Lateral with Tom Scott

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

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Episode 44: TV directing in reverse

Published 11th August, 2023

From 'Jet Lag: The Game', Sam Denby, Adam Chase and Ben Doyle face questions about food fakery, coat calamities and vaccine verses.

HOST: Tom Scott. QUESTION PRODUCER: David Bodycombe. RECORDED AT: The Podcast Studios, Dublin. EDITED BY: Julie Hassett. MUSIC: Karl-Ola Kjellholm ('Private Detective'/'Agrumes', courtesy of ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Thanh Nguyen, The Fullest Circle, Emil, Jarvis. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:Albert Sabin's polio vaccine inspired which famous song? The answer to that at the end of the show. My name's Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

These are the voyagers of the starship Lateral. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new trivia, to seek out new questions and new answers, and to boldly go where no panel game has gone before. Joining us to explore the final frontier of lateral thinking, we have the team from Jet Lag: The Game returning. Last time, I tried to introduce them one at a time, and it devolved into chaos.

So, please welcome: Ben Doyle, Adam Chase, and Sam Denby. And one of you, say hello!
Tom:Thank you, Ben. We're coming to you. How are you doing?
Ben:I'm good, I'm good. I'm happy to be back. Are we allowed to reveal that we recorded the last one 10 minutes ago? Or does that destroy—
Tom:I mean, I think if the audience haven't figured out that we record these in blocks by now, there's something wrong.
Ben:I am so glad to be back. That 10 minutes was the worst 10 minutes of my life, and now I am living again.
Tom:(chuckles) I'm so happy. Adam, how are you doing?
Adam:Well actually, a fun fact about me, Tom, is that I'm quite sick right now.
Tom:Oh? Thank you for turning up and not leaving us with two thirds of Jet Lag and a gaping hole where you would've been.

I found out, by the way, your last season was in New Zealand, and we missed each other by about two kilometres. You nearly got another John Green style cameo in there. I was in Rotorua on the day you drove through it at speed. And so just slightly differently, if I'd have gone to the Zorb center that day... I could have been zorbing with you.
Sam:Not only were— did you have that near-miss, but where they were there was a spot where you had filmed, Tom: Kerosene Creek.
Tom:Yes. That was many years ago though. That was years ago.
Sam:Yeah, not this trip, yeah.
Tom:If you'd have done the Shweeb instead of zorbing, we absolutely would've bumped into each other. We were kilometres apart.
Adam:I mean, Tom, this is a sign that you have to keep us updated on where you are
Adam:in case we go by you, so that we can have a fun crossover. Oh, you wanna hear a fun fact though about this, is that when we got to New Zealand, Ben got a text from his mom that was like, "Tom Scott's in Australia. Not that far!"
Tom:(laughs) Yeah, 'cause my online presence lags behind the real world one.
Ben:I couldn't figure out how she knew that. I was just like, "How did you know?" And then she stopped responding.
Tom:(laughs) Now I'm just worried that your mother is stalking me.
Ben:That, I wouldn't put it past her.
Sam:If you knew Ben's mom, entirely possible.
Adam:She might do it. Ben's mom is very involved in online fandoms. She's much more involved in the Jet Lag fandom than any of us are.
Ben:That's true.
Tom:We should also introduce the one person whose voice has appeared without introduction so far. The last member of the Jet Lag trio, Sam Denby.
Tom:Thanks, Sam!
Sam:I have nothing else to add.
Tom:Here's Plan A for today's show. I'm gonna ask our guests a series of thought-provoking questions and hope they don't stare back at me with the 'deer in the headlights' look. I do hope that's okay with everyone, because I do not have a plan B. I'm gonna start you off with the first question, which is:

In the 1990s, the US Postal Service ordered a large number of Subaru Legacy station wagons for their rural routes. Why did they import, rather than buy something similar locally?

So one more time.

In the 1990s, the US Postal Service ordered a large number of Subaru Legacy station wagons for their rural routesroots. Or routesrouts I guess. Why did they import, rather than buy something locally?
Adam:Okay, wait, wait. Sam is mouthing that he knows the answer.
Sam:I'm not gonna break the game. I'm gonna let you discuss.
Sam:I am 95% sure.
Tom:You've clearly found this at some point in your research, and also, given the number of videos you've done on logistics.
Sam:No, Tom, Tom, I want credit. I have never heard this fact. But I am 95% sure that I immediately know the answer.
Tom:Alright, so you get to do the thing where you sit back and you hope it's right, because otherwise you will get roundly mocked at the end of it.
Adam:Oh yeah, you're gonna look like an absolute fool if you wait a little while, and then you come in with your right answer, and it's wrong.
Tom:Ben, Adam, this one's on you.
Ben:I don't know anything about cars, but I had a car for five months when I was living in Colorado. And it was a Subaru, it was a bright orange Subaru, and I liked it very much. So maybe they felt similarly about Subarus.
Adam:The only thing that I know about— I know two things about Subarus. One is that love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru.
Ben:That's true.
Adam:And the second thing that I know about Subarus is that they're very, very popular among lesbians.

Because there was a big marketing campaign in I wanna say the '90s or something, where Subaru is having a lot of trouble selling its cars. And they figured out that their sort of unique, you know, the advantages of those cars was like, for whatever reason in focus groups, worked really well for American lesbians. And so they were one of the first brands ever to sort of try to subtly market themselves to lesbians in America. And there were ads for Subarus in America that had subtle hints that if you were a lesbian, you would understand that it was trying to talk to you. But a person who was not a lesbian would not realize that that was the intention of the ad.

Is that the answer?
Tom:(laughs) Unfortunately not. Neither of those fun facts about Subaru is relevant to this one. To be fair, there is another thing about Subaru, which you'll probably know, that would be a first clue about this, but—
Adam:They're SUVs, right? They're sport utility vehicles. They're good on an off-roading. Is that connected to it?
Tom:It would've been one of the reasons, but they could've bought something like that locally.
Adam:Okay, wait, wait. Let's gain some information here. Sorry, can you clarify the question one more time? What was it that they were using them to do?
Tom:They were using 'em for their rural routesroots or routesrouts, but they imported when they could've bought something locally.
Adam:Was it cheaper to import?
Tom:Probably not. Also, it's the US Postal Service. They'd buy American if they could.
Ben:Was it— Was there a legal loophole or quirk at play here?
Tom:Not really, no.
Adam:You said they could've bought something similar locally. Just to be clear...
Tom:I regret saying that now. I'm not sure they could have easily bought something like this locally. There is a reason they went for the import.
Adam:Okay, so did the import have some quality or ability that they could not easily get locally?
Adam:Okay. Ooh, ooh. Oh, here's one. Here, do I have it? Maybe I have it.
Tom:(laughs) I don't know.
Adam:Before Sam pops in.
Tom:But I love the lightbulb moments. You're so enthusiastic when it's like, "Oh, that's a thing that's connected."
Adam:Is it because they're fueled by diesel?
Tom:Oh, and I also hate it when the lightbulb moment turns out to go nowhere. That is not it, unfortunately.
Adam:Wow, that sucks.
Ben:Does it have something to do with driving on the left side of the road?
Tom:Yes, it does, Ben.
Adam:Oh, so that they can— Oh, so that they can get out and do the mailboxes.
Tom:Yep, talk it through Adam. Just for those who haven't come— Actually, you know what? We'll let Sam take this one home.
Adam:No, Sam. Let Sam.
Tom:Because I think you got this very early. I think that was your answer.
Sam:Yes, because it's the only— So mail, postal vehicles in the US are the only vehicles that have the driving, the steering wheel on the opposite side as normal. And the reason why is because, you know, you drive on the right side of the road in the US, and the steering wheel's on the left.

But if you're delivering, you know, to a mailbox, which is hanging outside the road, you just wanna reach over outside of your window. So you wanna be seated on the right side of your vehicle. So you want a vehicle that is made for driving on the opposite side of the road as the side that you actually drive on. And so you import, you know, a UK-built, a UK-spec version or something.
Tom:Yep, and Subaru is Japanese, who also drive on that side, who also have their wheels on that side. So yes, the USPS imported Japanese cars because the wheel was on the right.

All of our guests have brought a question along with them. I dunno the question. I definitely dunno the answer. And we start this time with Sam.
Sam:Alright, well, this listener question has been sent in by The Fullest Circle.

So, the website allows users to suggest names for over 16 million colors. What does the color 'Cheap Mattress' look like?

So I'll repeat that.

The website allows users to suggest names for over 16 million colors. What does the color 'Cheap Mattress' look like?
Tom:Okay, I know this website. I don't know the answer to the question, but I know the website because I have had the same brand colour for... Oh, it's coming up on... It must be coming up on nearly 20 years now. And at some point, that particular colour, someone has put in that database as my colour, because no one had yet named it. And I... I appreciate the gesture. That's still kinda weird!
Adam:What color is it? Is it the color of your red shirt?
Tom:It is a particular colour that I sampled from a completely different red shirt about 20 years ago, and used as the building block for my website back then. And that happened to— because I happened to use that picture for the header, so I happened to use that pixel and happened to use that colour and everything that it is nearly two decades later, and that is still the brand colour that I have on everything, because of a decision I made almost at random 20 years ago.
Ben:Attention, Lateral audience. Please name a color after me. I want one also. That's a request.
Tom:What colour do you want?
Ben:Something not comparable to old mattress or whatever that is. Let's get into that.
Sam:Cheap Mattress.
Tom:Cheap Mattress.
Adam:Alright, here's my strategy on how to answer this question. I'm gonna start naming colors. Pink, yellow, blue, red, green, white.
Sam:I'm gonna reject this on principle.
Ben:We are speedrunning this game.
Adam:(laughs) Wait, wait, I'm sorry. I do have to ask the obvious question, right? I don't know, what did it look like? I dunno, did it look like a sort of off-white, you know, a brownish off-white? That's what I would imagine 'Cheap Mattress' would look like, right?
Tom:Like that kind of colour stain you get on pillows and mattresses after someone's sweated into them for many years. That kind of color?
Ben:'Cause I feel like I have never seen a mattress of any other color.
Tom:My first thought on this is that it's like hexadecimal colour names. So if you do web development, every one of those 16 million colours is given a six-character code. And each of those characters is between zero and F. So you've got 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F. And for mathematical reasons, that's where you get the 16 million from. There are 16 million possible codes there, and those have been used to spell stuff out in the past. You know, there's a limited number of words you can get with them, but like cheap mattress?

If it was like 'dead bees'...? No, that's still... That's still too many characters.
Adam:Somebody go right now into the color naming thing, and name something 'Dead Bees'.
Tom:No, it's gotta be a six-letter one as well. It's just gotta be like 'Dead Bee', but...
Adam:I was assuming 'Dead Bee' was spelled #DEDBES. Dead bees.
Tom:But that can't be cheap mattress. You've got an M in there and a T. That doesn't match anything like that.
Sam:You're definitely on the right track, Tom.
Adam:Does it have to do with hexadecimal codes?
Sam:Yeah. Yeah, no, it absolutely does. Tom is absolutely on the right track.
Ben:So it has nothing to do with what a cheap mattress looks like in real life?
Sam:No, no, I never said that, Ben. It could also have something to do with what the mattress could look like.
Adam:Oh, okay.
Tom:'Cause I was thinking, is there— Where would you buy a cheap mattress? Somewhere like IKEA or something like that. But again, that doesn't map to codes.
Adam:Okay, wait a minute. Here is— This is probably wrong, but just throwing it out here. What if the name of a cheap IKEA mattress was a hexadecimal code? Like a six-letter name of a mattress? You know, like... Well, what's a cheap mattress brand?
Tom:Good luck with doing
Tom:some fake IKEA names here.
Adam:Right, right, but you know, like Serta or whatever. If that is a hexadecimal code. Sam, is it the name? Does the hexadecimal code of the color spell out the name of a specific brand or type of mattress?
Sam:Nope. Sorry.
Tom:Could it be a visual thing? The numbers look like a cheap mattress when you put them on their side? I dunno where I was going with that.
Sam:Not really. I think—
Ben:That's interesting.
Tom:It makes a visual thing. I don't know.
Sam:You were closer to— You were closer to it, a couple minutes ago. You've gone a little bit off-track.
Adam:Well, I will say, Tom, I liked the idea that it made it look like a mattress. 'Cause it's like the way the chair looks like a chair.
Tom:It's a synonym thing. Bed, B-E-D, is a valid hexadecimal thing. So it's synonyms. It's synonyms for cheap and mattress. It's gonna be something bed. What's a three letter—
Adam:Bad bed?
Sam:But that's not—
Sam:So I'll confirm that that is correct, but that's not the answer to the question. The question is, what does the color 'Cheap Mattress' look like?
Ben:What does it look like?
Sam:So I do wonder, do any of you have any idea how to translate that into—
Tom:Yes, and I can do this in my head, which is really annoying, because now I have to work it out. So it's gonna be B—
Adam:Oh, you can do this in your head?
Adam:This rocks.
Tom:I've been doing web development for nearly 25 years. Yes, of course I can do this in my head.
Adam:Oh, great, alright. I'm gonna sit back and relax.
Tom:Because the first two characters go from 0x00 to 0xFF, and that is your red. So is it #BADBED, Sam?
Tom:Okay, the first two is 0xBA. So that's the red channel, those first two categories. And 0xBA is maybe two-thirds of the way up there. The next two are the green channel. That is 0xDB, so that's really up there. You're at D, E, F, you're at the end of it. So that's, there's more green. And then B is 0xED, which is even further up there. So there's more blue than green, and more green than red, but they're all really high up there. So it is a really, really pale... blue with a hint of green.
Sam:Wow, that is very impressive. Yes, you're correct. It's kind of light blue or turquoise.
Tom:Come on!
Sam:That was crazy!
Adam:(cackles joyfully) That was like... you know in The Hangover when he goes to the casino, and it does the thing with all of the...
Adam:All of the equations and stuff floating across the screen in his head. That's what that was.
Ben:I was gonna say, it's like the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock thing, where he's got like the things.
Adam:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tom went into his mind palace, and he had words. (imitates laser flashes)
Tom:Because 25 years ago, when I was first building websites, I was not designing them in Photoshop or like Dreamweaver or anything like that. I had a text editor open, I had Notepad open. And you literally just trial-and-errored this, because you were just writing really basic HTML code. It's like, oh, I've just copied and pasted this in from View Source on another site. Oh, I guess, how do I change this colour? You had to learn it. I mean, it was never useful past then. But just this once, just this once!
Adam:That rocked. That's one of the coolest things anyone's ever done.
Tom:(laughs) That is the exact opposite of cool! But I'll take it, thank you.

Okay, good luck folks. Next question's from me, and it was sent in by Jarvis. Thank you very much.

In the TV series Stargate SG-1, the character Major Wood appears in over 20 episodes. Why is he often filmed with his back to the camera, to make things easier for the director?

I'll give you that one more time.

In the TV series Stargate SG-1, the character Major Wood appears in over 20 episodes. Why is he often filmed with his back to the camera, to make things easier for the director?
Ben:I mean, my first impulse is that this has something to do with ADR, or you shoot people from the back when you wanna dub them over for some reason.
Sam:I was thinking continuity maybe? Kind of on similar lines.
Adam:My first thought was makeup or CGI. if this is a CGI character, then it would be cheaper to not have to animate their face or whatever.
Tom:Did you see that video from... I think it was Nando v Movies about the Artemis Fowl reshoots?
Tom:Disney had a kids movie called Artemis Fowl, and it got panned, and it had clearly been rewritten a lot. And if you look at it, he broke down the editing in it. There's a whole plot device that really isn't mentioned in-vision for the whole first half-hour of the movie. There's just a lot of ADR work and a lot of convenient cutting away from people's mouths when they mention it. So there's clearly some massive rewrite that went on, and they just kind of patched it up with ADR the cheap way.
Ben:That's funny.
Adam:Is that you confirming that that is right?
Tom:No, that was just a relevant anecdote, because unfortunately, all three of those guesses were wrong. You came in with three really strong guesses.
Adam:All three were wrong?!
Tom:And normally at this point, there's one right one in there, and I get y'all to pick which one it is. But in this case, no. None of those. Which given y'all know about production, is saying something.
Adam:I'm gonna be honest with you, Tom, is I, when you asked it, got worried. 'Cause I was like, the episode's gonna be too short, 'cause we're about to nail this one immediately.
Tom:Yep, sorry. Absolutely not. None of those three. It's not ADR. It's not continuity. It's not makeup.
Sam:But so, it's to make the director's life easier.
Adam:(gasp) Ooh, ooh! And yeah, now I'm gonna get made fun of. 'cause I did the thing where I got excited, but I'm gonna be wrong again.
Tom:Yeah, you did.
Adam:I'm gonna be super wrong and embarrass myself. Did the director play that character? So it was easier for him to not have to go be on camera 'cause you could use the stand-in?
Tom:Yes, he did. Major Wood is Martin Wood, who is the director of about 20 different episodes. So he likes putting himself in as a cameo, but he also likes watching what's going on, on set. So he gets his cameo, and he keeps his back to the camera so he can actually still direct. If anyone has seen enough Stargate, he is the guy with the comically large wrench that is frequently just adjusting stuff in shot.
Adam:I have never seen an episode of Stargate.
Ben:I frankly have never heard of that.
Adam:Nor do I know what that is. But I'm thrilled to have gotten the question right.
Tom:It's set in Colorado, Sam. Have you ever seen it?
Sam:Wait, isn't this Star Trek?
Ben:No, Stargate, Sam.
Sam:Oh, um, no.
Tom:I'm too old— (sigh) We've got three people who are too young for Stargate SG-1. This is another one of those questions where I just feel very old, very quickly. Fine, fine.

Yes, Major Wood is Martin Wood. He is also the director.

Ben, we're gonna go to you next. Whenever you're ready.
Ben:Okay. Here is the question.

In 2019, an American company took out an advert in UK newspapers. It featured shop fronts from 25 of its much smaller rivals. Which company was it?

I'm gonna read that again.

In 2019, an American company took out an advert in UK newspapers. It featured shop fronts from 25 of its much smaller rivals. Which company was it?
Adam:I am gonna be honest. I'm almost certain... that I know it.
Tom:Alright, you back off then, Adam. You back off if you're certain about this one.
Sam:Shop fronts, right? S-H-O-P?
Ben:Shop fronts, yeah.
Sam:So there are only so many retail chains that would be in a category that have 25 smaller rivals, I feel like?
Tom:Yeah, maybe they were entering the UK market, and suddenly the big competitor was coming in and stomping all over them. But, I can't think, what year was this, Ben?
Sam:The main one that comes to mind around then was Chick-fil-A, and that didn't go very well.
Tom:No, well I mean there are a lot of American fast food chains that tried to enter the UK in the last 5-10 years.
Tom:About 10 years ago, we suddenly got a landmark Five Guys in the UK, and then we got 50 of them. We've tried Wingstop, we've tried— There's a few that— It was all the fast food chains trying to come in, but I can't think of... any other big US chain that's tried to enter.
Sam:Yeah, I lived there in 2019, so knowing American market entries around then should be something that I know about, 'cause that's something that I would've been excited about.
Sam:But nothing— Again— Chick-fil-A is the main one I can think of from that era. They opened up in London for two weeks.
Tom:I didn't know they tried.
Sam:Yeah. It was because of their politics, they got basically ran out of town, which is kind of hilarious.
Tom:(laughs) Okay, right. There was Taco Bell.
Tom:No, we've had those for— We've had one or two of those for years, and now they've started expanding.
Adam:Wait a minute, I just wanna pop in for one second, 'cause if I don't know it, I wanna participate. I have been trying to think of a way to confirm with Ben that it's what I think without tipping you guys off, and I think I have it. Ben.
Adam:Does Patton Oswalt have a bit, a famous bit about this brand?
Adam:Got it, alright. It's what I thought.
Tom:You have landed on such a good clue there, 'cause both Sam and I are completely blank.
Ben:Yeah, we're speaking in code here.
Ben:Speaking in comedy writer code.
Tom:That was like the... some synergy between you, where you just got a reference and... neither of us landed that. Okay. So some of the audience are clued in now.
Tom:Are we right with fast food, or we just barking up the wrong tree there, Ben?
Ben:You are right with fast food.
Sam:Oh really?
Ben:And one thing I'll say to try and help you figure out, you know, what this might've been— what the tack might've been for this advertisement. The rivals that it was showing are much, much smaller.
Sam:So I'm gonna guess it's small, local versions of what we're talking about. Maybe independent versions or something like that?
Tom:I mean, I would kind of go in on Wingstop again there, because they came in about 2019. And there are a lot of just local, independent fried chicken places across Britain. Every town will have at least one, probably more kebab shop/chicken place. So maybe they just kind of picked a— 25, you said?
Ben:25, and that number is important.
Tom:Oh, I was hoping the number wasn't important because...
Ben:No, the number's important.
Tom:Because my first thought was like, there are a lot of ripoffs of KFC in the UK. The independent places will call themselves California Fried Chicken and Louisiana Fried Chicken. Every other— Not every other state. Someone did research into this and found the states that— There's no North Dakota Fried Chicken in the UK. They pick the states people know. But my thought was KFC took out an advert with 25 other ones in there, and was saying they're the original. But the number's important, so it's not that.
Sam:This frustrates me so much, 'cause there's every reason in the world why I should know this. And I don't.
Tom:Yeah. So 25, if it's a five by five grid, is it Five Guys, and they're doing something to do with that?
Sam:Five Guys have been around for much longer.
Ben:Tom, I think you were quite close with that reasoning.
Tom:With KFC or with Five Guys?
Ben:With KFC. I guess I can say... KFC is the right answer. You said KFC. So I guess I could say KFC is the right answer. But the re— the whole point of this ad was that they had shops showing A through ZFC, to be like, "Oh, we see how you're copying us. We're so flattered." And so there were 25.
Tom:It wasn't the states. It was the letters of the alphabet.
Ben:It was letters of the alphabet, yeah.
Tom:Right, because of course, ev— Across the entire country, someone will have taken their branding and changed it. There will be an AFC and a BFC, and a CFC, and they will have just... Oh, I was so close. I nearly got it.
Ben:So, the answer is KFC. And it's because they ran an advertisement where they had AFC through ZFC. But they were the only true KFC, and they wanted to say that they were flattered.
Tom:Next question's from me. Good luck. The reason why dog handlers carry baby powder and soap bubbles is the same reason why sky divers carry toilet rolls. What is it? One more time. The reason why dog handlers carry baby powder and soap bubbles is the same reason why sky divers carry toilet rolls. What is it?
Sam:Okay. Here's how I'm gonna start. Here's my guess.
SFX:(Adam and Tom laugh)
Sam:And the more I think about it, the more wrong it sounds. And in fact, I almost want to back out of this, but...
Tom:No, you're committed now. You are absolutely committed to go for this.
Sam:Okay, well, the first thing that came to mind is if your skydive goes wrong, and you're stranded in the wilderness and you gotta take a poo, you wanna be prepared. But I'm realizing that there are probably other things you want first.
Tom:And there are, and I'm not sure why dog handlers would use baby powder and soap bubbles for that?
Sam:I didn't get to that part. I was just working on the other half.
Adam:If it makes you feel better, Sam, my first instinct, which I absolutely know is wrong, is I was like, if your skydive goes bad, you could sort of unspool the toilet paper, hold it, and it would shoot out above you like a flare as a signal to people that you're in trouble.
Ben:What are they gonna do when they see the toilet paper?
Sam:Yeah, they're just gonna see where he went splat. (laughs)
Tom:It's not quite that, but you are right that this is getting unraveled in the air.
Adam:Oh, here's a cue. Here's a little cue for you. And I again am not at all on the dog handler part yet. If I were a skydiver... one thing that I might find useful would be if I were trying to figure out exactly what I am above. What exactly is below me... if I were to go straight down. If I were to hold onto a roll of toilet paper, and drop it and hold onto the end of it, it would be a straight shot down, and I could figure out, oh, that's what's exactly below me.
Sam:What about wind?
Adam:But it would tell you about the wind.
Ben:But does it have something to do with telling wind direction or something like that?
Ben:You unspool... Yes, okay.
Sam:Oh, so I chanced into— Okay, awesome.
Tom:You've chanced into it. It is to do with the wind. That is why sky divers sometimes carry toilet paper. 'Cause you can unspool it, drop it from your plane, and you will be able to tell which way the wind is blowing. Plus it just looks cool. So, why are dog handlers carrying baby powder and soap bubbles to do that?
Adam:Well, soap bubbles would also follow the wind.
Adam:Right, as would I imagine, if I threw baby powder in the air, it would be blown by the wind. I guess the question is, why would you, as a dog handler, want to know which way the wind is?
Tom:That's the last thing I'm gonna ask you to put together for this.
Ben:Does it have something to do with telling where air is coming out of a dog?
SFX:(others laughing)
Ben:You put the soap bubbles and then you can see—
Adam:Oh no, I've got it. I've got it. Wait, wait.
Sam:I don't think they deflate like a tire, Ben.
Ben:I don't know how dogs work.
Adam:What you said, Ben, is stupid. But don't worry, 'cause I figured it out.
Adam:If you're a dog handler, dogs are very controlled by smell, so it would be useful information to you if they were downwind or upwind from something that they would be able to sense by smell, right?
Tom:So Ben, the only thing wrong in your answer was you said, where air is coming out of the dog. And in fact, they're trying to find out where air is going into the dog.
Ben:Where air's going into the dog.
Tom:Yes, they are tracking the wind direction to make sure they're downwind.
Adam:I like Ben's world where dog handlers – to figure out if a dog has farted – have soap bubbles and baby powder that they're constantly throwing all over the place to try to determine if it's happened.
Ben:Put— Air can go out of a dog in two directions. If you put soap bubbles all over a dog, you would see where air's coming out of the dog.
Adam:Is it a huge mystery that the dog is breathing? Is this a huge question of where it breathes out of?
Ben:What if it's not breathing, Adam? That would be a problem.
Adam:You're right, Ben. You're right. If a dog is dying of suffocation, you should pour soap in its mouth.

Adam, time for your question. Whenever you're ready.
Adam:This listener question has been sent in by Emil. I hope that I have pronounced that correctly.

In 1950, businessman Frank McNamara changed jackets before going out to dinner. As a result, 100 billion dollars will be affected this year. How?

I'll read it one more time.

In 1950, businessman Frank McNamara changed jackets before going out to dinner. As a result, 100 billion US dollars will be affected this year. How?
Ben:Does 'this year' refer to 2023 or 1950?
Adam:Yes, it refers to this year, to 2023.
Sam:So I know that investors often try to get clues about action based on really small things. And even trying to micro-analyze emotions of executives at times and stuff like that. I wonder if this hits on something like that.
Adam:Eh, I would say not really.
Ben:Was there something in the jacket that he left at home, that he was missing when he went out?
Tom:Okay, I was thinking there might be a pun on jacket, or it's some weird other jacket, but it's an actual physical jacket. Okay.
Adam:Yes, you're right, Ben. Yes, you are right. He, there was— He had left something at home that he thought was in his jacket.
Ben:I feel like I recognize this name.
Tom:I feel like I recognise this name. He's Secretary of the Treasury or something like that. He was some important financial figure, and now his photo got taken and put on the $20 bill. No, they're presidents. I dunno what that could be.
Adam:I will say that you are likely thinking of Robert McNamara, who was the US Secretary of Defense, but this is not Robert McNamara. This is in fact Frank McNamara.
Sam:So what things that could fit in a jacket could correlate to $100 billion, you said?
Adam:$100 billion this year, yes, will be affected.
Sam:That feels like a banking infrastructure thing. 'Cause it doesn't feel like he would just have had a check for 100 billion dollars or something.
Adam:I'd say it would be shocking if he had a check for 100 bill—
Adam:Oh, Tom is having a brainblast.
Ben:Mind palace.
Tom:Is this the guy who invented the Diners Club credit card?
Adam:Tom, you've hit the nail on the head, my friend.
Tom:Oh, I knew I knew that story from somewhere. He went out, he left his wallet behind, and he was some sort of— I dunno if he was an inventor or banking executive or something, but he came up with the concept of the charge card, the credit card, all that off the back of the— Or so the story goes. Like a lot of these corporate birth stories, there might be something more to it, but that's the legend that got passed down, right?
Adam:Yes, Tom, you've absolutely nailed it, yeah.

So... this guy, Frank McNamara, he was out at a restaurant. He realized he had left his wallet in his other jacket. In this case, his wife was able to bail him out. She paid, but he was like, you know, this is ridiculous. You know, if I don't have cash, there should be a way to convey that I'm good for the money, right? So we came up with the idea of a credit identification card that you could present instead of cash. He called it the Diners Club card.

And that eventually grew into the credit card, which is now at about 100 billion dollars.
Tom:Okay, but here's the thing, and this is what I've always hated about that story. The credit card does not solve that problem.
Adam:No, it doesn't at all. It's actually a very funny thing that you could absolutely just leave that in a jacket as well.
Tom:You just put that in your wallet anyway. It doesn't solve the problem. It's a lovely story. It doesn't hold up.
Adam:Yeah, it's a— It makes no sense at all, but it is in fact the right answer.
Tom:Which means we go back to the very start of the show. I asked this listener question sent in by Thanh Nguyen.

Albert Sabin's polio vaccine inspired what famous song?

Before I give the answer, anyone from the Jet Lag team want to give this a quick shout?
Adam:Was it Bad Blood by Katy Perry?
Ben:That's it.
Tom:(chuckles) Bad Blood is by Taylor Swift, and unfortunately not.
Adam:Oh, it's about her feud with Katy Perry. Sorry.
Tom:Yes, yeah. Oh, wow. We both out-trivia'd each other on pop music there.
Sam:Well, this is really frustrating me, 'cause I'm 95% sure that I heard this fact at one point, but just can't remember the answer.
Adam:It saved a lot of people's lives, I know. That is good that it did that. We Are the World? Did it inspire that?
Adam:Wait, wait, okay. Is it a modern song from the last 50 years?
Tom:1964, from a musical?
Adam:From a musical?
Tom:From a musical film.
Adam:Oh, god. Okay, wait, wait, wait. Okay, then I should be able to get it, 1964. What, like The Wizard of Oz? The poppy seed thing? The poppy, the flower, the poppies, the flowers and the— I just keep saying the flowers, the poppies. When they're in the poppy field, right? Is it that?
Tom:No. Alright, I'll give you one last clue. This vaccine is not given by injection.
Adam:Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down from Mary Poppins.
Tom:Correct. Well done Adam. Taking it away at the last moment. So I'm gonna come to you first again. Plug what you're doing. Let's start with Jet Lag.
Adam:Let me tell you about an incredible experience that you could have today. It's called watching our show, Jet Lag: The Game. It's a travel competition show. It's sort of like a vlog DIY version of The Amazing Race. But instead of traveling in-between the games, travel in fact is the game. It's all about: Can you get on the right flight? Can you make the right train? Can you plan out your route the right way in order to win?

I believe that when this comes out, I think that when this comes out, we either will be releasing or will have recently released our sixth season, Capture the Flag across Japan. We're very excited about that season. I think that we think it might be our best one yet. It's played on the Japanese rail network. Ben and I are a team against Sam and Scotty from Strange Parts, a great YouTube channel.

And you can watch the episodes one week early by subscribing to Nebula. So that's a fun thing you can do as well.
Sam:I'm gonna shout out our other channel,
Tom:Half as Interesting.
Sam:Ben works on it, among others, including myself and Amy. But Ben does a great job. He recently did a field trip to get drunk at a Taco Bell down the street from him. And you can see that on the internet.
Tom:Ben, last time, I believe you plugged your baking. What are you plugging this time?
Ben:I have started drinking more water lately.
SFX:(Tom and Adam wheezing)
Ben:And I think that that's really— it's really improved my overall disposition and health. And I would say that you should do that also.
Tom:And if you wanna know more about this show, you can do that at, where you can also send in your own listener questions. We have video highlights every week at, and we are at @lateralcast pretty much everywhere.

Thank you very much to the well-hydrated Ben Doyle.
Ben:Thank you.
Tom:To the victorious at the end there, Adam Chase.
Adam:Thank you very much, Tom.
Tom:And the man who is probably grumpy that we didn't plug Wendover Productions, Sam Denby.
Sam:Thank you, bye. Thanks, Ben.
Tom:I've been Tom Scott, and that's been Lateral.
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