Monday 15 December 2014

72 QIts better

Like last year and the year before, the team at have put together a compendium of interesting facts for the Christmas market.  The first book contained 1227 snippets and last year it was 1339 and I wrote about what an absurd bargain it was.  This year 1,411 QI Facts to knock you sideways is 72 paragraphs or 18 pages longer [in addition to 1339 totally new facts of course]. If we are going to quantify these things, we need units: I propose qit by analogy with information technology's bit. I secured copies of 1411 from Amazon for £3 delivered to Ireland. I don't know how this works economically, but if I buy a shirt for £3 I reckon I should probably wash any coliforms off before I start wearing it. I'm not picking on cheap retailers because more expensive brands are quite happy to use sweated labour in Bangladesh where the bathroom facilities may not be as nice as they are in Dublin, Berlin or Montpellier. In any case, it must mean that the elves in QI are making next to nothing-at-all on their intellectual property in this globalised transaction.  Update: the price (it must be like fluctuating odds in a bookmakers at bookseller Amazon) is now up to £4.50, still cheap enough but 1411 is #20 on the Amazon bestseller list after The Narrow Road to the Deep North but before the Official Minecraft 2015 Wall Calendar.  Maybe there is a fortune to be made on a pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap business model.

I've had a dip or six into 1,411 before parcelling copies up for the deserving poor. This is what I find:
  • When Canada's Northwest Territory was divided in two in 1999, people voted to keep the old name.  The runner up was "Bob".
    • It became Northwest Territories and . . . Nunavut
    • I shall stop boasting about Bob the Island, now we have Bob the Province
  • Over the last 10,000 years Niagara Falls has moved 7 miles up stream 
    • about 1m/yr!
  • Every year Iceland gets wider by 2cm. 
    • rock creation is slower than rock erosion
  • British fishermen work 17 times harder than they did in the 1880s to catch the same number of fish. 
  • There are 1,411 tigers in India 
  • Sigmund Freud treated Gustav Mahler for impotence
    • Mahler married 20 years younger Alma Schindler, who having worn out Gustav, wed Walter Gropius the architect and then author Franz Werfel and outlived them all by 20 years. A goer was Alma as recognised by Tom Lehrer.
    • [Additional commentary exclusive to The Blob]
Thank me for sharing, but you have to buy the book to find out more: it won't be in your local library yet.  It's all grist for the curiosity mill and a good idea for Christmas presents.
As a bonus here's a set of QI pub-quiz style picture puzzles that you can access for free and have a chance at winning a prize. Why, I've knocked off #13 already, so it can't be that hard. 

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