Series J, Episode 9 - Jeopardy
- You can go about 7-10 steps with a cup of Joe (an Americanism for coffee). This is the distance you can walk before you spill it, according to experts in fluid dynamics. The average human stepping pace causes an oscillation which results in a series of wave movements that will ultimately causes the coffee to spill out of the cup in that distance. This could be combated by using a flexible container with a series of annular ring baffles. This science has been put to other more practical uses. For example, Albert Bridge in London has a sign on it saying: "All troops must break step over this bridge." This is because if soldiers marched at the same time it is possible for the bridge to swing about and possibly collapse.
- The thing that is smaller than the Moon and keeps moving the sea around are jellyfish (and not blue whales). Jellyfish account for 40% of the biomass of the ocean. Scientists at Caltech discovered that they move by causing an enormous amount of water at the top, which is oxygen rich, to go down to the bottom, while the water at the bottom, which is full of nutrients, goes to the top. It keeps the circulation of the water healthy and may contribute a trillion watts of energy, which is as much as wind or tidal power. They mix cold and warm water on the surface too.
- The panel are shown a picture of a Portuguese man o' war and are asked how many jellyfish are depicted. The answer is none, as a Portuguese man o' war is not a jellyfish. It is an example of a siphonophore, and is technically a colony of creatures. The helmet at the top is one creature that provides buoyancy and works as a sail. The tentacles are separate and carry coiled, spring-loaded harpoons that explode at 700 billionths of a second, which is the fastest known animal mechanism on Earth. Other creatures in the colony include gastrozooids that digest food, and gonozooids that are in charge of sexual reproduction. 10,000 Australians a year on average are stung by Portuguese men o' war, but it is not fatal. (Forfeit: One)
- The deadliest creature in Australia is the horse, partly due to injuries caused by the horse and partly due to riding accidents. Under the sample year the show is using, 128 people were killed by horses. In the same year one person was killed by a cat. Horses kill three times as more as the next deadliest animals. (Forfeit: Spider; Jellyfish; Shark)
- The panel are shown a picture of a dinosaur and are asked how they would defend themselves against it. The easiest way would be step on it, because Fruitadens haggororum the smallest dinosaur known, at only four inches tall. It ate plants, worms and possibly frogs, and lived in the late Jurassic period 150 million years ago. The name comes from the place it was discovered - Fruita, Colorado - home to another quite interesting animal, Mike the Headless Chicken. No dinosaur as even been discovered as being as large as a blue whale.
- XL: Blind King John of Bohemia found his way around the battlefield with two guides either side of him all lashed together. He became king as a teenager and loved war. However, he developed ophthalmia, became blind, but he still wanted to fight. He allied himself with King Philip IV of France during the Hundred Years' War. In 1346, during the Battle of Crécy, 30,000 troops of Philip, including John, were killed at the battle, while the English lost 200. The battle is often seen as the end of chivalry and the start of machine warfare, because the main reason the British won was because of superior technology such as the longbow and the cannons, while the French and Bohemians were used to hand-to-hand combat. Despite all the losses, John's son, Charles, managed to escape and had a much more successful live as a Holy Roman Emperor.
- The most dangerous fairground ride out of the Wall of Death, the Wheel of Death, the Death Slide and the Euthanasia Rollercoaster is the last of those. The Wall of Death was first seen on Coney Island in 1915. While there have been accidents there have been no fatalities. The Wheel of Death is a form of circus apparatus using a double rotation system with a beam attached to a tower, the tower roates around the centre while the wheel turns. The Death Slide is another name for a zip wire. However, the Euthanasia Rollercoaster, designed by a London art student from Lithuania called Julijonas Urbonas that only exists as a 1:500 scale model. The ride would last three minutes, which would consist of a two minute ascent to the top of a 1,600 foot peak, then for a minute you come down at 223mph, down into a series of loop-de-loops which pull 10 G's that would kill the rider through cerebral hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain. Urbonas claims it offers a humane and meaningful death. The ascent offers a chance for reflection and they still have the chance to pull out once they get to the top. If they go through with the ride death is quick, painless and supposedly euphoric.
- XL: The biggest dead body in the world is the Black Sea. Only the very top of it has any life. 90% of it is dead, it is much bigger than the Dead Sea, and has been dead for thousands of years. It consists of a very steep basin into which the upper and lower layers do not mix. The bacteria use up all the oxygen, leaving poisonous hydrogen sulphide. It is the largest reservoir of hydrogen sulphide in the world.
- The thing that is not a blue whale but floats about in the sea and weighs as much as one is water. When it dives down and back up again its mouth is open, causing it to swell and it can take on 90 tonnes of water.
- You should not mess with the maxillofacial death pyramid because it could infect your brain. It is the area of your measuring from the bridge of your nose down to your mouth. Most of the time blood flows down it, but if you pick your nose or mess with spots around the area it can cause bacteria that block it, forcing it upwards and into your brain. This can cause meningitis and syphilis.
- A jolly jape: Stephen performs a dangerous chemical experiment where he creates hydrogen using nails and drain cleaner. To do this Stephen (while wearing safety goggles and a face mask) puts some nails and zinc into a conical flask, he then pours into it some hydrochloric acid that causes a reaction which makes the hydrogen. He quickly bungs the flask with a cork with a pipe in it to cause the hydrogen to come out at a steady pace, but this also makes the flask hot. The hydrogen comes out into a separate glass containing the washing up liquid which makes it come out as foam. Stephen wets his hand first to protect himself, scoops up some of the foam, and proves it is hydrogen by setting fire to it using a lighter. Do NOT try this at home!
- Friday 9th November 2012
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray (as Andy Murray)||Researcher|