Quiz: from Beyonce to Zeus

It's quiz time! Who will emerge victorious?
08 October 2019

Interview with 

Beth Singler, Phil Sansom, Sam Virtue, Olivia Remes




It's that time of the show, where Adam Murphy is putting the panel to the test. It's artificial intelligence-researcher Beth Singler, Naked Scientist Phil Sansom, metabolic scientist Sam Virtue, and mental health expert Olivia Remes... which team will push through three devious rounds to emerge victorious?

Adam - Let's take a break from the questions and put a quiz to our panelists. And if you want to play at home, please do. So let’s split you up in two teams: Phil and Beth, you’re team one, and Simon Olivia, you’re team two. So round one, question one: What kind of animal was named Scaptia beyonceae, after the singer, based on certain follicle similarities. Was it a horse fly, a cat, or a crustacean?

Phil - Follicle similarities?

Adam - Follicle similarities, yes.

Phil - I’ve pronounced the word similarities wrong there.. That's bizarre. I feel like having a horse fly named after Beyonce is a bit insulting. I don't think anyone would do that.

Beth - But it’s unlikely that anyone's discovered a new cat.

Phil - But like a wild cat somewhere out there? What was the third option?

Adam - It was a crustacean.

Phil - Do crustaceans have follicles? What do you think?

Beth - I don't know..

Adam - So what do you think - A, B, or C?

Phil - I want to go cat.

Beth - Okay, I’ll bend to your decision.

Phil - Oh no...

Adam - Okay. We'll go with cat. I'm afraid the answer is a rare species of horse fly. It is found in Queensland Australia. It was named after the American singer in January. Scientist Bryan Lessard says it was "the unique dense golden hairs on the fly's abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer". So…

Beth - He knows more about her abdomen than most people do.

Adam - We'd be worried but instead we will move on and we will go to Question 2 for Sam and Olivia. What kind of long extinct animal is named Psephophorus terrypratchetti, after the author Terry Prachett: is at a Pteranodon, an ancient rodent, or some kind of prehistoric turtle?

Simon - What do you think Olivia? I think, if I remember the Discworld books, my wife's read more, I have read them, the whole world is on a turtle, so maybe it's a turtle? What do you think?

Olivia - Yeah let's go with that answer. I don't know what else to say, I think I'd go with that.

Adam - Yes and you are completely correct in your reasoning Sam.

Olivia - Oh, awesome.

Adama - So in the Discworld Terry Pratchett novels, the world is suspended on the backs of four elephants which sit on the top of a great turtle called Great A'Tuin.

Phil - Frustratingly, Beth knew that one.

Beth - Yeah, I knew that one, I’m a big Terry Pratchett fan.

Adam - But, we’ll give you a chance to come back now. So we're at 0-1 but it’s Round 2 - Question 3 and we are moving into space. So despite Saturn having a radius of nearly 70,000 kilometres, the rings are only a hundred metre thick at their thinnest. True or false?

Phil - Could this be one of those where the actual answers is that they're even thinner.

Beth - Oh, I know.. second guessing. I don’t know.

Phil - Well, you have to answer this one because I answered the last one. That’s the rule.

Beth - Okay, hmm

Adam - That's good teamwork isn't it?

Beth - Yeahh, this is all on me this time. I'm gonna go with true.

Adam - I’m afraid you should have listened to Phil there.

Beth - I listened to him last time!

Adam - I was being exactly that brand of sneaky. The rings of Saturn at their thinnest are only 10 meters thick.

Beth - Okay.

Phil - Oh wow, I even got it right.

Adam - Yeah. So we're two down, unfortunately. We will move on to question 4 for our team 2. If I say that a black hole ten times heavier than the Earth is about the size of a bowling ball, is that true or false?

Olivia - I'd be tempted to say false, but I'm not sure. What do you think?

Sam - I don’t know, I mean, my suspicion is it would be even smaller than bowling ball so I'm going to go with your answer as well Olivia. Let's go false.

Adam - OK you're going false. No, it is about that, it is about the size of a bowling ball. A 5 Earth mass black hole would be about the size of an orange. So really really small but not quite as small as you were thinking. Right so you have you have room now. We're only we're only at 1-nil. So back to Phil and Beth. What are there more of: trees on earth or stars in the Milky Way?

Phil - Wow, good question.

Beth - Yeah, is this like pre- or post-humans, ‘cause we kind of cut down quite a few.

Phil - Okay, stars in the Milky Way. That must be like tens of thousands. I bet there's more trees than that. But we're working together on this one because we each answered the others individually.

Beth - I don't know. No, you choose!

Adam - Great teamwork over here!

Beth - I want to be able to blame him again.

Phil - Great. Umm.. trees on Earth. More trees on Earth.

Adam - More trees on Earth? Yep. There are quite a bit more than tens of thousand stars but two hundred and fifty billion stars in the Milky Way.

Beth - Yeah, I didn’t think that was quite right, the tens of thousands.

Phil - I was still right.

Adam - Phil is still right - there are about 3 trillion trees on Earth.

Phil - You're joking.

Adam - That's what the research says. So it's a one off. It all comes down to this final question. So, Olivia and Sam, what are older: trees or sharks?

Olivia - That's an interesting question.

Adam - Well, thank you!

Sam - What do you reckon Olivia?

Olivia - Trees or sharks. Let's see. It's like what came first the chicken or the egg.

Sam - Trees generally don't make shacks but yes.

Olivia - Let's just say.. Trees?

Sam - See, I would go sharks. But I reckon… All right.

Olivia - I don’t know, I don't want to get it wrong.

Sam - No, well one of us is going to be.

Adam - I'm going to need an answer.

Sam - Oh oh

Olivia - What should we do?

Sam - Go with your answer.

Olivia - Okay, trees.

Adam - Trees?

Olivia - No, I don’t like the sound of that.

Adam - Sharks are older by about 200 million years. The oldest sharks emerged before the trees did.

Olivia - Darn those sharks.

Adam - I know. Mean mean sharks. But now that means..

Sam - Tiebreak!

Beth - Penalty shootout!

Adam - Oh, this could this could get interesting and violent. So here's our tiebreaker question. The title of ‘Tallest dog ever’ was given to Zeus The Great Dane in 2014. To the nearest centimeter, how tall was he from ground to shoulder? We'll go with Team 1. Team one gets to answer first.

Phil - Well, well dang.

Beth - In centimeters?

Adam - Yes.

Phil - Where do you think it came up to on a person?

Beth - I don’t know, shoulder height.

Phil - I feel like if it was the tallest ever..

Beth - Oh okay.

Phil - Yeah, yeah, I agree.

Beth - Shoulder height on a bloke maybe like 5 foot, which is...

Phil - Oh, I can’t convert to centimeters.

Beth - No, that's the other problem.

Phil - Oh no we're experts.

Beth - Yeah, this is really not my degree is in.

Adam - So we're going to need a number, apparently thrown out at random.

Phil - I have currently thrown out 170, but it’s your turn to answer.

Beth - No no no. You have a number. Let’s go with that.

Phil - I’ll get it wrong. 170.

Adam - One hundred and seventy. All right. Simon, Olivia, what do you think?

Sam - I think 170 is a very big dog. I think it’s going to be less than that. We'll say 160 centimeters.

Adam - 160 centimeters is … closer. Yeah. So it is team 2 who win our tiebreak. It is still a very big dog because Zeus was 112 centimeters which is about this tall. I think you might have thought the dog was standing on someone's shoulders.

Olivia - Several dogs on the dog.

Phil - I really did good with my 10 meter Saturn one, and then I've got every number wrong, by so much.

Adam - Yeah. Sam and Olivia, congratulations for winning, and to you at home, congratulations if you got any of those right!


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