A Guide to QI. Series I, Episode 11 'Infantile'

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Fran Beauman is an extremely 'QI' writer, in fact, I believe she almost became a QI researcher, but instead decided to do her own thing, writing a number of truly excellent books, that we would recommend to anyone who likes what we do.  Her latest book is called: Shapely Ankle Preferr'd: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad 1695 - 2010: and it's from here that we got the fact about the Pope's father meeting his wife...


The fact about Lady Emily Lytton's joy at the game of tiddlywinks also came from an excellent book, Stephen van Dulken's 'Inventing the Nineteenth Century'


Her explanation of tiddlywinks was even more excitable than we mentioned on the show:

"After dinner we all played the most exciting game that was ever invented, called Tiddleywinks. It consists in flipping counters into a bowl, and being a good number we played at two tables...and the excitement was tremendous. I assure you everyone's character changed at Tiddleywinks in the most marvellous way. To begin with, everyone begins to scream at the top of their voices and to accuse everyone else of cheating. Even I forgot my shyness and howled with excitement...Lord Wolmer flicked all the counters off the table and cheated in every possible way. George was very distressed at this and conscientiously picked every counter up again...I assure you no words can picture either the intense excitement or the noise. I almost scream in describing it."
Indoor pub rifle-shooting was all the rage in Birmingham in the early 20th century according to the book 'Played at the pub' by Arthur Taylor,a book that gives you more than you could ever wish for about indoor games in Britain.  He explains how the scoring system worked:

The target had a bell fitted to its bullseye, so everyone would know when that was hit; the rest of the target was painted white in non-drying paint. After each man's go, the paint was reapplied.
And in fact, if you were wondering how Dave Gorman knew so much about indoor games, perhaps its something to do with the fact that his new book is all about him playing games against people.  Here he is, reading from "Dave Gorman vs the Rest of the World":

Here's a site all about Coney Island history, which tells you about the amazing infant incubator exhibit:


and here are some sites all about the baby cages:




The amazing story about the invention of the forceps can be found here:


The original forceps are currently in the Royal College of Obstetricians
and Gynaecologists in London.

Karl August Bier (1861-1049) who invented the epidural in 1898 once said: "Medical scientists are nice people, but you should not let them treat you!" which sounds like rather a good idea seeing as to test the area was numb Bier 'pulled the man's pubic hair, yanked his testicles, hit him in the legs with a hammer and singed his thighs with a cigar'.

More here:


And here's a story about the French and German baby cries, with audio.  Can you tell the difference?


We then got into the subject of hugging.  This whole section...

...was intended to discuss the idea of "moments".

Goodbye waves, musical phrases, and infants' bouts of babbling and gesturing all last about 3 seconds. Many basic physiological events, such as relaxed breathing and certain nervous system functions do, too.  A 1994 study of giraffes, okapis, roe deer, raccoons, pandas, and kangaroos living in zoos, for example, found that although the duration of the animals' every move, from chewing to defecating, varied considerably, the average was, you guessed it, 3 seconds.
It's an extremely interesting subject - here are some sources if you want to read more:


or if you can't be bothered reading, check out this TED lecture by
Italian botanist, Stefano Mancuso:

Here's a video of the amazing goats of the Cingino Dam:

And the full story of the first animal to ever be cloned out of extinction can be found here:


Here's a story about Louise Brown which mentions the fact that she came from a petri-dish, not a test-tube:


And finally here's evidence that marsupials originated in what is now South America:


and just because they're cute - this is what opossums look like:

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As a lifelong resident of Oswestry I would like to know which pub exactly has a firing range as after drinking here quite a considerable number of years I've never encountered one?

Bier is believed to be the first to carry out an operation using an epidural, however James Corning was probably the person who performed the first epidural.


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by eggshaped published on November 21, 2011 1:09 PM.

A Guide to QI. Series I, Episode 10 'Inland Revenue' was the previous entry in this blog.

A Guide to QI. Series I, Episode 12 'Illumination' is the next entry in this blog.

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