Quiz: Frumious bandersnatches and tasseled wobbegongs

How do our brainy panel fare against the fiendish Naked Scientist quiz?
10 July 2018

Interview with 

Howard Griffiths, Cambridge University, Jane Sterling and Laurence Kemp, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Jim Bacon, Weather Quest


Coral reef fish


It's quiz time for our panelists. From animal inventions to tourist traps, Chris Smith pits Jane Sterling and Jim Bacon against Laurence Kemp and Howard Griffiths..

Chris - Now team 1, Jim and Jane, you may confer. This is “Marine Life or Marine Lie?” Do you see what we did there? These are things that you might or might not find at the seaside. So can you tell us which of these unfriendly sea creatures would you be most likely to encounter on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia? a Frumoius Bandersnatch or a tasselled wobbegong? What do you think? Please confer.

Jim - I have no idea. I like the idea of the tasseled, some of these tropical fish have tasselly tails. 

Jane - Happy to go with that.

Chris - Okay. So you're going with the tasselled wobbegong?

A: A tasselled wobbegong.
It's a type of carpet shark. a Bandersnatch is in fact a mythical creature which was made up by Lewis Carroll in the Jabberwocky in 1937.

Chris - Very well done. Right team 2, which is of course Laurence and Howard which of these two would be most likely to pose in your photograph? A Wunderpus photogenicus or a Thaumoctopus fabulus? which of the two would be more likely to appear in your photograph and pose for you?

Laurence - I'm not sure I'd probably go for the first one that sounds a bit more...

Howard - It sounds a bit more scientific

Laurence - ...sounds a bit more scientific. We think that’s got a scientific feel about it.

Chris - You like the name?

A: Wunderpus photogenicus.
It is wonderpus photogenicus, the clue is in name. It’s a spotty octopus living in the water around Bali, it gets its name because the pattern of spots on each octopus is unique. And here's the science bit: Much like fingerprints, it means that these octopodes can be monitored in the wild through people photographing them. Thaumoctopus fabulus is in fact made up.

So it's level pegging at the moment right, everything to play for, back to team 1, who are Jane and Jim. “Travel in style, The ultimate holiday accessory” is round two. Does this cool holiday accessory actually exist? True or false. The USB air conditioned shirt Jim and Jane.

Jane - Don't see why it shouldn't.

Jim - There is a lot of talk about embedding electronics into clothing so I probably assume that's something you plug the shirt in
Jane - You can certainly attach a fan. Even if you’re low-tech.

Jim - I'm just not quite sure how the air conditioning would work though. What bit of magic in there, having plugged it in? Say okay what do you think?

Jane - Go for it. yes.

Chris -
    A: True
It's true, all you need is a laptop to charge up your shirt which keeps you cool on your sweltering hikes or off in the airport where there’s no air conditioning. Should your air condition shirt power out, you can run it on batteries as well. Isn't that nice?

Right team two, here we go. This is back to Laurence and Howard. What about a pair of money finding, metal detecting sandals? Real or something we made up earlier?

Laurence - I can't imagine there's a market for metal detecting sandals, is there?

Howard - Not really, there may be some quite quaint willingness to wear them I'm sure if they were. Maybe it's a marketing opportunity we should think about, what do think?

Laurence - Perhaps it is

Howard - But I'm not convinced that one could probably get one off some marketing Electronics site let's say.

Chris - So Howard is not convinced.

Laurence - I say false.

Chris -
    A: True
I'm afraid actually this is a real phenomenon. Actually there’s a battery pack which straps onto your ankle and then down to these flip flops or thongs, if you’re Australian. This actually makes it look like you’ve been tagged by the police. Would you like to see a picture of one, just here in the studio, what this wonderful invention looks? I’ve a printed out picture, you can see that’s a pair of sandley things and then you've got this wire coming out the back which goes up to this thing wrapped around your leg with a black box about the size of a TV remote control and some lights and LEDs, so it does look like you've been tagged because you’ve got an ASBO or something. But you can in fact detect metal with your footwear, but it's good for beachcombers apparently they can pick up coins on the beach that's obviously their sandals can detect. I bet they're worth their weight in gold. Make a fortune.

Round three. “Destination Unknown,” which of these is a dud or a dream destination? Jim and Jane which one actually exists; Disaster Café in Spain where they simulate a massive earthquake every night while you dine, or Hot Plate Iceland where they cook the food on heat from a volcano.

Jane - I should think the volcano must be real in Iceland.

Jim - Yes the Iceland one.

Jane - Going for Iceland.

Chris - I’m afraid, actually Disaster Café in Spain is the correct one.

A: Disaster Café in Spain.
Normally people are terrified of earthquakes but at Disaster Café which is at Lloret de Mar, people actually pay to experience a simulated 7.8 on the Richter scale quake while they attempt to enjoy their meal.

You didn’t get that one right so you're still in with a chance Howard and Laurence, here we go. Which bar is a real one? The underground bar in London where a bar on a train travels around a disused underground route, or the Jumbo Stay in Stockholm. This hostel and bar is inside an old jumbo jet. It’s open 24/7 rather than 747. It's outside the Stockholm Arlanda airport. What do you think

Laurence - What do you reckon Howard?

Howard - Well there was some talk of opening up the old Royal Mail Line wasn't there? And maybe there is a bar that zooms around the London Underground.

Laurence - I, kind of, think that if that was open, that I'd have known somebody would have gone there and told me how great it was.

Chris - But it might be rubbish. We didn’t say it was any good.

Howard - But then again the bar outside Stockholm is going to be hugely expensive.

Laurence - I got it wrong last time.

Howard - He wants to go to a bar in Stockholm, so let’s say that.

Chris -  Stockholm one is correct.

    A: Jumbo Stay in Stockholm.
The underground bar is one we actually made up the Stockholm bar is the Jumbo Stay. The rooms are about six metres square, three metres floor to ceiling and you can also walk out on the left wing. It's been turned into a fetching observation deck.

So there you go.


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