No Such Thing As A Fish - 526: No Such Thing As An Angry Banana

Episode Date: April 11, 2024

James, Anna, Andy and Alex Bell discuss Wasabi, Harriet T, an Angry Bee and NH3. Visit for news about live shows, merchandise and more episodes.  Join Club Fish for ad-free e...pisodes and exclusive bonus content at or

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi everybody, Andy here. Just before we start this week's show I have a little announcement to make. We're in plug corner because I have written a book. I have offended again against all the people who say don't, don't do another one, just stop at two, and I've written a third one. And this one, for the first time ever, I've written something that is fun and funny as well as being gripping. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Breaking and Entering. It's about a young man called Al who lives in gorgeous, empty second homes while the real owners are away. He's got a whole set of rules to help him get into these beautiful houses he could never afford to live in. He has a great life. Until about Chapter 3 when he and his friends break into the wrong house on the wrong day, somebody
Starting point is 00:00:42 ends up dead and everything goes wrong from there. It's funny, it's gripping, it's pacey, there's a little bit of a message about housing in there. It's a perfect summer read, people have been really nice about it. Val McDermid, Lisa Jewell, some of the queens of crime have been incredibly kind about it. It's out on the 25th of April so if you order it now you will be among the first cohort globally to receive your gorgeous copy, and they're really nice looking copies. Please do pre-order it, it can really be the difference between a book flying and not flying if it has a few pre-orders under its belt before that crucial first week. It's out in all good bookshops, it's out in all bad bookshops, it's in most bookshops in the Commonwealth basically. All you need to do is go in and say I would like a copy
Starting point is 00:01:20 of A Beginner's Guide to Breaking and Entering by Andrew Hunter Murray. Waterstones even have signed copies if you'd like to get a hold of one of those. I promise it's good, I've put a lot into it, I'm going to stop banging on about it now. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Breaking and Entering. Thanks very much for Thing As A Fish, a weekly podcast coming to you from the QI offices in Hobben. My name is Alex Bell and I'm joined by Anna Shuzinski, Andrew Hunter-Murray and James Harkin. And once again, we are gathered around the microphone to share our four favorite facts from the last seven days. So in no particular order, here we go.
Starting point is 00:02:12 Starting with fact number one, and that is Andy. My fact is that half the nitrogen in your body was made in a factory. Which factory? Um, well, it won't have been made in the UK anymore. Because of Brexit. Oh, it's a range of factories. But the last nitrogen making factory, I think, has just shut down. Has it?
Starting point is 00:02:34 Yeah. Is that the Billingham Manufacturing Plant? Yes, it is. How interesting. Has that closed? I didn't know that. It either has done or is about to. But let's zoom out a little bit.
Starting point is 00:02:42 Just thinking though. Yeah. No, let's talk about Bill little bit. Just thinking though, even if it's just closed, surely it takes a while for all the nitrogen to be replaced so maybe some of it's British nitrogen in my body? You might have some British nitrogen in you but I'm afraid a lot of it would be filthy foreign nitrogen. Right, all life forms, don't write in, most life forms, mammals and plants all contain nitrogen. It's a really important component in your body. It's required to make the protein in your body and all these various hormones, neurotransmitters, it's vital. You know, nitrogen is very important. And most of the air is nitrogen, right? 78% of the atmosphere is nitrogen.
Starting point is 00:03:22 But that's not where you get your nitrogen from. So you can't just breathe in the nitrogen from the air and get it in your body? No, even if you hold your breath for ages, none of the nitrogen goes in that way. It doesn't work. What a waste. What a waste.
Starting point is 00:03:34 But you get it from your food. So meat, fish, dairy, vegetable, cereals, nuts, all of those foods contain some nitrogen, right? So plants get it from the air. I mean, there's a complicated bacterial process. By which nitrogen ends up in water. Or lightning. Or lightning, and that's another way.
Starting point is 00:03:52 We'll get there as well. The point is that about two or three kilos of your body, roughly half of your forearm to the end of your hand, is nitrogen. Is that where it all is? That's where it all is. So the amount of you made in a factory is roughly your hand and wrist. And that's because nitrogen-based fertilizer has become an enormous thing in the last century.
Starting point is 00:04:13 It's incredibly important. It's why the human population has risen from one or two billion to now eight billion. The sole reason is that we have enough ways of feeding people because we have enough fertilizers to grow crops. And the way we do that is with this brilliant chemical process discovered at the start of the 20th century, which allows us to pull nitrogen from the sky and make it into fertilizer to make plants grow. Does this mean I'm not organic?
Starting point is 00:04:36 Yeah. Shit. What's the point of buying all that nice food? Nitrogen fixation. Remember learning about that? That was where I sort of lost interest and now coming back to it I thought, God, this is fascinating. But, for all nitrogen being told, it has to be fixed. So there's this conundrum which Andy sort of touched on where it's full of it, but plants can't take it in without assistance. And so it needs to be fixed by these bacteria that basically make plant roots grow these nodules
Starting point is 00:05:06 Which act as their homes and then they live in these nodules and they fix this nitrogen turning into ammonia Which plants can use and the nitrogen came originally from a star exploding. Oh That's essentially it didn't know that the big bang can make hydrogen helium But anything else needs to be made in stars. The original nitrogen factory is a star. Yeah, exactly. So some star created lots of nitrogen, then it exploded, eventually it came to Earth. Then eventually it got in the sky. Then eventually a bacterium fixed it.
Starting point is 00:05:37 And then it got put into a carrot, and then you ate the carrot, and then it went into your bloodstream, and then it got turned into proteins, which got turned into muscles. It definitely gets less exciting, doesn't it? You know, like, part of the journey starts off really well and then it's sort of sitting in a carrot. Yeah, so how did we learn to make this stuff? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Oh, it's like Inside the Factory with Greg Wallace.
Starting point is 00:05:57 I love that. He's like, oh, look at that nitrogen. Oh, yeah, lovely. Oh, yeah. It's all thanks to something called the Haber-Bosch process, or Haber-Bosch, as sometimes known. So Flitz Haber and Karl Bosch were two German chemists. And the problem was, like, everyone knew that we needed more nitrogen at the time,
Starting point is 00:06:17 but it was very hard to work out how we're going to actually get it. And we talked about guano, like the guano gold rush, because bird poop contains lots of nitrates. So that, in the 19th century, was used to increase crop yields. And that saved everyone's bacon. And that was brilliant for a while.
Starting point is 00:06:30 Everyone ran out of some bacon. Oh, they put it on their bacon. Very nice. We're talking about the Haber-Botter process. Can I talk about bacon? Yeah, go on. You know, most bacon is cured with nitrates. As in that's what makes it last longer,
Starting point is 00:06:46 which is a type of nitrogen, or it's a molecule with nitrogen in it. And when it goes green bacon, that is something called nitrate burn. And it's a reaction to the chemical that's used to cure it. And it means that it's still good to eat. So if your bacon's got a bit green, you can still eat it. Amazing.
Starting point is 00:07:03 It's not bacteria. It's not anything that eat it. Amazing. It's not bacteria. It's not anything that's bad for you. It's just a natural part of the process. I thought it was rotten. Yeah. I thought my bacon had gone off. I'm not saying that all green bacon is good to eat. That's what I've taken away from this. But if you bought it only a week ago, it's probably fine. Sorry, Andy. You were saying about Bosch and Harbour. Harbour. Yeah. So basically, he was a chemist and it was a very, very difficult process to work out. He knew that lightning, as you said James, breaks apart nitrogen bonds because nitrogen molecules are really tightly bonded. It takes a lot of effort to break them apart to turn them into ammonia.
Starting point is 00:07:34 But eventually he worked out sort of pressurized process to combine nitrogen and hydrogen and that makes the ammonia fertilizer. And he developed that in 1913, Harbor. And it was just before the war. And there's a theory that it actually kept the First World War going for longer than it should have done. Because German imports of fertilizer were blockaded, but he was able to, he had created a process where you could make, as they called it, bread from air.
Starting point is 00:07:58 Yeah. So if we stopped any poo from getting over to Germany during the war, they could make their own stuff. Exactly. Yeah, basically. Yeah, I mean, that was it. And he got the Nobel Prize for it, didn't he? Which was extremely controversial. It was very controversial. On account of his other legacy.
Starting point is 00:08:12 Because he made poison gas. Right. That's so funny. I can't believe the Nobel Prize in 1919 went to someone who'd invented... Which gas was it? Was it... Chlorine. Chlorine gas. It was quite controversial. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:08:25 He did kill 90,000 people with it not he didn't go round personally spraying it into the trenches yeah he was responsible for the birth of arguably six billion yeah so it's in roundabouts he's you think on my interviews he's like I don't want to talk about that I want to talk about my Nobel Prize winning work because his wife Clara was a chemist as well and they had a huge dispute after the, I think the first battle of Ypres where poison gas was used for the first time and killed thousands. He said it was no different killing someone with a bomb or a bullet, she said it is very different and then she killed herself, she shot herself.
Starting point is 00:08:59 The ultimate act in an argument. We don't know for sure that the argument is what led to the suicide. Oh really? Because she didn't leave any notes or anything like that. But we know she really... She's fascinating, Clara Haber, or Haber if you're a German listening. She was Germany's first female doctor of chemistry. She got a PhD in 1900. And she turned him down.
Starting point is 00:09:18 The first time Fritz proposed she turned him down because she wanted to be financially independent. Which is crazy in 1900 as a woman. But she'd gone, hey I I wanna live under my own steam. And then she decided marriage would kind of empower her, which it bloody well didn't, which she did complain about, understandably. She was like, hang on, my husband turns out
Starting point is 00:09:34 to be very self-serving, constantly working. I don't have a chance at all to develop my career. Yeah. And he's a mass murderer. And it turns out he's a mass murderer, and that's the final straw. And he was like, no, no, talk about that other stuff, talk about the Nobel Prize stuff. Did you see pictures of her? I think she looks a bit like Fenella, Dan's wife.
Starting point is 00:09:50 Oh! Do you? Yeah. I haven't seen a photo of her. I'm not very good with faces as we all know. Right. But that was what I thought. And do you associate Dan with Fritz Haber,
Starting point is 00:10:00 the mass murdering but mass life producing complex character? In some ways, but I think Dan is more of a wife guy than Fritz Harbour. So then Harbour escaped to Switzerland wearing a false beard after the war. And then after World War One, because obviously we then had the Treaty of Versailles, which really punished Germany, right? And so he came up with the idea of extracting gold from the ocean to pay off all of the war reparations because he knew that there was loads and loads of gold in the ocean.
Starting point is 00:10:31 And he thought, if I can get at that, we'll be rich beyond our wildest dreams. It doesn't work. And actually we still can't do it, of course. Where- What's that term that I think you've told me about, James, for when Nobel Prize winners win a prize and then they come up with a really insane and subsequent idea It goes to their head. Nobelitis. Nobelitis sounds like a serious case of seriously sore Nobelitis.
Starting point is 00:10:50 But if you've done it once before, you've literally made bread from air. Yeah. The human population is going to grow by billions. That's true. From the guy who brought bread from air comes gold from the ocean. It works. Yeah, I believe it. Yeah, I believe it. That works, yeah, yeah. Wow. And actually, sort of associated, the Nobel Prize in 1935 was awarded for basically being able to turn an element into another element, which was the alchemy that people had dreamed of forever and ever. True.
Starting point is 00:11:15 That people had tried to make gold, and actually this was turning boron into nitrogen, which wasn't quite the fantasy of a 17th century alchemist. But like these factories were taking already existing nitrogen out of the air and making it into ammonia, which could be used. But Marie Curie's daughter, who won that prize, right? I can't remember her name. But that was actually making new nitrogen,
Starting point is 00:11:37 which no one had ever done before, apart from the stars. So this was amazing. And I didn't realize that she was the second female to win a Nobel prize, Marie Curie's daughter. Who was Marie Curie the first? Yeah. Yes.
Starting point is 00:11:49 And it was husband. Nepo baby! But it was husband and wife as well, so just like Marie Curie and her husband Pierre who won a joint prize, sweetly it was Marie Curie's daughter Irene and her husband Frederick Joliot Curie who won the Nobel Prize in 1935. Do you think that maybe they didn't have a chance unless you sort of did stand behind a man a bit and then... I'm sure there was something about that. Although her son was Curie so I think that probably helped. I think that opened a few doors.
Starting point is 00:12:16 Yeah and also her way of making nitrogen was firing radioactivity at Boron wasn't it? I think. Yeah. So it's kind of you know know, in the parents' realm. Okay. Yeah, she probably had her equipment in the garage already. Yes, exactly. It's a lot easier when you feel it. And if memory serves, I think she died of leukemia,
Starting point is 00:12:35 didn't she? What, the younger? I think Irene did, yeah. Related to the work she'd done? I'm sure. Didn't know that. To be honest, I'm going off memory, but I think that's right.
Starting point is 00:12:42 Because Mary, it was the last thing that Mary almost did was see the results of her daughter's successful test before she died of leukemia. Yeah, nice. One thing on the Billingham manufacturing plan. Oh, thank God. In Stuckton-on-Tees in England. We'd better get a free trip out of it.
Starting point is 00:12:59 It's closed. I'm not going to a closed down night trip. I've had worse day trips out with the white credit card. Aldous Huxley went there. They gave him a trip around and he based some of Brave New World on it. So you know in Brave New World, they have a factory making humans, I think, don't they?
Starting point is 00:13:15 Yeah. And yeah, they make clones and stuff like that. And he saw this building and factory that was effectively making life by making this nitrogen. I am imagining Willy Wonka style. It's so this nitrogen. I am imagining like Willy Wonka style, like it's so whimsical. It's a reverse Willy Wonka because in Willy Wonka don't the kids go in and never come out. Whereas in Brave New World you get loads of new kids from the factory.
Starting point is 00:13:34 The kids do come out, they just come out all weird shapes and colours and they've all been really quite fucked up psychologically and physically. Every chocolate factory has a nitrogen factory next to it to make new children. Right. Fed to the chocolate factory. It's a horrific process. I learned about what I think is the most exciting moment in history, in all of history. Wow.
Starting point is 00:13:54 As we said at the start, nitrogen essential for life because it makes amino acids which make proteins and that's like the whole building box of what all living things are made of. But there's this kind of mystery which is how did the first life get its nitrogen? Because as we've said, it needs this bacteria to be made accessible. And it can also be made by lightning striking through it,
Starting point is 00:14:15 but actually not enough seems to be generated by that. And it seemed quite unlikely, and it seems like the likeliest explanation for where the very first life ever came from. So whatever, three and a half billion years ago is God. And there we go. That is exciting. But wait, this is like the original chicken and egg,
Starting point is 00:14:31 really, what is the actual answer? So what is the answer? The answer is it happened with volcanic lightning, which I just think is the coolest moment. So basically when volcanoes erupt, then lots and lots of lightning can be generated from the eruption. It's when all this ash goes up.
Starting point is 00:14:47 It's a really complicated process, but basically the ash rubbing against each other makes static electricity. And if you look, you've got loads and loads of lightning bolts, hundreds of them in this volcanic eruption. And scientists have looked at the soil around volcanoes, seen they're full of nitrates, which plants can use, and realize we think this must be how the first life ever was created was when shed loads of lightning was firing above a volcano as it was erupting and it allowed nitrogen to get into the soil in a way that could make life. That is cool. That is an origin story I can get behind. I'm so glad it wasn't just like oh this cell
Starting point is 00:15:20 touched this cell and a fish flopped out of a thing. And like all of the other origins are so lame. That's like Frankenstein, electricity, evil laughter, lava, yeah, it's great. Yeah. James, you just mentioned the Treaty of Versailles. Yes. So the Haber-Bosch process is so significant that it was part of the package of the Treaty of Versailles.
Starting point is 00:15:39 No, was it? The Western powers ordered via the treaty Germany to hand over the secret of making these fertilizers Yeah There's all sorts of stuff. They cobbled on to the We mentioned it in the past I can't remember what it was something else that's really random Champagne they also didn't need didn't they want to change the way that orchestras were tuned. Yeah It's like having an argument with your partner. Yeah. It starts with something else and you're
Starting point is 00:16:11 like, I'm just going to dredge up all these other things. Yeah. The ultimate argument with a partner. What's champagne? Sorry. Oh, they, um, the fact that champagne can only be made in the champagne region and anywhere else. It's sparkling wine That comes from the Treaty of Versailles. Does it? I didn't know that. Wow. I was thinking, surely the French already had Champagne. The interesting part of that being that Russia didn't sign it and America didn't sign it
Starting point is 00:16:36 and in both those countries you can buy Champagne which isn't from France. No way. America didn't sign the Treaty of Versailles. I think the little known fact, the First World War is still going on. They had their own treaties. They did. Do America and Russia have a good culture of champagne? Are they known for good champagne anywhere?
Starting point is 00:16:53 Californian white wine. Yeah, that's true. You must be able to make good champagne out of that. Yeah, just stick an Alka-Seltzer in it. Bob's your uncle. Stop the podcast. Stop the podcast. Hello everybody.
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Starting point is 00:18:25 Okay on with the podcast. On with the show. Okay, it is time for fact number two and that is Anna. My fact this week is that Harriet Tubman once walked into a hospital and asked a doctor to cut her head open and he immediately did. Just mad. So Harriet Tubman, extremely famous in America, probably less well known about here, I would say,
Starting point is 00:18:54 but one of the most influential famous abolitionists ever, one of the conductors of the Underground Railroad, responsible for smuggling lots of enslaved people into freedom in the 19th century. And one thing that I've learned through reading about her, she was insanely hardcore. So tough. So this is just an element of it. She was very old at the time. She must have been in her sixties or seventies, I think in the 1890s and late 1890s she's in Boston and she passed this big building and she asked what it was and someone said it was a hospital. And she's in Boston, and she passed this big building, and she asked what it was,
Starting point is 00:19:25 and someone said it was a hospital. And she thought, well, I've had these terrible headaches my whole life. She really had had awful headaches and terrible vision problems, was probably disabled by it. So she went right in, and she said, I saw a young man there, and I said, sir, are you a doctor?
Starting point is 00:19:41 And he said he was. And then I said, sir, do you think you could cut my head open? And he said he was. And then I said, sir, do you think you could cut my head open? And he said, lay right down here on this table. No. And Sons painkillers. He sawed open her skull and raised it up, apparently. And then as she put it, she got up, put on her bonnet and started to walk home. But her legs did get a bit wobbly and give out under her. So they gave her an ambulance to take her the rest of the way.
Starting point is 00:20:03 It's astonishing. Sorry, sorry, some questions. When you say he raised up, is there like a loft extension of her skull? Was her brain too big? What is going on? I think this was a slightly questionable medical procedure which she said worked and may have been more placebo than much. Like, she didn't go and say my brain is a bit low. I feel like my brain's a little bit low in my head.
Starting point is 00:20:25 It's always been my neck. Could you just wrench it? Well, she did say it feels more comfortable now. Apparently she, yeah, refused anesthetic, bitter bullet, as they did in the Civil War. That is actually, I'm afraid, a myth, but it's a very interesting subject you raise, Alex, because it's the mythology of her life which has been so turned into all these stories. I personally don't believe any of this. It sounds ridiculous.
Starting point is 00:20:49 It's interesting because the more you read, you're like, that's a great fact. And then you read again, someone goes, no, that's a myth. And then a lot of the myths come from relatively close sources, don't they? The first biography I've heard that was written, there's loads of myths in there. She never got to write her own.
Starting point is 00:21:04 She wanted to write her own, and she never got to. Is it? We need to learn to read first, hon. Yeah, there's loads of myths in there. She never got to write her own, she wanted to write her own, she never got to. Is it? Well you need to learn to read first, hon. Yeah, it's true. Have you heard this story? That's a slam because she was illiterate. Yeah, I was wondering. Good slam, Anna. Yeah, that's how someone brought Harriet Tufford down a peg or two. That's why I decided to do a fact about it. On the reading, did you hear, I imagine this could be an apocryphal tale as well, but there's a story that she was many years after all of her time running the Underground Railroad, that she was on a train
Starting point is 00:21:29 and a former master of hers got on. And she was a known figure by that point. But to avoid being recognised, she grabbed a nearby newspaper and pretended to read it because she was known for not being able to read. Oh yeah. And then who was on the front cover of that newspaper? The face was lined up perfectly without a wanted sign. No, I think it's probably untrue.
Starting point is 00:21:50 Because I've had a different version of it, which is that when she was on one of her missions, because she left the South where she'd been enslaved and she went back to free former slaves, and she did a lot of that, shuttling back forward, but she was back in the South in 1856, and she overheard some men reading her wanted poster, which said clearly she's illiterate and then she got out a book and pretended to read it and the ploy was enough to fool the men and they're like she looks just like harriet tovman but she's reading so it can't be her yeah she's reading a normal book upside down but why would you put on the wanted poster that the she can can't read. It doesn't make any sense. Yeah, exactly.
Starting point is 00:22:26 Since it's one of the least relevant things. And also I think the idea that people even knew who she was at the time is false. So they knew that there was a person who was helping all these enslaved people be freed. They knew that people were calling them some kind of Moses because they were freeing their people, but they didn't know anything about her personally. And a lot of people assumed it was a white abolitionist
Starting point is 00:22:48 who was helping enslaved people. But it is interesting because a lot of the stuff you read, you just think that can't be true. And it's not to do down her amazing achievements at all, but it's to show that she's, she's become this like unbelievable cult figure. It's almost mythological with some of the stories around her. We've got to tread quite a careful line between slamming one of the most beloved and famous women in American history and also sort of acknowledging. She does some amazing stuff. I find her the most incredible person, one of the most incredible people ever. I don't
Starting point is 00:23:15 have the energy sometimes to finish the research for this podcast. And this woman who was, like, she was very disabled. She was female. She was black. She was enslaved. Just this extraordinary life. And she fought in the Civil War as well. After being this abolitionist hero, she fought in the Civil War, she was incredibly charitable. I don't understand why she got the energy and it actually makes me quite angry. Her injury, her disability came when she was injured by an overseer who threw a stone weight at her head when she was quite young. He actually threw it at someone else, I think, and it missed and it hit her. Is that right? Yeah.
Starting point is 00:23:48 Oh, that's bad luck. But yeah, she had sleeping spells quite often, so she would just kind of fall asleep, what we'd probably call narcolepsy today. But she would have like these kind of hazy dreams while she was asleep. And because she was very religious, she thought they were kind of premonitions from God. It's quite stressful, the idea. Let's say you've been enslaved, Harriet Tubman's come back, she's freed you,
Starting point is 00:24:08 she's guiding you to the north, and then she just falls asleep. It's a bit of a comedy scene. There is sick or potential in this life, is all I'm saying. No, but that's- I think that might be the first time ever someone said there's sick or potential
Starting point is 00:24:24 in Harriet Tubman's life. She went back, she freed, and the numbers vary, so she rescued 60 or 70 people herself personally, and then she gave instructions to another 70 odd, and that got slightly inflated to 300. But she did go back, I mean, between, around 10 times she made a mission back into the South, which was really perilous. She also went back at one point to go free her husband, who she'd left, came back, found that he'd remarried. And there's a line which again is probably just a biographer, sort of like she thought about making a scene, but then decided against it and rescued him anyway. But it's like the idea again of like, there's sort of two minutes where she's deciding
Starting point is 00:25:01 whether to massively kick off, find another woman or to save him. He didn't need to be rescued per se because he was not enslaved, he was a free man. Right. Yeah, yeah, which was kind of a big deal at the time because a free man marrying an enslaved woman, you would lose a lot of your rights because all your children would be automatically enslaved, you wouldn't be able to get married unless you had permission of the of the woman's master as they called them Yeah, so that was quite a big deal. But yeah, like you say once she was off doing her gallivanting Yeah, he was like now just gonna find another wife married again. The sitcom is taking shape
Starting point is 00:25:38 Once we think I do like is that when she retired eventually she retired into a retirement home that she had founded. So in 1908, she opened the Harriet Tubman home for the elderly, specifically for like, indigent and aged African Americans, as it was described. And then- Are we sure they didn't misunderstand? And she said, no, I called it the Harriet Tubman home because it's just a home for Harriet Tubman. Just for me.
Starting point is 00:25:59 Yeah. Here's another good thing. Okay, this is good. And I'm pretty sure this is true as well. So on the missions, when she was taking people over to the North, she would sing, right? Here's another good thing. Okay, this is good. And I'm pretty sure this is true as well. So on the missions when she was taking people over to the north, she would sing, right? And there were particular songs. And some people say she would sing things like Swing Low Sweet Chariot, but that hadn't been written yet. So she was very ahead of her time.
Starting point is 00:26:20 She was. Yeah. So there were songs called Go Down Moses and Bound for the Promised Land, right? And those were real songs, which she did sing at the time. And this is a cool thing. She would change the tempo of the songs to indicate whether it was safe to come out or not. So she would just be walking along singing, but the way she was singing was a message
Starting point is 00:26:37 to the people she was ferrying north. Really? Fascinating. Does that mean like, you know, if everything's going well and they need to run, does she like go, dillin, dillin, dillin, dillin? And then if they needed to be slower, she would just do it. Yeah. And if she stops singing completely, she's fallen asleep. I was looking into possibly what kind of brain surgery she had. And then I went on a bit
Starting point is 00:26:57 of a journey and found a really fascinating syndrome, which I cannot believe we have never spoken about before. And I feel like we might have it actually. This is called Forster syndrome, also known as Witzel-Sucht. And it's the pathological urge to constantly make puns. Witzel-Sucht. I had that for a while. Witzel-Sucht. Somebody get a doctor. Fucking hell. So this was first noted in 1929 by a German neurologist called Ottfried
Starting point is 00:27:29 Forster, which is what his name is named after. He was operating on a patient to remove a tumor and the patient was awake as often happens, as was the case with Harriet Tubman. And as he started moving around this tumor, the man suddenly, he was face down strapped to the table. He suddenly just started talking manically and just like making pun after pun. I hardly even met him. Literally that. It was literally all about knives and surgery and he'd obviously, because that was what was on his mind because he was having brain surgery. Literally what was on his mind.
Starting point is 00:27:56 Literally, exactly. Jesus, guys, can you stop? It's absolutely fascinating. And then there've been more recent examples of this. There was a man a few years ago, we just know his name is Derek, cause he was anonymous, but he had a couple of strokes and his behavior changed in many ways he used to try and compulsively recycle stuff and things like that. And he started waking up his wife in the middle of the night
Starting point is 00:28:17 being like, I've just come up with another pun. And eventually his wife was like, why didn't you start writing down and not telling me? But eventually realized that this was like a pathological behavior change. And the interesting other side effects of this is that it's a really simple, basic humor, like basic pun connections, basic, really basic jokes.
Starting point is 00:28:33 I don't know. I don't know. There's a lot of skill involved. Yeah. Neurologists studied this and they showed them more complex joke patterns. They didn't find them funny at all. And it's something to do with that really basic pleasure
Starting point is 00:28:43 of making a connection in your head. But they also didn't find other people's jokes funny at all. That's basically every comedian, isn't it? Another thing about Tubman is that she did get fame by the end of her life and was recognisable. And a bunch of receptions were put on in her honour in the 1890s. They were put on in Boston and she didn't live there, she had to get get a train but to pay for the train ticket she had to sell one for cows so in order to get to a bunch of receptions thrown in her honor where she was the star guest she sold her cow to get the train. I think she was she spent so much of her life in
Starting point is 00:29:16 different parts of her life in poverty just because she just gave away so much stuff and when she rescued people from slavery she used to then follow through and like get them jobs and set them up in their new places. She didn't just get them somewhere and be like, see ya. She did a lot of cooking too, and that was relevant because she raised a lot of money for the missions by cooking, basically. And there was a really interesting piece about this
Starting point is 00:29:37 sort of facet of a life on NPR. So she was once at a market, she came face to face with a former slave overseer, basically, and she was holding two chickens, right yeah what did she do she pretended to read the chickens she said oh looks like there's three cocks in the room very sassy going in the pilot script head into a chicken and to disguise herself as a chicken hit him with a chicken she threw eggs at him she released one of the chickens and then pretended to chase it, causing a comic kerfuffle. Ironically, by drawing attention to herself, she deflected attention from herself.
Starting point is 00:30:13 Again, another scene in the sitcom. That's what happens in Mr Bean's holiday. He chases a chicken for like 40 minutes. It's comedy gold. Glad we've got the beanographer here. I do love Mr Bean. So there's a link between her and Queen Victoria, which I find interesting. So in 1897 Queen Victoria sent her a shawl to sort of mark her amazing work.
Starting point is 00:30:35 Yeah, it was a gift. Yeah, a gift, yeah, yeah. But I thought I could do a little quiz to you now. Brilliant. Who was taller, Queen Victoria or Harriet Tubman? Ooh, good one. Well, Queen Victoria was no more than five foot, I think perhaps less, four foot eleven. She was famously quite short. Famously short.
Starting point is 00:30:52 I believe famously her circumference ended up being more than her height at the end of her life. Does this help us with Tubman though? Tubman's got to be taller. I know she was on the small side. I think she's going to be smaller because it's not a fun quiz because Queen Victoria was quite short. She's probably shorter than most people. I think the's going to be smaller because it's not a fun quiz because the quiz was quite short. She's probably shorter than most people. I think the fun ship has sailed. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:31:08 I'm going to say, I think Tubman was an inch taller. Okay. I reckon she was five foot on the dot. Okay. I'm going to say they're exactly the same height. Brilliant. I'm going to say Tubman was an inch shorter. Well, Anna's closest.
Starting point is 00:31:21 Tubman was four foot 11. Oh. Queen Victoria. Now, James, I have read, I went down a real rabbit hole. I'm sure you're right. Basically we know there's a surviving tape measure kept by a portraitist in 1837. Oh my god. Which shows she was 5'1". Because she had been, Victoria I mean, not Tamun, Queen Victoria
Starting point is 00:31:38 had been claimed to be 5'2". And they boosted her height by an inch. Obviously it would be ridiculous to say she's five foot ten and you know Really leggy. Maybe she was wearing heels Basically, they were a bit embarrassed the royal family that she was only five foot one Because it made it seem like she hadn't been fed well in childhood and you know It's like a taller children tend to be better fed They boosted her height sort of her public height to five foot two so that she would seem a bit better But the portrait the artist had the the rece. What I think's interesting is that this means approximately
Starting point is 00:32:10 that Queen Victoria is about the same height as Sandy Tuxwig and Harriet Tubman was about the same height as Susan Kalman. Yeah. So if we need people in your sitcom of Tubman. I think that's some problematic casting there if you're saying Susan Kalman for the role of Harriet Tubman. I think that's some problematic casting there, if you're saying, Susan Kalman for the role of Harriet Tubman. I do see that now, yeah. Okay, time now for fact number three, and that is James. Okay, my fact this week is that wasabi is good on sushi rolls and papyrus scrolls.
Starting point is 00:32:44 Mm, lovely. I beg to differ, personally. What? Never tasted papyrus, and yet I reckon I know it's not good. Ah. With or without wasabi. Well, we come to the fact itself.
Starting point is 00:32:56 Oh, he's worded it humorously. I wouldn't say that's even humorous, it's just a rhyme. Like, lyrically. Right, you've worded it misleadingly in the hope of humor. It charmed me. I found it amusing. It is not misleading at all. So it's good on sushi rolls because it tastes good, in my opinion. And there are other reasons that we might come to. Papyrus scrolls, though, is the main interesting part, which is this new technique of looking after papyrus. Now
Starting point is 00:33:25 there is a problem that because papyrus is made from plants it can fall victim to fungal infections and the fungus can damage the papyrus and it can cause the paints to fade and stuff like that and so there has been a study in the Journal of Archaeological Science which has put some wasabi vapours onto the papyrus, and these smells kill off the funguses, or rather stop the funguses from growing very well, and they don't get rid of the colour, so you can still read them. And yeah, this is a lot safer and better for the environment than what you might use before, which is chemicals. It's super non-invasive, because they just put the wasabi near the papyrus.
Starting point is 00:34:07 Yeah, yeah. What I really like in this study is that they didn't want to use actual, you know, ancient Egyptian papyruses, but they wanted to see if it worked on something like that. So they did exactly what you would do at primary school, which is heated up some papyrus to make it look like it was really old. You know what you would do if you were making a pirate map at school. Did they dip it in tea? They didn't dip it in tea, no.
Starting point is 00:34:30 They made new papyrus. They made new papyrus. Aged it up fast. They aged it fast by heating it up. That's so clever. Yeah. And then they mix water and wasabi, almost like if you mix your wasabi with soy sauce, that kind of, you know...
Starting point is 00:34:43 And after the end of the process, you've got a snack. Yeah, exactly. I'm less worried about wasting papayri on this process and more worried about wasting good wasabi on this process. Oh, are you? It's very precious wasabi. It's very hard to make, isn't it? It's hard to obtain it.
Starting point is 00:34:59 And they're just like steaming away wasabi at papayri. And isn't most wasabi not real wasabi? I mean, I've probably never had real wasabi. I don't think I've ever had real wasabi. It's mostly done. It's Japan though, you must have done. I have been, but I read that even in Japan, a lot of it is-
Starting point is 00:35:13 I believe most of it in Japan. It's horseradish. What if I went to a really nice restaurant in Japan? You're probably fine. Would it be? I think five or 10% of wasabi served in Japan is real wasabi. But in the West, it's like one percent is real wasabi.
Starting point is 00:35:26 It's really... And it's all horseradish. It's all dried horseradish. And horseradish is really strong, but I think wasabi is a bit gentler and a bit more interestingly delicate and a bit more flavoursome. So that's what I read. Yeah. Yeah. And a bit gritty. You can tell if you've got real stuff because it should be a bit grittier. Also, I didn't realise that you need to eat it immediately
Starting point is 00:35:46 as soon as it's been grated because it loses its zing. So essentially you... Sometimes they bring a root to the table and a grater and you grate it fresh onto your food. I think I prefer the horseradish. If the real wasabi is bland and gritty and you have to have it immediately fresh or it goes off even more. No one said bland. I just want to say if there are any chefs out there... oh Alex said bland, we didn't say bland. Delicate. And the other thing, the other reason wasabi is good on sushi rolls, so not just because it tastes good, but also because it has antimicrobial properties. So as well as stopping funguses from growing, it can stop bacteria from growing. And
Starting point is 00:36:21 it has something in there called six methyl sulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate which stops E. coli, staphylococcus and salmonella from growing. Really? Yeah. Sounds like we should be taking baths in it or something. It would be good for us as an anti... I think even the delicate wasabi, if you have a bath in it, is going to get right up your nose. Yeah, fair, fair, fair. And it will cost you a fair few bob. But you could put a bit in your shoes and stop fungal infection. You could go for a bath, is gonna get right up your nose. Yeah, fair, fair, fair. And it will cost you a fair few bob. But you could put a bit in your shoes and stop fungal infection or something. You could go for a bath, an onsen in Japan,
Starting point is 00:36:50 and maybe someone could come over and just grate a little bit of wasabi into your family. That would be so lovely. Yeah, that's luxurious. You can lick it. Sorry? You can lick it and you won't taste the spice. Oh.
Starting point is 00:37:01 So... So there's no point in licking it? No, unless you don't like spicy food but you want to eat wasabi in which case just lick it and then you won't get the spice but you'll have touched wasabi with your tongue. If you have fungus or microbes on your tongue. Yes. Yes. Good point. I think that should work. In fact, and it's a lot like how lightning can split up nitrate. So by grating wasabi, think of the grater as the lightning, that splits up the wasabi plant and it splits up its cells.
Starting point is 00:37:28 What a tortured metaphor. How labored, yeah. I feel like I could have understood it without any of the previous callbacks. Are you sure? Is that what creates the flavour? It breaks up the cells and creates the flavour. So Anna, how does wasabi work? Well, let me take you back to the dawn of the universe. Did you know horse radish is poisonous to horses? Wasabi work. Well, let me take you back to the dawn of the universe.
Starting point is 00:37:48 Did you know horseradish is poisonous to horses? No. Really? So they don't know why it's called that, but I actually like both options. So the word horseradish first appeared in 1597 in English. People think it might be because it resembles a horse's genitalia. It speaks of a time when more people were familiar with what horse's knackers look like. You know, I could probably draw you one, but I would probably draw them in push if I had
Starting point is 00:38:14 to. You know, absolutely no. You could do an amazing shaded sketch. So it's either genitals, horse radish. They do look a bit like their horse radish is like a mule leaf. I mean, that's probably less What's the moon? It's like a long white radish, right? Yeah, are they really big? Yeah, it's probably I would say how big is that about foot long?
Starting point is 00:38:35 I think your moolies Emily might have been up there with my confusing lightning What's a mooli moolies like a large a large radish. Like a horseradish? Yeah, that's right, they're similar. I understand. I can see us going round in circles on this one. I genuinely thought people would know what a mooli looked like. Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:38:51 Okay, fine. What's the other option, Anna? Well remembered, thanks James. It's because, so in German, so you might be able to guess if I tell you that in German, a horseradish is called Miratich, to mean sea radish, actually. Not to be confused with the sea radish which is a different plant. I know because it looks like a seahorse's genitalia.
Starting point is 00:39:10 Yeah very nice. You're miles off. In the older days everyone knew what that looked like. Because we all row seahorses around town didn't we? What grows in the sea it looks like a radish. It's more about the pronunciation. ItBob SquarePants. It's about the pronunciation. So when we were translating it into English, we heard mare radish. Oh, mare, as in like the mare as in a female horse. As in a horse. Let me give you another reason why it might be called that. Albertus Magnus was writing in the 13th century and he discussed horse radish.
Starting point is 00:39:41 He just called it radish, but he suggested it as a treatment for constipation in horses. So it could be that we kind of heard the myrrh thought we use it for constipation in horses anyway. And so maybe that's why we call it horse radish. say, he just said it's used for constipation in horses. It might have been up the bum because there's another thing called raffanidosis, which is a punishment in ancient Greece of inserting the root of a radish up the bum as a punishment for adultery. Now we don't know what kind of radish that was. It probably wasn't one of those little red ones that you get in Sainsbury's. That's the first offence. But if it was horse radish, for instance, then that would be much more of a punishment because you're going to get that kind of wasabi burning as well as having something that's the size of a mooli going up your bum. Not the size of a mooli. I bet there was one person who got really turned on by it.
Starting point is 00:40:45 I bet there was one example where someone was like, oh no, I'm adulterated again. Get the hammer. I'm familiar with the stories of ancient Greeks, Alex. Here's a thing on papyrus. Right. Oh my goodness. Okay. Have you?
Starting point is 00:41:01 Right. You know the Library of Alexandria? Yes. Okay. Ancient Egypt, founded in the 295 BC. They had a copy of every book, or they were trying to get one. So the Ptolemies, with the pharaohs at the time, they're all called Ptolemy basically,
Starting point is 00:41:15 and they would hunt for manuscripts everywhere, right? And they would send out, if a foreign ship sailed into Alexandria, it was searched for scrolls, and then they'd be confiscated and copied out, and then given back. And all of this was on papyrus, right? And the Nile Valley was the center of the written word because papyrus grew on the banks of the Nile.
Starting point is 00:41:31 So the Ptolemies have basically a control supply. And then there's this rival library that sets up. King Eumenes of Pergamum founds a rival library, the Library of Pergamum. And Pergamum was huge at the time. It was a big kingdom, like massive. Turkey. Rival library that sets up King Eumenes of Pergamum founds a rival library the library of Pergamum And Pergamum was huge at the time. It was a big kingdom like massive Turkey modern-day Turkey and and more you know, they were big deal the pergamites
Starting point is 00:41:56 Basically talk about sitcom potential there's this spelling history makers of Harriet Tubman From the makers of Harriet Tubman! Exclamation mark. There's this fill of history where both libraries are trying to secure every book on the planet. They are bidding huge wages for scholars, like Premier League footballers for scholars and scribes. Some scholars are in prison so they can't run off to the other library. And then the huge move happens. Ptolemy V takes the rivalry to a new level about 100 years after the founding. He bans the export of papyrus. Huge move.
Starting point is 00:42:29 Ouch. That's cheating, isn't it? Eat it Pergamum. It's like taking the football off the pitch. It basically is. You can't make any scrolls. You can't copy any manuscripts. We own literature. So what did Pergamum do? Well, he... Invented paper? Yes, he must have invented paper.
Starting point is 00:42:44 The audiobook. He the audio book. He invented the audio book. They started manufacturing parchment from the skin of animals. And parchment literally means from Pergamum. That's the etymology. Oh, that's so cool. And the thing about parchment is you can cut it up in layers and you don't need to roll it in a scroll, which is incredibly inefficient.
Starting point is 00:43:03 You can have pages. You can have pages. You can have pages. That's so interesting. And that is where, like, parchment already existed, but they, as it were, put a lot of manufacturing behind it and made it bigger, you know. And the book is better than the scroll. Wow, the pen is mightier than the sword,
Starting point is 00:43:19 and the book is better than the scroll. That's how they get books. You know what, Andy, I'm gonna come out and say it, that etymology is even more interesting than the horse genitalia. Wow. Well done. Strong disagree.
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Starting point is 00:45:11 On with the show. Okay it's time for our final fact and that is my fact. My fact this week is that bees smell like bananas when they get angry. I've never seen an angry banana. So I think this is this is just a weird coincidence really. Bees use pheromones a lot to communicate. They release different chemicals which other bees can smell. One of the pheromones that they release is a distress or alarm signal. Maybe there's a predator, one of their bees is in trouble, makes them really angry too. And one of the chemicals in this pheromone is called isoamyl acetate. And that also happens to be the chemical which
Starting point is 00:45:56 is banana flavour. Yeah. Can I just say, mostly, because I think people often say what you would know as banana flavour is actually this very specific thing Most people know banana flavor from actual bananas, right? I mean, I don't have that many banana flavored things have more people eating bananas or eating a banana flavored Angel delight maybe Say more people have eaten bananas than banana flavored angels Well, that's because bananas have an entrenched advantage, you know, Arguably banana flavoured angel delight is better than a banana. If it grew on trees. Exactly, yeah. But you have hit the point that banana flavour, artificial banana flavouring today is not quite the same as the bananas we eat today. You have mentioned this on the podcast before and there's
Starting point is 00:46:36 there was a previous species of banana or strain of banana called the Grommick shell banana, which used to be all around the world. I think it's still around in Thailand somewhere, but it's not commercially really available or used. It was like nearly completely wiped out, if not completely wiped out. Just by the Angel Delight Market. Yeah, so we eat Cavendish bananas now, I think. And they're supposed to be less tasteful. And so actually, the slightly tangier, stronger artificial banana flavour in those tiny sweets that we get.
Starting point is 00:47:05 And that's the one that you get from the bees? The bees, yes. And people, it is a renowned thing in the bee community. I was messaging Liz, who is one of our colleagues who's been at QI longer than all of us, in fact, and she's a real banana stench. Is there really? And they also say don't go near a hive with a banana.
Starting point is 00:47:29 Is the other thing to do. A walk because it'll annoy them. Yeah, absolutely, because they'll think it's a... they'll remind them of the long-term. They'll think it's a large bee. Especially if you paint black stripes on the banana. I think it's the equivalent of walking into a hive with a big sign that just says, I killed your friends. Don't also go to a beehive with a pregnant mouse. That's where I went wrong.
Starting point is 00:47:51 So pregnant mice smell like bananas. They do. Do they? Yeah, they do. It's a scent that they give off. And it also stresses out male mice. Isoamyl acetate. The smell of a pregnant female mouse.
Starting point is 00:48:03 Yeah, it does. Stresses out males. Yeah, because mice are often cannibals, and they will eat baby mice. Uh-oh. But not if you make yourself smell like a banana. The males will go, ugh, I'm not going near that, and they won't eat your children. That's so ironic.
Starting point is 00:48:18 They won't eat you if you make yourself smell like a banana. If a cannibal fucked up, was it? We'd be like, mm, delicious children. Ugh, it's got banana on it. No. and make themselves smell like a banana. I kind of fucked up, was it? We were like, mm, delicious children. Oh, it's got banana on it. But I didn't know the range of pheromones that bees use. There's so many, there's a massive list online. There's extraordinary weird things that they can do.
Starting point is 00:48:35 So for example, the queen, there was a great article. She used to have bees in the ship. She smells of bananas. Queen Liz. Brilliant. I found a piece on this from 2014. I just want to give a shout out to Luke Holman on the conversation. I don't know if you wrote the headline, but it was called Smells Like Queen Spirit. Fantastic.
Starting point is 00:48:54 So good. So Queen bees, they broadcast data via pheromones to the rest of the hive. And one of the things is to say they are the queen. That's just communicates, you know, clear leadership in place. Another is whether or not they are mated and have been mating around, and also how well mated they are. So they have pheromones to release
Starting point is 00:49:13 to say how many males they've had sex with. Imagine if our queen did that. It would be so funny. He's opening a school and you're like, oh. More promiscuous queens are better for the colony because they provide a bit more genetic diversity and that keeps the colony nice and healthy. But was it every queen has to, I was reading this interesting about how you introduce a queen to a colony. If you just take your queen and plonk it in, the bees will kill it because
Starting point is 00:49:38 she's got the wrong pheromones. She's from another hive and the worker bees need a chance to get used to her. So the way that you do it is that you have a box and you put this box in the hive and the doorway to the box is sealed up with sugar basically. The bees eat through it and it takes them a while but it means that they end up being quite close to the queen who's sitting inside the little box waiting to be released from the box and so the time it takes for the bees to eat through the sugar they can smell the queen on the other side and they get used to her and then they don't want to kill her. So it's like she bursts out of a cake.
Starting point is 00:50:08 She actually does, yes. That is exactly how every new queen is introduced to a beehive. Another use of isoamyl acetate is to make fake bananas. And this happened during World War Two. Let's say we've stopped any poo getting to Germany and they've said, right, well, you're not having any bananas then. So you can't get any bananas. So you have to make fake ones.
Starting point is 00:50:30 And they made mock bananas by using parsnips. They would get some parsnips. They would add some isoamyl acetate, which was available banana essence, essentially, literally, essentially. And they would eat them and apparently there was a modern day blogger called Carolyn Ecken who recreated it and said it's a rather strange and bizarre taste but not unpleasant, although there is a aftertaste of parsnip.
Starting point is 00:50:57 I think it's so tragic. The idea of like mash up your parsnips, add some sugar. That was the war. Yeah, no, it really was. When Queen Bee dies, she stops releasing the pheromones that she's been using to keep the colony happy and placid. And this causes a big reaction, and the workers basically get going on an emergency queen. So this is really interesting.
Starting point is 00:51:19 They build these huge queen-sized chambers, like queen-sized bedrooms, effectively, and they get 10 to 20 candidates, workers, and they start feeding them royal jelly, and they find out who becomes the queen. That sounds like a reality format. It actually is, and the first one to emerge kills all the others, and then begins to lay eggs.
Starting point is 00:51:38 And that's- We'll make it past the Ethics Committee, the BBC, I don't think. Yeah. There is only one pheromone which two dung beetles share. Okay, so most dung beetles have their own pheromones, but there's one that's shared by both of them and it's called anisole. Where do they release it from?
Starting point is 00:52:02 It comes because it smells a bit like anise, like star anise. Oh, that is a name that works, I'm sure, brilliantly in the French market. Isn't there a whole thing where beaver's anal glands are the origin of an awful lot of chemicals? Castorias. Flavours including vanilla and strawberry, raspberry flavouring. They're not necessarily used anymore because I think it's still quite rare and expensive. And also people don't really want that. Only 5% of strawberry Angel's Delights actually contain Beaver Analgland juice, sadly.
Starting point is 00:52:32 And if I went to a really nice restaurant, I did really get Beaver Analgland. Don't worry, if you're Angel's Delight. I think the third. Anal delight. Can you guys smell ants? Yeah, I've never done that before. Oh my god, the ant detectors going off.
Starting point is 00:52:54 Everyone line up, pick up something much heavier than you, and file out of the building. I'm not asking right now. I'm saying in general, if there were some ants on the table, do you think you'd be able to smell them? I've never... No, I don't think I would. Yeah. So the interesting thing is that this is a thing that people have said on the internet. A lot of people have said, oh, I can smell ants.
Starting point is 00:53:17 And then other people have said, you can't smell ants. And then there's been big arguments. It's not like the internet to argue over something completely pointless. But IFL Science, which we all love, that website, they carried out a Twitter poll and they found that 20% of respondents claim that they can detect the odour of an ant compared to 80% who can't. Ants are heavily dependent on pheromones. Were 20% of respondents ants? I don't know.
Starting point is 00:53:44 Well we don't know exactly. I think one thing we can say is that this is not a particularly scientific survey. Right. But let's say for instance, it is true. There are various different reasons that it might be true. It could be that some people have a certain gene that allows them to smell ants, like you can smell asparagus we, some people can some people can't. It could be that some ants smell and the ones that live in certain areas smell and the ones that live in certain areas don't smell and that's the responses we got but we don't know. Well they're living in smelly areas and we're smelling other things and it's covering them up. If I'm in like the the ground floor of John Lewis like I'm not
Starting point is 00:54:18 gonna smell an ant because it's the perfume section. Yeah absolutely so if all of the UK's smelly ants live in perfume sections of John Lewis we would never smell them. It's a very relatable comparison point. It's just something it's a bug bear of mine because I like going to John Lewis I nearly pass out every time I go in you have to sort of... Oh I love walking past the perfume section in the apartment store. I really like it. I really like going in an airport and trying out all the samples. Yeah, me too. Do you? Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:54:47 And then getting on the plane and really offending everyone. I've never tried that, I should do it. You should do it, honestly. As you go through that windy bit. As you go through the duty three, there's loads of free samples. That's another bit I hate,
Starting point is 00:54:57 because it smells so awful, as in so strong, and it like gives me headaches. So you've probably got quite a sense to set up pipes on you. There's definitely an ant in this room. Right. Right. Quite a lot of hotels have got cameras Gives me headaches. So you've got quite a sense to set up pipes on you. There's definitely an ant in this room. Quite a lot of hotels have got cameras in their bedrooms these days. In the beds, in fact.
Starting point is 00:55:12 What? What? B hotels? What? Do you mean B hotels? No, human hotels. So this is something called the spotter gadget. It's got loads of pheromones in it and a tiny camera and you put it in a hotel bed
Starting point is 00:55:25 and the pheromones attract bed bugs and then when the bed bugs go into where the pheromones are the tiny camera takes a photo of the bed bugs and sends it off to someone who looks at it and goes yes that's a bed bug. Poor! And then if they say yes it's definitely a bed bug then it means that you have to go in and fumigate it. So he has exterminated it. That is exterminated. Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:55:46 But so these are in hotel rooms. Yeah. But can the camera capture anything else that's happening in the hotel room? If your penis is the size of a bed bug. Oh, dear. Then perhaps. It was just drawn with that little tube.
Starting point is 00:56:01 I didn't know. I didn't know, I didn't know! Okay, that's it, that's all of our facts. Thank you so much for listening. If you'd like to get in touch with us, we are all available on social media. I'm on Instagram at AlexHbell. James? I'm on Twitter at James Harkin. Andy? Me too at Andrew Hunter M. And Anna?
Starting point is 00:56:23 You can get in touch with the podcast by Twittering at NoSuchThing or on Instagram at NoSuchTin. Andy. Me too, Andrew Hunter M. And Anna. You can get in touch with the podcast by twittering at NoSuchThing or on Instagram at NoSuchThingAsAFish or you can email That's right and you can also subscribe to Club Fish if you'd like to get the ad free version and you can buy merchandise from our website and all sorts of things. Thank you so much for listening, we'll be back again next week. Good bye.

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