Oceans QI


Oceans

Sandi Toksvig looks at the oceans, and hears one publisher's suggestion for a radical improvement to Moby Dick. With Aisling Bea, Joe Lycett, David Mitchell and Alan Davies.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Oceans. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to QI, tonight...

0:00:340:00:36

SHE IMITATES BUBBLES

0:00:360:00:38

..we are setting sail.

0:00:380:00:40

LAUGHTER

0:00:400:00:41

I do all me own effects.

0:00:410:00:43

Tonight, we are setting sail for the open oceans, so without further ado,

0:00:430:00:48

let's meet our crew.

0:00:480:00:50

Floundering about, it's David Mitchell!

0:00:500:00:52

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:00:520:00:54

Just for the "halibut", Aisling Bea!

0:00:570:01:01

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:01:010:01:03

All over the "plaice", Joe Lycett!

0:01:060:01:09

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:01:090:01:10

And never mind the "pollocks",

0:01:140:01:16

it's Alan Davies!

0:01:160:01:18

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:01:180:01:20

Right, let's hear their call signs.

0:01:230:01:25

David goes...

0:01:250:01:27

MUSIC: How Deep Is The Ocean? by Irving Berlin

0:01:270:01:31

Aisling goes...

0:01:310:01:33

MUSIC: My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean

0:01:330:01:36

Tune!

0:01:360:01:37

Joe goes...

0:01:390:01:41

SKA VERSION: I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

0:01:410:01:43

..and Alan goes...

0:01:460:01:48

KIDS SING: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

0:01:480:01:51

We were all so happy!

0:01:540:01:56

Agh!

0:02:000:02:03

Right, we start off with how many oceans are there on Earth?

0:02:030:02:07

-Oh... No...

-Six!

0:02:070:02:08

I can count them.

0:02:080:02:09

KLAXON BLARES

0:02:090:02:12

First time on the show.

0:02:130:02:15

Straight into that trap. Any more?

0:02:150:02:18

-Five.

-Five!

0:02:180:02:19

KLAXON BLARES

0:02:190:02:22

One!

0:02:220:02:23

One is the correct answer.

0:02:230:02:25

-Well, they're all joined, aren't they?

-That is the reason! Indeed.

0:02:250:02:28

According to America's National Oceanic

0:02:280:02:30

and Atmospheric Administration, there's only one ocean.

0:02:300:02:33

It's the World Ocean and it covers 71% of the world's surface.

0:02:330:02:37

So, to make it a bit more convenient,

0:02:370:02:39

they divide it into four smaller oceans - the Pacific, the Atlantic,

0:02:390:02:42

the Indian and the Arctic.

0:02:420:02:45

And the US Board on Geographic Names recognises the Southern,

0:02:450:02:48

that's the Antarctic Ocean as a fifth,

0:02:480:02:50

but the International Hydrographic Organisation

0:02:500:02:54

has not yet approved it,

0:02:540:02:55

and I imagine there's going to be a fight.

0:02:550:02:58

LAUGHTER

0:02:580:02:59

Largest ocean in the solar system, anybody?

0:02:590:03:02

In the solar system?

0:03:020:03:04

-What do we reckon?

-It's not going to be an ocean with water in it.

0:03:040:03:06

Well, that is the thing that we do not know.

0:03:060:03:09

It's one of the moons.

0:03:090:03:11

Is it the one...?

0:03:110:03:12

Eucalyptus?

0:03:120:03:13

LAUGHTER

0:03:130:03:15

-What's it called?

-Titan. It's bound to be Titan.

0:03:150:03:17

-That's the only moon.

-Euripides?

-Europa.

-Europa.

0:03:170:03:19

I'm going to give you an extra point for that, because, yeah, very good.

0:03:190:03:23

Absolutely.

0:03:230:03:24

APPLAUSE

0:03:240:03:27

It's Jupiter's moon, Europa.

0:03:270:03:29

The Hubble Telescope has detected a water plume

0:03:290:03:31

which is 20 times higher than Mount Everest.

0:03:310:03:34

So, possibly there is three times as much water on Europa

0:03:340:03:38

as there is in the World Ocean.

0:03:380:03:40

-If it's water.

-If... It's hard to say.

0:03:400:03:42

-We don't know what... It could be custard.

-Yes!

-Famously.

0:03:420:03:45

Jupiter custard.

0:03:450:03:47

If it's custard, where were the eggs sourced?

0:03:470:03:51

LAUGHTER

0:03:510:03:52

Are you worrying about the organic nature of Jupiter?

0:03:520:03:55

No, I wouldn't mind if it's sort of powdered custard,

0:03:550:03:57

but either way, you've got to think,

0:03:570:03:59

where's the vanilla come from? The eggs?

0:03:590:04:01

You've got to think about it scientifically.

0:04:010:04:04

That's one of the things that means it probably isn't custard.

0:04:040:04:07

-Yes.

-That's why they've jumped to water.

0:04:070:04:10

I'm examining it properly.

0:04:100:04:12

Please don't let this be caught by you, this system that David employs.

0:04:120:04:16

I like powdered custard.

0:04:180:04:20

-AISLING:

-Well, you heard it here first.

0:04:200:04:22

How has this happened to me?

0:04:240:04:25

So, the etymology of ocean? Anybody know where it comes from?

0:04:270:04:31

-Billy, it's named after Billy.

-Billy!

0:04:310:04:34

It's great Oceanus, the great river or sea surrounding...

0:04:340:04:38

Well, the only known land masses at the time,

0:04:380:04:41

Eurasia and Africa and the river was personified by Oceanus,

0:04:410:04:44

son of Uranus for the Earth and Gaia from the sky.

0:04:440:04:47

A big muscular fella, wasn't he?

0:04:470:04:50

-AISLING:

-He looks like he owns like a Shoreditch coffee bar.

0:04:500:04:52

LAUGHTER

0:04:520:04:54

"Oh, my God, we've got every sort of coffee you could imagine.

0:04:580:05:01

"We've got the stuff made by weasels, we've got..."

0:05:010:05:04

And he was married to his sister!

0:05:050:05:07

Listen, don't knock it till you've tried it!

0:05:070:05:09

How many kids do you think they had? He and his sister Tethys.

0:05:110:05:14

Three kids, six heads.

0:05:140:05:16

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:05:160:05:18

6,000.

0:05:240:05:26

6,000. 3,000 boy river gods and...

0:05:260:05:28

Were they all like tadpoles?

0:05:280:05:31

Yeah, 3,000 girl sea nymphs.

0:05:310:05:33

There's no picture of her cos she just couldn't sit still.

0:05:330:05:35

There's just one ocean on Earth

0:05:380:05:41

and that's why it's called the ocean.

0:05:410:05:44

I call it the sea.

0:05:440:05:45

I think the ocean is a bit of an Americanism.

0:05:480:05:50

I think we should have waited till Series S.

0:05:500:05:53

Right, moving on, what's the scariest thing about this?

0:05:570:06:02

MUSIC: Theme from Jaws

0:06:040:06:06

Isn't that incredible?

0:06:090:06:10

What is the most scary thing about it?

0:06:100:06:14

-DAVID AND ALAN:

-The teeth.

0:06:140:06:15

KLAXON BLARES

0:06:150:06:17

The fact that they can't go backwards.

0:06:190:06:21

SILENCE

0:06:210:06:23

LAUGHTER

0:06:230:06:24

I'm sorry, that takes them a bit long to type!

0:06:260:06:28

KLAXON BLARES

0:06:300:06:32

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:06:320:06:34

-What's scary is subjective, really, isn't it?

-What is the scariest?

0:06:420:06:46

Well, our perception of sharks

0:06:460:06:48

is apparently shaped by footage in nature documentaries,

0:06:480:06:51

which tends to be accompanied by ominous music.

0:06:510:06:55

So the thing that really scares you in it is ominous music.

0:06:550:06:58

So, they did a study at the University of California,

0:06:580:07:00

and they showed three clips of sharks to participants.

0:07:000:07:03

So, the one that we've just seen, with the ominous music,

0:07:030:07:05

here's one with silence.

0:07:050:07:06

"Hello, my friend!"

0:07:080:07:10

LAUGHTER

0:07:100:07:12

Oh...

0:07:130:07:15

HE IMITATES RUFFLING A DOG

0:07:170:07:19

Ahhhhhhhhh...

0:07:210:07:26

-# Ahhhhh-h-h-h-h! #

-Have a look at this.

0:07:260:07:29

HE VOCALISES

0:07:300:07:33

Do you know what, there's a whole show for you, Alan,

0:07:330:07:37

in just doing fish impersonations.

0:07:370:07:40

We had the trout faking her orgasm last series.

0:07:410:07:44

They've done that.

0:07:440:07:45

LAUGHTER

0:07:450:07:47

Different orgasm, same trout.

0:07:530:07:55

LAUGHTER

0:07:550:07:56

Can you do shark that has a orgasm?

0:07:570:08:00

HE LAUGHS

0:08:000:08:02

Ahh... Ah, oh!

0:08:030:08:08

LAUGHTER

0:08:080:08:09

Mildly surprised!

0:08:120:08:14

Because they don't know they're going to have an orgasm,

0:08:140:08:17

they haven't learned about orgasms

0:08:170:08:19

or experimented with themselves, I imagine.

0:08:190:08:21

Then, when they have an orgasm the first time,

0:08:210:08:23

it must be very alarming.

0:08:230:08:24

My worry is watching you do them

0:08:240:08:26

that you haven't seen someone have one before.

0:08:260:08:29

LAUGHTER

0:08:290:08:32

Ohhh-oh!

0:08:320:08:34

Ohhh-oh! Oh-oh!

0:08:340:08:37

It's not accurate for the second or the third time,

0:08:390:08:41

then they're much more, ahhhhh...

0:08:410:08:45

Ah...

0:08:450:08:47

Aaaah...

0:08:470:08:49

Is everything OK at home, Alan?

0:08:510:08:53

LAUGHTER

0:08:530:08:56

Anyway!

0:08:560:08:58

Let's have a look at the same clip with uplifting music.

0:08:580:09:01

MUSIC: Morning from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg

0:09:010:09:05

But here's the thing, they aren't actually that dangerous.

0:09:120:09:14

And the thought is that the ominous nature of documentaries

0:09:140:09:17

leads the public to have a distrust of sharks and that, in turn,

0:09:170:09:19

harms their conservation funding.

0:09:190:09:21

The truth is sharks kill, worldwide, about six people a year,

0:09:210:09:25

and the same number are killed by livestock in Britain alone.

0:09:250:09:29

So, a cow more likely to do you in than a shark.

0:09:290:09:33

Ants, they kill 30 people a year.

0:09:330:09:35

-Jellyfish...

-What, how?

0:09:350:09:37

Luring them across the road.

0:09:370:09:39

LAUGHTER

0:09:390:09:41

Which do you think is the most dangerous out of all those animals,

0:09:470:09:50

in terms of human deaths?

0:09:500:09:51

Well, I know hippos are real psychos.

0:09:510:09:53

Yeah, it is the hippo. Absolutely, they kill...

0:09:530:09:56

Psychos!

0:09:560:09:57

"That hippo's a psycho, man!"

0:09:570:09:59

2,900 people a year are killed by hippos.

0:09:590:10:02

-Really?

-Compare that to six people killed by sharks.

0:10:020:10:05

You are 1,000 times more likely to drown in the sea

0:10:050:10:07

than you are to be bitten by a shark even in an area with sharks.

0:10:070:10:11

You know that wonderful tune written by John Williams,

0:10:110:10:13

the two-note theme to Jaws?

0:10:130:10:14

He described it as "grinding away at you just as a shark would do

0:10:140:10:17

"instinctual, relentless and unstoppable."

0:10:170:10:20

Benchley actually has a shark named after him.

0:10:200:10:22

Etmopterus benchleyi.

0:10:220:10:25

It's not exactly a killer, it's about 30-50cm long,

0:10:250:10:28

also known as ninja lantern shark.

0:10:280:10:30

It's fairly recently discovered,

0:10:300:10:32

it lives off the coast of Central America.

0:10:320:10:34

We don't have one obviously in the studio.

0:10:340:10:37

But I have a life-size cut-out. It looks like that. It's rather sweet.

0:10:370:10:40

That's the size it is in real life?

0:10:400:10:42

That's the size of the one that Peter Benchley, who wrote Jaws,

0:10:420:10:45

-has got named after him.

-That is pathetic.

-Yeah?

0:10:450:10:48

This is a shark.

0:10:480:10:49

LAUGHTER

0:10:490:10:52

HE IMITATES JAWS THEME

0:10:560:10:58

-Rar!

-But see, you couldn't help yourself but do the music,

0:10:580:11:02

you immediately went... ALL IMITATE JAWS THEME

0:11:020:11:04

So he looks really nice and friendly there.

0:11:040:11:06

He looks rather sweet.

0:11:060:11:09

It's got a lot of things on the side that says you shouldn't do.

0:11:090:11:12

But it doesn't say don't swim with actual sharks.

0:11:120:11:15

That is not the smallest shark, though,

0:11:150:11:17

the one named after Benchley.

0:11:170:11:18

The dwarf lantern shark is the smallest,

0:11:180:11:20

and it grows to only about 15 centimetres.

0:11:200:11:22

Aw!

0:11:220:11:24

I'd say, you know, a couple of those on a pizza, a bit of tomato.

0:11:240:11:27

Their stomach organs emit light

0:11:280:11:30

to camouflage them from creatures below, so it makes them

0:11:300:11:33

blend into the sunlight that streams from the light above.

0:11:330:11:35

My favourite shark that I've ever seen was Joe Lycett

0:11:350:11:37

in a swimming pool in Canada.

0:11:370:11:39

We were doing a gig there together and you have, you know,

0:11:390:11:41

-your little, like...

-Oh, yeah.

-Your shark that he does in the pool.

0:11:410:11:44

And... But you don't see Joe coming.

0:11:440:11:46

And then he goes... # Der-da! Der-da! Der-da... #

0:11:460:11:49

SHE IMITATES RIFF: I Love You Baby

0:11:490:11:52

LAUGHTER

0:11:520:11:54

There was a gay Jaws, as well, that I did,

0:11:540:11:57

which was # Der-da! Der-da! Der-da... #

0:11:570:11:59

Oooh!

0:11:590:12:01

Scared of me?

0:12:010:12:02

Shut up!

0:12:020:12:04

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:12:040:12:06

Did you know that female sharks can reproduce without male contact?

0:12:120:12:16

Finally!

0:12:160:12:17

-Living the dream.

-It is almost impossible to sneak up on a shark,

0:12:190:12:23

and that's because they have eyes on the side of their head.

0:12:230:12:25

They can see behind them just as well as they can see in front.

0:12:250:12:29

I'm very...

0:12:290:12:30

LAUGHTER

0:12:300:12:32

So, they've got two blind spots.

0:12:350:12:37

One directly in front of them, and one behind.

0:12:370:12:39

I'm interested that someone has worked out

0:12:390:12:42

how difficult it is to sneak up on a shark.

0:12:420:12:46

That would involve someone seeing a shark and thinking,

0:12:460:12:49

"I tell you what, I'm going to sneak up on it.

0:12:490:12:52

"I'm going to give that shark the fright of its life."

0:12:520:12:54

-Who...

-"Do you know, it's really difficult to sneak up on them!"

0:12:570:13:01

The kid's going... # Der-da! Der-da! Der-da... #

0:13:010:13:03

Who would like to see a shark which can bite chunks

0:13:030:13:06

-out of a submarine? Who would like to see?

-Yeah. Yes, please.

0:13:060:13:09

OK, I don't even... Alan, can you lift that up, darling?

0:13:090:13:12

It's very heavy. Here we have...

0:13:120:13:14

ALAN GROANS

0:13:140:13:16

So butch.

0:13:160:13:18

I shat that out earlier.

0:13:180:13:20

LAUGHTER

0:13:200:13:21

There it is, I don't know if you can...if you can see it that well.

0:13:260:13:30

You're going to be so sorry, because the expert who's brought that in

0:13:350:13:39

is about to speak to us, and you're going to be mortified.

0:13:390:13:41

LAUGHTER

0:13:410:13:43

It is about 18 inches long and...

0:13:450:13:48

In fact, we have a number of things.

0:13:480:13:50

Please welcome Chris Bird from Southampton University,

0:13:500:13:53

and Ali Hood of the Shark Trust. Who are sitting just over there.

0:13:530:13:56

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:13:560:13:58

Chris, let's start with the one in the jar.

0:14:000:14:02

Is it true it could bite a chunk out of a submarine?

0:14:020:14:04

Yeah, there's certainly historical evidence

0:14:040:14:07

of them biting through the rubber coverings of submarines

0:14:070:14:09

and cables on undersea cameras and things like that.

0:14:090:14:12

-So what is this one called?

-That's the cookie cutter shark.

0:14:120:14:14

-And why's it called that?

-It leaves these really distinctive

0:14:140:14:18

kind of cookie-cutter bite marks on its prey.

0:14:180:14:21

So, it usually eats whales and big fish.

0:14:210:14:24

And it will suck onto the side of them, bore out a cookie cutter hole,

0:14:240:14:28

and then swim off.

0:14:280:14:29

And sometimes it confuses submarines and cameras and cables for...

0:14:290:14:35

-Right...

-..their prey.

-And could it hurt a person?

0:14:350:14:37

There's been one case of a person being eaten

0:14:370:14:39

whilst they were swimming at night between two islands.

0:14:390:14:42

Now, Ali, let me just talk about this,

0:14:420:14:44

because I have sometimes found these on a beach.

0:14:440:14:46

Tell me what it is. Is this a UK...?

0:14:460:14:49

Yes, yes, we have oviparous - egg-laying -

0:14:490:14:52

-sharks and skates in the UK.

-So what is this? This is a...?

0:14:520:14:55

-That's...

-That one is the egg case of a flapper skate.

0:14:550:14:58

It's found up in Scotland, around the north of Ireland.

0:14:580:15:01

And that's one of the largest skates globally.

0:15:010:15:03

It grows to two to three metres across its wingspan.

0:15:030:15:05

Some people call them mermaids' purses, but it's sharks' eggs,

0:15:050:15:08

-isn't it?

-Yeah, shark and skate and ray eggs, yeah.

0:15:080:15:10

And when you find them they're all empty, is that right?

0:15:100:15:12

Generally, they're empty. If they're not, you'll know,

0:15:120:15:14

-cos they'll be quite stinky.

-And this one here?

0:15:140:15:17

The smaller species you have there are skate.

0:15:170:15:19

Or we call them rays.

0:15:190:15:20

If they've got curly tendrils...

0:15:200:15:22

-Yes...

-..those are cat shark egg cases,

0:15:220:15:24

so we have three egg-laying sharks in British waters.

0:15:240:15:26

And people could just find these on the beach for themselves?

0:15:260:15:29

-Yeah.

-OK. Ali and Chris, thank you so very much. How wonderful.

0:15:290:15:32

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:15:320:15:35

Would you like me to put my shark away?

0:15:370:15:39

Yes, please, darling. Sorry, Alan.

0:15:390:15:42

Goodbye, old friend.

0:15:420:15:44

LAUGHTER

0:15:440:15:45

Right, what's the biggest thing in the ocean

0:15:470:15:50

that you've never heard of?

0:15:500:15:51

Oh.

0:15:510:15:52

Well, I mean, we've never heard of it,

0:15:520:15:54

so it's difficult for us to name.

0:15:540:15:56

Yes. That is true.

0:15:560:15:58

-Yeah, so...

-Shall we have a stab at it?

0:15:580:16:00

-Yes.

-The sherdobleh.

0:16:000:16:01

That's what I was going to say.

0:16:010:16:03

# Row your boat... # Blue whale.

0:16:030:16:05

KLAXON BLARES

0:16:050:16:07

I mean, they're astonishing, up to 98 feet, 170 tonnes,

0:16:110:16:14

but I want one you've never heard of.

0:16:140:16:16

# Row your boat... #

0:16:160:16:18

Red whale.

0:16:180:16:19

LAUGHTER

0:16:190:16:21

It's called the ocean sunfish.

0:16:230:16:25

The common mola.

0:16:250:16:27

It is essentially a giant head covered in mucus.

0:16:270:16:30

-AISLING GROANS

-Oh, God!

0:16:300:16:32

We've all been there!

0:16:320:16:34

LAUGHTER

0:16:340:16:37

They spend most of their time sunbathing

0:16:370:16:38

on the surface of the ocean.

0:16:380:16:40

One of these adults can literally weigh a tonne.

0:16:400:16:43

And they grow to be 60 million times heavier than their larvae,

0:16:430:16:48

so that would be like a human baby becoming an adult

0:16:480:16:51

the size of six Titanics.

0:16:510:16:53

Apparently, they're just not aggressive in any way.

0:16:530:16:55

There's only one human death attributed to a mola,

0:16:550:16:58

and that is a man who was accidentally flattened

0:16:580:17:01

by one leaping.

0:17:010:17:02

What size are they, then?

0:17:040:17:06

About six by eight foot, but really it's like having a car come at you.

0:17:060:17:09

-It's like a sort of Cadillac.

-Whoa! God, they are big.

-Yeah.

0:17:090:17:13

Where would you find one?

0:17:130:17:15

They like it warm, darling.

0:17:150:17:16

You're not going to find it round the British coast.

0:17:160:17:18

They're very strong swimmers

0:17:180:17:19

and they can dive down to a fantastic depth of 2,600 metres.

0:17:190:17:22

And the females produce as many as 300 million eggs at a time, but...

0:17:220:17:27

only two survive.

0:17:270:17:30

Aww.

0:17:300:17:31

Yeah. I don't know...

0:17:310:17:33

We feel bad, we're invested now in the mola.

0:17:330:17:35

It looks like it's not finished.

0:17:350:17:37

They've sort of gone like,

0:17:390:17:40

"Just squeeze it in at the bottom. There, that'll be fine."

0:17:400:17:43

It's like the Good Lord went, "Er, it'll do."

0:17:450:17:47

-Unfinished sculpture of a fish.

-Yeah.

0:17:480:17:51

Now, as an editor, what suggestions would you make to improve Moby Dick?

0:17:530:17:57

# The sea... #

0:17:570:17:59

Yes?

0:17:590:18:00

I think it should have,

0:18:000:18:02

like a feminist remake

0:18:020:18:04

and it should be called Moby Fanny.

0:18:040:18:06

LAUGHTER

0:18:060:18:09

Do you want to give me any plot points at all?

0:18:130:18:16

She still eats a man whole, um...

0:18:160:18:18

LAUGHTER

0:18:180:18:20

The publisher who it was sent to, Peter J Bentley,

0:18:220:18:24

rejected Herman Melville's Moby Dick because he didn't like the whale.

0:18:240:18:29

This is what he wrote.

0:18:290:18:31

"First, we must ask, does it have to be a whale?

0:18:310:18:35

"While this is a rather delightful, if somewhat esoteric plot device,

0:18:350:18:39

"we recommend an antagonist with a more popular visage

0:18:390:18:41

"among the younger readers. For instance,

0:18:410:18:44

"could not the captain be struggling

0:18:440:18:46

"with a depravity towards young, perhaps voluptuous, maidens?"

0:18:460:18:50

LAUGHTER

0:18:500:18:52

Partly inspired by a real whale called Mocha Dick,

0:18:560:18:58

a whale that was fantastically fussy about his coffee.

0:18:580:19:02

LAUGHTER

0:19:020:19:04

-Well, Starbuck's a character in it, isn't he?

-Yes, absolutely.

0:19:040:19:07

So, it was a real whale, an albino sperm whale

0:19:070:19:10

who swam alongside whaling boats

0:19:100:19:11

and if the boats tried to attack Mocha Dick,

0:19:110:19:13

he would then destroy them.

0:19:130:19:14

In fact, when he was killed in 1839,

0:19:140:19:16

they found 19 harpoons in his side.

0:19:160:19:18

It was a legendary whale.

0:19:180:19:20

Poor old Herman Melville,

0:19:200:19:22

3,715 copies of Moby Dick sold in his lifetime, and just 556.37,

0:19:220:19:27

he died virtually unknown.

0:19:270:19:30

And then in 2014, the Guardian named Moby Dick

0:19:300:19:33

the 17th greatest novel of all time.

0:19:330:19:36

So for an extra point, buzz in,

0:19:360:19:38

who knows the first line of Moby Dick?

0:19:380:19:40

-AUDIENCE MEMBER:

-"Call me Ishmael."

0:19:410:19:43

"Call me Ishmael," absolutely right.

0:19:430:19:45

"Some years ago, never mind how long precisely,

0:19:450:19:47

"having little or no money in my purse

0:19:470:19:49

"and nothing particular to interest me on shore,

0:19:490:19:51

"I thought I would sail about a little

0:19:510:19:53

"and see the watery part of the world."

0:19:530:19:55

According to American Book Review,

0:19:550:19:57

that is the number-one best sentence in the world.

0:19:570:20:00

I'm going to read out number two, and I will give a bonus point

0:20:000:20:03

to anybody who interrupts to tell me where it's from.

0:20:030:20:05

"It's a truth universally acknowledged

0:20:050:20:07

"that a single man in possession of a good fortune..."

0:20:070:20:10

It's Jane Austen, isn't it? Pride And Prejudice?

0:20:100:20:12

Pride And Prejudice, you're absolutely right, yes.

0:20:120:20:14

"..must be in want of a wife."

0:20:140:20:16

Have you got anything lower down,

0:20:160:20:17

like Harry Potter-ish that I can buzz in for?

0:20:170:20:19

Is the third one, "If it's custard..."

0:20:190:20:22

LAUGHTER

0:20:220:20:24

Now, what kind of bag were all British lifeboats

0:20:260:20:29

required to carry until 1998?

0:20:290:20:31

A ha-a-andba-a-a-ag.

0:20:310:20:33

KLAXON BLARES

0:20:330:20:37

Sick bag.

0:20:430:20:44

KLAXON BLARES

0:20:440:20:46

-A bag for life?

-A bag for life!

0:20:460:20:49

-See?

-That's very good...

-See what I did there?

0:20:500:20:52

-It's a lifeboat, it's a bag for life.

-That's very good.

0:20:520:20:55

Is it one of those wet bags that keeps things dry?

0:20:550:20:57

Well, it certainly has liquid in it.

0:20:570:20:59

-Ooh...

-So, what kind of liquid might you take with you...?

0:20:590:21:02

Custard.

0:21:020:21:03

-A bag of custard.

-A bag of custard.

0:21:050:21:08

It's oil. They were known as wave-quelling bags,

0:21:080:21:11

so oil was commonly used to calm troubled waters.

0:21:110:21:14

I'm sure you've heard the expression.

0:21:140:21:15

It was kept in canvas bag, which was attached to the anchor,

0:21:150:21:18

and it worked by reducing the wave height and the sea spray,

0:21:180:21:21

and lifeboats were required to carry oil bags until 1998.

0:21:210:21:25

How much oil would you need to put in the water to stop a wave?

0:21:250:21:28

It's really a small amount.

0:21:280:21:30

So a single tablespoon of oil dropped onto a lake

0:21:300:21:33

-can calm half an acre of water.

-No, no, that's...

0:21:330:21:36

What happens is it spreads out and forms a layer,

0:21:360:21:38

which is one molecule thick, and that is enough to prevent

0:21:380:21:41

the wind from whipping up the waves onto the surface.

0:21:410:21:43

This is something that has been known about since Pliny the Elder,

0:21:430:21:46

and he wrote, "Everything is soothed by oil," and this is the reason why

0:21:460:21:50

divers send out small quantities of it from their mouths,

0:21:500:21:53

because it smoothes every part which is rough.

0:21:530:21:55

Oh, my God. Like a salad dressing amount.

0:21:550:21:58

How are you making your salad?!

0:21:580:22:01

-I was giving it a bit of...

-She's tossing it, darling.

0:22:010:22:03

It's amazing, the amount of oil slicks there've been

0:22:030:22:06

in the last half a century,

0:22:060:22:08

it's amazing there's ever any rough weather at sea.

0:22:080:22:10

Nobody ever sees the positive side of an oil slick.

0:22:120:22:16

Genuinely, though, in an oil slick area,

0:22:160:22:18

would there then be no waves for ages?

0:22:180:22:21

It would genuinely calm the waters,

0:22:210:22:22

and one of the reasons why we know this,

0:22:220:22:24

the person who did so many experiments on this,

0:22:240:22:26

is the great American statesman Benjamin Franklin.

0:22:260:22:28

He saw two ships from a flotilla,

0:22:280:22:31

and they had smooth waters in their wake while the other ships didn't.

0:22:310:22:33

And he asked why, and he was told that those ships had jettisoned

0:22:330:22:37

their kitchen grease and that therefore gave them

0:22:370:22:39

the easier passage. And he checked this out. And what's lovely,

0:22:390:22:42

he did experiments on a place in London,

0:22:420:22:44

and there's a place called Mount Pond, on Clapham Common,

0:22:440:22:46

and that is, in fact, where he did his experiments,

0:22:460:22:48

and the pond is still there today.

0:22:480:22:50

It stinks of chip fat.

0:22:500:22:51

LAUGHTER

0:22:510:22:53

And now, steady your stomachs and hold on to the handrail,

0:22:550:22:57

it's time for General Ignorance.

0:22:570:22:59

Complete this sentence.

0:22:590:23:01

There are plenty more fish in the...

0:23:010:23:03

# How deep...? #

0:23:030:23:05

Sea.

0:23:050:23:06

KLAXON BLARES

0:23:060:23:08

You don't learn, do you?

0:23:090:23:11

-# Row your boat... #

-Yes.

0:23:110:23:13

Sky.

0:23:130:23:14

Only 20% of the world's fish species actually live in the sea,

0:23:160:23:19

-where do the rest live?

-In the rivers.

0:23:190:23:21

Rivers. Rivers and lakes, absolutely right.

0:23:210:23:23

Amazon, Congo, Mekong, all those kind of river basins,

0:23:230:23:26

particularly diverse and fish species,

0:23:260:23:28

so one site in the Amazon basin, Cantao State Park,

0:23:280:23:31

contains more freshwater fish species than the whole of Europe.

0:23:310:23:34

-That's a lot of fish!

-It is a lot of fish.

0:23:340:23:37

LAUGHTER

0:23:370:23:39

I think that's the premise for mentioning it.

0:23:390:23:41

SHE LAUGHS

0:23:410:23:43

Hang on! Do you see how he's understood the show?!

0:23:450:23:48

David? The next time you come on, that chair's very comfy.

0:23:480:23:52

Possible...

0:23:540:23:55

Of course, we have polluted our rivers

0:23:550:23:58

and many of them don't sustain large fish populations.

0:23:580:24:02

Yeah.

0:24:020:24:03

Um...

0:24:030:24:04

You talked about fish coming from the sky.

0:24:040:24:07

So, in Utah, it used to be that remote lakes

0:24:070:24:09

were once stocked by walking miles and miles with milk cans

0:24:090:24:13

full of fish, and today,

0:24:130:24:14

they're dropped from planes 150 foot above the lakes,

0:24:140:24:19

and it's called aerial restocking. Ted Hallows,

0:24:190:24:22

who's a hatchery manager from Kamas County in Utah, says,

0:24:220:24:26

"Most of the fish make it to the water safely."

0:24:260:24:28

And each one of those fish has got a JustGiving page.

0:24:290:24:32

LAUGHTER

0:24:320:24:34

Now, when do spring tides occur in the southern hemisphere?

0:24:380:24:42

-Ooh.

-Now, is it... Now...

0:24:420:24:45

-Ah.

-Yeah, yeah?

0:24:450:24:47

Oh...

0:24:470:24:48

# The sea... #

0:24:480:24:49

-Is it...

-Yes.

0:24:500:24:52

..the opposite to us here in the northern hemisphere, so...

0:24:520:24:57

-What are you going to say?

-I am going to go, Sandi, with

0:24:570:25:00

Augus-s-s-s...

0:25:000:25:02

September...

0:25:020:25:06

Are you saying autumn?

0:25:060:25:07

-KLAXON BLARES

-You're not giving me a clue.

0:25:070:25:10

-OK. Autumn, yeah.

-No.

0:25:100:25:12

-Darn.

-Anybody else?

0:25:120:25:14

-Spring.

-Hey!

0:25:140:25:15

KLAXON BLARES

0:25:150:25:17

Spring tides have got nothing to do with spring at all.

0:25:180:25:20

It is the high tide that follows a new or a full moon,

0:25:200:25:23

so it is the time when there is the most difference

0:25:230:25:25

between high and low tides.

0:25:250:25:27

So, basically, it occurs twice a month, all year round.

0:25:270:25:30

It just comes from an earlier meaning of spring,

0:25:300:25:33

which means to rise up suddenly, that's all it is.

0:25:330:25:35

But tide actually has a Norse origin, so in Denmark,

0:25:350:25:38

the word for time is "tid", T-I-D, and that's where we get tide from.

0:25:380:25:42

So, tide and time actually means the same thing.

0:25:420:25:44

It's like Eastertide, isn't it, doesn't refer to the tide.

0:25:440:25:47

That means Easter-time.

0:25:470:25:49

-Yuletide, it's the same. It's about time, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:25:490:25:51

Now, without leaving your seat,

0:25:510:25:53

please somebody do an impression of an Olympic diver.

0:25:530:25:57

"Hello, it's me, Tom Daley."

0:25:570:25:59

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:25:590:26:01

Do I get the point, or...?

0:26:080:26:10

Yeah, I liked that, you can have an extra point, that's very good.

0:26:100:26:13

-What do you mean?

-Uh, well, what do they look like?

0:26:130:26:15

They go, they dive...

0:26:150:26:17

KLAXON BLARES No.

0:26:170:26:18

No, they lock their hands together, like this.

0:26:210:26:24

And enter with the palms entering the water first,

0:26:240:26:27

because it creates less splash.

0:26:270:26:29

So they're trying to make a cavity in the water

0:26:290:26:31

wide enough for the body to go through, so if you look there,

0:26:310:26:34

-when they impact...

-I'm looking, I'm looking.

0:26:340:26:37

-It is an odd angle to see somebody at, isn't it?

-Not particularly.

0:26:370:26:41

LAUGHTER

0:26:410:26:42

Do you watch dangling men?

0:26:450:26:47

"If you wouldn't mind putting your ankles up there?"

0:26:490:26:52

I went to see Olympic diving.

0:26:540:26:56

-Was it good?

-Well, the thing about it is...

0:26:560:26:58

..once you've seen one, you really have seen them all.

0:27:000:27:02

One by one, they go up the top and whoop, splash!

0:27:050:27:08

HE EXHALES

0:27:080:27:11

Right, final question in our ocean show,

0:27:130:27:15

so we go to the greatest ocean of all.

0:27:150:27:17

How many lungs does Billy Ocean have?

0:27:170:27:20

I'm going to go one.

0:27:220:27:23

KLAXON BLARES

0:27:230:27:25

Three!

0:27:260:27:27

He has three. He has an extra pulmonary node

0:27:270:27:29

between his two regular lungs.

0:27:290:27:31

And some people attribute the fact

0:27:310:27:32

that he's got this extra lung capacity

0:27:320:27:34

as to why he's had such a long career.

0:27:340:27:36

I think it's cos he's one of the nicest men you will ever, ever meet.

0:27:360:27:39

Now, as we head back in to harbour,

0:27:390:27:41

let's take a quick look at the score.

0:27:410:27:42

All at sea, in last place,

0:27:420:27:45

with -51, it's Alan!

0:27:450:27:48

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:480:27:49

In third place with -37, David!

0:27:530:27:56

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:560:27:58

In second, with -17, Aisling!

0:28:000:28:03

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:28:030:28:06

And tonight's winner, with -15, it's Joe!

0:28:060:28:10

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:28:100:28:13

Tonight's objectionable object,

0:28:190:28:22

this lovely sausage dog drink dispenser, goes to Joe.

0:28:220:28:27

-Congratulations.

-I love that.

-There you go.

-Look at that!

0:28:270:28:31

Fantastic! It only remains for me to thank Aisling, David, Joe and Alan.

0:28:310:28:35

Now that we've all disembarked safely,

0:28:360:28:38

we hope you enjoyed your voyage aboard the QI2,

0:28:380:28:41

and we'll leave you with this.

0:28:410:28:42

During the early days of the Iraq war,

0:28:420:28:44

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon stated in Parliament

0:28:440:28:47

that the port of Umm Qasr was like the city of Southampton.

0:28:470:28:50

"He's either never been to Umm Qasr or he's never been to Southampton,"

0:28:500:28:53

said one soldier. "There's no beer, no prostitutes,

0:28:530:28:56

"and people are shooting at us.

0:28:560:28:57

"It's actually more like Portsmouth!"

0:28:570:28:59

Thank you very much, goodnight!

0:28:590:29:01

Sandi Toksvig looks at the oceans. Tune in to hear one publisher's suggestion for a radical improvement to Moby Dick. With Aisling Bea, Joe Lycett, David Mitchell and Alan Davies.