Series H, Episode 6 - Happiness
The QI Pleasure Gauge: An on-screen gauge will move the more the audience applaud, from yellow to red. If it goes into the red, a bonus is scored.
- The thing that would make Britain a happier place is a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor. The gap between rich and poor was widened by 10% since 1997. While there are ways of measuring happiness none are really reliable. People seem to have a set level of happiness. In 1978 it was discovered that if you find someone who has recently come across an event that makes them really happy (e.g. winning the lottery) and someone who has recently come across an event that makes them really depressed (e.g. being involved in a car crash) while for a short period the gap between them is large, eventually it will level out to where it was before the event.
- The average person has 150 real friends. Dunbar's number, named after anthropologist Robert Dunbar, claims we cannot have more than 150. Dunbar defines his idea of friendship as: "Containing the people you wouldn't feel embarrassed to join at the bar of the Transit Lounge of Hong Kong airport at 3am."
- You can tell if a friend is really pleased to see you by looking at their eyes. To smile you use both the eyes and the mouth. While you can easily fake a smile with your mouth, you cannot with your eyes. This was found by a Frenchman called Guillaume Duchenne, who found it out be electrocuting people's faces. A real smile is known as a "Duchenne smile". People who study happiness call a fake smile a "Pan Am smile", after the now defunct airline.
- When a waiter draws a smiley face on your bill you are more likely to give them a bigger tip. Other tactics that work including introducing your name and telling a joke. The Americans are the biggest tippers giving 20% on average, while the British give 10%, but the average left in restaurants is 8.5%. The Welsh tip more than the English, who are the worst tippers in the UK. Some American waiters will chase after you if you do not tip. In America, if you get bad service it is custom to still tip but then to put it in a glass of water and turn it upside down.
- XL: Everyone expected to die in 1910 because they thought the nitrogen in the atmosphere would turn into laughing gas. That year Halley's Comet pasted the Earth and at the time astronomy was beginning to take shape as a serious science. However, some people were worried that the tail would pass through the atmosphere and turn the nitrogen into laughing gas (nitrous oxide), causing everyone to die laughing. Some people put rags in keyholes, over doors and windows and stop the gas coming in.
- XL: The original Mr Happiness wanted to cheer up his front garden - by putting corpses in it. This person was Jeremy Bentham, the inventor of utilitarianism - "happiness equals the greatest good for the greatest number" - and he had views concerning the taboos around the dead. So he put "auto-icons" as he called them in his garden. He also decided to preserve his own body after his death. His body is stuffed and on display in a cabinet at University College London. His skin was stripped off and his bones had stuffing around them. However, his head was chopped of by student pranksters. There is also a clam that he invented underpants. He wore what we would think of as boxer shorts when at the time people curved their shirts over the pirate parts. (Forfeit: Garden gnomes)
- XL: The small furry animals that you would make happier by taking it to see Bambi are three types of bee that drink the tears of deer, as well also horses and humans. Luckily, the bees in question - lisotrigona cachii, lisotrigona ferva and lisotrigona partatriginum - are all stingless.
- Florence Nightingale did her best work in bed. After coming back from the Crimea she stayed for most of the next 50 years in bed and devoted herself to improving hospital care. This was to make up for what she saw as (and indeed were) her failures during the Crimea War. Troops were three times more likely to die at the hospital in Scutari which she ran than in a rough field hospital. A report showed the care at the hospital was terrible and Nightingale thought it would ruin her reputation. As a result she had a decline and so she tried to make up for it. She would get up and work at 5am writing letters, campaigning and so on, then spend the rest of the time in bed. Luckily, her work did make up for what she did during the war.
- Africa's dominant animal predator is the hyena. Lions are mostly lazy and are more likely to scavenge the kill of a hyena than vice-versa. The hyena laugh is used to communicate clam submissiveness.
- Five pound notes are made out of a mixture of cotton and linen. Wooden paper is too fragile. (Forfeit: Paper)
- Your general mood does not change when you get older. It is a myth that you get grumpier as you get older, according to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which has been running since 1958. Adults change little after the age of 30.
- Friday 22nd October 2010
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Arron Ferster||Question Writer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray (as Andy Murray)||Researcher|