No Such Thing As A Fish - 516: No Such Thing As Zeno's Harbour

Episode Date: February 1, 2024

Anna, Andy, James and Ethan Ruparelia discuss warm blankets, dry beds, and 'going down to the butts'.  Visit for news about live shows, merchandise and more episodes.  Join ...Club Fish for ad-free episodes and exclusive bonus content at or

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi everyone, before we start the show we wanted to let you know that there's no down-tribe today, I'm afraid, but in good news there is our very own QI elf, Ethan Ruparelia, filling in. He is brilliant, he does so much of the stuff behind the scenes on no such thing as a fish. You may well have heard him on Meet the Elf, our special club fish episodes where you get to meet the QI researchers. If you haven't heard those, you only have to join clubfish in order to do so. So enjoy some of Ethan's work in front of the scenes today.
Starting point is 00:00:31 On with the show. Hello and welcome to another episode of No Such Thing as a Fish, a weekly podcast coming to you from the QI offices in Hoban. My name is Andrew Hunter Murray and I'm here with James Harkin, Anna Tsojinski and special guest Ethan Ripper-Aliah. Hi Ethan. Hi Andy. And once again we've gathered around the microphones with our four favourite facts from the last seven days and in no particular order here we go. Starting with fact number one and that is Ethan. My fact this week is that in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics archers competed on top of a rubbish heap. Lovely. Yeah. That's interesting. And was there a kind of fun whimsical like did they have to aim at a particular kind of coke? Yeah, they had them all lined up in a row. They were the targets. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:01:31 No, so this is not a typical rubbish heap. It's not kind of compost heap in the back garden sort of thing. This is a whole artificial island made out of rubbish. So off the coast of Tokyo in Tokyo Bay, there's an island called Yomenashima, which translates to Dream Island, and it was created in the 1930s to begin with. So around Tokyo, they were dredging up a lot of the bay to provide channels for ships to come through, and accidentally formed a sandy island around the area. So Tokyo saw this and they're like, great, let's turn this into a new resort. But then there were typhoons and financial problems. So they closed it down and in 1957, Tokyo couldn't really keep up with the amount of waste that they were
Starting point is 00:02:17 producing. They couldn't incinerate all of it. So instead, they decided to make an artificial island lasagna sort of thing. So they would alternate layers of construction soil and food waste from households. And then nowadays it is a beautiful place to be. But it stinks of old rotting food. So not anymore. Not anymore. So in the 1950s, when they did have this initial load of landfill kind of household waste that came along, they didn't do a very good job of making sure it didn't smell horrendous.
Starting point is 00:02:52 There were like loads of flies, there were loads of gases that were setting off spontaneous fires in the area. It sounds like actually I would say a more fun, Olympics Thunderdome to have. Oh yeah. You're running 400 meters away from the flies. I would say a more fun Olympics Thunderdome to have. Oh yeah. You're running 400 meters away from the flies. Maybe the archery just started as target practice for all the flies around here. I did actually see an archer online.
Starting point is 00:03:15 He's an American guy called Byron Ferguson, who people call the world's greatest archer. This is his mates, but he is good. And anyway, I watched a video where he shot an aspirin out of the air. Stop it. Yeah, pretty cool. Really?
Starting point is 00:03:27 How many attempts did that take? Because you always see these videos online, don't you? Of these people doing amazing tricks and you think that's taken you four weeks to do that. How many aspirin were in the air? More than you're allowed to play at Kenneth's house. He shot an aspirin out of the air. Yeah, it's pretty cool.
Starting point is 00:03:42 But then he was the greatest stature in the world. Right. So, the post of the greatest stature in history was a guy called Howard Hill, this American guy. And I now think he might not be the greatest stature in history because his main trick, you know how William Tell shot an apple off someone's head? His son's head. Yeah, that was the main part. It was emotional jeopardy. Yeah, but this guy, he did do that, like to show off, but he would also sometimes shoot a prune off someone's head. Wow. Now, it is, but if you put an aspirin on someone's head, I think that might be even more impressive. That's really good.
Starting point is 00:04:16 You know that thing where the previous archer in the competition has got a bullseye, right? How do you beat them? You have to split the arrow like Robin Hood. Exactly. Okay. In 2008, a 74 year old grandmother and archer whose name was Tilly Trotter. Great name. Incredible name. She split an arrow that was already in the target with another arrow, despite the fact that she was blind. So you get a little bit of a distance with the target, but not genuinely not much. It's not someone standing next to the target with a bell. No it's not done by queers. I think some of the people who did are partially sighted and some of them are not... some blind doctor is not very
Starting point is 00:04:52 sighted at all and she would kind of insist on not getting too much help from her husband. He wouldn't say left or right when she was aiming. It's very very cool. I think if you and I went to archery, Andy, and I hit a bullseye and then you hit my arrow splitted into and also got a bullseye, I would probably argue that that means I've got two bullseyes now and so I win the game. Well that's why we never go down the butts. The butts. The butts.
Starting point is 00:05:20 Yeah, yeah. But he leaves the butts. That's the archery butts. That's the training ground for archery, isn't it? I didn't know that. Pop down the buts. The box full of the rubber sheep on the buts. I believe the but is the name for the target.
Starting point is 00:05:31 And it's what you're aiming towards. Because in Othello, he says, here is my journeys and here is my but. Lovely. Nice. Lovely. And he's referring to the journey of an arrow. I know these roads aren't they?
Starting point is 00:05:41 The places that are called things like Butt Road or... Oh, is that the road? We covered the road. I can't remember where it is. And no, these roads aren't the places that are called things like but like but road or We covered the road. I can't remember where it is. Last year. Maybe it's called but whole lane And it's where someone shot an arrow and it went so far into the but that it made a hole I Don't know what the hole is But it definitely is like this is the old archery ground and people get confused and think it's but whole lane for another Reason we don't need to go into it. Children.
Starting point is 00:06:07 Children. The Robin Hood actually is called the Robin Hood, or one word, that move where you slice an arrow up from behind. And it's not that hard. It's not that hard. I'll see you down at the butts later, who can tell you theory. Okay, probably we couldn't do it, but I've been spending some time on archery forums, and it's not unheard of.
Starting point is 00:06:27 I think it seems a little bit like getting a hat trick or something. So people will say, oh, I just was down at the butts, and I did a Robin Hood. How amazing is that? And people will respond saying, oh, yeah, a Robin Hood. Yeah, nice shooting. That's pretty cool.
Starting point is 00:06:40 Oh, yeah. And one of these guys said, actually, a Robin Hood's mostly a hassle because it just breaks your arrow arrow and you have to get a new one. So a lot of guys use either pin knocks or uni bushings instead of arrows. A uni bushing? A uni bushing of the box. A uni bushing, yeah that's right. No I didn't bother looking at all those things that I think we can imagine.
Starting point is 00:06:59 Actually just on that on breaking things, the official laws of archery I was reading them and there's an etiquette section and it, a good archer does not leave litter. It says a good archer does not touch anyone else's equipment without permission. And if they break another's arrow through their own carelessness, they must pay for it in cash on the spot. Really? That's in the official laws of archery. Do they accept contactless these days? Have you heard of Lottie Dodd?
Starting point is 00:07:26 No, Lottie Dodd. She is actually quite brilliant. She was the youngest ever woman to win the Wumberland Singles, 15 years old, which is incredible. And then she went on to win it another four times. And then she was like, okay, I'm done. I'm going to try another sport. She went on to win the British Ladies' Golf Championship in 1904,
Starting point is 00:07:45 played twice for England's national field hockey team, and then in the 1908 London Olympics, she commuted as an archer, won the silver medal alongside her brother who got the gold and the men's, and they became the first brother-sister duo to win medals at the Olympics together. Oh, really? Yeah, very cool. And then she went on, she worked as a nurse for the Red Cross in World War I, and then passed away at 88 in Bournemouth, listening to Wimbledon Commentaries on the radio.
Starting point is 00:08:11 Did she? Very sweet, yeah. Just going, I could have done that one. Have you heard of Target Panic? It's the, is there a thing called the Yips? Yeah, it's called the Archery Yips. It's basically... Like Dartitis.
Starting point is 00:08:22 It's Bowmans, yeah. All the spinnies in gymnastics, I think it's quite similar. Yeah, generally. It's basically... Like, DART HITUS. It's Bowmans, yeah. All the spinnies in gymnastics, I think is quite a similar thing. Yeah, generally. The spinnies. Spinnies. Simone Biles was like, in the past Olympics, there was a whole thing about how she might have the spinnies, because she ended up having to not do a lot of the events that she was sent out for.
Starting point is 00:08:37 And DART HITUS is where a Darts player wants to throw the dart, but can't let it go. And they fly towards the dart. Holding onto the dot. No, that is a thing. No, that's exactly it. So, Archery is very, very similar. Basically, you either loose the bow as soon as you see the target, you kind of premature fire arrow.
Starting point is 00:08:54 Look, it's very common. It's a very common problem. Or you freeze up and you can't release it at all. There's no way of saying this without making it sound peanutty. Can we just... Yeah, and it's basically. There's no way of saying this without making it sound penis-y. Can we just say? Yeah, and it's basically like it's a curse. And some people get it and they never shoot again. And it's really, and lots of artists get it from time to time and then get over it.
Starting point is 00:09:15 And it might be just in the mind, but there is a theory, it's called vocal dystonia, which is a condition where you have a particular movement, you're doing again and again and again, right? Like firing an arrow or firing a dart and the neurons in your brain devoted to that get worn out from overuse. How weird is that? Like there are sort of four cells that have been doing all the firing for you. I wonder how long it takes for the podcasting neurons to wear down. Oh, how long? Two years.
Starting point is 00:09:41 Do you guys know about the archer's paradox? Oh, I don't think so. Is it the same as Zeno's paradox? Is the tortoise in the arrow? Not to be confused with Zeno's archer's paradox. So Zeno's arrow paradox is that movement is impossible. Because he says at any one moment that an arrow is traveling, it's not moving because it's like if you if you say
Starting point is 00:10:07 we're 10 meters away, then in half the time you'll be five meters away. No, that's a different one. Oh, is it? Yeah. I thought I was the one. That's the tortoise in the hair one. That is a Zeno's paradox. That's another Zeno's paradox.
Starting point is 00:10:17 He's got a few paradoxes. He didn't have much on. He spent his time making up these pointless minds. How's it going, Zeno? Yeah, pretty good. I'm a really good new paradox. But actually, I feel really bad about it. I'll come down to the pub in a minute. Well, I'd love to come to the pub, but movement is impossible.
Starting point is 00:10:35 So you could just bring me a drink. That'd be great. Guys, what a shame. Xeno's not coming to the pub again. Oh, yeah, shit. Well, and I'm there. Anyway, so he has the arrow paradox, which he uses an arrow to prove that motion is impossible,
Starting point is 00:10:49 but that's not what the arch's paradox is. The arch's paradox is this thing where, so imagine you're shooting a burn arrow, if you point it at the target, then you let go of it. Can you describe how the arrow travels? Forward quickly through the, what? Like an arc maybe?
Starting point is 00:11:07 Like you have to aim slightly above. So I have to dip. Parabolic. Actually, a word of this so badly, it's extraordinary that I write your eye scripts. Basically, they wobble and they have to wobble and there's nothing to stop them wobbling. And if you imagine that you've got an arrow
Starting point is 00:11:22 and it's against the wood of the bow, the curved wood, when you release it as it rubs against the wood as it's going forward, that wood forces it a bit to the left if you're shooting a right-handed bow and arrow, forces it a bit to the left, but then the arrow wobbles back round to the right, so it snakes towards the target. And it's basically, it's explicable by some physics.
Starting point is 00:11:44 Which is a bit like cube Professor Brigh Cux. target and it's basically it's explicable by some physics. I'm just waiting for my science podcast to really take off. It's because arrows that can bend so because they're not pointed straight they'll bend around so it bends around the bow but whenever an arrow shoots towards the target the only reason they can hit the target is because it wobbles around and snakes like a snake. And if it didn't wobble around, it would just go off on a diagonal every single time. OK. It's not. It's me and Zeno sitting around not being invited to the pub. I get it. The oldest arrow has ever found, guess how old they are?
Starting point is 00:12:16 What, like 5,000 years? Yeah. Older. Older. 50,000. That's a crazy increase, Anna, but yeah, it's about 65,000. Just stunning. They were found, they often found in peat bogs. So the oldest ones found in the UK are actually only 6,000 years old, give or take. It was a found in a peat bog,
Starting point is 00:12:35 I think it's got the called Rotten Bottom. Yeah. Guys, do you know that the person who was ranked ninth in the archery world cup in 2006 and that she went on to live in Japan and broke a bunch of Japanese archery records? I feel like I am going to know this, I just have a hunch that it's done. Is Erika Eiffel and who is Erika Eiffel? Descendant of the Gustav Eiffel? No, but related, she was in the news in 2007, she was sort of the Gustav Eiffel? No, but it's related. She was in the news in 2007.
Starting point is 00:13:06 She was sort of the first person who brought object sexuality to the headlines of the strong word. She married the Eiffel Tower. She married the Eiffel Tower. Oh! Wow! Famous for marrying the Eiffel Tower. She had a career as a great archer before that.
Starting point is 00:13:21 That's brilliant. That is incredible. Apparently she lost all of her sponsors after admitting to a relationship with her bow. Wait, wait. I was saying bow. How are you spelling bow? Stop the podcast. Stop the podcast.
Starting point is 00:13:42 Hey everyone, this week's episode of Fish is sponsored by HelloFresh. That's right, HelloFresh is the service which lets you have delicious, balanced, sort of feel good, adventurous meals almost every day of the week, if you like. Yeah, it's, you know, you've got vegetarian options, you've got calorie smart meals, but also what you get from it
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Starting point is 00:15:15 On with the show! Okay, it's time for our second fact of the show. And that's my fact. My fact this week is that the man who invented the electric blanket also invented a device to electrocute squirrels to keep them off his bird feeder. So are we saying he's a good guy from history? Yeah. Oh, you don't like squirrels, do you not? Not much.
Starting point is 00:15:40 He didn't kill the squirrels. I think it was just a little shock to get them off. I think it was a one volt shock. But if you can't tell the current, you don't know how harsh it's going to be on the body. I mean, you did use the word just because I couldn't feel James getting upset inside. You did use the word electrocute. You meant electrify. I meant zap. So this is a guy called George Crowley or Crowley, and he's the one who invented, before you all start writing in,
Starting point is 00:16:09 the first modern electric blanket. There have been a few before that. They've been used before for patients in sanatoriums and things like that, and they were small and very expensive and not very good. And George Crowley was alive and working at the time of the Second World War and had worked as an engineer on the idea of electrically heated flying suits for pilots. Ah, when you say flying suits. Suits that they would be flying in, rather than suits that make you fly.
Starting point is 00:16:35 As in, sorry. You're like Iron Man. No, I think his work was secret but not that secret. Sorry, yes. Rather than your kind of Biggles style sheepskin leather jacket, he was working on how pilots could stay warm, because lots of pilots were just open to the air, it turns out, in early ballpipes. It was so, so, so cold.
Starting point is 00:16:55 So they had to wrap up warm, and he worked on making electric suits for them. And I think that gave him an idea of how to make an electric blanket. Yeah, they were freezing in the war, weren't they? And it was quite risky because your hands, I think, could get stuck to metal equipment, like frozen to metal equipment. I'll add dumb and dumber. Very embarrassing and quite dangerous in the air. Apparently, pilots would have to get dressed at the last minute
Starting point is 00:17:18 so as not to get their clothes wet with sweat because you had to put on very, very warm clothes if you're going up in the plane. But if you put them on too soon, then you're going to sweat those because you're boiling. And then as soon as you go up put on very, very warm clothes if you're going up on the plane. But if you put them on too soon, then you're gonna sweat those because you're boiling. And then as soon as you go up in the plane, you'll sweat all freezes and you've got a coat made of ice.
Starting point is 00:17:30 Tough gig. Wow, yeah. I looked into some of Crowley's other inventions. Oh yeah. So he works for General Electric, so there are a lot of patents that he kind of put out as part of his job. There was a golf ball painter.
Starting point is 00:17:43 So if your balls become a bit too dirty, stop it. You would tip them into a vending machine and then it would blast like a little jet of air to hold it in the air and then spray paint it. That's very clever. Just kind of like a hover painting. Yeah, exactly. That's pretty cool.
Starting point is 00:17:57 It's very cool. That seems unnecessary. Well, what else are you gonna paint the last bit? Exactly. Yeah, because if you're holding it, you can hold the ball in the top and the bottom. How are you going to paint the bit under your fingers? That's the Achilles story.
Starting point is 00:18:08 It's sort of Achilles, it's a golf ball. It's like the Xeno golf ball paradox. The golf ball is impossible to paint. He also did a heater for shaving cream, I guess, to, you know, if your shaving cream is just a bit too cold, needs to heat up. And a ball bouncer, which would be to test and kind of standardize the effectiveness of a ball's bounce
Starting point is 00:18:29 after being kept in storage. But then he quickly abandoned the idea because he realized you could just do it as easily by hand. Which makes sense. That was like to test tennis balls, right? So make sure that they all bounce evenly. I think so, yes. That's pretty good.
Starting point is 00:18:40 Because it sounds like you'd be a kid just being like, should we go out and bounce the ball? And we're like, no, my ball bounces to me. The squirrel electrifier, Zappa, apparently according to his son in law, David Scott, he abandoned it when he began to feel bad for the squirrels. There you go. So you had a conscience. Yeah. Did he feel bad for
Starting point is 00:19:00 the birds that were then starving to death? When he was a child, he invented a device that warned him when his parents were coming into his room. Brilliant. Useful in the teenagers. Yeah. Don't come in! I'm a lecture teacher! He was six years old when he invented that.
Starting point is 00:19:22 Yeah. No, he wasn't. Very cool. And then at 12 years old, he set up a light sense in the dining room door so that if his mum passed by with like an arm full of dirty dishes, it would open for her. He wired up the living room curtains so a light switch so when you'd switch the light on at night, the curtains would close. He basically built like the first smart home.
Starting point is 00:19:41 It was like, wait. It was like Kevin from Home Lines. Yeah, he is. Yeah. I really thought you meant Kevin from Kevin and Perry Go Large and only the masturbating in your room. It was truly fun. Another attempt to truly shake off the international listener.
Starting point is 00:19:54 Yeah, I suppose so. When he was in his prime at work, he was brought in as a witness in quite a lot of court cases. What it would be is people would have a fire in their bedroom And they'd say that their electric blanket had set on fire and he would always come in and say yeah It's absolutely impossible that that's happened because his improvement was a thermostat That's okay. Yeah. Yeah, modern blankets the ones before you couldn't really set them They just got hotter and hotter and hotter and hotter, but his like had a limit it would always turn out that someone was smoking in bed Because that always used to be the fear I had an electric blanket when I was a kid at some point
Starting point is 00:20:34 I was desperate for one. I went to take my grandma's house who had one. I was like, well, this is the tree I wanted a Sony PlayStation To be fair the reason I brought this fact to the attention of the table in the first places I recently slept in bed for the first time, which had an electric blanket, a game changer. I got mine for the first time this winter. Yeah. It's amazing.
Starting point is 00:20:55 I don't know how I've ever lived without it. Yeah. But I thought they were very much for your granny, basically. Well, they are. But in terms of the age. You're getting up at the age now. They're very cool and... They're the new PlayStation. But there was always the fear of dropping water on it and you'd somehow electrocute yourself.
Starting point is 00:21:12 But I think that is very unlikely. But I did, when I was checking if that could happen, I did come across a Sun article where the headline was, you've been using your electric blanket all wrong. Oh, yeah. It's shoving up my ass every night. It's rentless. Oh, whoa! It's so weird.
Starting point is 00:21:31 It's always all wrong in those headlines, isn't it? It's never you've been slightly misusing it, or you've been slightly tricking it. There might be something you've occasionally done. You're meant to turn off when you get into bed, so you don't keep cooking yourself overnight. Yep, you're meant to do that, everyone. don't fold it, why would you fold it? It's just on your bed all the time.
Starting point is 00:21:46 So that is actually a good point. And that's what I think Crowley actually solved with the thermostats. So the thermostats for turning things on and off, but also local hotspots because if you fold it or bunch it up, you'd get all these heating filaments getting closer and closer to each other. So they wouldn't spread out the heat uniformly
Starting point is 00:22:03 and so you would get too hot in certain places. Oh, hot patches. Like a microwave. Exactly. If you, sorry, this is question three for who's a physicist. If you had these electrical wires going around you and you folded it round yourself, would you become magnetic? Have you seen, you know, the X-Mind, James? Oh yeah. Magneto. He originally gets his powers after it, he gets tangled up in an extra planet.
Starting point is 00:22:27 You never see what's under that cape of his, do you? No. So you're running a current through it. It's going to be a relatively low current because it'll be high resistivity to give off more heat. But also, it's not straight wires going round in a coil. It's actually like lots of different ones. So there'll be lots of interference, lots of different magnetic flux cancelling each other out. So I don't think you'd be net magnetic. Sorry James. Sorry. What's happened to all my spoons?
Starting point is 00:22:52 Do you want to hear about an electric blanket owner who did use it all wrong? This is Occasionally, I think that there are risky ones like if they're very old you should be really careful around them and all that Let's do be careful around them, but this happened in 2006, which was a Burmese python called Houdini living in California. Don't call your python Houdini, honestly. Call it like happily paged. They're always called Houdini, aren't they? Every animal that escapes. That's because you've just stumbled upon the reason why.
Starting point is 00:23:24 It's the problem that there's no one super, super famous for not having escaped. The man of the iron mask. Just call your python. Yeah. Yeah. The snake of Monte Cristo. Lots of, lots of, anyway. You obviously didn't get very far into Monte Cristo.
Starting point is 00:23:39 Did you? Did you think they were named in prison? It was so boring. It was just in prison for ages. So I gave up. Great. In 2006, Houdini in California mistook a queen-size electric blanket for a rabbit. He was halfway through the easing.
Starting point is 00:23:54 So his owner had given him a rabbit, right, to eat. And left it in his tank. But then Houdini, for some reason, was able to access the electric blanket too, unplugged it from the wall, in many ways the most impressive bit of the whole procedure. And the rabbit was kind of tangled up in the blanket and I guess was white and fluffy. And Houdini then just ate the entire, huge size electric blanket. It just sort of kept going. Like he'd started, you know when you start to eat a long, like a bit of patroil or something.
Starting point is 00:24:19 You think, oh, it's all finished. Yeah. So they had to. So relatable. I'm not taking reasonable from Mr Cat Evian over here. No way. And the good news is, there's a happy ending to the story. Oh. Which is...
Starting point is 00:24:36 She can still use the electric blanket. It was used as like a doorstopper. No, that's where I were able to get it out. It's good news. Jenny really, the snake made a recovery. The Vets made an incision and very, very, very slowly removed the entire electric blanket, which must have been a magic trick for the ages as well. And she must have gone back to her fellow snake saying,
Starting point is 00:24:56 I had this unbelievably hot rabbit. James, you mentioned getting too hot with electric blankets a minute ago. Yeah, so I wouldn't have an electric blanket because I like to be cold in bed. I actually agree and I went off my electric blanket very fast when I realized that. But you definitely wouldn't have liked this then. So the precursor to Crowley's electric blanket was some less good electric costumes. And in World War I, the French and US military made electric suits, in fact, for pilots. But they weren't that effective.
Starting point is 00:25:25 They'd short out in the middle of a flight, so the pilot would be freezing cold. Or sometimes the power came from a windmill that was attached to the outside of the plane. That's amazing. That was the Dutch Air Force, wasn't it? Terrible news, all the tulips have gone from the wings where we were growing them. Oh god. No, they just get quite hot because if you're playing one into a dive, probably not the main thing you're worried about if you're playing goes into a dive.
Starting point is 00:25:56 The wind will obviously start going quite a lot faster and your suit gets incredibly hot. That's very funny. Again, well done Crowley for inventing that thermostat. What's dangerous for the little boy who's being used as a fuel cap. Give his finger in the hole. Anyway, don't stereotype. I've been working on something about the tail having holes in it already because it's made of e-dams, but it's not ready.
Starting point is 00:26:19 It's not ready to be rolled out. Okay, it's time for fact number three. And that is Anna. My fact this week is that there's a sea harbor in Uzbekistan that's 150 kilometers from the sea. How can it be? Zeno's harbor. This is the town of Moinak in Uzbekistan, technically in the autonomous Republic of Karakal-Pakstan. And it used to be on the sea, it used to be on the Aral Sea, and the Aral Sea was the
Starting point is 00:26:56 world's fourth largest inland sea, so really sort of a lake, and it's now shriveled to about 10%, less than 10% of its size but there is this amazing place and you might have seen pictures of it heard of people who have sort of done that disaster tourism thing of going to visit it basically there's a harbor which still has a bunch of the old boats still in it I think it's got 12 or 13 boats that are all rusted and just lingering there but it's 150 kilometers to the sea at this point. So they're just marooned and there's a lighthouse.
Starting point is 00:27:27 It's quite spooky. Yeah. There's a lighthouse, that's very spooky. Yeah, haunting place. Yeah. There was, when Geographical Magazine went to visit, apparently there's a local joke that if every tourist, journalist and scientist who visits brought a bucket of water with them, the entire Aral Sea would be replenished by now.
Starting point is 00:27:44 Very good. So the Aral Sea is a very, it's kind of interesting, it is an ecological disaster zone, so it's not very cheery to read about, but it is kind of fascinating. So I didn't really, you hear about the fourth largest lake in the world and you think, well, probably quite big. It was half the size of England. It's so big! Or the size of Scotland, if you don't want to be so anglo-centric. Ooh! Or a third of the size of the United Kingdom top to bottom.
Starting point is 00:28:10 Brilliant. Oh, but nothing for the Welsh in here, I see. They always have the size of Wales, don't they? They've got the amounts of the Amazon being cut down and they should be happy with that. You never see the size of it, but anyway, imagine that. It's so big. Yeah. All water thriving with fish and it was but anyway, imagine that. It's so big. All water thriving with fish.
Starting point is 00:28:27 And it was just kind of botched. And it was a very quick botch during the 20th century. Because it used to be the water was always slightly drained off in a couple of rivers that fed it. And the water was traditionally controlled by the Mirabs, who were the water masters in the area. And they ensured that farms in the area got enough water to irrigate their crops,
Starting point is 00:28:48 but not too much basically. But then during the Soviet times, because both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were part of the Soviet Union, and the Arolycee kind of straddled both, that was all centralized. And also there was a mega drive to farm cotton in Uzbekistan, and cotton is a very, very
Starting point is 00:29:05 thirsty crop. And they diverted the rivers so much that this entire sea just started receding disaster state. And it was so fast, wasn't it? So it was 1960, essentially, the Soviets launched their big sort of redirecting the main feeder rivers. And by 1970, then, in fact that I thought this was really interesting because it's a measure of saltiness of water which I didn't really realize
Starting point is 00:29:29 existed but by 1970 it was officially brackish. Exactly mangroves can live there. I don't think they had time to set up shop so the freshwater fish started dying but it was officially salt water by 1987, which is another level above. And it became officially, do you know what the last designation of saltiness is in 1996? Super saline. Oh, that's good. A much more common word. Oh, really? Salty? Yeah, briny. Oh, briny. I didn't realise. Brackish saltwater briny. So only nematodes and microbes can survive. But also awfully, it's split in two, the Aral Sea, so the North Aral and the South Aral.
Starting point is 00:30:12 And the North Aral levels actually stabilised, the water levels stabilised, about 1988. But by then it got quite salty and saltwater species has started to thrive in it. And then it started sort of getting a bit fresher again, replenishing a little bit, so all the saltwater species died out. Oh no. Oh no.
Starting point is 00:30:29 It's a nightmare. Because one of the problems that they had was basically Moscow kept saying to these stands, okay you've made this much cotton this year, next year you need to make 5% more or 10% more. And they went, all right, yeah fine. And so then they would divert some river. And then they say, okay well next year we need 10% more. And they keep, all right, yeah, fine. And so then they would divert some river. And then they say, okay, well, next year we need 10% more. And they keep doing that. And they keep doing that and keep doing that. And in Russia, it's known as the Uzbek-Skoeid Yala,
Starting point is 00:30:52 which is like the Uzbek business. Because even once the ROC disappeared, they still kept saying, well, we need another 5% next year. And the people would be like, yeah, fine, that'd be all right. And they just kept saying that they were creating all this cotton, but they weren'd be all right. And they just kept saying that they were creating all this cotton, but they weren't making it. And so they sound like me.
Starting point is 00:31:08 They sound like me at work. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've got that covered. Exactly. You can imagine. And in 1983, they claimed that 981,000 tons of cotton were being harvested that were not being harvested. And then when Brezhnev died and Andropov came in, Andropov decided he wanted to do this sort of big anti-corruption drive.
Starting point is 00:31:30 And they picked on, because there was corruption happening everywhere obviously, but they picked on this in particular. And it was so huge that Sharaf Rashidov, who had been in charge of Uzbekistan, until then he'd been buried in some huge place in the middle of Tashkent. They exhumed his body and buried him in like a normal grave. That's how much of a big deal it was.
Starting point is 00:31:53 What to punish him for the fact that he'd lied about this cotton? Isn't that amazing? And then in 1991 when Uzbekistan became its own country and Islam Karamov came in, the first thing he did was just pardon everyone. So anyone who had been in prison about any of this stuff, he said, ah well it was just Soviets being Soviets, so it's not your fault. Wow. That was, I mean, you know, a bit of reconciliation with the past, probably a good thing as you come in. I know Islam Karamov was not a great president. It depends who you are.
Starting point is 00:32:22 Yeah, that's true. If you're one of the security apparatus. He's a really great president. It depends who you are. Yeah, that's true. If you're one of the security apparatus. Yeah, so the Aral Sea just quickly one more thing on that. This is a really cool thing about it. And it's the reason that you, James, might want to go there. Well, I do. Well, you could be James, the first person on earth to map the Aral Desert as it now is. You're doing your impression of the water men again. Yeah, I don't know what that's about. Yeah, yeah, it's just sort of like feel very connected to it. No, there is a theory that this is the last land surface on Earth that is not mapped. Satellites have taken pictures of it from a very long way away,
Starting point is 00:32:56 but no one has done on the ground cartography because it's new land. Would I have to train as a cartographer before I do this mapping, God? I should think so. I should do it on a piece of paper. I mean, what kind of cartographer do you want to be? Do you want to be a 17th century one, or you tell them and say,
Starting point is 00:33:10 I'm maybe that after my wife? Well, you said I could do it. You could do it. I mean, you could do a very, very amateurish cartography job. But I love that theory that this desert is a new cool, like a new land. It's the Aralcum salt desert is known as today, and it's 5 million hectares, which is bigger than Denmark. Wow.
Starting point is 00:33:32 No idea how it is compared to Wales, I'm going to do it. But yeah, that's mega. Yeah, wow. OS Maps app wouldn't work there is what you're saying. No. And I don't think those Google cars have quite got to the sun flats. Uber is 17 days away. Oh my God.
Starting point is 00:33:51 Now he's 18 days away. Just one more very quick thing about Moinak, which is the town, when they are all sea first began to really deplete and the Soviet Union still existed around that time. They weren't on the coast, but they had all these factories that were for canning fish. And so what the Soviet Union did is that they were transport fish all the way from the Pacific to Monarch so that the town's people could still work in the factories canning fish, even though they were no idea to see anymore. Wow.
Starting point is 00:34:26 Isn't that amazing? Oh my God. That's very cool. At some point they must have thought, this is not a very sustainable line of work. I'm sure they did think that. The Mirabs would have thought, sorry, the Mirab. There you go. Wow.
Starting point is 00:34:41 It's interesting. And the other thing about Aral Sea is that there's an island there which in Russia is known as Vosrezhdenia which means rebirth and it's mentioned in Call of Duty Black Ops which I believe is a video game. It is. Certainly is your honour. But it was also a place where they had a biological weapons research facility and where a big cloud of smallpox was released in 1971.
Starting point is 00:35:05 Tremendous. A happy place. Yeah. Did they dump the stuff in the water? Did they dump it? It just kind of it there was an explosion, a load of smallpox when and then it's landed. So when when I'm making my map and say there's Polina here, there's Polina Valley or something, I need to watch out for smallpox because it might still be there.
Starting point is 00:35:26 And the big, big problem about that is now that it's not a lake anymore, animals can just wander to this island, which they never would be able to do before. So it means that if there are any biological things on that island... We're going to get mutant animals who can take over the world. We're going to get bears on wings. Precisely what I'm saying. Yeah. Or just sort of smallpox deer spreading it.
Starting point is 00:35:48 All that. Yeah. That's actually, I thought it was quite interesting reading about that chemical weapons testing area because the area where it happens, in fact the capital of Caracal, Pakistan, which is the region this is in, is called Newukos, which feels like a very dangerous name to give yourself middle of the Cold War when you've got some military stuff going on, doesn't it? Oh, Nukos. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:36:15 I thought you were saying it sounds a bit like Nukos or a bit like... That's what I thought. I never realised that Nukosal sounds like Nukosal. All the Maccams are gone. oh, there are people from Sunderland are going, yeah, well, we've had that in our head for a long time. Yeah, we wish. Just one more thing about the Aral Sea, which I thought was very interesting, because I looked in some newspaper archives, sort of what people had said
Starting point is 00:36:38 about it before it got all depressing. And whenever it's mentioned in the 18th and 19th centuries, in early 20th century, it is mentioned as a sea which keeps on disappearing. So it was very shallow. And actually there are all these articles like there's a Travelers report from 1910 that says it's so shallow that if a strong wind picks up, it blows the sea away as far as the island is. Annoying. What the fish do? I guess they got blown away.
Starting point is 00:37:06 I'm sorry kids, we've come to the beach, but it was a bit when the underseas blown away. What can you do? That's amazing. And they kept saying there was an 1890 newspaper article about it saying it's undergoing a process of desiccation that makes it seem like it's going to disappear all together. Oh, interesting. So maybe because it was was very shallow it was susceptible to that.
Starting point is 00:37:27 It was clearly and it had happened entirely, almost entirely I think in the 14th century, there are documents which show it basically fully dried up and they're still finding as it dries up it recedes and it reveals old sites of medieval settlements. Oh, that's really cool. Yeah, so maybe 600 years from now it'll be back. Fingers crossed. Maybe, unless we 600 years from now it'll be back. Fingers crossed. Unless we think it was a Soviet or Russian problem,
Starting point is 00:37:49 the Great Salt Lake in America has lost 73% of its water and is unable to sustain a lot of wildlife because local people are using so much of the water around there. And the Colorado River, which used to reach the gulf, doesn't reach the gulf anymore, it just dries off and it hasn't since 1988. What? A river just sort of ends?
Starting point is 00:38:08 Yeah, it just dries. So it's like, it becomes a river, becomes a river, becomes a river. People in like California, they're using the water so much that it just dries up. It's awful. It's a problem all around the world. Yeah. So I was kind of looking at other Langlock countries that kind of had a very strong kind of association with the sea, despite, you know, obviously not being next to it.
Starting point is 00:38:31 And I read into Bolivia, which is Langlocked, and they're so obsessed with the sea. So it goes back to the War of the Pacific, which was in like 1879, 1884. Bolivia and Peru were up against Chile, and Chile ended up winning and annexed about 149 miles of the coastline and stopped Bolivia being able to access it. That's a real dickhead bit to annex. I know, I know, and Bolivia just haven't forgotten about it 140 years later. So they made a peace treaty in 1904, which granted Bolivia access to the Pacific Ocean.
Starting point is 00:39:04 But it meant that they still had to go through lots of checks and it was still, you know, subject to loads of fairs. What are the checks doing there? They put in an official plea with the Hague in 2013, but it was rejected that they didn't have to do anything. But the kind of culture that sprung up around it is really funny. So on the 23rd of March, every year, Bolivia celebrates the national day of the sea. And that date was chosen because it's the day that one of Bolivia's kind of iconic
Starting point is 00:39:30 war heroes from the time, Eduardo Abaroe was shot down by Chile. And his reported dying words were, surrender, your grandmother should surrender. You fuck. Yeah, they have a navy as well. They've got 500 troops in their navy. They have like Taitacaca, don't they? Exactly. So is that where they do it?
Starting point is 00:39:50 They do a lot of their training around there. They patrol the area. They also patrol the Amazonian rivers that they have in Bolivia. And yeah, helpful. Yeah. And the official motto is, the sea is ours by right. To take it back is our duty.
Starting point is 00:40:03 Wow. And would they? I mean, let it go. I know. No, no, no. Get it right to take it back is our duty. Wow. And would they... I mean, let it go. I know. No, no, no, no. Get it back, get it back. It's all right, Elsa. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:40:11 Kling desperately on. That's my version of the song. I was reading, what was I reading? I was reading the article about the re-measuring the Amazon because they want to prove that the Amazon's longer and they're gonna travel from the new source that they found which is in Peru and they're gonna travel travel from the new source that they found which is in Peru and they're going to travel down because you're saying about like the Navy are there.
Starting point is 00:40:29 You know what is the most dangerous animal that they might meet? Is it man? It is. Oh, is it? Is it like the remote communities or maybe the indigenous people that haven't been? You know what? There's some of that but actually it's loggers. Loggers, yeah. Oh, I was so primed to like the guys who were doing logging in the Amazon rainforest,
Starting point is 00:40:48 but now you've said that they're harmful. I like them even less. There's a bit of good news on land blockery. So half a dozen landlocked countries in Africa are going to get their own coastline before long. This is really interesting. So Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the DRC, Malawi and Zambia, between five and 10 million years from now, as the Somalian-Newbian tectonic plates move apart from the Arabian plate, cracks keep appearing. In Ethiopia in 2005, a big crack just appeared in the desert. Terrifying. So now I was reading an article about this on Quartz, and I just want to read you the last sentences. This also means, as well as getting seaside, great news, these countries can finally be
Starting point is 00:41:30 directly connected to subsea internet cables. If that technology will not have been bypassed by them, assuming that millions of years down the line, nation states will still exist in the form that they do now. Actually just on the internet in Uzbekistan, so there's a lot of issues in Monday with corruption and cheating and exams. You've got about 400,000 students each year competing for about 50,000 university places. So they have loads of different kind of ways of cheating to try and get them into uni. So they bribe and vigilators to turn blind eye to phone use and people will use
Starting point is 00:42:05 the parachute technique. Can I have a guess? Go on, go on. Yeah. Parachutes are very tightly folded, aren't they? They're very tightly folded. So have you folded up? And you pull a card? And a huge bit of cloth with all the answers comes up. Yeah, you've sort of written incredibly tiny writing on a very tightly folded bit of silk. I love that. It's not, I'm afraid. It's basically they just chuck it out the window to somebody below, who then just corrects the exam paper out the window to correct the answer, and they just chuck it back up. So hang on, you're doing your exam. You have to find a way of
Starting point is 00:42:42 going, oh no! And then you also have to find a way of going, oh no. Why is that in the window? And then you also have to find a way of unfolding the paper aeroplane in a way that no one notices. Yeah, basically now the telecoms companies, the three major kind of network providers, all very conveniently have technical difficulties that they need to solve for like this five hour period where everybody's taking exams. But it's, yeah, it's just mad. Oh another way that people would do it. They would hide notes in I quote Renaissance style hairstyles. So they're just kind of cribshee stuffed in there. If you have a big enough rough, you can just write the answer on your own and spin it around to whatever bit of the curriculum. Ask about it. There we go. Very nice. Very nice. James did you ever see those landlocked?
Starting point is 00:43:24 I'm asking James specifically, the landlocked population of sharks in Australia? Oh, no, I haven't seen, are they on a golf course? They're on a golf course. Yeah, I am aware of them. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And they washed in in the 90s. That's right.
Starting point is 00:43:38 And for years they were like the nessie of this golf course because there was a big lake on the golf course. It's called the Carburett Golf Club in Queensland. How did they wash in? Exactly. The area floods every now and again. It's prone to flooding. So every several years they might have a really big flood which sort of connects sea to the... Oh my god. And bull sharks are very good at living in water of mixed salinity. Brackish. Like you said. Brackish.
Starting point is 00:44:03 Not for any. They're at home in the Brack. They have special fun fact, rectal glands, which allow them to excrete salt so they can survive in saltier water or they can survive in less salty water. Do they do it as like table salt or like mold and flakes? That's the third pot on the table. It'll catch on. Yeah. And so someone went there, a golfer named Scott Wagstaff said, I'm going to prove that this Aussie Nessie is down here.
Starting point is 00:44:30 He went down there with a camera and some meat. And he got them, he got them on film. And yeah, they haven't been seen since 2015. And the area did flood again in 2013. So it's possible they washed out. That's interesting. I once went to a restaurant where there was sharks. Well it was, where was it?
Starting point is 00:44:47 It was Doctor Evil's secret letter. It was like that. I think it was in Mauritius and you were beyond tables and the tables were floating on the sea. What? There were sharks swimming around. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then the...
Starting point is 00:45:01 Did they have signs like, do not feed the sharks under the table like a dog? Yeah, yeah, you weren't allowed to feed them. but the, uh, the waiters would come round, they would bring some meat and they would throw little bits of meat into the water next to you and then the sharks would come up and snap, snap, snap, snap. And then you'd eat the rest of your meal. That's an incredible restaurant to go to. Isn't it? So if you were the rest, if you were the waiter and someone really annoyed you, could you
Starting point is 00:45:24 accidentally spill a tray of meat on them so they'd be devoured by the shark? The shark would have to be able to jump out. It would have to be like one of those Mako sharks that can jump out of the water, but I don't think they were those. So, but aren't you, sorry, you're sitting with your waists. There's water. No, no, you're on an island. You're on an island.
Starting point is 00:45:39 Sorry, no, no, no. Right, what I got is that you're floating. You're on a floating island where the table is. The table must have a platform underneath it, right? Because you know the tables are floating. So you're not saying that you're way deep in water and there are sharks in there? Because that's what I am.
Starting point is 00:45:53 That's what I was guessing at. I mean, you wouldn't go twice, would you? You're very cold and you're very tense. Oh, that huge tip. Was the food good? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:46:06 It was good. Did it cost an arm and a leg? Okay, it's time for our final fact of the show, and that is James. Okay, my fact this week is that wombat burrows can be explored by a special robot called a wombat. Oh, it's so good. So why are we exploring wombat burrows? Yes.
Starting point is 00:46:34 I feel like it's none of our business. Well, you might want to learn stuff about wombats. None of my business. With that as the spirit of the Enlightenment died forever. Does it look, is it a fake wombat, would a wombat be able to know that it was a wombat? No, it doesn't look like a wombat. It looks like a small black box with tank wheels. Okay.
Starting point is 00:46:57 Caterpillar tracers. Nice, okay. And this was something I read on the improbable website run by our friends at the Ig Nobel Prizes and it was made by Scott Carver and Robert Ross. And I think an honours student called Elizabeth Brown is well. Yeah, that's right. But this was at the University of Tasmania and this is a really interesting thing, right? So I've written to Dr. Carver and he's given me lots of information
Starting point is 00:47:28 and this is incredible. So Wombat burrows are really difficult to get in because they're quite smart. They're the size of a Wombat. Wombat's quite big. I've seen a Wombat in the zoo. They're big but they're smaller than you, for instance. Okay.
Starting point is 00:47:44 It'd be tough for you to get in. Yeah, yeah. But it would be possible for, say, a 13 or 14-year-old boy to get in. Okay. And until Scott Carver and Rob Ross and Elizabeth Brown and their friends made this machine, the only information we had about one that burrows was from a school
Starting point is 00:48:06 by called Peter Nicholson, who in the 1960s with a torch and a spade went into Wombat Burroughs and made observations of the Wombats that he encountered. It's so good. It's so good. Literally, he wrote up his account in the school magazine and until the last few years, this was the best information we had about Wombat burrows. I'm so jealous. He's so cool.
Starting point is 00:48:30 That's a childhood fantasy. You crawl into a badger set and you find them all drinking tea on the ground. So I read, there was a documentary by ABC, so the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and they kind of interviewed Peter Nicholson. So he was at Timotop boarding school in Victoria, and he and a friend stumbled upon the burrows. He was, I think, nine stone and six feet tall, so he was, you know, skinny enough that he could shuffle down. He was chased out by a female wombat at the time, a wild dog. But chased out forwards or backwards. I think he'd probably end up shuffling backwards and
Starting point is 00:49:02 out sort of, you know, feet first. Well, exactly. That's scary. Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you can't, if you have to, also, and if they tilt down, you'll have to climb backwards and upwards. Yeah, yeah. Oh god, you've taken me right back to a very upsetting experience I had in an underground car park in Slovenia, where I have to reverse out.
Starting point is 00:49:16 Oh my god, Andy, enough about your travel-advancing, how it's Jesus Christ. Oh, you're ever talking about... Oh, it was the first time I'd driven for years and it was right down, like very steep ramp down to the barrier, which was then closed for whatever reason. And I had completely forgotten how
Starting point is 00:49:34 to do a reverse hill start. And that was the most stressful 20 minutes of that year. It was horrible. And there was sharks swimming up to the other side of the hill. There was no agree female wombat outside of the barrier. We would have made it worse. They weren't all like horrible wombats though.
Starting point is 00:49:50 He did become friends with one wombat in particular. So when he would go down there and he would go to genuinely, he would go down and he would just sit with the wombat for a while. Sometimes if the wombat would grunt, he'd grunt back just to try and, you know, kind of replicate what he was doing. The wombat would come over and sniff him, a paw on him, even followed him out on a cloudy day because they're normally nocturnals, they would stay inside during the day, but he came out on one day and they just sat together outside, him and this friendly wombat. It's incredible. That is a beautiful story.
Starting point is 00:50:20 Yeah. It's an unbelievable. But anyway, now we can do it with robots. So kids get out of the bar. And the one bot is fitted with lasers and it can eliminate any one that it comes across. Well, they have to, like for instance, because of your problem, Andy, they have to have like cameras on the front and the back because so often you have to reverse and you can't turn round. So that's one problem that they had. They tied a rope to it just in case they got completely stuck and they could just drag it out, so that's kind of a low-fi way of dealing with it.
Starting point is 00:50:53 And they found something really important, which is wombats have been getting this parasite, it's like a scabies kind of thing, and it's been very, very bad for the wombat. And they found, thanks to their wombat that mites can survive much longer inside the burrows which people didn't realize before people felt the mites would just die but now we know that if your wombat leaves a burrow and then another wombat goes in which happens quite often that's a way that this disease can spread from one wombat to another wombat that's something we didn't know before.
Starting point is 00:51:26 That's very cool. James, just quickly, that vision of the one bot with a rope tied around it is kind of like an Australian version of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth, isn't it? That's exactly what I thought of weirdly when you said that. One of my favourite facts about Theseus and the Minotaur, so a ball of string was called a C-L-E-W, a clue, and essentially, that's where our modern word for clue comes from. Really? You're following a clue backwards out of a maze.
Starting point is 00:51:49 So it's a lead, essentially. Yeah. That's so good. That is so cool. Yeah, it's really fun. But I also know something about wombats, and that is that they are fluorescent under UV light, but so are scabies.
Starting point is 00:52:02 However, the wombats glow blue, but scabies glow green. So if you were to shine a black light at a wombat, you could tell if it's got scabies, if it's got little kind of green flecks coming through. The blue. Yeah. If there is a bit of a scabies outbreak
Starting point is 00:52:17 in the UK at the moment, apparently, and if I went to a nightclub, as I haven't done for 10 years, but if I was to go to a nightclub, would I haven't done for 10 years, but if I was to go to a nightclub, would I be able to know that someone talking to me had scabies because they would glow? There'd be like little green kind of areas where they are on. If you get up close and take their clothes off,
Starting point is 00:52:37 which often people do in nightclubs anyway. It's kind of like clad, yeah. Yeah, easy. Okay, that's public service. Yeah, yeah. So yeah,, that's public service. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So thank you to Dr. Carver for sending me all this information. If you want to learn more, then you can go to his Twitter, which is at scott underscore s underscore Carver. And the last question I asked him was, do you know that there's a US zoo which claims to have had the world's
Starting point is 00:53:03 oldest wombat? And it was called Carver. Lovely. Isn't that amazing? I thought, did you know that there's a US zoo which claims to have had the world's oldest wombat and it was called Carver. Lovely. Isn't that amazing? I thought... Did you know that? I said I just thought you'd be interested in that coincidence and he said cool fact. That wombat is a southern hairy nose wombat whereas our work has been bare-nosed wombat. You must have felt so stupid when he's so young. Oh my god.
Starting point is 00:53:26 And apparently to the best of his knowledge, the oldest bear knows Wombat. Its captivity is in Japan and is called Wayne. So that put me in my place. Yeah. Here's a riddle for you all. What animal is the biggest user of a Wombat burrow? Wombat.
Starting point is 00:53:44 Yes. Thank goodness someone's fallen into my cunningly laid trap. Australian teenage boys. That's it. OK, so something else uses wombat burrows. Is it going to be something of a similar size to a wombat? Sounds like it's going to be bigger, doesn't it? Oh, hold on.
Starting point is 00:54:01 No, no, no, no, no. I've misunderstood the question. It was unfigurously worded, and I thought you meant biggest in size. Oh. You know, like maybe a wallaby sneaks in there. She's got it. I don't know how you've done it. How the hell did she get that?
Starting point is 00:54:18 The most frequent user of wombat burrows is the... To be fair, Ada, I did notice she'd throw a piece of paper out of the window just before my answer. I did notice you throw a piece of paper out of the window just before. The black-footed rock wallaby, but wombats will tolerate other animals in their burrows if there's something like a fire going on above ground. There was a story that went kind of viral that the wombats were rounding up other animals. Rounding them up and then sort of assassinating them in the burrows. No, protecting them from the wildfires. Oh, sorry. And they're amazing thermal buffers. It can be incredibly hot above ground,
Starting point is 00:54:46 even if there's not a fire in it. Obviously, it's very, very hot underground. Level temperatures. Good to know. Look out for a wombat burrow. Last resort. Just on robots and mimic animals. Biomimicry.
Starting point is 00:55:00 Biomimicry. Apparently, we are soon going to have zoos full of robots instead of animals. This is the great suggestion. And they've started making robots that look exactly like certain animals, so that when you go to a zoo, rather than keeping, I don't know, a panda captive or a cheetah or something, you just look at a robot. And they've actually, they've got Del got Del the dolphin was one that I discovered. Del boy.
Starting point is 00:55:27 Also, I'm about to leave the dolphin. So Del the dolphin is designed by one of the creative directors at Disney, in fact, who is now working on this and the person who made Free Willy, which we talked about recently. They're more cost effective because obviously you don't have to feed them. Yeah. But then you can't really do feeding time, which is part of the fun of the zoo, I suppose. I guess. Well, unless you're feeding them a robot fish, that's probably fine.
Starting point is 00:55:51 Yeah, although then that's also been cost effective, I suppose, when you've got to generate 100 robot fish every day. But yeah, apparently rather than having animals, we'll just have robots. I think that sounds great. Yeah. There is a temple in India which has replaced its elephant with a robo-elephant. Oh yeah? And that's again on grounds of animal stress levels. Lots of temples in India have live elephants. So the Irringidapili Shri Krishna temple now has an 11-foot tall robo-nilly. Oh. I don't know what it can do. I don't know if it can amusingly hoover up a peanut.
Starting point is 00:56:25 This is the touch of Roomba to its trunk. Yeah. Here's one more thing. In America, they have a problem with poaching some places. And one way that they deal with it is they put lures out to the poachers. But you don't really want wanna lure with a real animal. So they started doing it with robots.
Starting point is 00:56:48 And the idea is you would get a robotic, say, bear, and the poacher would shoot it. And then as soon as they did it, you could arrest them for shooting bears. Even though they didn't technically shoot a real bear, the intention was there. The problem is that poachers kind of get used to it, and so you have to make them more and more and more realistic
Starting point is 00:57:10 each time so that they think it's real. And so the latest thing they've done, this guy in America called Volslegel, who makes these props, has invented a deer which picks up its tail and poos out brown M&Ms. So the poachers sit there thinking, that animal hasn't poohed for a while, I think it might be a robot. And then the M&Ms come out and they go, ha, got it. And they shoot it. And apparently this guy, Vol Slagle, who made it,
Starting point is 00:57:41 has three kids and they get to eat all of the other coloured M&M's and MRE buys. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. So that's cool. And that's why Van Halen wants it to have no brown M&M's on their right. I just knew they were needed for the robo. Okay, that's it. That's all of our facts.
Starting point is 00:58:02 Thank you so much for listening. If you'd like to get in contact with any of us about the things that we've said, we can all be found on our online accounts. I'm at Andrew Hunter M. James. I'm on TikTok at No Six Things James Harkin, but I haven't ticked any tucks. OK, so look out for that. I try to do a new one each time, but I'm kind of running. Ethan. I'm on Twitter and Instagram at Ethan Rupert Relly.
Starting point is 00:58:27 Yeah. And Anna? You can get in touch with us as a group by emailing podcast at or tweeting at and no such thing. That's right. And if you would like to go to no such thing as a, there's all sorts of extra stuff there, including a portal to Clubfish, the exclusive members lounge where you can kick back, enjoy some bonus content, some ad free shows, all for a very reasonable price. And
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