Title: Are There Any Female Cuttlefish Here?

acast Time: 1:20:17
Youtube Time: 1:20:57

Original Record Date: April 1, 2019
acast Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Youtube Publication Date: July 24, 2019

Please Welcome a Man
It’s the last show of this run, but has the host lost enough weight in order to wear his suit? Nobody knows in this audience; that’s for sure.

Acronym Modification
Richard Herring’s Lamps Stamps Tamps Podcast

Cool Kids
I was hanging around with the 1922 Committee the other day. No, they’re alright. They’re just a group of people who love 1922 and its events, like the formation of the USSR, the Irish Civil War – they love that, particularly like that – the creation of the Reader’s Digest. Anything that happened, as long as it happened in 1922 we all love it. I mean, who remembers the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act? We all do.

Guest Best Known
JH: As the person who did additional questions on one episode of Only Connect.
AHM: As the writer of one episode of Newzoids.
AP: As someone who appeared briefly in one episode of QI, bringing Sandi Toksvig a card or something.
DS: As the producer of A Kitten for Hitler. I’m guessing I might have done that one last time he was on, so he is also the executive coordinator of one episode of Ghost Intervention.
Together they are best known as the two-time Chortle Internet award winners.


Better or Worse than Last Week: N/A
Like or Unlike Wikipedia: N/A

Member Member Note

Emergency Questions

Have you ever sat on a tuffet? What do you think a tuffet is?

JH: Well, Little Miss Muffet was written by a famous entomologist, wasn’t it? Yeah, yeah, he was, like, an expert on insects and spiders. Yeah, unfortunately I can’t remember his name. Yeah, I think a tuffet is a little chair, isn’t it? A little hillock, sorry.

AHM: It’s a small mound. I think it’s a naturally-formed mound with grass on it. I think it has to be soft, the top of a hillock. I don’t think that you could have a bare-earth or rock hillock.

AP: You know there’s that thing about all the old nursery – all the old nursery rhymes come from the 19th-century, although people claim that Ring a Ring o’ Roses is like a plague thing, but I don’t think there’s any evidence of that. But, one of the people who’s the architect of a lot of nursery rhymes is Mr. Bastard, who was – So the MP for Devon, in the very early 19th-century, was John Pollexfen Bastard. And I believe his wife, or it might have been his sister, Margaret wrote all the famous nursery rhymes that you would know today. Many of them, yeah. Passed down from Bastards.

What is more important to you: brains or beauty?

JH: I think we’re in trouble if everyone says beauty. In a lot of animals you have it where you have, like, the really fit animal who has sex with – let’s say the males – where the really fit males have sex with females. But then you also have the sneaky, clever males who can kind of sneak their way into the females. So I wonder if humans are a bit like that as well.

DS: For what? Like, if we’re just launching a rocket at NASA we won’t be, like, “Let’s get really hot people in here to press the button.”

AP: It’s got to be beautiful because that’s just, like, evolutionarily you just fancy people who are hot, don’t you? And that… because hot equals fit, as in physically fit, which means you can hunt and gather well. And I think we haven’t evolved beyond that yet. *JH makes his comment regarding attraction to cleverness.* Yeah, but it hasn’t been long enough for us to have evolved to really fancy that. That’s why no one’s really fancying Stephen Hawking even though they think he’s awesome. They’re fancying Ryan Gosling. Okay, look, I’m sorry. It was the first thing that sprung to… Who’s someone else with glasses? *DS notes that he’s sitting right next to AP.* You are too absurd, even to enter this equation. I think humans do still fancy people who are physically kitted out for going out and hunting stuff.

If you could have a sexual superpower, what would it be?

JH: So, is that like a normal superpower, a normal superpower but it’s sexy, like strength or invisibility? *RH makes comment about having the ability to force consent.* So you said you can’t be prosecuted for things you say on here, didn’t you? […] Everything I think about, I think, I can’t say that now. Because I was thinking about those octopuses where the penis detaches and then swims along to find a female.

AP: The police will finally call. I think – what about – corkscrew penis is always a thing that we always read about because a lot of things have that. I think that would be quite fun for men, if I were a man. Ducks have it, don’t they? Yeah, you can do it like a spinny – it would be like a roller coaster.

AHM: So it’s not, like, sex flight? We do so much on animal sex and animal genitalia, weird things like that. […] There’s cuttlefish, where they – sneaky cuttlefish, because they’re not the alpha males – they go up to a female and they start flirting with the female, but they make their back half – because they can camouflage themselves – they make their back half look like another female. So when the alpha male looks over he just sees two female cuttlefish having a chat, but from the female cuttlefish’s perspective he sees a male chatting her up. Sometimes the female disguise is so good that the male gets pulled into the harem of the alpha male cuttlefish. It gets stuck there.

Do you think if you have sex with a robot that should count as cheating on your partner?

AP: Yeah, I think so. I think it does because humans respond to robots as if they’re other humans even though they’re not. [Unintelligible.] So we actually did a podcast quite recently about how people feel really bad about killing robots. And I remember reading an article about how if you rip the head of a teddy bear, then you’re assumed to be a psychopath, but if you swat a fly that’s completely fine, but a teddy bear is a lump of wool and a fly is obviously a living creature. And similarly with robots, you know, there are lot of instances of people either getting really furious with robots and beating them up, or not wanting to hurt them at all. If a robot says, “Please don’t switch me off,” then people who were told to switch them off really don’t most of the time.

JH: Yeah, that was an experiment where, I think it was something like eighty people were told to turn this robot off and the robot said, “Please don’t turn me off. It’s going dark. I don’t want to die.” But then on the other hand there was a robot called hitchBOT, which was supposed to be sent off hitchhiking to see how far it could get with human kindness. And they sent it off on the side of the road in Boston and it was found murdered in a ditch seventeen days later.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

JH: I think not.

AHM: I think Dan might have done?

DS: No, I… It feels like I would have done. I saw a – I saw people seeing a ghost, but not myself. I’ve seen other people go, “It’s a ghost!” And me, looking at them at the time, and then missing the ghost. It’s a massive regret, but I did. I looked towards them. I was like, “You saw what?” And by the time I turned, the ghost had gone, so…

Do sperm have dreams?

DS: So, octopuses, um, they have this incredible ability, which I think a lot of us know, which is that they can camouflage their body to the colour of their surroundings. But not only their colour; they can do the texture of their skin as well. So if they are sitting on some seaweed and a predator comes, they can not only change the skin colour to the seaweed, but they can change the texture of their skin to the texture of the seaweed, so they’re perfectly mimicked. It’s an amazing thing that they can do. James was saying that in controlled tanks, if they were on a chess board, they can change themselves to a chessboard. Like, that’s how brilliantly they can mimic their surroundings. And I read this thing the other day, scientists are trying to prove this at the moment, but they’ve noticed that when a sleeping octopus is being filmed, occasionally it will change colour out of nowhere. And they think that’s because they’re having a nightmare and they’re trying to change their surroundings to the thing in their nightmare. But they’ve not yet proved REM sleep, so they don’t know whether or not that’s true, but there’s these little moments.

AP: But REM sleep, which is the sign of things dreaming, I don’t know if sperm have been witnessed doing that. But the ones that do REM most are platypodes, arent they? Platypuses dream the most. So, of all the creatures on face of the earth, they’re having the most intense dreams. And I don’t know about sperm. I don’t know of we’ve got close enough to sperm to see the REM flicker of the eyelids on the sperm cell. […] Well, we can’t be sure. You know, maybe there’s a sort of, kind of – So, there’s two kinds of sleep in which you act out stuff physically. So a lot of sleepwalkers sleepwalk, and that’s in their very deepest sleep. But there’s also a kind of sleepwalking or sleep acting, which is when you’re dreaming. And it’s called, like, REM dream action, or something. And it’s when, you know, you’re having a dream. And then if you’re dreaming that you’re playing tennis then you’ll suddenly fling your arm across the room and hit your pillow. And that’s really unusual and a sign of early-onset Parkinson’s.

JH: I think the lack of neurons probably precludes it.


Guests are James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber.

RH wears the suit he had hoped would fit him, as he had noted at the beginning of this series.

This is DS’s second appearance.

RH tells story of badly needing to pee while on vacation in Tanzania.

RH notes that he nearly bought the house that Little Miss Muffet was written in.