Sunday, August 1, 2010

QI with Stephen Fry

Sorry I haven't been posting the past few days, I've been visiting family and helping build a shed for my fiancee's grandmother.  (OK, I was pretty much staying out of the way and cleaning up debris.  That counts as helping right?)  I got back home today and went through a few hundred blog entries backlogged in my Google Reader (including all 49 posts by Jen during her blogathon), and came across a video on Atheist Media Blog I had seen a while ago, and never got around to posting here:


The video is of a British show called QI (which stands for Quite Interesting) hosted by one of my favorite people in the world, Stephen Fry.  If you're a fan of British (or atheist/skeptical) comedy, you might recognize some of the guests, including Alan Davies, who is a permanent guest on QI, and David Mitchell, from That Mitchell and Webb Look.  The show's website has an excellent description:
Quite Interesting - or 'QI' to its friends - could loosely be described as a comedy panel quiz. However, none of the stellar line-up of comedians is expected to be able to answer any questions, and if anyone ends up with a positive score, they can be very happy with their performance. Points are awarded for being interesting or funny (and, very occasionally, right) but points are deducted for answers which merely repeat common misconceptions and urban myth. (Alan Davies has turned this aspect of the game into somewhat of an artform.) It's okay to be wrong, but don't be obviously, boringly wrong. In this way, QI tries to rid the world of the flotsam of nonsense and old wives' tales that can build up in your mind. QI not only makes us look more closely at things, it encourages us to question all the received wisdom we have carried with us since childhood. Think of the program as a humorous cranial de-scaler.
QI isn't really about pointless information, or shoring up vast banks of trivia, It's about finding undiscovered connections and seeing hidden patterns, just like the best comedy. After all, curiosity is hardwired in all of us; we just lose the ability to indulge it. "The lust of the mind", Thomas Hobbes called it, "that exceedeth the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure". There you have it, and from a philosopher not a press release. QI: better than sex.
How could any skeptic not want to watch a show like that?

Unfortunately it isn't show in America, :-( , but there are tons of YouTube videos to watch, and I have gone down the QI/YouTube rabbit hole a few times in the past, emerging hours later, once I get my fill of Fry and the other comedians (which is very difficult, they are all extremely funny and interesting).

If you've never seen the show before, check out some of the clips on YouTube, they are a great watch. And if you've seen the show before, then I've probably got you watching all the clips again.  Sorry to tie up your next couple of hours!

Here's another funny one to keep you going, about Earth's second moon, Cruithne (although Fry is mostly wrong about this one, Cruithne isn't really a moon, it's only a quasi-satellite):


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