Series 2, Episode 06: CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
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In a departure from our usual format, the Nerds reveal three favourite science facts that they just could not believe the first time they heard them, but turned out to be true. Featuring the reproductive habits of barnacles, the unexpected mating call of the tawny owl and a freaky formula that draws a picture of itself.
- 01:12 – Helen’s bit
- 16:08 – Matt’s bit
- 34:12 – Steve’s bit
This series is sponsored by Brilliant.org, the place to learn maths and science through interactive online lessons. Start your free trial at Brilliant.org/apoud, and the first 200 Unnecessary Detail listeners who sign up for annual membership will get 20% off on the same link.
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Corrections and clarifications:
- A few weeks after we recorded this episode, New York Times published an extremely detailed and well-researched article debunking the “Birds Released In Central Park By Shakespeare Fan” story. Read it here, with thanks to listener Joshua Miller for sending over this link.
And here’s a heap of Unnecessary Detail from this episode:
- Tawny Owl Facts from the Woodland Trust.
- Tawny owls calling across a lake, recorded by Regina Eidner.
- Shakespeare’s Birds in Central Park, though the veracity of the original story has been questioned on twitter and by the New York Times since we recorded this episode.
- Animals, feat. Professor Elemental, song and lyrics on Helen’s Bandcamp page.
- More about Professor Elemental.
- More about Mr Simmonds.
- How to plot a straight line with an equation: what is mx+c?
- “Reliable Two-Dimensional Graphing Methods for Mathematical Formulae with Two Free Variables” by Jeff Tupper
- Tupper’s Self Referential Formula on Wolfram MathWorld
- Check out Matt’s tweet for more Tupper chat, or see below for an immediate visual. This is the classic version, but you can swap out the “17” out for an “i” to generalise it to other sized plots.
- “There is no equation for a triangle” on Matt’s YouTube channel.
- Watch “What’s The Equivalent Of?” aka The Banana Song from our comedy special “You Can’t Polish A Nerd“.
- Question 02.4 in 2018’s GCSE Physics exam was all about radioactive bananas. Would you have got it right?
- Buy Matt’s book that talks about Tupper’s Self Referential Formula from Maths Gear or all good bookstores near you.
- Watch Matt talk Tupper in our comedy special “Just For Graphs“.
- Barnacle balls on a living crab. Click if you dare…
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