Funny You Should Ask… – by The QI Elves

6 03 2022

The QI Elves are the wonderful people who write the questions for the TV show QI [Quite Interesting], and more recently they’ve also been doing a weekly segment on the Radio 2 breakfast show where people call in with questions for them to answer. This book is based on some of those questions, as well as some tangents from those, and some brand new questions. Most are just a page long, some are a couple of pages and there are a couple of occasionally three page answers, but most of those are ones with a lot of pictures in them! It means that it’s all very bitesize and easy to read.

The questions themselves are brilliant, they include things like:

  • Who alphabetised the alphabet?
  • Which fruit came first, the grape or the grapefruit?
  • Why does red mean ‘stop’ and green mean ‘go’?
  • What happens if you try to use superglue on a non-stick pan?
  • Why do Olympic racers run anticlockwise?

A lot of the answers finish with some random related fact, where I learnt wonderful things like

  • A group of ducks on water is called a paddling.
  • Four of the characters from Frozen – Hans, Kristoff, Anna and Sven – are named after Hans Christian Andersen, the author of the film’s main inspiration, ‘The Snow Queen’.
  • Sodium citrate is used in the production of nacho cheese and has the chemical formula Na3C6H5O7.

Some of the answers left me with follow-up questions, but that’s part of the joy of it I think, finding more things to learn!

Don’t believe your eyes!

12 01 2014

I’m generally a fan of a good optical illusion, but some get so overdone. There’s pictures you’ve seen a million times, which line is longer, etc, and you just know what to expect.
optical illusion

You then go one step up to things like this, which manage to move without moving – harder to get your eyes around, though I find if I blur my eyes, not only does it go still, but it also goes black and white?!
optical illusion2

But 2 or 3 years ago there was an episode of QI that blew my mind all over again, and still does when I watch it afresh!

Then last night I saw this, along the same lines but almost a step further

I seriously don’t get it – I’ve been wearing glasses for over 20 years now and I’ve seen all sorts of tests, but this is bizarre. It’s the sort of trick that when it’s happening you literally can’t see how it’s doing it!