Series L, Episode 6 - Liblabble
- This is a "General" show in Series L, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "L". The name of the episode is a word made up by the QI elves, and is defined as the collective noun for a group of things beginning with "L".
- The thing that has four legs and a sense of humour is rats. The panel are played footage of Estonian-American scientist Dr. Jaak Panksepp tickling rats. The rats laugh, but at a frequency above human hearing. The rats return to the doctor because it likes being tickled. This is related to the mating habits of rats. If a female rat has bad sex with a male rat, then the female will never have sex with that particular rat again, even if he is the only male. However, if a female rat has good sex with a fake rat, the female will keep going back to the fake rat.
- XL: Rats get sad during the summer. They suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but because they are nocturnal and have circanoctium (around the night) sleeping patterns they get badly affected during longer summer days.
- XL: A really ostentatious way to turn off a gas fire is to use a hydrogen bomb. Edward Teller, the creator of the H-bomb, wanted his invention to be used for more peaceful means. He referenced the Book of Isaiah by saying: "You would beat your sword into a ploughshare." Teller wanted to use H-bombs to widen the Panama Canal, use 22 bombs to create a road and railway through the Bristol Mountains in California, and use 1,000 bombs to blow a city-sized airship into space. This became known as "Operation Ploughshare", but in the end only two plans went ahead. One was to blow up bombs underground to generate steam and create electricity. This plan was rejected because they could not contain the explosions. The other plan was to use bombs for fracking natural gas, but this made the gas radioactive. The Russians also had similar ideas, and one idea that really did work was to put out large gas field fires. This plan was used five times. Four times it worked completely, without any fallout. The Americans considered using this approach during the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
- The kind of household appliance that really nobody wants is a gas-powered wireless set, on indeed a gas-powered anything. Gas companies introduced such items in order to prevent people from going "on the electric" back in the 1920s and 30s. They said that gas-powered wirelesses would also "warm the room slightly" as a bonus. However, the wireless was still electric; it was just that the gas was being used to power the current. Also, electric power was more reliable.
- The most depressing radio programme of all time (even more so than Alan's suggestion of Simon Bates's Our Tune) was Drahtfunk - Wire Radio. During the Second World War the Swiss, Swedes and Norwegians found they could use electricity and then phone lines to transmit radio. The Germans used to it broadcast information about bomber raids, and people could use the information they heard to get to the shelters in time. (Forfeit: Saturday Live)
- You would not enjoy kissing any of the gunner's daughters because it was a naval punishment. It involved being tied down to cannon and then beaten with a cat-o-nine-tails. This punishment is still being used, but not by the British. Children on ship, who could be as young as nine, may be punished by bending over a cannon and being lashed on the bare bottom by a whip known as a "boy's pussy". Kissing the Gunner's Daughter is also the name of a band in Seattle.
- XL: George III was nearly, literally toast in 1776 (the year the USA got independence) because he was in a house that was on fire. David Hartley MP, who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and the first MP to introduce a bill to outlaw slavery, also came up with a way to improve the fireproofing of houses by putting metal under the floorboards. Hartley demonstrated to George III how good it was by getting him to come to his house in Putney and slowly setting fires in rooms all around the house. Everyone survived and the idea spread. Hartley's lasting legacy was that he created the fire curtain used in theatres.
- Dutch tears are droplets of molten glass dropped into cold water. The glass instantly solidifies, but the inner part does not have time to get as hard. Thus there is a tension in it. You cannot smash it with a hammer, but if you cut the tail off it will explode three times quicker than a sniper's bullet. They were introduced by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who some argue was responsible for Charles I losing the Civil War. Stephen demonstrates the speed of explosion himself by clipping the tail off a Dutch tear, which Alan films.
- The person you should visit on Mothering Sunday is your vicar or priest, because originally it was the day that children in service returned to the mother church where they lived.
- The flags on the Moon are now most likely just white, possibly grey. The colour on them will have faded. This partly due to the temperature differences there, ranging from 14 days at 100 degrees Celsius to -150 degrees for another 14 days. Also, there is no atmosphere, so there is no protection from the Sun's UV radiation.
- XL: The first man-made sonic boom comes from eating crunchy food. A Dutch food physicist found that for food to be crunchy there has to be a brittle fracture, a high-speed crack, which travels at least 300 metres per second. (Forfeit: Whip)
- Friday 7th November 2014
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Richard Coles (as Rev Richard Coles)||Guest|
|Stephen Ramsey (as Stephen Ramsey of Imperial College)||Self|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|Anne Miller||Question Writer|
|Stevyn Colgan||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Suzanne McManus||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|