy ones.
-Yeah, isn't there one with grape and grain?
Never the twain with... No.
-..with the grape and grain.
They do seem to work, in as much as, if you suggest a kind of rhyming
piece of advice to someone, and to another group of people you put the
same sentiment that doesn't rhyme, they'll believe the rhyming one.
So, for example, they gave "wealth makes health,"
to a group of people, and almost all of them agreed with it.
They then said, "Financial success improves medical outcomes."
Catchy. It's catchy.
And they didn't agree at all, despite it meaning the same thing.
So it shows there is a strange quality that a rhyming phrase has.
It's easier to remember as well,
-so you might want to pass it on to somebody else.
If it rhymes.
And it seems just to have some sort of authority or imprimatur,
that an ordinary phrase doesn't. It's also the Keats heuristic -
because it's beautiful, it must be true.
Beauty is truth and truth beauty, is the idea.
You may remember OJ Simpson's defence lawyer,
Johnnie Cochran, do you remember him?
-Oh, it doesn't fit.
-If the glove doesn't fit...
-If the glove doesn't fit...
That's it, yeah.
That seems to be one of the things that got OJ...
That's quite specific as well,
you can't use that, like, every day, can you?
It's not going to come up a lot, that one, is it?
No. It worked on the day, though.
-You've got to be in it...
-To win it.
-..to win it. Yes.
Points mean prizes.
-No, I'm not very good at this, am I?
An apple a day, of course, the doctor away.
Red light in the sky, shepherd's pie. No, that's not...
Red sky at night, shepherds' delight. Yes.
The Frequency Illusion, does that mean anything to you?
No reason why it should.
When I used the word "heuristic", it may be that you didn't know
the word, but it's quite likely that in a couple of days you might
see it in a magazine or hear someone else using it on the radio or
TV and you go, "That's weird, I only just heard that word
"for the first time two days ago, and now it keeps cropping up everywhere."
-Have you ever had that experience?
-Yeah. I was talking to Richard Osman
about this, cos he was complaining about people saying there's always
-tennis questions on Pointless.
And the moment you think
that there's tennis questions on Pointless,
if you see one, you think,
-"Well, that completely reinforces everything."
-Yes, that's right.
All these things are called a sort of cognitive bias, they push
you into a way of thinking, some different ways of thinking.
So, you can tell the most appalling lie,
if it rhymes or it's featured on QI.
What did the amnesiac say when the doctor asked him his name?
I don't know the answer to that question.
No, no, I was telling you that...
-That you didn't know the... Very clever.
Very clever, give him his points back.
He didn't know the answer to the question.
Did he just say his name,
because it was written on the inside label of his knickers?
That would be the contortionist amnesiac.
There's the guy that... They said, "What's your name?" and he
asked for a pen and paper, and he drew a piano and they brought him
a piano and he wouldn't speak to them, but he'd just play the piano.
-Do you remember this guy?
Yeah, and then it turned out, I think, that he was a con artist.
-Yeah, he was.
-He didn't have amnesia at all.
Because, if you have amnesia, you don't forget your name
and you don't forget your past life.
What you're not capable of doing
is remembering new things that happen to you.
-That's the point.
-You've just ruined loads of films.
I know, you're absolutely right.
It's films in particular that relish this idea that you
might have a trauma and you lose all memory of who you are
and you become a fresh, new, empty person.
And very often as well a second clump on the head
will bring your memory back.
And all this is utterly unknown to medical science.
-It's completely made up.
-A very rudimentary psychiatric hospital in
the west of Ireland would use that as a technique.
LAUGHTER A clump on the back of the head.
If it was a thump on the head that got you sick,
it'll be a thump on the head that'll make you better.
There's another kind of cognitive impairment which is to do with
the fact that if you take a photograph of something,
you don't remember nearly as well as if you look at it.
Do you know, they should announce that before every concert and say...
I think anyone who takes a photo at a concert needs to be thrown out.
Out of the country.
It does my head in.
It is very peculiar.
Especially, as you say, knowing as we do,
that you'll remember it better if you just look.
And also in that situation, you can just get a postcard in the shop.
Interestingly, on the other hand,
if you zoom in on an object in a museum or something like that,
you remember both the area you zoomed in on and the object itself
because, there, you're concentrating on the thing rather than just
framing it, so that's a strange mental thing.
Yeah, we're back in Memory Lane and now it's time for our memory test.
All right, I want the audience and you four,
if you'd be kind enough, to listen to and remember these words.
Bed. Rest. Awake.
Tired. Dream. Wake.
Snooze. Blanket. Doze.
Remember those words, if you'd be so kind.
Good. Well, I think we've earned ourselves
-another money-making moment, yes? Go on.
Because I've got another machine. Well, it's not a machine
in this case, it's just an ordinary blotter and a piece of paper.
This is a, see, there you are.
It's all pretty straightforward.
The blotter is to blot out all the excess ink as we try
and print out this, we try and print it out, there we go.
Oh, let's have a go. Oh.
-Oh, yes, that's worked.
-Now that is good.
-That is so good.
There you are. More money for us.
Isn't that pleasing?
Are you going to show us how they work later on?
Before I kill you.
-I don't mind. I don't mind. No.
-Oh, you don't mind, good, no.
-If you do any...
-What a way to go,
that's a trade-off I'll take.
Now for some multiple choice, listen carefully. True or false?
True or false questions are more likely to be true than false.
-I'm going to...
-I need an answer.
Oh, I love George Harrison.
I'm going to go...true.
-Is the right answer.
Very good. Yeah.
50/50 ball, as they say.
And you did well, that's right. Yeah, it's...
But there isn't a vault or a bank where all the true or false
questions in the world were ever asked
and somebody decides to count which are more true or more false.
That's like saying, when you're given directions, is the first
direction more often likely to be turn left or turn right?
Depends where you're going.
But you can analyse a huge bank of questions, which is what was done.
American exam questions, in this instance.
And they found that it was 56% of them the answer was true,
-and 44% the answer was false.
And it seems the reason is that the examiners, of course,
have to think of the questions all the time, and it's a lot
easier to think of a true question than it is to think of a false one.
When I did my GCSEs, they said as a tip,
if you're doing a multiple choice, A, B, C, D,
and you don't know the answer, go B or C, because the lazy examiners
are more likely to put the answer in the middle than on the edge.
Would have been better if they just taught us the answers.
-Yes, I was going to say.
-Just important to...
Don't worry about learning about science, just go C.
All right, I'll give you another chance then, OK.
If question one is true in an exam, what is question two likely to be?
No, true, false, true, false is more prevalent.
Oh, that's so boring, though.
It's not absolutely guaranteed, of course,
but the chance the next answer will be different
from the present one is 63%, though, so it's quite a high amount.
So if question two the answer was true,
question three, 63% that it will be false.
The way therefore to optimise your scores, if you're doing a true
or false, is to answer all the ones you know the answer to, obviously.
Then the ones next to them, put the opposite.
And then all the rest that are left over put true.
And then you've got your best chance of a good score.
-Oh, that's, I like it.
-Or just revise more.
Or just revise more.
Yeah, you are everything that is wrong with British education.
Now, I'd like you to watch this film and tell me what happens.
When am I going to have to repeat all these words
that you made us remember?
Keep thinking of them.
Now, what's been happening while you've been watching?
Oh, it's blinking.
Oh, look, there's a different person!
Oh, the dog's still there.
-It's a woman.
-Well, there we are.
Now, so what have you seen?
That thing's just appeared.
-What thing's that?
-On the purple.
What's that brown thing?
The brown thing on the purple. In the centre there?
Yeah. Has that been there all the time?
Yeah, no, it's always been there, yeah, I said that.
Tell me what you're sure you've seen.
Well, there was a girl with an umbrella and then it turned into a person with a dog.
-The man with the dog turned into a woman with a dog.
-Is that right?
-Well, we'll see.
Let's have a look, this time without the blinks
and there's rather a lot you've missed.
-King of Thai noodle comes up. JOSH:
-I was wondering that...
-Oh, no, it's still there.
-Yeah, the lighting, Thai noodle.
-No, shut up!
-I didn't see that at all.
-How can you do this to us?
-Isn't it amazing? Wow!
I spent my whole time looking at the person.
-That's what humans do.
-The tree turned up.
Have you seen that video, there's a study they did in America and
you have, there's these people passing basketballs back and forwards...
-..and you have to count how many...
-How many passes.
..and they missed that a guy dressed in huge ape suit comes along
-and does that.
-Waving at the camera!
It is extraordinary. It's a famous experiment and a brilliant one.
That's absolutely right, Josh.
This was a short film shown at the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture
by Professor Bruce Hood, who is a great friend of QI
and he has given us that film and that kind of blindness,
as it were, to changes in the scene
and to things that happen is very common and is a problem for
witnesses and so on, but it's also every day it might happen to us.
If you look into a mirror
and you look at your right eye in the mirror and then you look
at your left eye, you never see your eyes move, but they do.
Why don't you see it?
The reason is the brain shuts down your vision for that moment
so you are functionally blind at just that incredibly small moment.
But we don't question the fact that we don't see our eyes move.
We sort of don't expect to because we're used not to.
We're used to not seeing our eyes move but anybody watching us
would see our eyes moving cos they are.
Do you ever do that thing where you look at your eyes in the mirror
and then you like move your head around
and it just looks like your eyes are staying in the same place.
-Yes, it's very extraordinary, isn't it?
-Hours of fun.
I didn't have many toys when I was growing up.
But that's enough, you own body is a wonderful toy. Oh, I wish I...
It's called saccadic masking, this form of blindness
and it can add up to 30 to 45 minutes a day in most humans.
It means we're temporarily blind for 2% of our lives.
How many people are looking in the mirror for that length of time everyday?
No, it's not only looking into the mirror.
There are other moments.
Just 45 minutes, just watching myself...
Inattentional blindness stops you from noticing things
that are right in front of your eyes.
So, pay attention now, it's time for another magical money-making moment.
Yes. I've got a proper, proper printing press here.
It's very, it's a rather exciting one,
and as you can see, it's got all the bells and whistles.
And it's even got a little calibration here.
I'm going to, let's, can you see it's on ten, I'm going
to move it up to 20. Because I've got a 20-sized one here.
This may, I hope this works.
It takes a long time to fill it with ink,
so if it doesn't work, I'm not going to do it twice.
Oh, yes, that works. Oh, good, there you are.
-There you are. APPLAUSE
Oh, there we go.
Stephen, hold on, one of the options is 100.
I just want to see what one of them looks like.
Oh, oh, there we go.
And, oh... Oh, it's a 50. It should be 100.
Oh, it is 100. There you are!
There we are.
So, yeah, we've made a, made a proper amount of money today.
Just shows, with a little application
and a little skill, you can make money pretty easily.
But I feel guilty about it, so I'll probably give it away,
to a bookmaker.
Now, how much sleep does a paradoxical insomniac get?
Well, yes. He does.
-More than he thinks.
It's like a paradoxical kleptomaniac who leaves things in shops.
What a wonderful thing to be.
Oh, look, he's left a DVD on the teabags again.
Yeah, it's a very rare condition, but essentially your body sleeps
very happily and all the scientific equipment that goes onto the
brain to check that you're sleeping shows that you are sleeping,
but you're awake, and you remember where you are and what's going on.
But you're refreshed.
-Are you doing stuff, like are you driving a bus or something?
No, absolutely not. No, they're definitely asleep in bed.
So which one of those two is it?
They are aware of their surroundings during the night,
as if they were awake, but they quite clearly weren't.
-Every brain scan shows they are asleep.
-Is this now an advantage?
-It's weird, yes.
It's called properly "sleep state misperception".
There's also an opposite condition,
negative sleep state misperception, in which you think
you've been sleeping for much longer than you have.
You're convinced you've slept for eight hours...
When you wake up when you're beard is wet and you go,
"How the hell!" And you go back to sleep.
So are these people, do they...? Sorry, I don't really understand
and I think you're lying, but anyway.
Are these people the sort of people, do they say,
"I've had a good night's sleep," or, "I haven't slept a wink"?
How do they feel? They feel refreshed?
-They feel refreshed, they feel fine.
-How do they know they haven't slept?
-Cos they've been awake all the time.
-They've slept, haven't they?
In their mind, they've been awake all the time.
Is this when you have to be awake at ten to five,
no matter what happens, you have to be awake at ten to five,
and miraculously you are awake at ten to five.
That's an alarm clock, love.
-No, I have that too, I do definitely.
-So is that the same kind of...
-It works very well.
At school, when we... if we were going on a, you know,
a little dawn raid, or something like that, you'd, they'd say...
Well, you know, to do a raid on the kitchens and steal jelly
and things, you know. So...
I forgot you grew up in an Enid Blyton novel.
To get your catapult back from the teacher.
You would do this onto the pillow, you would go,
"One, two, three, four,"
like that, and you'd wake up at four in the morning.
-And it always seemed to work.
-Honestly, I can't remember a time when it didn't.
-That is bullshit!
I totally agree.
It's maybe a false memory I've got, but it's a very clear one.
If it's so true, I want you to
give us your phone and alarm clock
and never use it again to wake yourself up.
And just use the head hitting.
It all changes when you get an enlarged prostate.
And do you have to hit it four times on the pillow?
This is something that Blyton didn't cover much.
She didn't, did she? Not lashings of enlarged prostates, no.
Anyway, how well you sleep is really all in your mind.
Now, how would you swear like a pre-pubescent supercomputer?
Bum, bum, wee.
-Bum, bum, wee.
-They're the main, they're the main ones?
The big three.
It's a supercomputer, we've called it pre-pubescent
because it's about 11 years old now. And...
And it swears?
Well, it's called Watson
and it is one of the smartest supercomputers around.
It was first trained to win at the American quiz game Jeopardy,
which you may have seen if you've ever been in the United States,
it's on every single day.
They give an answer and you say the question.
Exactly. So this actor played Jonathan Creek.
The answer is, on Jeopardy, Who is Alan Davies?
-It's been going for 40 years or something on American TV.
Does the supercomputer do proper swearing or swearing like
-"mother funster," or...
What they did was, they fed it an online dictionary
and I think you can guess which one it was, if it was swearing.
-Urban Dictionary, yes, which is a rather naughty dictionary.
It has bad M words.
I don't know what, I really, what's motorboat?
Am I, am I the only...?
Oh, OK. I've got this one,
-I've got this one!
I'm not going to do it, it's where you
put your head in between there and then do that...
Oh, yes, that's right. "Brrr." It's rather sweet, that, isn't it?
Well, I don't know.
Nicer than minger, or muffin top? Milkshake.
Where's your man cave?
That's not... Oh, no, is that, have I got a man... No?
-No. Is that what...?
-Is it like a den where you...
That sounded like you'd suddenly got a catchphrase,
where's your man cave?
It's Sarah "Where's Your Man Cave" Millican.
It's Sarah Millican, Where's Your Man Cave!
-Sarah, you definitely have one man cave, the question is,
do you have two?
-Was that the right answer?
-I don't know.
I'm still recovering from motorboat.
So, that's Urban Dictionary and it was popped into Watson,
this IBM computer and unfortunately, he learnt too much from it
and so when they were testing it, before it went on Jeopardy,
it was just saying "bullshit" to every question that you posed
to it, like a stroppy pre-pubescent, basically.
The question he asked was never, "Where's your man cave?"
No, it never was.
We just gave you some Ms just because it's the M series,
but there are plenty of others.
Are they all like new words, because milkshake's been around
for a long time, but has it got a new meaning that I need to learn?
-What is it?
Well, Kelis sung, "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,"
-Yes, because she had like a van that sold milkshakes.
If that's what you want to think she meant, that's what she meant.
My dormitory at school had a milkshake club,
but we won't go into that.
It wasn't all like Enid Blyton, then, was it?
Ooooh, where were we?
Where is the, would you imagine, most powerful computer in the world?
-It's not NASA, not the Pentagon.
-Not in America, in fact.
Well, yes, China is the answer.
There it is. Huge. Look at that.
It's pretty impressive. It is called Tianhe, which means Milky Way.
Didn't you used to play that at school?
Sorry! I'll stop now.
Oh, dear. It can run 100,000 times as many calculations
per second as there are stars in the galaxy.
All computers, including that, are very slow still when it comes to what?
The fastest supercomputers can mimic one second of human brain activity
in about 40 minutes.
So they're rubbish at Snap, for instance.
So we still, for the moment at least,
we still are the fastest processor on the planet.
I spent an entire summer trying to teach a cat how to play Snap.
Yeah. We had this cat who every now and again would just go...
So we thought we would take it to the fair and if we could...
If we could train it to play Snap, that would make a fortune.
Well, they used to have at fairs, pigs that spelled out words.
You would go to the fair with your learned pig
and you'd have alphabet cards in a huge circle with the pig inside.
Was it mostly just "help"?
No, you'd ask a member of the public
and they'd have to pay tuppence or whatever, to shout a word,
and they'd shout a word like "barnyard" or something,
and pig would go up to the B and then up to the A
and then up to the R, etc, and spell out the word.
Like a pig Ouija board.
Kind of, yeah.
And, of course, pigs can't read, it was a trick
but it was a very good one,
it was simply looking at its owner over there
and he's going like that for B or whatever and that for A,
and it worked beautifully.
It's all in Ricky Jay's excellent book, Learned Pigs.
But, yeah, where were we?
Oh, yes, Watson, the supercomputer
got in trouble because he couldn't stop fucking swearing.
And so we glide from the canyons of our minds into the clueless
depths of General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, if you would.
Why did the camel get the hump? And where?
-On their back.
-In the desert.
What's it for?
It's, oh, it's, I know...
Isn't it for food and water?
I knew it!
I thought it was as well.
Why didn't you say?
Because I wanted that to happen to you.
The surprising thing, perhaps,
is that it evolved not in the deserts, not in the hot countries,
but in the Arctic, that's where it began,
like the Bactrians there that you see that still live in cold conditions.
And the hump seems to have developed for fat storage and for warmth.
I thought it was for tourists so that they didn't fall off.
-You sit between them, don't you?
-You do, you do. Yes.
Canadian scientists found fossilised fragments of camel leg bone
in Canada, which were 3.5 million years old
and the DNA matched the modern camel.
So, the camel originally got its hump to survive the cold.
In a war between the grass and the grass-eaters, who's winning?
Can we get the grass-eaters?
KLAXON Thank you.
I haven't finished yet!
Grass-eaters is not the right answer.
Oh, you don't get away with that.
Evolution is an interspecies arms race to some extent
and very often plants do create stratagems to avoid being eaten.
They become poisonous, they become thickly thorned and prickly
but it seems that grass doesn't try and stop
itself from being eaten, and the thing about grass is,
unlike most plants, its centre of being is at the bottom,
so you can have the top of the blade as much as you like.
95% of it can be eaten like that
and it's perfectly happy just to regrow
so it actually does quite well because it's helped by being kept cropped.
Yeah, in the war between the grass and the grass-eaters,
everyone's a winner.
Do mushrooms prefer to grow in the light or in the dark?
Well, the thing's going to go off if I say in the dark,
so I'm going to say in the light.
The answer is they don't prefer either.
They grow just as well in dark, half light.
They rarely express a preference. What would you like?
Would you like the light on, or shall I leave it?
Maybe a little bedtime story, be tucked in.
But going by how much they thrive, it clearly doesn't make any
difference, so why is it traditional to grow them in the dark?
Because it's a dirty secret?
Like if you have them in your house,
it's not something you tell everybody.
I've got mushrooms in the back bedroom.
It's simply cheaper. We don't have to turn the light on.
So you just shove them in a cellar or a dark room,
somewhere you've got and they'll grow.
-It's that simple.
Not very exciting, but quite interesting.
Magic mushrooms, double M, they have psychotropic,
or at least hallucinogenic qualities, I believe, don't they?
-Is anybody else seeing that?
But they have a disadvantage,
which is that you get a terrible tummy ache,
and what did people do in order to obviate this disadvantage?
-They'd make themselves sick, would they?
Well, no, what they did is,
they'd give the mushrooms to the village idiot.
And he'd then have a pee and they'd drink the pee, which had all the...
-..had all the psycho-active properties.
Who is the idiot in that scenario?
I don't know. No.
It is very unfortunate.
Are we the only creatures who are affected by eating magic mushrooms?
Like, if a cow went into a field full of magic mushrooms, and ate
them all, will it have some moments of insight
that it would be impossible to share with us,
the whole town would gather round him there.
"I don't get it, I don't get it."
-And there was a...
-Are you trying to tell us something?
There was a theory that Jesus Christ...
..was a magic mushroom.
He actually was a mushroom?
I mightn't have remembered this entirely correctly, but...
Does your dad deny this story?
There's a thing called the Amanita muscaria, which is the,
it's the notion of using mushrooms as a means to transcendence.
-And I don't know the rest of the story.
Oh! You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen.
Yes, mushrooms are grown in the dark to save electricity.
So, with that, we stagger dazed and confused into the most
mind-numbing and mind-bending subject of all, the QI scores.
Oh, how interesting they are. My goodness me.
In fourth place, with a very respectable -22,
is Josh Widdicombe.
In third place, with a splendid -18 is Sarah Millican.
He's achieved heights that may require oxygen,
on -6, it's Alan Davies.
-Thank you very much.
What a debut, Tommy Tiernan on 2!
Thanks to Sarah, Josh, Tommy and Alan.
Oh, I nearly forgot our memory test.
Oh, how ironic. Can we turn the cameras onto the audience?
Let's see by a show of hands which words you remembered me saying.
Who remembered the word bed?
Oh, most of you, that's pretty good.
KLAXON Oh, audience.
No, I didn't say sleep,
I said words so closely connected to it that it was easy to force
yourself into the memory of thinking that I did say it.
So you all encountered a sort of false memory planting there.
If you don't believe me,
you'll just have to watch the show all over again, won't you?
So, from me, from all of us, thank you and goodnight.