Guests: David Mitchell, Sara Pascoe, Jack Whitehall
Air Date: 6 September 2013 at 10pm, BBC Two
XL Air Date: 8 September 2013 at 10pm, BBC Two
The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it.
A special edition of
Ask an Elf took
place on Reddit for
The valves of Kerckring are the flaps or folds found in the mucous membrane of the small intestine, which help to increase the surface area of the tube to absorb nutrients better. Theodor Kerckring was a 17th century Dutch anatomist and friend of the philosopher Spinoza.
The pores of Kohn are found in the alveoli of your lungs. Along with the canals of Lambert and the fenestrations of Boren, they are part of an emergency back-up system called ‘collateral ventilation’ that enables you to keep breathing if a lung deflates or collapses.
Hans Kohn (1866-1935) was a distinguished German lung specialist who was on the board of the Berlin Medical Society until ousted by the Nazis in 1933.
The end-bulbs of Krause are bulbous structures at the very end of our nerve fibres that pick up the sensation of cold. They are found across the skin, inside
the mouth, and clustered at the tips of our genitals and are activated by temperatures lower than 20°C. Wilhelm Krause (1833-1910) was a German anatomist whose most famous pupil was Robert Koch, the father of modern bacteriology. Koch identified the bacterial agents behind anthrax, cholera and tuberculosis.
The ‘knocker-upper’ was an Industrial Revolution era human alarm clock who went around town waking people up in time for work. Most used a light stick, such as a long bamboo, to tap on bedroom windows. Others used a knob on a long pole. In Limehouse, London, Mary Smith used a different technique; she earned sixpence a week for firing dried peas at sleeping workers’ windows with her peashooter. Caroline Jane Cousins from Dorset was paid threepence a week to do the same but she used a lamp on a pole. She also had a whistle with which she could hail the police if anyone attempted to assault her. One knocker-upper would wake a deaf and blind man by pulling on a string which would hit a weight against the man's bed.
Of course this inevitably suggests a question similar to the one about how the man who drives the snow plough gets to work. Sure enough, there was also a knocker-upper’s knocker-upper: someone whose job it was to stay up all night and make sure the knocker-uppers were awake in time.
According to the website of Velcro Industries, ‘there’s no such thing as “Velcro”’.
‘Velcro’, apparently is ‘the name of our companies and the registered trademark for our products. It is not the generic name of the product that fastens shoes, pockets, and hundreds of other things’. The product should be referred to as ‘Hook and loop fastener’ or ‘touch fasteners’. This matters, they say, because: ‘Many terms that we use frequently in our everyday language were once trademarks, like “escalator”, “thermos”, “cellophane”, and “nylon”. All of these terms lost their distinction as trademarks because their owners allowed them to be misused by the public. That’s why the Velcro companies pay close attention to how the VELCRO® trademark is used. So now you know – you can’t buy a piece of “Velcro”. But you can purchase all of the VELCRO® brand hook and loop fasteners you need. In fact, we encourage it!’
The word Velcro is a portmanteau of the two French words velours (‘velvet’), and crochet (‘hook’).
Ankles are nearly always neat and good-looking, but knees are nearly always not.
Here are some websites we found useful when researching the Knees and Knockers show:
For more on the history of the Klaxon and the fact that it’s a trade name, this is a good place to start.
And here’s the final word on Velcro – from the hook and loop website itself.
There are some things that Wikipedia is unbeatable for; lists of body parts, for instance.
And Straight Dope is unbeatable for unusual questions like: ‘Why do doctors hit knees with hammers?’
Here’s a review of the great book on the history of Kowtow and George Macartney.
The coconut/decapitation story came from Kew Gardens.
For info on Knocker-Uppers, we found the Baldock Museum, a digitised Australian newspaper from 1922 and the Lancashire Telegraph archives were all very enlightening.
And finally, to learn about the sinister looking Holy Week celebrations we looked to the Examiner website and Catholic Digest.
Ross Noble, Noel Fielding and Colin Lane check out QI's KIT AND KABOODLE.
Join them as they struggle with flat-packs, take out the kitty litter, and reward themselves with Kendal cake.