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41592.  Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:10 pm Reply with quote

One for General ignorance here,

In 1962 Petra became the first Pet-in-a-box on Blue Peter making her debut just before Christmas, but how many appearances did she actually make on the show.

Answer 1, Petra the original was a very sickly puppy and died shortly after her first appearance being replaced quickly by a look a like to prevent the veiwers being upset at the loss of their new found virtual pet

src bbc/bluepeter website

41599.  Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:42 pm Reply with quote

I think I may pick you up on this one lblm.

The original, sickly dog who died was nameless. The name Petra was given to the replacement, in a viewers competition.

41660.  Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:19 am Reply with quote

-10 points for lblm :-) On his own question too! tsk!

41662.  Sat Dec 24, 2005 7:02 am Reply with quote

ok then what was the name of the first blue peter dog.

It didn't have one

41667.  Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:27 am Reply with quote

Here's a further blue peter fact for anyone who's that way inclined - shipped in from the C-series GI thread.

All the [blue peter] badges feature the famous ship logo, created by Tony Hart. Tony asked for a penny for every time his design was used, but instead was paid a flat fee of a hundred pounds. He therefore missed out on a fortune.

41696.  Sat Dec 24, 2005 3:16 pm Reply with quote

Dogs sleep a lot.
Is there any research as to whether cats sleep even more?

Is it because, as predators, they charge around finding prey, then have to have a nap to digest?

Is it known which animals sleep the mostest, or the least?
(And I believe it is a myth that sharks never sleep -- woo woo klaxon!)

42239.  Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:12 am Reply with quote

Do cats blink? I always thought that mine didn't, because they have no eyelids.

42242.  Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:22 am Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
Do cats blink? I always thought that mine didn't, because they have no eyelids.


Course they do, or they wouldn't be able to close their eyes to sleep! My cats blink, though rarely.

Cats have a third eyelid (I'm sure that some-one will enlighten me as to its correct name which I have forgotten) which is transparent/translucent so it is difficult to see it in use.

42244.  Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:24 am Reply with quote

Ah. Tar. I know mine winked a lot, but never blinked. How cute.

42245.  Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:59 am Reply with quote

Surprisingly little is known about sleep - its mechanism, cause, effect or function - but the most commly held views are that it gives the body time to regenerate itself and its energy resources; gives the brain time to 'file away' what it's learned during waking hours; and also saves the animal from getting into trouble when it could be hidden away.

Lots of mammals are (still) nocturnal, of course, so it looks to us as if they sleep much more than they actually do.

Some lions spend up to 22 hours a day snoozing as their food is very nutritious and not worth chasing most of the time (a costly pursuit). Some animals have become very specialised to their food source, and if that doesn't provide much nutrition, as is the case for koalas and sloths, then they conserve what little energy they get from eating by moving very slowly and sleeping a lot.

It's always struck me as odd that cats spend more time asleep than awake. I still wonder if their 'main' brain state is in some kind of telepathic hive mind, where they all get together in the felisphere and swap tips on how to get humans to do even more for them...

42358.  Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:42 am Reply with quote

gruoch - I think the cat's inner eyelid is the nictating membrane, which closes from side to side rather than up and down like eyelids, and, if seen in normal light, is a sign of illness in the cat. Birds have it as well.

42359.  Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:59 am Reply with quote

Why couldn't I remember that? Thank-you, Frances.

42802.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:01 am Reply with quote

Is it generally known that Eric Knight’s original Lassie novel, set in a Yorkshire pit village, was intended as a militantly socialist fable, about the need for the workers to stick together as families and as a class during the depression? Just seems an amusing irony, given the position the televisual and cinematic Lassie went on to occupy in McCarthy-era USA!

42859.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:04 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
(And I believe it is a myth that sharks never sleep -- woo woo klaxon!)

That might depend on your definition of sleep. Dolphins and whales are famous for being able to sleep half of their brains at a time, so they're never fully asleep. Given that they're mammals and need to breathe air although living under water, it's easy to see why this is important.

According to, there's a great deal of uncertainty whether or not sharks actually sleep.

The other myth about sharks is that they must constantly keep swimming or else they'll die. While this is true of some more primitive sharks, such as great whites, more evolved specimens such as the nurse shark have "spiracles" which can force water across their gills even when they're motionless, allowing them to take a break from swimming if they want to.

QI Individual
42870.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:19 pm Reply with quote

From experiments carried out on a small shark called the Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias), we know that the 'Central Pattern Generator' that co-ordinates swimming movements in sharks is not located in the brain, but in the spinal chord. Thus, it is possible for an unconscious shark to swim.

The coordination of the walking motion in vertebrates is also located at a much lower level than the conscious brain. I believe (some of) it is also located at spinal level. Staying upright is much more of a problem of course. Animals floating in water don't have that problem.


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