Lateral with Tom Scott

Comedy panel game podcast about weird questions with wonderful answers, hosted by Tom Scott.

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Episode 32: Losing golf balls for fun

Published 19th May, 2023

Xyla Foxlin, Jordan Harrod and Becky Stern face questions about cable cutting, baking brilliance and ska band shenanigans.

HOST: Tom Scott. QUESTION PRODUCER: David Bodycombe. RECORDED AT: Podcasts NZ Studios. EDITED BY: Julie Hassett at The Podcast Studios, Dublin. MUSIC: Karl-Ola Kjellholm ('Private Detective'/'Agrumes', courtesy of ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Chris B., Harry. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:At 23 feet, 11 and three quarter inches, the tallest actor on IMDb is Keiko. What film provided their breakout role?

The answer to that at the end of the show. My name's Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

Welcome to the podcast, and also to our three guests who have shown that just by turning up, they are capable of making some very questionable life choices. Because returning to the show, we have Xyla Foxlin.
Xyla:Hey everyone. Thanks for having me.
Tom:I have maker and YouTuber down here as your description. Does that sound right?
Xyla:'Bout right, yeah. I might throw engineer on there, but yeah. I'll take anything, honestly. Creator of chaos, It's all good.
Tom:There is a lot of explosions on your channel, from what I can see. There's just a lot of stuff that keeps going up.
Xyla:We're entropy fans.
Tom:(laughs) Last time you were on, how did it go? It feels like you got a couple questions in there.
Xyla:I think it stretches your brain in a really nice— I really like these questions, so let's see if we can elasticize our brains a little more.
Tom:That's much more optimistic than last time. So I'm happy you're back.
Tom:Also joining us: artificial intelligence expert, and I'm assured not having been replaced by ChatGPT yet, Jordan Harrod.
Jordan:Not yet. I'm still here. I'm still kicking. Thanks for having me.
Tom:I mean, was it two years ago that we tried to generate an AI version of me to replace me, and it was...
Jordan:It was two years ago, and I bet I could make a much better version now for less than 100 bucks. It would not be hard.
Tom:No. It's amazing how much that's gone in two years.
Tom:I just assume that soon this entire podcast will be AI generated, but...
Jordan:Maybe it is.
Tom:Oh god, maybe I am!
Tom:And the last guest today, but by no means the least, Becky Stern, how are you doing? Welcome back.
Becky:Hello. I'm great. Thanks for having me.
Tom:Last time it was essentially the run through your childhood high school jobs with a lot of the questions. Should I ask if you have any jobs we haven't talked about yet, or should we just see what comes up in the questions?
Becky:Plenty, let's see what happens. I'm cautiously optimistic.
Tom:Alright, well, good luck to all of you. I'm gonna ask a series of lateral thinking questions that have been rejected by all the same quiz shows, but we got them for free out of a dumpster, so... might as well use them. We start with:

In 1993, how did Suggs from the band Madness putt a golf ball that traveled 1,300 yards before reaching its target?

I'll give you that again.

In 1993, how did Suggs from the band Madness putt a golf ball that traveled 1,300 yards before reaching its target?

I assume that no one here has heard of Suggs other than me, because they did not grow up in Britain in the '90s.
Tom:Okay. You don't need to know about that for the question. But Madness was one of the '90s ska bands in the UK. And Suggs is still sorta known as a celebrity here. He was a singer, lead of the band. You will have heard at least one Madness song in your life. You just won't know it was them.
Jordan:And I'm sure I won't after this. How far was the— How far did the ball go?
Tom:1,300 yards. Which is roughly 1,300 meters.
Jordan:I was about to say.
Tom:'Cause the accuracy required for this is just one to one.
Becky:Hella far, as we say in the science community.
Xyla:Super fast, super far.
Tom:Yeah, nearly a mile.
Becky:Because you said it's a ska band, I'm gonna guess because he kicked it really hard with his super cool checkered Vans. Dramatic.
Xyla:Does it have anything to do with the fact that he was in a ska band?
Tom:Not specifically a ska band.
Becky:He launched it with a trombone.
Xyla:Did he scream so loud that the sound waves pushed him?
Tom:No, no, that's ska punk. And several people who... As I phrase this, I realise it's too cruel because arguably I'm one of those people. But several people who peaked in high school are now very angry at you for messing that distinction up.
Jordan:Gonna be quiet for the rest of this show.
Becky:He crowd surfed. Did he hit it with a golf club? He crowd surfed it?
Tom:The putt is actually more normal than you might think for this.
Xyla:Oh, I like the crowd surf idea.
Becky:I don't really know how far is normal in golf to be able to hit a golf ball.
Jordan:Was it a putter that you would use on a putting green, versus a driver?
Tom:Yep, regular golf putt.
Xyla:Did somebody then pick it up and run it all the way across?
Tom:That is the correct thing for a ska band to do. They pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, pick— No one got that joke. No one in this call got that joke! And that would've killed with a different audience! I was so proud of that.
Becky:I get it now that you explained it. I did not listen to ska.
Jordan:The best jokes are the ones that need to be explained.
Tom:Just, complete blank stares.
Becky:I think shoot it out of a trombone is not a bad...
Xyla:That was great.
Becky:Come on, that's related.
Tom:Also, I would like— We have two makers on this call. Someone can make a trombone golf ball launcher for a ska band. I'm just saying that's an option.
Xyla:Hey Becky, what are you doing this weekend?
Jordan:So it wasn't a launcher. It wasn't like he putted it into something, and then that something yeeted it?
Becky:This is more of a joke than a trivia question, huh?
Tom:(chuckles) You've just described a load of other things in this show.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:What did you say there, Jordan?
Jordan:So it wasn't like a— He didn't putt it into something that launched it somewhere?
Xyla:Putt it into a T-shirt cannon.
Tom:No, but you're closer than you think. And when you said a while back that it wasn't important he was in a ska band... It was important that he was fairly well known. A random person would probably not have been able to do this.
Xyla:Was Becky right? He putted it into somebody's hands and they... He human bucketed it down a crowd?
Tom:(stammers) Arguably this was still a legal golf putt.
Becky:Was it down a hill?
Tom:No, that would be a— That'd be the obvious way to do it. But you are correct. This was not a regulation golf course. Put it that way. Jordan?
Jordan:I was gonna say tour bus. Something that's already moving.
Tom:Ah, you are very close with that. But a golf putt for 1.3 kilometers. That's a bit much for a tour bus.
Jordan:Okay, airplane.
Xyla:Oh, private jet.
Tom:Any specific airplane that might come to mind? Given it's 1993?
Xyla:Did he putt it on a Concorde?
Tom:It was a charity publicity stunt. It was the world record longest golf putt, because in the time it took the ball to go down the aisle... Concorde was going twice the speed of sound, so that technically went 1,300 yards.
Jordan:Wait, so for people who were born in 1996... What is Concorde?
Tom:Oh my god.
Tom:Did you did just get a "What was Concorde?" Because I just felt myself withering like the guy at the end of the Indiana Jones movie there.
Jordan:I competed in a beauty pageant in which 13 year olds told me that I was an old lady. So I feel that, and also yes.
Xyla:Concords were still flying in 1996 though. But they were being taken out of service.
Jordan:When I was zero years old? Okay.
Xyla:I did go to a Google event recently where it was a TikTok dance thing, and I brought my best friend and we were dancing, and one of the girls was like, "So where, which TikToker did you learn to dance from?" And we were like, "We had to take dance lessons in a studio like grandmas."
Tom:Oh, I'm glad there's relative versions of this as well. Concorde was the only regularly in service supersonic jet.
Jordan:Oh. Yeah.
Tom:Which— it didn't fail. It worked for a long, long time, but it was never really profitable.
Becky:Yeah, it wasn't cost effective. There is one, if you wanna see one, there's one on the right— parked right next to the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum here in New York.
Jordan:Oh, interesting. Good to know.
Tom:It turns out most business class passengers would prefer to spend eight hours in a very comfortable bed that lies flat, rather than three hours cramped into something that feels like a Spirit Airlines flight.
Jordan:That's fair. That is fair. JetBlue is my preferred airline, and they're acquiring Spirit, and drives me absolutely insane for this exact reason. Anyway.
Tom:(chuckles) So yes, this was arguably, very arguably, the longest golf putt in history, because it was on a Concorde in flight.

Each of our guests has brought a question along. And today we're gonna start with Xyla. Take it away.

An eighth grader loved baking, but kept mixing up his set of measuring cups, even though they were labeled. So he came up with a more visual alternative design that made such mistakes far less likely. What was it?

I will read that again.

An eighth grader loved baking, but kept mixing up his set of measuring cups, even though they were labeled. So he came up with a more visual alternative design that made such mistakes far less likely. What was it?
Becky:I'm gonna recuse myself. I know the answer. I've seen it. It's awesome.
Tom:Oh, okay. This feels like a maker question.
Jordan:Is it the measuring cup, with just different levels and the visual things on it? That feels too easy.
Becky:Are you talking about a graduated measuring cup, Jordan?
Jordan:Basically, yeah.
Becky:Where it has the—
Xyla:Okay, no.
Xyla:These are individual cups.
Tom:How do you mix up your measuring cups?
Becky:Well, a third cup and a quarter cup are all visually pretty close when they're in the drawer.
Tom:Right, this is the American thing where you're not just measuring out into a thing that has gradations on the side?
Jordan:No, but it's not mass. It's not a scale. We don't do that.
Tom:Okay. No, you do volume for dry ingredients, which is weird!
Jordan:I know. Yeah. It's great. It's a perfect system.
Xyla:Wait, in the UK do you bake with... a scale?
Tom:With grams, yeah.
Becky:And they heat their water in a more sophisticated way too. It's just so sophisticated and metric.
Xyla:Wait, how do they heat their water?
Becky:With an electric kettle, and not the microwave. Do you remember when Ruth found out that you could microwave a mug of water?
Jordan:Wait, who's using the microwave to heat your water?
Xyla:I was gonna say, yeah.
Tom:Sorry, there's just vicious, vicious arguments about methods of heating water, all of a sudden. Me, I get two bare electric wires and just plunge them in and hope it works.
Xyla:(laughs) While holding them, right?
Jordan:In fairness, I do have one of those Ember mugs, so I just put water in it, and it brings my water to the correct temperature.
Jordan:Not sponsored.
Tom:Also, just for my own safety and legal liability, do not get two bare electric wires and just plug them into water.
Tom:I don't recommend doing that.
Becky:You can do it if it's DC, if you run in through a DC adapter and you're trying to— and you're doing electronics.
Jordan:Maybe still don't do that though.
Becky:There's a tutorial on my YouTube channel that does involve— But they're not AC wires, they're DC wires.
Jordan:Becky assumes all liability if you do this.
Becky:I've got business insurance. Come at me.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:The producers and host of Lateral explicitly disclaim any responsibility for sticking electric wires into pots of water. You know, the old "don't stick beans up your nose" thing, where if you tell a kid, "Don't stick beans up your nose," they've suddenly got the idea in their head that maybe this is a thing they can do. I feel like I'm doing that with electric wires and water pots now.
Jordan:So this is a kid who couldn't—
Tom:Are these measuring cups one third cup, one half cup, one cup, things like that?
Becky:Usually one quarter, one third, one half, and one.
Tom:Okay, I can see how those will be confusing.
Becky:And then anything smaller than a quarter cup is measured in tablespoons and teaspoons.
Jordan:Because freedom units, and it's hard.
Tom:Yeah, for anything like that, I would be using a jug with gradations on the side, so I wouldn't— So okay, now I understand what we're talking about. So this is just a cup you can just put into apparently liquid or something, just you've got the right measurements.
Xyla:You scoop the flour, and then you can scrape the top and then you have your perfect third cup.
Jordan:But then you also have to make sure it's packed enough, 'cause brown sugar is one of those things where it's like it has to be well packed and...
Becky:Yeah, they say in the recipe, "One cup, well-packed brown sugar." But regular sugar— Flour's the only ingredient. Water, and honey, and that's all fine, you don't have to—
Tom:This is not how I bake. So now I understand what we're asking about.
Becky:Makes the whole thing feel very old timey, you know? And that's what you like when you're baking.
Tom:Yeah. Okay.
Jordan:That's not what I like what I'm baking.
SFX:(guests laughing)
Tom:So now I've established what the thing is we're talking about.
Tom:Okay, I understand the question. How do you—
Becky:It is fractions of a cup.
Jordan:So this kid made a new set of cups?
Xyla:Yes. He designed his own set of cups.
Tom:Okay, if I was doing that, and I needed to mark out half and third and quarter, and I've got this cup that's hemisphere, kind of just a scoop... what I would do is I would... make them all one cup in size, and then just physically block out half or a third or a quarter, and just visually go, "Okay, they're all one cup, but this is a quarter, so I can scoop that."
Xyla:Yeah, you're basically there. You are there.
Xyla:Yeah, so he cut—
Tom:I have... the problem solving ability of an eight year old child!
Xyla:So he cut out the sections. So they're sort of Pac-Man shaped. And he is also, he's the son—
Jordan:Wait, this is such a good idea.
Xyla:Yes, he's the son of the user experience director from Microsoft India. So, must run in the family.
Jordan:Pfft, okay.
Becky:So the bar is set high.
SFX:(others laughing)
Becky:The dad is like, "Invent something already."
Jordan:Dad's like, "Fix this."
Tom:Any time I see something— And this is just, you know, me being sceptical and not particularly great with kids, is I look at that and go, "How much of that is the dad doing the kid's homework?"
Xyla:That's, yeah.
Tom:I hope it's none of it. I hope the kid's good with that, but...
Xyla:Me too.
Tom:There's a part of me going, how much of that is the dad going, "That'd be a good idea, maybe I'll suggest it to the kid"? But that would be slanderous if I suggested it, so I won't.
Becky:Cynical Tom, cynical. This eighth grader's a genius.
Xyla:Yeah. Have you ever judged a science fair in a privileged neighborhood? Anyway.
Tom:(laughs) No, but that sounded like a threat.
Jordan:I lived in that neighborhood, so... kind of.
Xyla:(giggles) Yeah, so he designed these four measuring cups at the same heights that were shaped like a quarter of a circle, a semicircle, three quarters of a circle, and a whole circle. So if the recipe called for a half cup of sugar, he would pick the half circle shaped cup. And I believe he 3D printed them.
Jordan:This feels like such a good ADHD hack.
Xyla:I just noticed that the source for this question is the dad's LinkedIn post about the project, and I like, I felt...
SFX:(Xyla and Becky laugh)
Tom:I feel better about my cynicism now. I feel a lot better about my cynicism now.

Next question's from me. And it was sent in by Harry from Christchurch, New Zealand.

As German forces rolled into Paris in June 1940, the French resistance sabotaged many important military assets. In particular, five sets of cables were cut to slow down Hitler's rise, perhaps literally. What were they, and how did they create difficulties for the invaders?

So one more time.

As German forces rolled into Paris in June 1940, the French resistance sabotaged many important military assets. In particular, five sets of cables were cut to slow down Hitler's rise, perhaps literally. What were they, and how did they create difficulties for the invaders?
Becky:Telegraph lines?
Xyla:I was gonna say.
Becky:They can't be. If it's something double entendre about rising, then it's not telegraph lines.
Tom:Oh, you've started doing the thing where you clue into the question now. Once people have been on this show for a few questions, they start honing in on things.
Becky:Also, I've watched Jeopardy!, okay?
SFX:(group laughing)
Jordan:Cut five cables that...
Becky:That stopped him from rising. Oh, it's a balloon.
Becky:Is he going on a dirigible flight? Topped his rise literally. Oh no, that would make his rise happen faster if you cut the cables.
Tom:(laughs) Oh yeah.
Becky:Then maybe it's falling.
Tom:That's the opposite problem! He's already in the dirigible.
Becky:He goes all the way up.
Tom:I mean, us—
SFX:(Xyla and Becky laugh)
Jordan:That would, they should just keep— They should just cut all the cables.
Becky:Did I mention I'm dyslexic?
Tom:No, no, that's lovely. It's just, it's an alternate ending to... Is Inglourious Basterds where they kill Hitler at the end? Or, sorry, spoilers for a movie from 10 years ago. But, there's a version of that where instead, Hitler is on a dirigible, and they cut the cables and he just flies off just outta nowhere.
Xyla:It's poetic.
Jordan:So not that.
Tom:Not that, no, unfortunately.
Jordan:Not that. Okay.
Xyla:Elevator cables?
Becky:Elevators, say it louder, Xyla. That sounds right.
SFX:(both laughing)
Becky:Elevators existed in 1940.
Xyla:Did they? Yeah, they did.
Xyla:They did.
Tom:I once visited the first elevator, which is in New York. And they built the elevator shaft before the elevator was invented. Because the designer of the building knew that it was gonna come along at some point soon. The technology was in place. So sort of forward thinking, put the lift shaft in there. But made it circular.
Xyla:Oh, bummer.
Tom:So, there is—
Jordan:Swing and a miss.
Tom:There is still one single circular lift in New York that they have to get parts for special every time.
Becky:There's a lot of elevators that need special parts.
Tom:Oh yes, and I visited most of them for my YouTube channel at some point!
Xyla:I was gonna be like, the New Yorker has entered the chat here.
Becky:So it's not— I dunno— You wanna tell me about it? So it's not an elevator... cables.
Tom:It actually is an elevator. You are surprisingly close there.
Becky:Xyla got it.
Jordan:Why did they cut the cables?
Tom:That is an excellent question that I am not going to answer immediately! 'Cause it will kind of give the game away.
Tom:It is an elevator. You're absolutely right, Xyla.
Becky:Is it five elevators, or are there five cables on one elevator?
Tom:It's five sets of cables.
Jordan:I can't imagine it would go down, only because... there's not a lot under Paris, other than the Catacombs.
Tom:That's true. Has anyone been to the Catacombs? I got an invite there.
Jordan:I have.
Xyla:I have.
Tom:Okay. 'Cause you're only allowed to go in there... Are there tours, or is it just people sneaking in illegally?
Jordan:No, there's tours.
Xyla:There's tours.
Jordan:I've been on a tour twice. Honestly, it gets kind of boring after the first 15 minutes.
Tom:Once you've seen your first pile of skulls...
Becky:Desaturated, saturated, they mean nothing.
Xyla:Airbnb did a Halloween promo once, where you could win a lottery to spend a night in the Catacombs, and I think no one's actually made it all the way through the night.
Jordan:No thank you.
SFX:(both laughing)
Jordan:I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm also not interested in testing fate.
Tom:(joins laughing)
Becky:Tall things in France?
Xyla:Eiffel Tower.
Jordan:The Eiffel Tower.
Tom:I wondered when those two things were gonna collide. You've been working around that for a while. Yes, tall things in France. Why might they have cut the cables in the Eiffel Tower?
Xyla:Oh, so they, couldn't put people or spies, or cannons... You can't put a cannon on the Eiffel Tower, can you?
Tom:I mean, nothing would stop you. It probably ain't gonna be all that useful, but nothing is theoretically stopping you putting a cannon on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Becky:But they could still walk up the stairs, so it really just inhibited them?
Xyla:It feels like putting a cannon on a canoe!
Jordan:Sorry, a cannon on the Eiffel Tower is the best thing I've heard this week.
Tom:(wheezes) Sorry, where did the canoe come from there, Xyla? You said suddenly putting a cannon on a canoe. I'm like, I love the idea because the recoil would send you just at high speed.
Xyla:I used to have a lot of fights with a friend in college about if it was a good idea to put a rail gun on a boat. And I was like, the recoil is just... I would put it on solid land. So that was the train of thought where I was like, cannons on objects that shouldn't have cannons. And then I went to boats and then I was like, "What's a small boat? That would not make sense."
Becky:Also, Xyla likes canoes. She's being modest. She's made more than one small boat.
Jordan:It's true.
Xyla:Do you like canoes? The next one will have a cannon on it. Don't worry.
Tom:We have— (chuckles) And also several masks and a figurehead, and it will just be a pirate ship. It will just, that's...
Tom:What is a pirate ship, but a large canoe with a cannon on it?
Xyla:That's just the large trajectory of my career, is just to build a pirate ship.
Tom:We have got slightly away from the Eiffel Tower here.
Becky:Is it the ammunition? The elevator— Sure, you can still get to the top on the stairs, but would it impede their ability to put big munitions up? They'd have to haul the munitions up. So if they were really heavy, like a cannonball or something, they can't? I mean, they weren't using cannonballs in World War II, but more snipers.
Tom:Yeah, it's a lookout point. It's a great place to put communications, antennas, anything like that. And it is a very good place to hoist your flag.
Tom:So just for propaganda reasons, they wanted to make that as difficult as possible. And yes, eventually someone walked up all the stairs and hoisted the flag, but it meant that you could not have Hitler standing atop of the Eiffel Tower for a very long time.
Jordan:Wait, so how many stairs are there?
Xyla:Is there an elevator? I didn't know there was an elevator.
Jordan:There was an elevator in the Eiffel Tower the last time I went. I mean, that was also in 2010, not—
Becky:I know I wasn't, I haven't been there since, yeah, 2004.
Tom:It's also a two story elevator, I think. You load on two levels, and get off on two levels, so they can fit more people up and down.
Jordan:It takes 30–45 minutes to climb the stairs to the second floor.
Tom:And I think there's multiple levels and also...
Tom:One of the wonderful notes I have here is that eventually, yes, a German soldier did climb to the top. They did hoist the swastika over Paris. The flag was so large that it immediately blew away the same day and had to be replaced later.
Xyla:That's what we like.
Jordan:Should have sent some French people to the top. Ahead of time.
Tom:So yes, June 1940, the sets of cables that the French resistance cut were the lifts in the Eiffel Tower.

Our next question is from Becky. Take it away.
Becky:In 2016, a new mini-golf course opened on Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth, England. At the end of the course, the player's ball would roll into a hole never to be seen again, but nobody seems to mind. Why?

I'll ask that again. I hope— Are you making fun of my pronunciation?
Tom:I love that you pronounced it like vermouth. It is unfortunately just 'born-muth', because British English reduces every single vowel.
Becky:M-U-T-H, sounds like 'mooth'.
Tom:Yep, every single vowel in British English just gets reduced to 'uhn'.
Becky:Short sound, 'born-muth'.

In 2016, a new mini-golf course opened on Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth, England. At the end of the course, the player's ball would roll into a hole and never be seen again. But no one seemed to mind. Why?
Tom:There's a lot of mini-golf courses where you putt your ball into the last hole, and then it just gets saved somewhere, so you can't get it back and play another round for free or something like that. But I worry that I'm gonna get this immediately, but if it's on a pier, did they just drop it into the ocean?
Becky:Yes, it dropped the ball into the ocean. But... that's not the full extent of the answer.
Xyla:Is it made out of something tasty for sea creatures, and they—
Xyla:it attracts dolphins and whales or something? Wait, actually?!
Becky:Yes, it's made of fish food.
Jordan:Oh, love that.
Tom:Oh, that's clever!
Xyla:That's so cute!
Becky:That's the difference, Tom. Most mini-golf courses reclaim the ball, but this one is never to be seen again by humans.
Jordan: That's nice.
Xyla:That's adorable.
Jordan:Because the one, the mini-golf place where I grew up did reclaim the ball, and then it roasted you. So that's what I was expecting.
Tom:Wait, what?
Jordan:Yeah, it spent five minutes giving you (bleep) about your bad performance at mini-golf.
Becky:Oh, that's not very nice.
Tom:Wait, did it track how many times you'd hit the ball or something like that? 'Cause I'm sure someone's invented that.
Jordan:No, it was just a universal thing. Like it didn't matter how well you'd done. Because there were two holes. There was the hole where you actually got a hole in one, and then there was everyone else. And they made the hole in one hole so impossible that everyone got the— There was literally a bird that sat on top, an animatronic bird that sat on top of the hole, and would give you (bleep) for five minutes.
Tom:You had way fancier mini-golf courses than I did as a kid.
Xyla:I was gonna say, that's incredible.
Jordan:And that was great for my development as a child probably. Anyway.
SFX:(Tom and Xyla laugh)
Becky:I don't know how well this worked out, since the place actually closed three years later. So I don't know.
Xyla:Was it pandemic?
Becky:No, no, shut three years after 2016, so... Well, okay, maybe that is right. I don't know, it depended— three and a half years. If they opened in late 2016, that could be pandemic, but it says that the golf balls were made from 100% fish food. They would fall into the hole, and after hitting the water, the balls would biodegrade within 48 hours. And then when they were fish food, and the course claims to be UK's first eco-friendly mini-golf attraction.
Jordan:That's cool.
Xyla:Hearing eco-friendly and golf in the same sentence is...
Tom:Yeah they're not usually going together.
Jordan:I was about to say, in what sense? Like better than—
Tom:It stops people playing actual golf.

The last big question from me then. We've got one guest question left, and then the one at the start, but the last one from me is this. And it was sent in by Chris B. from Greater New York City. I don't know if there's a lesser New York City out there, but if there is, Chris B. is not from it.

A Scottish law from 1432 addresses the legal consequences of butchering an animal that one did not personally own. It also describes the evidence necessary for conviction. This gave rise to which common saying?

I'll give you that one more time.

A Scottish law from 1432 addresses the legal consequences of butchering an animal that one did not personally own. It also describes the evidence necessary for conviction. This gave rise to which common saying?
Becky:For us also, or common for you? Okay.
Tom:Yes. You will know this.
Xyla:(laughs) Are the dumb Americans gonna stand a chance?
Tom:This is... to the best of my knowledge... one that's used in America as well. If it's not, then this is gonna be a fun five minutes as I find that out.
Becky:Can we ask what the animal is? Or could I guess what the animal is, and you could say yes or no?
Xyla:Is it relevant?
Tom:I don't—
Becky:Does it matter?
Tom:Doesn't make a difference which animal.
Becky:That's a clue.
Xyla:When my mom first immigrated to the United States, she bought a book of idioms in English to try to get more conversational. And so I grew up with the weirdest idioms, because it was a very outdated book, and probably from the UK and not America. And so she would just say things, and I would be like, "Do what?" So I'm excited to pull out all my obscure idioms that might be from the UK.
Tom:I mean, to me, this is not obscure in the slightest. If it turns out that Americans don't know this, I will be surprised and shocked and also apologetic for wasting everyone's time.
Jordan:Wait, so it's... from a Scottish law about butchering animals that aren't yours?
Tom:Yeah, so I guess the British term would be poaching. I dunno if that's a US one as well.
Jordan:No, but...
Becky:Poaching is when you kill an animal you're not legally allowed to kill.
Becky:Usually in the wild, like rhinos and stuff.
Tom:Yeah, so this would apply to... if someone did that to a farmer's sheep or cow or to the king's deer. I dunno if that's a thing, but...
Xyla:The king's deer.
Tom:Something like that.
Becky:It's like stealing, because you're presumably, you're butchering it for you to eat it or take it away.
Xyla:What idioms are there about stealing?
Jordan:Wait, so this is a law...
Xyla:Not my fish to fry.
Tom:I mean, we can list a lot of idioms with animals in them, but that's not quite where we are.
Becky:I always get a book of idioms for my teacher's assistant in class, if they're an international student. 'Cause I think that's the difference between fluency and non-fluency, is knowing the local idiom. So it's really fun for them.
Jordan:Especially in English, where half of the language is breaking all of the rules.
Becky:Can you confirm it is an idiom that we're looking to answer?
Tom:Yes, absolutely.
Tom:You are looking for an idiom. A common metaphorical phrase.
Becky:Ooh, that's even better clue. 'Cause it's a metaphorical idiom.
Tom:I mean, it wouldn't have been— It is now. It wouldn't have been then.
Jordan:I feel like I might know it, but I'm very much not sure.
Tom:Alright, take a guess, Jordan.
Jordan:Caught red-handed.
Tom:Spot on.
Tom:Absolutely right, out of nowhere!
Tom: Yep.
Tom:The Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I say, "That the offender be taken reid hand."
Jordan:Woo, okay.
Xyla: Nice.
Tom:That became 'caught red-handed.' Literally, if the hands were found to be red, that was the evidence required that they had butchered the animal.
Jordan:That sucks. (snickers)
Tom:(chuckles) Yeah, out of nowhere, Jordan, congratulations. Was that just popped into your head?
Jordan:Well, so, because it was a law, what I was trying to think about was like... if it's a law, like it wouldn't be... You have to get caught. You have to be tried. And so it's not gonna be like a for-funsies thing that people do for the lols. And the only thing that I could think of was a caught red-handed situation.
Tom:Yep, literally the red hand means blood on the hands.
Jordan:I'd always assume that that came from killing a person, not an animal, but...
Tom:Yep, the Scottish law from 1432 is the origin of the phrase 'caught red-handed'.

Last guest question of the show then. Jordan, it's over to you.
Jordan:So here's my question.

Knowing he'll be on his own for a few days, a young man prints out a photo of his living room and puts it on the wall. What does he then move, and why?

And I'll repeat the question.

Knowing he'll be on his own for a few days, a young man prints out a photo of his living room and puts it on the wall. What does he then move, and why?
Tom:So my thought immediately went to Zoom backgrounds.
Becky:Yeah, mine too.
Tom:That he's— yeah. That he's hiding something.
Becky:Because if he's gonna be on his own, then he wants to make a mess. But he is preserving this tidy state of his living room for his Zoom background.
Tom:Yeah, or the thing that he's moving is himself. And he's actually just—
Becky:Or his laptop.
Tom:He's just going off to a beach somewhere, and he is just hanging up a picture of his normal room behind. But... no?
Jordan:So you're right in the... theme and the direction of what you're thinking, but you're wrong in what is being moved.
Becky:Well, what would you move when you wanna have a bachelor weekend in your living room? The— I don't know.
Tom:I feel like I should know the answer to this, and apparently I don't. What do you want to move?
Becky:The TV closer. The gaming console? The bong?
SFX:(others giggling)
Tom:Thank you for all the stereotypes there!
Becky:I'm just speaking from personal experience, Tom!
Xyla:The most illicit weekend possible!
Tom:The table with the flowers he's arranging on it. The... The thing he's dutifully sewing for his partner. I don't know, I'm just throwing in some other suggestions there.
Xyla:Is it a reference picture? He's trying to...
Tom:I mean, is this to hide— Is this to cover a Zoom background or a video call background or something like that? For the printing out the picture?
Tom:No, okay.
Becky:Because you can do that virtually these days, right? You just take a picture of the living room, and then you don't print it out and put it on the wall. So the fact that it's printed out and stuck on the wall is significant, versus just having the image virtually?
Tom:So is that a reference picture? Is he taking a photo of the room so he knows what it will look like when he moves things back?
Tom:Oh, okay.
Jordan:I mean, he might be as a secondary thing, but that's not the primary use of this.
Tom:Oh, man, I'm at a complete loss here.
Becky:He wants to do yoga, so he moves the couch.
Xyla:Okay, so if he is on his own, it implies that usually he's not on his own. And to... Is it a kid? If I was... leaving... or if my parents were leaving...
Tom:Oh, wait, did you say young— Yeah, you said young man, didn't you, or—
Jordan:Mhm, young man. A young man prints out a photo of his living room and puts it on the wall.
Tom:So I was thinking he's like 20s or 30s, but young man could be 16–17 with the parents going away.
Xyla:Okay, if my parents were going away, I would throw a party. I feel.
Tom:(chuckles) Okay.
Becky:But he is gonna be on his own... not throwing a party, right? Or is he on his own, and therefore he is going to throw a party? 'Cause his parents are gone?
Jordan:The reference that I have does not speak to whether or not he's interested in throwing a party in the first place.
Jordan:Normally his father lives at home, and the item concerned is a piece of technology.
Becky:Is there a camera? Is there a home monitoring camera that's pointed, and the picture blocks the camera?
Tom:Wait, is he actually doing the thing from the movies, where you interrupt—
Becky:From Speed?
Tom:You interrupt the security guard and you put a photo up on to cover the security cam.
Jordan:That's it. The answer is that the webcam was overlooking the living room. So because he knew that his dad would use the house webcam to check in on his son, this young man printed out a photo of the living room, put it on a wall, and then moved the webcam, so that it was looking at it.
Tom:Oh, that makes sense.
Jordan:Apparently this comes from Twitter.
Tom:The questions on this tend to be like, "This has happened once and someone has posted the photo of the son's inventive setup." So I assume that the dad got home early or something like that and spotted the— That's lovely.
Jordan:And the son posted this on his own Twitter account to say that his dad went to Vegas for five days, and put a camera in the house. But apparently, that ain't stopping him.
Tom:At the very start of the show, I asked the audience:

At 23 feet, 11 and three quarter inches, the tallest actor on IMDb is Keiko. What film provided their breakout role?

Has anyone seen this? Does anyone know who Keiko is?
Xyla:I don't, but my guess is that it's the actor whale or something from that movie about the girl and the whale. And I don't remember what it's called.
Tom:It's the whale from Free Willy, hence breakout role. You are exactly right.
Becky:Tall is a misnomer then.
Tom:Yeah, length is actually the right word to use there. But IMDb does not have a category for length, so that's what they went with.
Becky:Is Keiko also perhaps taller than the tallest actor? I don't know how... thicc with two Cs, killer whales are.
Xyla:Three Cs.
Tom:I don't either. But I feel like if you stood the guy who plays Chewbacca, Peter— was Peter Mayhew, it's someone else now— next to a whale, I still feel like the whale would be taller.
Becky:How tall is an orca?
SFX:(others laughing)
Tom:Well, while you are Googling that, that is our show for today. Thank you very much to all our guests. Please tell us where people can find you. What's going on in your life. We will start with Jordan.
Jordan:You can find me at Jordan Harrod on all the things, and I'm talking about how AI impacts your life.
Tom:And Becky.
Becky:I make videos about making things. So you can learn how to make all kinds of things on my YouTube channel. Just to Google me, I'm Becky Stern.
Tom:And Xyla.
Xyla:I also make videos about making things, and I'm gonna steal Becky's outro. And you can Google me or you can find me at Xyla Foxlin. Copying Becky Stern since 2015.
Tom:And if you wanna know more about this show, or you wanna send in an idea for a question, you can do that at We are @lateralcast pretty much everywhere, and you can find video highlights at

With that, it is goodbye from Becky Stern.
Tom:Xyla Foxlin.
Tom:And Jordan Harrod.
Jordan:See ya.
Tom:I've been Tom Scott, and that's been Lateral.
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