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Embrace General Ignorance

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63772.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:07 am Reply with quote

Later this year, QI will be publishing its first tome:

The Book of General Ignorance

A humblingly comprehensive catalogue of all the misconceptions, mistakes and misunderstandings in 'common knowledge', which will make you wonder why anyone ever bothers to go to school.

The book will throw fresh light on a question which has obsessed philosophers, scientists and men in pubs for most of history: what is truth and what is total hogwash? Thomas Edison stated that we know less than one millionth of 1% about anything; Mark Twain thought it would take 8 million years to master mathematics alone; Woody Allen observed that "Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge, but others only gargle."

We want you to join in, and hear your ideas about comon misconceptions. So come out of the bathroom! As someone else once said, it ain't what you don't know that does you harm, it's what you think you know that just ain't so.

So, if you think that Henry VIII had six wives, that the Earth has only one moon, and that Alexander Graeme Bell invented the telephone, you need this forum. Urgently.

Zaphod Beeblebrox
68506.  Thu May 04, 2006 11:01 am Reply with quote

Will we be able to order this book online? Sounds intruiging ;)

68518.  Thu May 04, 2006 11:51 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
So, if you think that Henry VIII had six wives, that the Earth has only one moon, and that Alexander Graeme Bell invented the telephone, you need this forum. Urgently.

So none of those things are true??

I'll have to get that book then :|

68522.  Thu May 04, 2006 1:28 pm Reply with quote

Oh Andrew !!!

Actually of the three "facts" there - one is a commonly held belief which is wrong, one is open to debate but kind of has several answers, and one is is in fact true. (The show's explanation as to why it isn't doesn't convince me, anyways.)

But it would be making life far too easy if I said which was which, so you'll have to buy the book...

(All three matters have been discussed on this forum as it goes, but still buy the book as I'm sure there are loads more QI things in it!)

68628.  Fri May 05, 2006 7:05 am Reply with quote

I assume you're referring to the point about the Earth only having one moon as true, in which case I have to agree with you.

Anything with a long orbital period would have to go so far away from the earth that it's no longer within its gravitational influence. Once you get an appreciable fraction of 1AU away, the Sun would be a much bigger gravitational influence. If the body is no longer within the gravitational influence of the Earth, it cannot possibly be described as a moon. It might be something that happens to periodically orbit close to the Earth by chance, but that's a long way from being a moon.

So if the Book of General Ignorance tries to claim the Earth has more than one moon, I may have to boycott it :)

68639.  Fri May 05, 2006 7:53 am Reply with quote

I'm with you there Dr Bob. Quite apart from anything else, for me a moon has to Go Round The Earth, and that Cruithne entity doesn't!!

(Oh, and if it gets a mention in the new series, please can we pronounce it correctly. Being a Celtic name, it's Kroo-nyuh, NOT Kroo-ith-nee. Think of the chanteuse Enya, whose given name is properly spelt Eithne.)

All the same, I expect I will buy the book when it comes out - if only to jump and down in glee and tell all you guys if I find anything else they have got wrong!

68649.  Fri May 05, 2006 8:36 am Reply with quote

While were doing "Celtic" can you give me the low down on


I'm saying

Luch(t/d)a (like the scouse 'look' - 'look'da)

I'm assuming that Lugh/Lug is 'Loo' as well.

68652.  Fri May 05, 2006 9:19 am Reply with quote

There are people around these parts who know the Celtic tongues better than I do, but my first attempts at those would be:

Slahn-yuh, Goy(v)-new ("bh" is indeed a /v/ sound, but it practically vanishes a lot of the time), Kray-nyuh, and Luchta you have about right - the "ch" needs to be a guttural sound as in German, Scottish etc - which indeed does appear in some Liverpool speech.

"Lughnasa" is certainly more or less Loo-nuh-suh - the "gh" is a voiced guttural which English speakers find difficult, but it too practically vanishes. (Listen to an Arabic speaker saying "Baghdad" - that word has the same sound.) So I reckon that "lugh" should be "loo", followed by the same practically absent sound. Although "lug" should probably be "look" (pronounced somewhat in the Lancashire way to rhyme with "souk", although with a shorter vowel) - certainly "pog" meaning "kiss" is much like "poke".

72114.  Wed May 31, 2006 11:39 am Reply with quote

A general ignorance book sounds absoloutely fantastic and i just must have it.

WHEN CAN I GET IT ? ? ? ? ?! ! ! !?! ?! ?!?!? !? !? ?!? !??? ?!? !?!?!? ?! ?!? !?? ?!

Zaphod Beeblebrox
72127.  Wed May 31, 2006 12:03 pm Reply with quote

Well, quite. I'd like to ditto that, and add a few more exclamation and question marks on the end for good measure.

72131.  Wed May 31, 2006 12:23 pm Reply with quote

I'm not sure if this is an official date yet, but has an October release date; pre-Christmas and alongside the D-series.

72140.  Wed May 31, 2006 1:19 pm Reply with quote

I assume that we will be able to buy it from the QI bookshop (discounted)?

72418.  Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:12 am Reply with quote


Thanks for the tip about eggshaped. If it does come out in October I will have to get it then. Or failing that I think I know what one of my christmas presents will be!

72444.  Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:53 am Reply with quote

Something tells me that if you hang around these parts, you'll know more as the autumn approaches.

75305.  Sat Jun 17, 2006 5:19 pm Reply with quote

So just how many wives did Henry have???

I thought everybody knew it was 6


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