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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Goo-ood evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening.
Welcome to tonight's QI where we're giving ourselves up to an evening of idleness and indolence.
Joining me in the hammock with a large gin and tonic in this week's edition of Knitting Today,
we have the inactive Ross Noble.
The immobile Dara O Briain.
The indolent Jeremy Clarkson.
And the simply inoperative Alan Davies.
Should any of our panel feel the need to bother with their buzzers, they sound like this. Ross goes...
-And Alan goes...
Have another go.
It's that kind of a lazy, lazy day.
And before we dive in, I should remind our panel of the Nobody Knows joker.
TRUMPET FANFARE 'Nobody knows.'
For this series, there may be a question to which the answer is "nobody knows".
If you think I've asked that question, wave the question mark as Alan demonstrated.
We might as well shamble along into a question. I've got my hands on the American nuclear trigger.
Without putting yourselves to too much effort, see if you can tell me what the code is.
-The secret trigger code?
-The secret trigger code given to every President between 1960 and 1977.
I think that if you've got to remember it under pressure and it would be a pressured situation,
beginning the end of the world, it's got to be something quite simple.
It's zero-zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero-zero.
-That literally was the code. Four zeros twice - eight.
-I'm good at maths, me!
-Eight zeros. That was the password.
Is that because it's just about the end of the world and you go, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, ohh"?
Did the President, when he was testing this,
did he do the chip and pin, that little dance you do
when the shopkeeper is looking at you and you kind of go... pretend to press...
I just do a cover.
Have you not noticed polite shopkeepers now do this which is when you nick all the penny chews?
Our fingers pretend to do other numbers.
You're there with the lovely Debbie McGee, going...
While you're doing your number, you say a different number slightly under your breath.
-That's like rubbing your tummy and patting your head.
-That is clever.
-"His number's 4577..."
The people I most hated at school were those who in a test did that as if one cared what drivel...
-That's because you're not an idiot.
-Oh, no, it's such a creepy way of behaving.
So I always just do it like that, grandly make sure that my number...
I published mine in The Sun once.
-I remember that.
-It went badly wrong.
-That was very funny.
-I couldn't understand it.
They were complaining that everybody's bank details had been left on a train by a civil servant.
I thought that makes no difference. All they can do is make a deposit.
So I published my bank account number. "What will you do with that?"
And the Diabetic Society helped themselves to 500 quid.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
As far as passwords are concerned, what do you think is the current state of advice?
I'm sure everyone watching probably has passwords for anything from bank accounts to social media.
-What's the advice?
-The advice is that you should have a different password for everything you have
and that it must always contain at least eight digits,
some of which should be numbers and some letters, and you mustn't write them down anywhere.
Exactly. That's the point. That kind of advice is useless.
There isn't a human being on the planet you would want to meet
who is capable of having all those in his head at the same time.
The current advice is don't bother about writing it down
if you've written it down and it's in a drawer in your desk.
You're more likely to have your password stolen online by malware
than by a burglar getting into your house and seeing it written down.
If you need lots of different ones for different things, do what I do and have each of the Seven Dwarfs...
-You've given it away now.
A burglar breaking into your house is usually a lot less interested in information theft
than in selling your television.
This idea of writing it down being dangerous was oversold.
There is a complete mismatch between a person who'll get your password by using technology
and a person who breaks into your house to get your TV.
You've really got to watch them smackhead geeks. They're the ones, the real ones.
They go around like that with glasses on. Forget it. It's over.
Have you noticed, if you've ever tried to wire up a Wi-Fi router,
when you're on the phone to a man in India and he says, "Go and read the numbers off the back of the router",
why does it have a password on the back of the router?
There's a default password that you can change by going in, using your web browser.
-You can access your...
-SEVERAL VOICES TALK AT ONCE
Are you a Help Desk of some description?
I am a bloody Help Desk. All my friends call me up just because I'm a boring nerd.
-What you're saying is correct...
-"Have you tried turning it off?"
"Take the card out and hit it with your teeth!" Have you had that one?
- With your teeth? - Yeah, like that.
No, no, he went, "I've got Jeremy Clarkson on the phone."
"Shove it up your arse. Go on." LAUGHTER
You can see it coming a mile off!
"You know that petrol you love so much? Pour it on your head and have a cigarette. Go on."
The greatest danger when setting a password is thinking of a word that sounds cool at the time.
Cos you go, "Oh, superspy, that'll be a good one!"
Suddenly, you go, "I'll have a whole other identity. It'll be amazing. I'll be The Raven."
And you'll forget your spy name the next time you go to check your Hotmail account.
"Was it The Hawk? No.
-"Was it The Eagle? No..."
I've never been able to read these incomprehensible bits of scribbly writing you're supposed to reproduce
-to show that you're not a bot.
-"Captchas", they're called.
Apparently, computers can't scan in and recognise a wavy "3"
or can't tell a kitten from a rabbit, which is the weird thing.
"Which of these are kittens?" Click, click, click and then the rabbit... But robots haven't worked this out.
This is how we will win the war.
-"Which of these two animals do you like?"
You've got a problem if it says to come up with a password and you're just holding up kittens.
I'd rub them off the screen. Is that not what you're supposed to do?
-I'd find as many kittens as the computer asks for.
-Lots of static electricity. Just put them up there.
-MAKES MIAOWING SOUND
-Static is only so strong. Over time, they'll slowly begin to slide down.
That's exactly why I do it. I have a kitten and a puppy and I bet on which one gets down first.
That's why I don't have a computer.
It's strange how the biometric systems that have been in movies for at least 30 years,
retinal scans, thumbprints and so on, aren't really used.
A lot of laptops ask for a thumb, but they haven't really taken off.
-I love the eye thing at airports.
-You do use those?
Yes, it's really good getting very drunk on the plane, so your eyes are completely bloodshot.
You think, "They'll never do it this time. I'll be locked in this box for ever." It always knows it's me!
In the airport, you know when you go through the first security bit and they take your photograph?
What I do is I do a different hairstyle.
Like that, then change it for the next time.
Whom is that inconveniencing more?
The security person or you?
Who's the one who's having things looked up their bottom and missing their flight?
Well, you know, there's only so much time you can kill in duty free. isn't there?
Why not shove something unusual up there?
Go on, guess what that is, guess what it is!
I went through Gatwick to get on a flight to Spain.
You know the way some people behind you get stopped and they go, "You've got fluids," or whatever?
Or they go, "You can't do this."
And they all started laughing. They said, "I'm sorry, sir, you can't bring this."
It was like one of those two-litre bottles of soft drink filled with water and a fish floating around!
-They wanted to take their fish on holiday?
-They brought their fish with them.
You could see your man going, "The fish is grand, it's not the problem, but you can't bring the fluid."
Are you sure it wasn't just a Japanese couple and that was their packed lunch?
-You'd just have to drink a bit of the water.
-To prove that this is...?
-To prove it's not a...
-Presumably, the fish is already proving they're not making a bomb.
-"We did think, but evidently not..."
-Fish don't swim in nitroglycerine!
It's been trained to swim in explosive fluid!
That is exactly how I found out that I really like baby food
because they said, "Can you eat a bit of the baby food?"
I went, "All right... That's good!"
"We'll get some more for the child. Give her peanuts."
-Oh, yes, lovely.
The point is, there's more chance of someone tracking your computer than breaking into your house.
You might be better off choosing a complicated password and writing it down.
Since we've got nothing better to do, what about a board game?
Why was Alfred's Game so much more successful than Alfred's Other Game?
-That is Alfred who is...
Yes, Scrabble is the answer.
-And he sold that for bugger-all.
He had the idea of the board and the 15 by 15 squares and the triple letter and double word and so on.
He made them himself. In the early '50s, it was in the shops of New York and it wasn't a great success.
The chap who ran Macy's, the famous department store, he played it one Christmas and he went nuts for it.
The following year, it sold four million.
It was the fastest growing game in the history of that genre of games. It just completely went wild.
And all he got, I say "all", was about 1.6 million, Butts, the inventor.
He said, "It allowed me to have a wonderful life." He was proud of it.
He then produced another game which he called Alfred's Other Game.
That wasn't a hit, despite the lady in the black, busty dress.
The principle of the scoring is pretty obvious. He used the frequency of letters in English.
The highest score you could have from one word has been worked out.
I wonder if you know what that word is? It's unlikely.
-The highest I got was "underpass" on two triple word scores.
-Very good. I did "bezique" once.
-You would though, wouldn't you?
-That was very lucky.
-You would have "underpass", wouldn't you?
-"Underpass" is good.
You've got to use all seven. You get the plus 50...
The most irritating thing about playing Scrabble is when people use words that aren't in common usage.
-Just earlier this year, they announced that "grrl" is now a word, but it isn't.
-No, it isn't.
And I have my house rule which is you can't use a word you don't know the meaning of.
-I'd go even further than that.
-Some people just learn lists of words.
-Why put in a word that you just...?
-Do you let people have the list of two-letter words?
"Jo" is a classic case in point.
I know it means "love", but I never use the word "jo" in conversation. Therefore, you can't have it.
-Or people who spell "axe" in the American way.
-Without the E.
-Do you know the most commonly played word in Scrabble?
-It is in my house.
-It's rather thrilling.
-No, not "gay".
-It's a good word.
-It's a fine word.
-WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: QI!
-QI, thank you.
"Qi" is the most commonly played word in Scrabble.
It's a Q that doesn't need a U and if it's on a triple letter, you score well.
It's the Chinese for the "life force". If you could play the word
and it would involve intersecting with many other words because it's longer than seven letters,
if you could get "oxyphenbutazone",
there is a technical, potential score of 1,178.
-Just for playing that...
-And I bet you've done it.
Is this Call My Bluff?
Can I just point out, I'm dyslexic, I've never played Scrabble.
To me, playing Scrabble is like decorating a bathroom.
-That is unfortunate.
My next question on idleness is what did the dormouse do on his gap year?
-There's a dormouse. Aren't they charming?
-I suppose you know the most obvious thing about a dormouse is...
-They sleep in teapots?
-According to Lewis Carroll they do.
-They're very quiet.
-They're not mice.
-They're not doors, either.
-They're neither doors, nor mice.
-The dorm is the key. The dormancy of them.
-They spend so much time asleep.
-They're the only animal that will hibernate for 18 months, sometimes. Aww, look at him asleep.
-He has been killed...
That creature has been killed by those falling nuts.
-He tried to pick them up.
-They live a surprisingly long life.
-If they're asleep for 18 months... 18 months?!
-They see how the harvest is going to be on the beech trees
very early in the season and if they think there won't be many nuts, they just sleep through.
They eat as much as they possibly can, put on huge amounts of fat and sleep. Quite astonishing.
At our house you can see the river from the bottom of the garden and we were showing this to people
who'd brought their kids. And a squirrel came down off a tree and scampered to the water's edge.
This is the Thames. And it started swimming in the water.
You could see the ripple where he was going, the tail, when wet...
And we're all going, "This is fantastic! Look at him swim!" And then all the parents go, "Jesus!
"I hope he can swim all the way otherwise we're encouraging our children to watch a squirrel drown."
"Someone go out there, just in case he doesn't make it! I'll go."
And the squirrel goes, "Jesus, they're coming for me!"
-Tell me he made it.
-He disappeared from view and then, as we go,
"We have to explain death to these children," emerges out of the water, shakes himself off,
tail - whoomp! Runs into the trees.
-He swam the Thames? APPLAUSE
-He swam the Thames.
-I'm very happy.
-And raised 400 quid for Sport Relief.
You have to watch the last item on every local news coverage
because two minutes later he was on water skis.
could you demonstrate the best way to sit the dolls you've been given, which you should find somewhere,
in a chair? We're really after what's best for the back.
-You've got a chair and a bendy...
-'His politics are terrifying.' Please don't pull the string.
-These are Stigs that you can buy in shops.
-You pull the string and Clarkson speaks?
Could anything give nightmares to children more? You're not Woody from Toy Story, are you?
Well, what we're after is what you think, what you seriously think,
is possibly the healthiest way to sit at a chair in an office.
I can reveal that this is how the Stig actually sits in a chair.
-You've all gone for very unusual postures.
-Yes, I love those.
The head just came off mine and he revealed himself to be Action Man.
-I knew it! You're all doing very interesting shapes.
-There you go.
That's good for his back, is it?
Oddly enough, Clarkson wins.
-It's not difficult!
-You win because you're right, not just because you're the least wrong.
The idea was that sitting up straight was good for your back.
Actually, quite a steep backward... 30-odd degrees, is much better for you.
It's a bit unfortunate if you slip off your chair. It looks lazy, so bosses never like to see it,
but you can say, "It said on QI so it must be true,"
or you can point to the research that's been done.
You know if you use a chair like a lion tamer uses a chair? Would that repel a cat?
-That's how you start, I guess. Start on a cat and you build up through the feline species.
-You start with a smaller chair?
-No, you start with a cat.
I'd start with a lion and a really huge chair.
-No, start with a small cat and a small chair.
Use Stig to show me where the nasty man touched you, Alan.
Put them all away now, children.
-This must have been...
-I've got bloody Jim Henson here!
Oh, look, look, actually. What we can do is have
our very own mock execution.
JEREMY: All we need now is a saw and there you go.
Just because you revealed his identity in a book, you've got to fry him. Unfair.
Moving on, if you can put away your toys...
Let's have an ingenious interlude now.
I want you all to make a homopolar motor. You should have a bowl with these.
This was first done in 1820 by one of the great scientists
and it's rather amazing.
You've got a wood screw, a magnet, a piece of wire and a battery.
-A homophobic motor, did you say?
It means you get rather depressed and you're gay. No, shush.
-Sir? Sir? What do you have to do?
-Watch the tape behind.
The tape behind.
Take the screw...
-You touch it.
-..in your right hand...
What's he doing now?
Is that just stuck to the...? What's he done? Oh, I see.
-Holy moly! If this works...
-It's extraordinary how fast it goes round.
-It spins round so fast...
-It really, really does.
-It's still going! I'm not even connected!
-Why doesn't mine work?
-Why is that working?
-Look at that!
-If I was to use the power from the buzzer
-and just stick that...
-It's going without the wire.
-It's slowing down.
-You don't need the wire.
-Your finger might be completing the circuit.
-I've got sparks!
-I dropped it down there.
Perhaps you could be kind... Thank you. Michael Faraday demonstrated it all that time ago in 1820.
And the ingenious thing about it is the speed at which it goes round.
It goes at about 10,000rpm.
All right, into the ice-cold shower of general ignorance we plunge ourselves. Fingers on buzzers.
If they're still working, Ross.
-We live in a spiral galaxy, don't we? Yes, thank you.
We live in a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way. How many arms does that spiral have?
-Yes, you're right! We don't know. Very good.
-And the reason we don't know is because we're inside it.
-We couldn't possibly know.
We can see distant galaxies and count their arms, but our own, when you're inside, you can't tell.
Now can you be bothered to tell me what make and model of car this is?
-It's a three-wheeler. You drove one hilariously and kept falling over at corners.
Is it a Robin Reliant?
KLAXON That was really mean of me. I knew someone would do that.
-Everyone calls it a Robin Reliant.
-It's not a Robin Reliant.
-It's a Regal supervan.
-The Robin was a different model.
It gets in the way of Mr Bean's Mini as well. People think that's a Robin Reliant.
They are these Regal supervans.
You have driven a Reliant Robin. Would you like to remind yourself of that experience?
This was setting off in it. Sheffield.
You get to the first corner and...
That was a fast one
and then it rolled over again.
And then it rolled over all day. And then it rolled in the river. LAUGHTER
Now apparently letters came to your office saying
-that if "Mr So-called Jeremy Clarkson..."
-On So-called Top So-Called Gear, yes.
"..knew how to drive the Robin, he would know you cannot drive it at speed."
-As if you were all incredibly disappointed.
Oh, no, it's rolled over again. I must drive more carefully so it's completely boring.
-You challenged the Stig to drive it.
-He rolled it over.
-It was unbelievably comfortable.
You'd be very surprised. As it flops over, I don't know if it's the shape, but... "That's nice."
It's quite annoying to be sitting bolt upright. Everybody looks a bit idiotic when they're driving.
And so to think, "I'm a bit weary. Oh, yes..."
- And have a lie down. - I once flipped a Land Rover.
The thing went over, onto its roof, onto its side. My wife's lip gloss hit me in the face.
And then the sat nav on the dashboard just came crashing down
and I was lying there, dust all over the place, and the sat nav went, "Off route. Recalculating."
-"If possible, do a U-turn."
-I just remembered, when we did rolling the Reliant Robin over,
Health and Safety got involved and they made us take every single thing out of the car,
including my cigarettes and lighter, lest these catapult around and smack me in the eye.
So every thing was taken out. Then they put in this sort of window-breaking hammer.
A very substantial piece of steel. A window punch. And they put that on the centre console.
And the abiding memory I have was this spike going...pshhh!
The safety equipment bloody nearly took my head off.
Unhealth and lack of safety gone mad. I'm thinking of training either as a doctor or a vet.
Obviously I want the... Good God. I want the shortest possible course. Which should I choose?
Which is the quickest one to become?
I'll do it. Ready? Doctors.
People have it in their heads that it takes longer to qualify as a vet than as a doctor. It doesn't.
By about two years it doesn't. A veterinary degree takes 5 or 6 years,
but to become a British GP is a minimum of 9 years.
And then 12 years to be a hospital consultant.
-How long was it for vets?
-Vets, it depends on the course, but five or six years.
They have the highest suicide rate, do they not?
-The only people who want to be vets are people who love animals.
-And most of the time they...
"I love animals. I so want to be a vet." And you study for six years
-and then all you do is drive around killing animals.
-Put them to sleep!
"My dog's not well."
"My horse! It's been in the family..."
-Eventually, it's going to get to you. You'll get fed up.
-If you're doing them three at a time!
You're not quite as emotionally attached as you previously were! You're popping them gang-stylee!
You're lining them up three in a row to see how many you can do...
I'm sometimes terrified when our vet comes to shoot the donkeys or the horses.
"Donkey or horse - you decide." LAUGHTER
When you did that sound effect there, that's the end of EastEnders.
-In my head, every time I watch EastEnders and they go...
-Horses are dying!
You'll hear, "Doof doof..." and I'll imagine bleeding donkeys falling.
It should have been terriers.
-"And now All Creatures Great And Small..." Doof, doof, doof!
-That's how it starts!
-Well, it will take at least nine years to train as a GP
whereas vets can do it in five. Which brings us ambling idly towards the scores
and what reading they make. In last place...
with an impressive minus 15, Dara O Briain!
Lounging lazily behind him on plus 1, Jeremy Clarkson!
Er, a little bit ahead there, though, on plus 4 is Ross Noble!
And in an episode which is all about indolence, who would ever have thought that the day would come
when I would say that our runaway winner with plus 12 is Alan Davies!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
That's all from this indolent edition of QI, so it's good night
and I leave our losers with these wise words from James Thurber.
"It's better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all." Good night.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011
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