Series I, Episode 13 - Intelligence
- You can get a goose interested in volleyball by making the ball look like an egg. If you get a volleyball, paint it bright blue with large flicks of black on it, the goose will think it is an egg and will sit on it. There is no upper limit to what a goose thinks of as a suitable size of an egg. They will always be attracted to it and will like bigger eggs more than smaller ones. This is known as "supernormal stimuli".
- The most intelligent birds are the corvids, which include crows, ravens, jackdaws and magpies. They are deemed the most intelligent because they can solve problems. For example the panel are played a video in which a crow figures out how to use a hook to get food out of a narrow tube.
- XL: The Enigma code was first cracked by the Poles. In 1932 the code was cracked by mathematician Marian Rejewski (of whom there is a statue of at Bletchley Park), but in the late 1930s the Germans changed the way they worked so the possible number of settings reached 364 billion per day. According to General (later US President) Eisenhower, cracking the Enigma code shortened the war by two years. The first code-breakers were brought together by using a particularly challenging cryptic crossword in the Daily Telegraph. They later brought in mathematicians, the most famous of which was Alan Turing. Turing was at Cambridge at the time and is considered one of the fathers of computing. However, he was punished for being gay by being chemically castrated and later committed suicide by eating a poisoned apple. An apology was eventually given decades later by Gordon Brown. While there are many people who believe that the Apple Computers logo is a reference to Alan Turing it is not, with Steve Jobs telling Stephen: "It isn't true, but God, we wish it were." Not only did Turing help crack Enigma, but he also helped crack the even more tricky Lorenz code, used by Hitler himself. To crack it the first modern computer, Colossus, was built by Turing, but it was destroy after the war because of the Official Secrets Act, despite giving the secret to the CIA. Correction: Colossus was not the first computer. Other computers such as Zuse Z3 predated it. Also, the team that built Colossus was not lead by Turing, but by Tommy Flowers.
- The perfect job interview lasts 12 seconds. You do not even have to hear the interviewee speak in order to make a judgement. Coming across with the right attitude and confidence will sway the interviewer.
- XL: You cannot know if you yourself are incompetent. The Dunning-Kruger effect states that if you are incompetent you do not know it because the thing that makes you incompetent means you do not realise what the incompetent thing is. For example, if you are an incompetent doctor, and you diagnose a patient wrongly, you do not know you gave the wrong diagnosis until a more competent doctor points out you were wrong.
- Stephen performs an ingenious interlude in the form of an experiment. He takes a loudspeaker, then some cornflour mixed with water, coloured green to make it stand out more. This mixture is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning that instead of changing viscosity according to temperature, it changes due to pressure. He pours the mixture onto the speaker and then sound is played through the speaker. The louder the sound gets the more the cornflour morphs and the mixture begins to escape from the loudspeaker. This knowledge is being put to use to make liquid armour.
- The panel are shown a picture of a robot with a shirt on it and asked what the robot is designed to do. It is designed to iron the shirt by puffing it up. Stephen is about to go on about the robot but then claims he is thirsty and calls for drinks. The drinks are carried over by Asimo, the world's most advanced humanoid robot. He can talk, walk, go up and down stairs, and run. He can also recognise people, objects and gestures. He can calculate distances, the direction of movement and create flexible routes to a destination. He can understand 50 different calls and greetings, plus 30 different commands. Stephen says he deserves points, but Asimo says that what he really wants is to dance with Jo, so Asimo does. The fact that Asimo's name sounds similar to sci-fi novelist Isaac Asimov is a coincidence. The name comes from "asi", the Japanese for "feet", and "mo", short for "movement".
- Nobody Knows: No-one knows exactly how many piano tuners there are in the UK - not even the British Association of Piano Tuners. Their best guess is between 1,000 and 10,000. This is partly because there are few full-time piano tuners. Alan gets the bonus.
- XL: On a clock face the two hands over lap 22 times a day. This is because you lose one hour's rotation every 12 hours. It takes the minute hand just over 65 minutes to catch up with the hour hand. There are 1440 minutes in a day, and divided by 65 it equals 22.15. (Forfeit: 24)
- XL: The biggest clock face in Britain is the one on the Shell Mex building on The Strand, which is currently used as the HQ for the Penguin Group, the publishing company. The second biggest is the Royal Liver Building Clock on the Liver Building in Liverpool. (Forfeit: Palace of Westminster)
- Time immemorial began on 6th July 1189, the day King Richard I was coroneted. Time immemorial means that if you can date something since then you do not need to re-justify doing it again. It was decided that the first statute of Westminster which began a few years later, defined his reign as the limit of legal memory.
- XL: The job of the breakman in a bobsleigh race is to give the bobsleigh the hardest push to make it travel fast. You are not allowed to apply the break on the bobsleigh during a race as it damages the ice. Other versions of bobsleighing include the luge which involves one person feet first going down the run, and the skeleton which involves one person head first going down the run. (Forfeit: Braking)
- XL: The Caribbean country which came 29th in the 1988 Winter Olympics was the Dutch Lesser Antilles, which stopped being a country in 2010. The national anthem of the Dutch Lesser Antilles was called "Anthem Without a Title". Jamaica came 30th. (Forfeit: Jamaica)
- Friday 2nd December 2011
- BBC Two
- 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|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|