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9449.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:04 am Reply with quote

Loose Canon on Ship of Facts Probe Enquiry!

LONDON: Ad-libbing Mr Fry, in an otherwise hilarious and fact-studded show, let loose an inadvertent howler concerning animals that have never 'met', yesterday evening. Correcting the common misunderstanding that penguins and polar bears regularly socialise - which is not true, of course: they come from different poles of the planet - he went on to say that tigers and lions have never met either, presumably referring to the fact that lions live in Africa, while tigers live in Asia.

The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), of which there are but a few hundred remaining in the Gir Forest in India's Gujarat state, used to range freely over South-eastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and all the way down into India. Indeed, the Asiatic Lion was the national animal of India from 1952 to 1972. References to lion in the Bible will all have been to the Asiatic variety, which split off from the main group of African plains lions when the Sahara was formed roughly 8-9000 years ago. They can still interbreed, but now have no possibility of doing so naturally.

Although there is little evidence of them having 'met' (what kind of evidence could there be, after all?), there is every opportunity for them to have done so before they were almost hunted to extinction in the early part of the 20th Century.

They hunt alone, in forests, and have furry elbows.

9450.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:17 am Reply with quote

Thanks Gray.

Good point. Probably should've spotted that during the recording (or at least during the edit).

I suppose because the remark was delivered en passant even, one might say, almost sotto voce it had such a ring of 'obvious' authenticity that it slipped by...

9453.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:36 am Reply with quote

I saw the Observer article- my dad was mentioned in it as one of the trendy media types who regularly visit Oxford, which is right apart from the 'trendy' bit, and the 'regularly visiting Oxford' bit.
I thought the remark that the club wasn't elitist was slightly odd though, seeing as you have to pay 2500 to join. I suppose 250 for annual membership isn't so bad...

9458.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 5:20 am Reply with quote

You don't have to pay 2,500 to join. That's for founder membership, which gets you membership for two people for life.

QI is genuinely not meant to be 'elitist' in the sense that it is not a requirement for membership to be important, famous, successful, well-educated, good-looking, upper-middle-class etc etc.

On the other hand, nobody has ever claimed it would be free, or even particularly cheap, so it can be said to be elitist in that it's tricky for extremely poor people to join.

9463.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 5:37 am Reply with quote

Well, that all seems very fair. I take it back.

9464.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:00 am Reply with quote

Oh not at all. Didn't take your original comments as aggressive in the first place.

And the point about your Dad was very amusing.

9476.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 11:11 am Reply with quote

There has been a point raised on the forum at,
It comes about from the commonwealths / states in the U.S. and the relationship to the "kingdoms" of the UK. I'm know you guys like a question on something people misunderstand as fact perhaps you might like to add your wisdom?

9481.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:54 pm Reply with quote

This is an interesting one - the post over at LBLM's site mentions that
the U.K is made up of the principality of Wales, Northern Ireland, and The Kindoms of England, Scotland, and Fife

I didn't know this, if it's true. Anyone care to comment? Frances? Liebig? It must be pretty dark up there from about teatime by this time of year, so what else have you got to do?

Netiquette indicates that any response to this enquiry should really be posted to [url][/url] , BTW.

9482.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:59 pm Reply with quote

Don't know why the url thing didn't work properly, but while you're over there you should give some thought to the post which says that as opposite poles attract, the thing that attracts the "north" end of your compass must be magnetic south - so penguins are already at magnetic north, contrary to the assertion in the show.

Actually I've just thought of a quibble to respond with ... excuse me a minute ...

9485.  Sat Oct 23, 2004 10:51 pm Reply with quote

Flash - Frances is touring Florida at the moment (and I trust booting a few Republican voters into the Everglades on her way) - I don't think she's due back for another couple of weeks yet.

9486.  Sun Oct 24, 2004 2:00 am Reply with quote

try here
the reason Flash's didn't work is there were no leading www's or http//. although you can connect to my site by just typing the bulletin board does recognise DNS so it doesn't realise it's another url.

By the way, the Kingdom of Fife thing is a bit like the Cornwall being seperate from England, it is really only people from Fife and Edinburgh that look at it like that. it should be the makings of a good thread though

9491.  Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:31 am Reply with quote

Hi lblm,

Thanks for that. How's your site going?

9493.  Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:38 am Reply with quote

JumpingJack wrote:
Hi lblm,

Thanks for that. How's your site going?

Everythings going fine at the moment, have a possible problem coming up. I've decided tyo go from self hosted to a hosted service, this has caused problems with other people I know especially as I am not using the company I have registered the domain with. One possibility would be to register a new domain with the hosting company a worrking title could be, and redirect but we shall wait and see,

Why not pop over and join in the debates,

9494.  Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:40 am Reply with quote

Thanks. I'll do that.

10712.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:08 am Reply with quote

Time to bump this thread up to the top, surely?


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