Over 500 random facts from the researchers at QI
August 20, 2019 9:36 AM   Subscribe

The Large Hadron Collider was turned off for a short period of time because a piece of baguette was found in the machinery. When he was bored [former American president] Calvin Coolidge used to ring a bell to summon his bodyguards and then hide from them under the Oval Office desk. There is an original Picasso that no-one will ever see because it was eaten by his dog. In 2008 the University of Bath invented a 3D printer that could print a copy of itself. Within three minutes that copy had copied itself to make a third copy and today nobody knows how many of these printers exist in the world.This is a complete list of all the facts presented on episodes 1-142 of the podcast No Such Thing As A Fish, hosted by the researchers from the UK trivia game show QI.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (29 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Last week they stated that Tarzan's call was a palindrome and it blew my mind. All hail the QI Elves.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I had to stop listening to NSTAaF on my commute because I spent too much time rewinding it in disbelief.
posted by Etrigan at 9:49 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


The "self-replicating" 3D printer is the RepRap, BTW. It can't print complete copies of itself, just the specialized parts needed to build one with off-the-shelf components. But it's still cool.

(I'm assuming that this is the one the podcast talks about. I don't think there was another open-source 3D printer designed at UBath in the late naughties.)
posted by suetanvil at 9:54 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


They're touring the (east coast) of the US if you want to see them live!
posted by backseatpilot at 10:03 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I am quite skeptical of a 3-minute 3D print of anything.
posted by bz at 10:36 AM on August 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


But it's still cool.

And possibly its mods and decedents are still the most common 3d plastic printer in the world. Prusa3D still self-prints most of their production.
posted by bonehead at 10:39 AM on August 20, 2019


But again, I will point out that even in half jest QI's looseness with factual accuracy rubs me the wrong way.

Not 3 minutes. Not print itself. Not the grey goo they subtly feaemonger about.
posted by abulafa at 10:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


I love this show, it was always so hard to not steal their material when I would write pub quiz questions. I saw they were hiring an intern and was sad the job wasn't open to Canadians willing to abandon their old life to become an elf
posted by Space Coyote at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


“Facts”

.
posted by brambleboy at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I stopped listening to their podcast after the third or fourth time they shared a “fact” I knew to be untrue.

Like, it kind of undermines the value of a trivia program if there’s no guarantee the facts have actually been checked, and could just as easily have been made up.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:52 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm with others on this -- I mostly enjoy QI and the podcast, but am frequently rubbed wrong by their fast-and-loose treatment of facts... but also often inspired to then dig deeper to see what really is what, which is rewarding.
posted by hypersloth at 11:00 AM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Bummer that you have to manually fact-check these. This made me chortle until I found out it wasn't true:
The music used on the You Wouldn't Steal a Car anti-piracy advert was stolen by the people who made the advert.
On the other hand, I poked into this one:
The real Long John Silver – William Ernest Henley, was the father of the real Wendy Darling – Margaret Henley.
Which is true, and neat, but that then led me to this, which is also true, and charming, and fucking devastating:
Margaret Henley (born 4 September 1888). She was a sickly child, and became immortalized by J. M. Barrie in his children's classic, Peter Pan. Unable to speak clearly, young Margaret had called her friend Barrie her "fwendy-wendy", resulting in the use of "Wendy" in the book. Margaret did not survive long enough to read the book; she died on 11 February 1894 at the age of five
posted by bjrubble at 11:04 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


This is reminiscent of "The Sixth Sally, or How Trurl and Klapaucius Created a Demon of the Second Kind to Defeat the Pirate Pugg" by Stanisław Lem:
He read about how exactly Harlebardonian wrigglers wriggle, and that the daughter of King Petrolius of Labondia is named Humpinella, and what Frederick the Second, one of the paleface kings, had for lunch before he declared war against the Gwendoliths, and how many electron shells an atom of thermionolium would have, if such an element existed, and what is the cloacal diameter of a small bird called the tufted twit, which is painted by the Wabian Marchpanes on their sacrificial urns, and also of the tripartite taste of the oceanic ooze on Polypelagid Diaphana, and of the flower Dybbulyk, that beats the Lower Malfundican hunters black and blue whenever they waken it at dawn, and how to obtain the angle of the base of an irregular icosahedron, and who was the jeweler of Gufus, the left-handed butcher of the Bovants, and the number of volumes on philately to be published in the year seventy thousand on Marinautica, and where to find the tomb of Cybrinda the Red-toed, who was nailed to her bed by a certain Clamonder in a drunken fit, and how to tell the difference between a bindlesnurk and an ordinary trundlespiff, and also who has the smallest lateral wumpet in the Universe, and why fan-tailed fleas won’t eat moss, and how to play the game of Fratcher-My-Pliss and win, and how many snapdragon seeds there were in the turd into which Abroquian Phylminides stepped, when he stumbled on the Great Albongean Road eight miles outside the Valley of Symphic Sighs—and little by little his hundred eyes began to swim, and it dawned on him that all this information, entirely true and meaningful in every particular, was absolutely useless, producing such an ungodly confusion that his head ached terribly and his legs trembled. But the Demon of the Second Kind continued to operate at a speed of three hundred million facts per second, and mile after mile of tape coiled out and gradually buried him beneath its windings.
posted by cyanistes at 11:24 AM on August 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


I stopped watching QI because I hate that thing where they constantly contradict conventional wisdom based on one conflicting and very questionable source.
posted by w0mbat at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I found QI difficult to watch partly because of its constant dipping into Smug Atheist Sneering Syndrome, and partly because it was becoming obvious how many other sufferers from that complaint were increasingly coming out as crypto-fascists.
posted by Grangousier at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Someone just recommended this podcast to me about an hour ago -- will definitely check it out!
posted by Mchelly at 11:48 AM on August 20, 2019


It’s a funny show if you take it more as a humor podcast. Their definition of “fact” seems to be “was reported somewhere by someone.” But their banter is generally top drawer.
posted by rikschell at 11:53 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


During the financial crisis of 1720, known as the South Sea Bubble, the Houses of Parliament called for stockbrokers to be sewn into sacks filled with poisonous snakes and thrown into the River Thames.

I have no idea if this is real, but we could definitely benefit from it today.
posted by slogger at 1:09 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's my go-to falling asleep podcast because it's droll but not uproarious, there's no story for me to want to stay awake to hear the end of, I can fall asleep at any point and it's fine. Which sounds like damning with faint praise, but I really do find it enjoyable! But yeah, it's a humor podcast, not In Our Time.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:19 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I stopped watching QI because I hate that thing where they constantly contradict conventional wisdom based on one conflicting and very questionable source.

Like the time they said America was named after the Welsh businessman Richard ap Meryk, instead of the more substantiated origin in St. Emeric by way of the famous Amerigo! Or that repeated thing with the number of "moons" Earth has.
posted by traveler_ at 1:54 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or that repeated thing with the number of "moons" Earth has.

Bear in mind that as long as you reserve the right to define the words, then every sentence is true.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


The Large Hadron Collider wasn't turned off for a short period of time because a piece of baguette was found in the machinery. The Large Hadron Collider went down on its own because a bird dropped a piece of baguette on a high-voltage transformer, causing an explosive short.

A similar incident was caused by a weasel (actually a stone marten). [CW: taxidermy]
posted by heatherlogan at 3:57 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I read the examples and concluded it was some kind of The Onion kind of satire thing. Learning from fine MFers that they bill it as “trivia”—implying its truth—has caused me to excrete glittering crystals of pure rage. I am not going to listen even though I enjoy a bit of smug atheism if it’s handled tastefully.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:07 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


They also make fun of each other for bad fact-checking if that makes your rage any less white-hot, guys.

(It's a fun show, check it out for the banter but don't stake your life on any of the reported facts.)
posted by Harald74 at 11:06 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was always a bit wearied by the format of QI.
It doesn't fit that format AT ALL! But the nature of British TV commissioning means that you can have a panel show far more easily than you can have a show where someone talks about facts.
I like the podcast better simply because the format fits the material.

Oh I'm also not that keen on Steven Fry*. So it's better in that regard.


*I should clarify, that it's not like I dislike him, but Britain does this thing where it decides that people who are basically fine (Fry, Cumberbatch, etc. ) are amazing wonderful national treasures. To the extent that claiming that they're just basically fine at whatever they do is deemed to be unreasonable invective.
Stephen Fry is basically fine.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:56 AM on August 21, 2019


Stephen Fry is basically fine.

Can only imagine what you'd say about a two-headed Galactic President.

I found QI greatly entertaining through season G when my torrenting habit subsided, so was happy to find NSTAAF. I love the idea of the folks who did a ton of behind the scene scut-work getting a moment in the sun.

Over time I feel the podcast misses the variety of personnel you find on the TV show (which itself has (had?) issues of diversity). In the end I find the episodes very samey and I probably only listen to one every couple months these days, only when I've burned through everything else.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 5:37 AM on August 21, 2019


FYI if you're interested in trivia, but fact-checked, I highly recommend How to Do Everything. Unfortunately they're not making new episodes but there's over 100 to keep you busy for a while.


(I am very frustrated as I listened to this over multiple day long drives and as soon as I thought of the perfect question for them, the next episode announced that the podcast was ending. Boo.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:39 AM on August 21, 2019


> I found QI difficult to watch partly because of its constant dipping into Smug Atheist Sneering Syndrome, and partly because it was becoming obvious how many other sufferers from that complaint were increasingly coming out as crypto-fascists.

That wasn't my impression at all. Their occasional on-mic sniping sounded to me more in line with the Oxbridge-ish debate tactic of getting your shots in quick and early to lead the argument or score the rhetorical high ground. The right wing fetishizes this (along with scholarly and upper-crust English accents) as one of the tokens of Old Empire and all that connotes, but also because it's a convenient bullying tactic.

But since the four hosts are more or less equals of each other on a comedy podcast the behavior seems thoroughly defanged to me; they're just being funny at a high rate of speed. For that matter, to the extent politics has made an entry in the episodes I've listened to, the barbs have been squarely pointed at Brexiteers and Tory leadership.
posted by at by at 9:17 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


MY GOD there are a lot of sticklers for detail around here today.

GOOD FOR YOU!!

OTOH, there's still a LOT of work to be done over at Wikipedia. Are you sure lunchtime's not over?
posted by Twang at 10:05 PM on August 21, 2019


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