Series J, Episode 11 - Jumpers
- It is technically impossible to give an impression of Mexican jumping beans as botanically speaking they are seeds. The panel was planning to demonstrate some beans jumping in the studio and had imported some online, but by the time of recording they had all died. The thing that makes them jump is a moth larva which burrows inside the seed. 20 million of the "seeds" are exported from Mexico every year. They come from Mexico's Sonoran Desert.
- The unusual thing about Bailey's pocket mouse, which also comes from the Sonoran Desert, is that it is one of only four animals that consume the jojoba plant. It was thought that the mouse was the only one that could, because almost every other animal finds the oil in the plant disgusting, but three other animals has also been discovered to like it. Jojoba oil is also used by humans in cosmetics and shampoo, especially since humans have stopped using whale oil. It is also used as frying oil because it acts as a laxative.
- The people who put jolly jumpers on their skyscrapers were sailors. They are sails. One of the topmost sails was the skyscraper, but above that one was the jolly jumper, which is the highest of them all.
- Bungee jumping originated in Polynesia. However, in their version tribesmen scale man-made wooden structures, attach vines to their ankles, and land in some mud. It was first observed in the Pentecost Islands in the South Seas, which came to mass attention when David Attenborough made a documentary about the area. It was then taken up by the Oxford Dangerous Sports Society who did it off Clifton Suspension Bridge. The first official bungee jump was done by A.J. Hackett in Queenstown, New Zealand. The panel are then show footage of Stephen doing the jump from the Queenstown Bridge earlier in the year (2012). Stephen claims that after the jump was completed he instantly wanted to do it again as it was the most exciting thing he had ever done. The main bungee jumping-related injury is detached retinas.
- Some hand-held weights can give you an extra 6.5 inches in long jumping. In the Ancient Olympics long jumpers swung weights called "halteres" in order for them to jump longer distances. This was perfectly legal at the time. (Forfeit: Hang them from your cock)
- XL: You can use jump leads and an old telephone to phone catfish. It was once a common practice, especially in America, to lure catfish using the electricity from the magnetos from wind-up phone. You place the current generated into the water and this would attract the fish to the surface. This was such a successful method of fishing that it was eventually declared illegal because they were overfishing. In Georgia, the punishment for "phoning a fish" in 1955 was 30 days on a chain gang. There is an academic study called Telephoning Fish: An Examination of the Creative Deviance used by Wildlife Violators in the United States. However, this is a practice that is still carried out elsewhere in the world (Alan claims to have seen this done in Thailand with a car battery). In Indonesia they also use cyanide and dynamite to fish.
- In Yemen there is the practice of jumping camels as a kind of stunt. Other than a small dirt ramp there is no other equipment. It is purely done with human power. The record jump has been over six dromedaries.
- The thing that the environmentalist said to the camel was to stop letting off so much methane. Like cows they give off a lot of greenhouse gases. The main place where this occurs is in Australia, which has the highest population of feral camels in the world, standing at 1.2 million. The Australians export camels to Arabia for meat and camel racing. Camels were first brought into the country as a pack animal but they bred out of control. A camel produces 45kg of methane a year, most as belching. An Australian company called North West Carbon allows people to offset their carbon emissions by killing camels.
- The panel are show a picture of some babies being jumped over by a man and are asked why they have nothing to fear. The answer is they have been purged of their original sin. In the baby jumping festival at El Colacho, near Burgos in Northern Spain, in the Castrillo de Murcia. Burgos has the largest cathedral in Spain. So far there no reports of any babies being injured, but the Catholic Church finds the ceremony somewhat embarrassing.
- XL: If you wear your parachute upside down it will not work. In the early days of parachuting the parachute was unstable, so a 61-year-old water colourist called Robert Cocking designed a V-shaped parachute in 1837. It failed to work and he was first parachuting fatality. He died instantly, crashing into a pub. The landlord then charged people sixpence to look at the body, making £10, but then was forced to give the money to Cocking's widow after she sued. The first proposed parachute was by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1485, but he never tested it. The first actual parachute jump was in 1783 by Louis-Sebastien Lenormand from a height of just four metres. (Forfeit: You fall upwards)
- XL: Dubious theory - According to Czech researchers foxes prefer to pounce in a north-easterly direction. If they do they are successful 73% of the time. They are only 18% in any other direction. The researchers therefore believe they are using the Earth's magnetic field in a way that we do not yet understand. In the northern hemisphere the magnetic field tilts downwards at an angle of 65 degrees. The idea is that the fox searches for the spot where the angle of the sound hitting their ears matches the slope of the magnetic field. It can therefore tell it is a fixed distance and thus can accurately leap on its prey. For more information visit foxyschmoxy.co.uk
- XL: While there are certain things you should not do if there is a danger of an avalanche you can shout, as the idea that loud noises causing avalanches is nonsense. (Forfeit: Shout)
- A jolly jape: Stephen takes a bowl containing some soapy liquid, inside of which is a small box-shaped metal frame. By taking it out it forms a bubble, but after blowing some air into it you can make a bubble shaped like a square.
- Friday 30th November 2012
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray (as Andy Murray)||Researcher|