Lateral with Tom Scott

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

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Episode 9: The purple seats mystery

Published 9th December, 2022

Corry Will, Luke Cutforth and Jade Tan-Holmes face questions about mysterious medicines, calamitous currency and dodgy dealings.

HOST: Tom Scott. QUESTION PRODUCER: David Bodycombe. RECORDED AT & EDITED BY: The Podcast Studios, Dublin. EDITOR: Julie Hassett. MUSIC: Karl-Ola Kjellholm ('Private Detective'/'Agrumes', courtesy of ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Josh Halbur, Ben Justice, Lewis Tough, Arun Uttamchandani, Eglė Vaškevičiūtė. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:Why did the comedian Leslie Hope change his name to Bob Hope? The answer to that at the end of the show. My name's Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

Joining us for Lateral this time are a trio the likes of which haven't been seen since the Three Musketeers. Or maybe Huey, Dewey, and Louie, I'm not sure. We have, from Up and Atom, Jade Tan-Holmes.
Jade:Hi, great to be here.
Tom:From the Sci Guys podcast, Corry Will.
Tom:And also from the Sci Guys podcast, Luke Cutforth.
Tom:Nothing is predictable with the questions in this game. We're gonna be throwing our panelists onto the trampolines of logic, and seeing which way they bounce. These scripts are getting increasingly bizarre as time goes on, and I'm kind of here for it.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:We start with a question from me as usual, which is:

In 1985, it was reported that some flocks of sheep in the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales had been quarantined. Without that, millions of pounds worth of infrastructure would've become obsolete. What had they done and how had they done it?

I'll give you that one more time.

In 1985, it was reported that some flocks of sheep in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales had been quarantined. Without that safety measure, millions of pounds of infrastructure would've become obsolete. What had they done, and how had they done it?
Jade:The question's phrased like the sheep did something.
Jade:Like what—
SFX:(group laughing)
Jade:What have they done? So I'm thinking the sheep ate something? Ate something poisonous or...
Tom:You're absolutely right. This is on the sheep. This is 100% the sheep's doing.
Jade:This is on the sheep. What can a sheep do?
Tom:I mean, not much? I got to film a video about sheep herding a while back, and it's not much.
Luke:So the millions of pounds of infrastructure, that's just general, like sheep processing equipment, I would imagine. Like sharing equipment, whatever they use to process mutton, that kind of stuff.
Jade:This is like a really far out there thing, but I'm thinking, okay, what if the sheep ate something that had all termites in them or something, and then you know how termites eat through walls and stuff like that. That's where I'm connecting destroying infrastructure, and how much a sheep is actually capable of doing.
Luke:Can termites survive the gut bacteria of sheep?
Jade:Maybe they were like termite eggs.
Tom:Termites can survive a lot. But Britain doesn't have them. This is a video I didn't get to film. Britain had them for 25 years in one house. And the government spent 25 years and a lot of money stopping that termite infestation from spreading. 'Cause we don't have— They spent an enormous amount. But that was in Devon, not Wales.

That's, sorry, that's not on my notes. That's just a video I'm annoyed I didn't find out about in time before they got rid of the termites and the house is safe now.
Corry:So is Wales terribly relevant?
Tom:No, no, not at all. This is just a lovely story from Blaenau Ffestiniog, yes. Also, I enjoy saying the words Blaenau Ffestiniog. So...
Tom:Unfortunately, there is a lot in there. There is Electric Mountain in near Blaenau Ffestiniog. There's a big...
Luke:Oh yes, with the big water... The Dynamo. Yeah, it's brilliant.
Tom:Reversible hydroelectric plant for pump storage. Again, nothing to do with that, unfortunately.
Luke:Is that one Dinorwig?
Tom:It's next to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Luke:Oh, very cool.
Corry:So we've gathered that all sheep can do is just eat stuff and kinda be there. That's their whole thing.
Jade:They can poo.
Corry:That's true.
Luke:Yeah, the causality we've gotta figure out is a sheep eats something and that potentially has, that has the potential to make millions of pounds of equipment obsolete.
Tom:It's not about eating things. It's certainly something a sheep did, but they had to quarantine that flock.
Jade:Did a sheep make love to something inappropriate?
Tom:To infrastructure, this.
SFX:(group laughing)
Luke:Can a sheep make love?
Corry:Getting philosophical again.
Tom:Thus spake the vegan.
Corry:So maybe the sheep got ill. Maybe, I feel like the sheep getting ill and being quarantined is too straightforward for this show.
Luke:But there's a clear causality as to how a bunch of sheep getting ill could cause a load of equipment to go obsolete. 'Cause if that entire flock of sheep, say there's a few million pounds worth of equipment for this giant flock of sheep. And if they infected other sheep, then that would mean all the sheep have it, which would make all of their, maybe make all their meat unusable, maybe make all their wool unusable. Which would mean that all the equipment that's used to kill them and take their wool is also then obsolete until they can replace all of the sheep.
Tom:Yeah, we are— When I say millions of pounds of infrastructure would've become obsolete, that is the cost for the whole country.
Jade:Country. Oh, oh. Did they pee in the water or something?
Tom:Not for this one. That's a lot, presumably. That's kinda what sheep do.
Corry:Is it maybe something... I feel like quarantined is maybe a red herring here. Maybe they were just cordoned off. Maybe they were blocking some kind of road or railway or something.
Tom:They had to be prevented from meeting any other flocks of sheep.
Corry:To stop them from telling them about how they can block roads, obviously. No. (laughs)
Tom:Well... you say that.
Luke:Oh, oh, oh, I know, I know. Oh, hang on. Wasn't there a thing about sheep like learning to roll over cattle grids or something along those lines?
Luke:And there are millions of pounds worth of cattle grids. And if those sheep, if any other sheep saw those sheep rolling over cattle grids, then those cattle grids would be obsolete.
Tom:All cattle grids would be obsolete. You would have to invent a whole new way of keeping sheep in, and cars across. Yes, the flock of sheep had learned to roll across the cattle grid to get to places they weren't supposed to be.
Jade:Wow, that's incredible.
Tom:And they would have taught that to other sheep. So they had to be quarantined to stop the knowledge spreading.
Luke:The meme.
Tom:Which increasingly feels like an argument for being vegan. I've gotta be honest, Luke, you are.
Jade:Yeah. Imagine if we just let sheep talk to each other.
Luke:They're trying to evolve and we're not letting them.
Tom:There was another one. I mean, we don't have bonus points here, but 1997, a group of sheep in Hampshire came up with a completely different technique for getting across cattle grids. So, other than the rolling... Put yourself in the mind of a sheep, how else might they have done it?
Corry:Stack on top of each other.
Luke:(wheezing laughter) Stepping on each individual one, surely is the obvious way, or getting into a car.
Corry:Oh, hold on. 1997. Is that not when Babe came out? Wait, hold on, no, this isn't about film. This is about real life.
Luke:Make friends with the talking pig, and then the pig will help you.
Tom:You said something a moment ago, Corry.
Corry:Oh, I said stack on top of each other. Did they do that?
Tom:One sheep laid down on the grid, and the others used him as a bridge, yes.
Luke:Oh my gosh.
Jade:Wow, they're so smart!
Luke:You're kidding.
Corry:Goodness me.
Tom:I have to add that this is all reportedly. We've clearly seen the news article. How much of this is farmer's exaggeration and everything, but with two separate instances in the news, something like this has definitely happened, I think at least once.
Luke:Out of interest, Tom, when you say that
Corry:one sheep laid down,
Luke:and the others walked on top of it, is that one incredibly altruistic sheep, or did the sheep select the weakest sheep and shove it onto the cattle grid?
Jade:I bet they bullied the sheep.
Tom:Or, was it one sheep that got stuck in the cattle grid, and all the others were like, "There is a bridge here now. Good luck, mate, we're off."
Corry:I feel like we should be letting these sheep go free. They're clearly smart enough to figure it out. Let them go.
Luke:We're stunting their growth.
Tom:So yes, in 1985, some sheep in Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales were quarantined because they had learned to roll across cattle grids.

We go now to one of our guests for a question. We're gonna start with Luke this time. What have you got for us?
Luke:Alright, so away from sheep and onto drugs.

Hydrocodone is an opioid that is approximately—
Tom:Sorry. Away from sheep and onto drugs is like...
Tom:the autobiography of a farmer who just went down to London and...
SFX:(group laughing)
Luke:It all got too much. Away from sheep, onto drugs.

Hydrocodone is an opioid that is approximately six times stronger than another common opioid. Who knows their opioids? What is the more common name for hydrocodone?
Jade:I'm gonna guess codeine.
Luke:Are you?
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:This sounds like I'm in a police interrogation, but I don't know much about opioids, Your Honour.
Jade:Me neither.
Luke:Sure you don't.
Corry:Okay, I think I might be way off, but I know there's a difference between opioids and opiates, and are opioids not the ones that are just chemically similar in terms of shape?
Luke:Well, a very interesting satellite fact that's nothing to do with the question.
Luke:As in that's not gonna get you anywhere. That line of questioning will get you nowhere. Sorry, that meant, that sounded really rude.
SFX:(others laughing)
Luke:That wasn't meant...
Corry:I was so shocked and insulted for a moment.
Luke:Sorry, I just—
Jade:"That's my colleague?"
Luke:I'm pushing you back on the right path. With a helpful scoop of rudeness there, my apologies.
Tom:Now, opioids are definitely... I've heard the phrase opioid epidemic about the US's problem with that for a long time. So I think the... Are they a much wider class than I thought? 'Cause I thought opioids were just the painkillers that people easily get addicted to, but I'm not sure that's right, now.
Corry:Okay, this is, I'm just throwing this out. It might have something to do with poppy seeds. Are poppy seat's not... are they not related?
Tom:Yeah, if you eat enough poppy seeds, you do test positive on a drug test for opioids.
Luke:Sounds like an excuse.
Corry:(laughs) One you're very used to using, Luke, I'm sure.
Jade:I thought you didn't know much about opioids, Tom.
Tom:I don't. But Trace Dominguez did an entire guest video for my channel on this, and he ate a load of poppy seed bagels and poppy seeds and took a test and tested positive and as a control also tested—
Jade:That's his story anyway.
Tom:Yeah, also tested negative beforehand. So...
Tom:Yeah, that's... hydro's... hydroco... 'hydro' is 'water'. Codone is, I don't know. I'm looking at the science people here, 'cause it ain't me.
Corry:I don't think either of us are chemists. So, not a clue.
Jade:No, I scored the worst inorganic chemistry in my whole degree, actually.
Tom:Luke, could you please rephrase this as a physics question?
Luke:I will give you a little nudge here, which is that you're going down the wrong route in terms of wondering about your knowledge about different types of drugs. What you want to go down— Try going down the route of etymology.
Jade:Hydro, so water, code...
Tom:Water... It's annoying that it's six times stronger, because I'm tempted to just answer with hydro code six instead of hydro code one. But that doesn't work this way around.
Luke:Do you know any other painkillers, any other opiate painkillers?
Jade:Is morphine opiate, opioid?
Tom:I think ibuprofen might be.
Luke:No, ibuprofen's an anti-inflammatory.
Corry:Yeah. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
Tom:So codeine is the one that is... and co-codamol I know as well, but I think that might just be a combination of things.
Luke:You're going down the right path there, Tom.
Luke:I will say that this is a tough one. The answer I'd actually never heard. Well, I've heard, I've only ever heard the actual name for this drug in American TV shows. I've never heard it, 'cause I've never had a prescription for this thing. But I've heard it said in American TV shows, if that helps.
Corry:Oh, so Americans tend to only use brand names, so they'll say Tylenol and whatnot, instead of ibuprofen or paracetamol. So maybe we're looking for a brand name of the drug, right?
Luke:Yes. But the brand name is also derivable from the information I've given you, to a certain extent.
Tom:Hydrocodone, six times stronger. Okay, so it's gotta have either hex- or hexa- or something like that in it, or... What other abbreviations for six is there?
Luke:That's a great question.
Corry:(chuckles) You can have sex, surely.
Tom:See, I didn't wanna say that but yeah, that's also a valid abbreviation, but...
Luke:Tom, you're going down a fantastic route with the idea of alternative ways to represent the number six.
Tom:Roman numeral. Oh my god, it's Vicodin.
Luke:Could you explain why, Tom? Why? How did you get there?
Tom:Because Roman numerals for six are VI.
Luke:Brilliant. That's it.
Tom:And it's 'VI codeine'. Vicodin. Oh my...
Luke:Five times codeine.
Tom:I'm angry about that question! That's so good.
Luke:It's brilliant.
Corry:That's incredible.
Jade:That's great lateral thinking right there.
Tom:Jade's just sitting back in the chair, equally frustrated at that. That's, agh!
Luke:So that is correct. Basically Vicodin is six times stronger than codeine. So the brand name Vicodin is derived from six times stronger than codeine.
Tom:The next question is from me. Here we go.

At 13.557 seconds, a Danish woman holds a particular Guinness World record for running the hundred metres. She is nearly half a second quicker than the male holder for the same record. What's the record?

I'll say that again.

At 13.557 seconds, a Danish woman holds a particular Guinness World record for running a hundred metre race. She is nearly half a second quicker than the male holder for the same record. What is that record?
Corry:I think that her being a woman and being faster than the man is going to be relevant, because usually you'd expect to see men be quicker in these kinds of races. So maybe, and here, I'm just gonna be sexist here. Maybe it's something that women are perhaps more used to doing.
Tom:This is from 2015. It is 100% traditional stereotype we're running on here.
Jade:Was she pushing a pram?
SFX: and
SFX: laughing)
Tom:See the trouble is that what we've set up with this question... is a series of stereotypes.
Luke:Okay, so we need some stereotypes of women, anyone?
Jade:Let's see.
Corry:Maybe it's got something to do with— Okay, so when we think of differences between men and women and culture and stereotypes and whatnot, there's different areas, right? So it could be pushing a pram. It could be wearing different clothes. It could be—
Jade:Like something frying a omelet or something.
Corry:Like an egg and spoon race whilst wearing a skirt and carrying a baby.
Jade:I was thinking an egg and spoon—
SFX:(group laughing)
Jade:Let's see.
Corry:Has it got to do with clothing?
Tom:Yeah, it absolutely has. You're gonna ace this question. You're so nearly there. So, it's 13.557 seconds. It doesn't, I don't think, need to be that precise, but bear in mind, a hundred metres for fastest people in the world, you talk nine or ten.
Corry:If I'm right, then this is insane. If if I could give it a guess, did she do it in high heels?
Luke:High heels.
Luke:Of course.
Tom:Absolutely right.
Corry:Wow! That is incredible.
Corry:Goodness me.
Luke:Wow, that was so fast.
Jade:That's actually interesting that the woman still did it better, 'cause I would've thought that that wouldn't have had that big an impact, you know.
Luke:We've gotta get some fast drag queens on this.
SFX:(others laughing)
Jade:No, it's true.
Corry:For a drag race.
Tom:That's a good name for a TV show, that.
SFX:(others laughing)
Corry:Tom Scott's Drag Race.
Luke:Now that is a channel I would watch.
Corry:Oh yeah.
Tom:Yeah, this is Majken Sichlau from Denmark. 13.55 seconds in 2015. Andre Ortolf from Germany set the best male time, 14.02 seconds in 2019. I feel like there's still a lot of improvement to be had there. It's just there aren't many people doing the training for it.
Jade:Yeah, so these were people that trained specifically for this race. They weren't like runners that then just put on high heels?
Tom:I actually don't know. It might be a little bit of both here. I feel like this is gonna be a runner...
Jade:I think it would make a difference. 'Cause if you just took a bunch of runners and put them in high heels and they weren't used to it, obviously the women would be better, but if they actually trained for it, and the men got used to wearing high heels, you know.
Tom:That's gotta hurt though, surely depend— I assume that there are all sorts of rules on how high the heels have to be, but you're basically constantly running downhill, I guess?
Luke:You're gonna have to have very strong calves and ankles.
Jade:You're gonna have strong, it's actually not as hard as, what, as it maybe looks.
Corry:It's kind of like running on your toes, right? It's just you don't want to put your heel down too much, 'cause you're gonna break that.
Jade:You can put the heel down, if they were strong heels. I think running on your toes would kind of suck.
Corry:I just feel like it's incredibly fast, right? That's incredibly fast.
Luke:I couldn't run a hundred metres in any shoes in a hundred seconds.
Corry:In a hundred seconds.
Luke:Sorry, fourteen seconds. Sorry. I think I could just about make it in a hundred seconds, even in high heels, actually. I can't even say that.
Tom:I mean, we've just got a bet there, Luke.
Luke:Okay, I'll happily take those odds.
Tom:So I have just had a note through from our producer with pictures here, and this is on a full running track, wearing what look like regular, professional office high heels. We're not talking like teetering stilettos here, but there's a decent heel on them. I have no idea how difficult that is to walk or run in. I've never tried it, but I would not like to.
Corry:I will say that running in high heels, I think, is no more silly than hurdles. You know, we have sports and then we add additional encumberance to those sports. And high heels is just the same as hurdles to me, right?
Luke:What about a hundred metres over hurdles in high heels? Wow, that's an Olympic sport I want to watch.
Jade:You know, they have breakdancing in the Olympic sports now. So I don't feel like that's too far off.
Luke:Well, if we start training, we can all get gold at those, guys.
Corry:What, a little breakdance team in high heels. That's the four of us.
Jade:Oh yeah.
Tom:It is a very odd restriction. You're right, now you mention it, the hurdles is a really strange event. Now you mention it.
Corry:It's odd, right? It's weird. It's weird that we do that.
Tom:It's fine, we'll have a full pentathlon in high heels and that's...
SFX:(others snickering)
Jade:That's what comes of this podcast.
Tom:They are actually currently planning on changing the pentathlon events. They're gonna remove horse riding from it, and they're currently testing events for what the replacement is. Because logistically, it's extremely difficult, and it means that pentathlon is only open to people who can afford to learn to ride a horse. And for both that reason and animal rights and logistics, they're on the verge of changing it. The thing of replacing it with the obstacle course from Ninja Warrior.
Corry:My lord. My brain went straight to using the Boston Dynamics robots in place of horses. I feel like that would be far more interesting to watch.
Jade:So we just like, they're just like piggybacking people around.
Tom:That's one of the problems they have with all the horse riding events at the Olympics, is that the horses are meant to all be the same. So they need to do a procurement process years in advance to find 20 identically performing horses, and pair them with riders. Like yeah, there's a reason they're doing Ninja Warrior courses instead.
Corry:The fact that it's harder to find horses than it is to find Olympic athletes is fantastic.
Tom:Yes, you're absolutely right. The world record for running a hundred metres in high heels is currently half a second faster for a woman than a man. But I imagine that at some point, someone in this podcast is gonna try and challenge that.
Luke:I know a couple of drag queens. We can set them on it.
Tom:Next question, we are gonna go to Corry for this one. Corry, what have you got for us?
Corry:At Coors Field baseball stadium, most of the seats are dark green. However, the seats in the 20th row of the upper deck are purple. What does this indicate?

And I'll give it to you again.

At Coors Field baseball stadium, most of the seats are dark green. However, the seats in the 20th row of the upper deck are purple. What does this indicate?
Luke:Could you tell me the name of the stadium? Core's Field?
Corry:Coors Field, sorry, this is my accent coming through. Coors Field.
Luke:I'm just wondering if this has anything to do with Coors, like Coors Light, the beer.
Corry:I think so, yeah. I think they've owned the stadium. That's how it works in the US, right?
Luke:So there's something relating to beer there or...
Tom:Oh god it's, an American sports question and a beer question. I am in trouble here.
Luke:Is there, is it something to do with, does it look almost like the dividing line between like beer and head?
Corry:I love that, I love that. But no, not at all.
Jade:Does the purple have something to do with royalty? 'Cause I know that purple used to represent royalty.
Corry:It's not necessarily about the colours. So it could be any colour. It doesn't need to be dark green or purple. It could be literally any colour. The important part is that the colours are different.
Jade:But was it baseball, was that the sport?
Corry:Yeah, it is baseball.
Jade:I'm thinking something to do with like the height of the ball.
Luke:Ooh. I'm thinking maybe the height of the stadium. Like you actually can't get the ball out, you can't get a home run. So if it lands above that line, that's a home run.
Tom:Oh yeah, 'cause... I was gonna try and be an expert on baseball. I've never seen baseball. It's like cricket but worse.
Luke:Sorry, not home run. Like an out-of-the-park. Is that different thing?
Tom:No, it's a home run. Home run is when it goes out of the park, and you cannot... No, I think—
Jade:I thought a home run is just when you complete the diamond.
Luke:Okay, so an out-of-the-park. It's an out-of-the-park if it's above that line.
Tom:Yeah sorry, you can have an inside-the-park home run. I've definitely heard that phrase.
Luke:Oh, okay.
Jade:So a home run is just when you complete the diamond, and then I guess if you hit it out of the park, that's just like an automatic home run?
Tom:Yes, it is.
Luke:Yes, yes. So that's my theory. This stadium is in some way built to stop the ball leaving if you get an out of the park because it can damage property and stuff like that. So they've put a line that means if you get it above this thing, if it lands above this thing, almost like in cricket where you get it out of the boundary then that is an out-of-the-park equivalent.
Tom:I presume at some point people come back to their cars in the parking lot afterwards and just, yeah, there's a dent and a baseball sat there and it's like, "Oh, well, yep, that's, does my insurance pay? No, of course not."
Luke:There, yeah, there were loads of problems in cricket where they hit the ball outta the stadium and then it smashed stuff, and then I think the cricket ground became liable for that. So they tried, they installed nets to try and stop it happening.
Corry:So you started off on the right track, and then you started talking about baseball, which I loved. But isn't necessarily super relevant.
Luke:To this question about baseball.
Jade:To baseball.
Tom:So it's not really a baseball question, it's a stadium question.
Jade:But it's still about the limitations of the stadiums.
Corry:No, not at all. So you started off talking about the height of the line and it's not got anything to do with hitting baseballs out.
Tom:American stadiums get replaced fairly often like in the big leagues. Like they'll just build a new one 'cause the old one's got a bit old, and then get some tax money for it. So is this like the height of the old stadium that used to be there, and it's like a ceremonial line that goes round that means, "Yeah, you'd have knocked out the park in the old stadium. But these days, no, no. You've just beamed someone at the in the upper decks."
Jade:So I have a super mundane suggestion. Is it just like so the hot dog people know what their turf is?
Tom:Oh man, there's just a there's just a vicious gang of upper deck hot dog sellers that do not want people messing on their territory. I love that.
Jade:They're in a war. They're in a war with each other.
Tom:Yeah, and one of them's got the high ground.
Corry:Oh god, I wish that was the answer. I wish that was the answer.
Tom:One of them's just got slingshots with hot dogs, just bwoong!
Corry:So to direct you a little bit more, it is very specific to this one stadium... in that if it was a stadium anywhere else in the country, this line wouldn't be as important.
Tom:Because I imagine this was a line that went all the way round, but maybe this is one of those stadiums that's bigger on one side and this is a line that that crosses. Like it's the equator— No, this is US, right?
Corry:It is the US, yeah.
Tom:So this is like the state line happens to go through here, and once you're on the other side of that line, you're under like different drinking laws or something like that. Like this stadium's in California, except for this bit, which is in Oregon. So you gotta stop drinking at 10 pm. I don't know if—
Corry:So you were on the right track with it being particular to that state. And earlier when you were talking about the height, you were on the right track as well.
Tom:And then I went completely the wrong way, okay.
Corry:Then you just went off.
Luke:Is it that in this particular state, it is illegal to drink at altitude, and that altitude just happens to be roughly the height of the 20th row in the top deck?
Corry:Luke, you are so close, but you're off in your framing, if that helps.
Jade:How could that be?
Luke:Is it like you're too high up so you can't drink, 'cause it's dangerous in some way?
Corry:It's got nothing to do with drinking. But you are so incredibly close. I feel like if I were to tell you, do you know what state this is in?
Tom:Hang on, is this Colorado?
Corry:It is definitely Colorado, yes.
Tom:This is... mmph! This is, you are one mile above sea level, isn't it?
Corry:That is it. Yes, exactly. That line denotes being one mile above sea level. Because Denver... the mile high city.
Corry:Yeah, exactly.
Tom:Yeah. Denver is one, is almost one mile above sea level in a lot of places, and that's gonna be the point where you are exactly one mile above the arbitrary marker on the geoid that is sea level.
Corry:Yeah, exactly. And so... The Colorado Rockies used to share the Mile High Stadium with the Denver Broncos, the NFL team. And then they moved to Coors Field, but they've got that line to show where you are when you're a mile above sea level.
Tom:The next question's from me, here we go.

A gang robbed a van full of different bottles of spirits that were destined for use in pubs. Why did they find it very difficult to sell on the illicit goods without raising suspicions?

I'll give you that again.

A gang robbed a van of different bottles of spirits that were destined for use in pubs. Why did they find it very difficult to sell on the illicit goods without raising suspicions?
Corry:So my mind hops immediately to the fact that when I worked in some bars and pubs, the bottles of spirits that they had were giant sometimes. Like bigger than you could buy in a shop. So maybe it's got to do with the specifics of spirits that are sold to bars?
Luke:My mind jumped to it as a play on words. It's actually bottles of ghosts.
Jade:My mind said that as well. But then when they were to sell to bars, I was like, I don't think bars are gonna buy ghosts.
Luke:Haunted bars. It's a tourist attraction.
Tom:I now regret having that clarification in the question, because frankly, we got a whole riff on bottled up spirits being sold to make sure your pub is haunted here. That's a great block for sitcom.
Corry:Yeah, Jade, haunted pubs are actually really big in the UK. This is another sort of UK focused question here.
Jade:So much I don't know.
Luke:It's been a xenophobic podcast, this, isn't it?
Tom:You just kinda—
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:You just kinda go online these days. You know, you just go to... What's the opposite of Ghostbusters? Ghost Supplies. And they just dropship you a few bottles now, you uncork 'em, you get a couple of spirits in the bathroom, one behind the bar.
Corry:Yeah. No, the cheap bars have got ghouls. Just not the same, doesn't look the same, you know?
Tom:Wetherspoons just have identical ghosts behind every bar that just keep banging on about how Brexit's a good thing.
SFX:(snorting group laughter)
Tom:That officially crossed the two British thresholds. Sorry about that. No, I don't know why I need to clarify this, but we are talking about alcohol here.
Luke:Thank you for the clarification.
Jade:So tell us more about your bar experience, Corry. I feel like you hold the keys here.
Corry:Yeah, so Luke has worked in a bar as well, so he's got a lot of experience too.
Luke:(laughs) Shut up!
Tom:As a ghost, though. As a ghost.
Luke:I feel like I can't let that go, Corry. I have to explain that. Corry is referencing the fact that I once did a YouTube sponsorship that required me to work in a bar, and so I technically worked in a bar for one day.
Jade:You actually worked, got a job in the bar?
Luke:I worked, I delivered drinks and food and took orders. But I actually was so bad at pulling pints that I bought all of the pints that I poured, 'cause I felt so bad. So I bought them for them.
Tom:Did the management and patrons know you were doing this?
Luke:The manager did, yeah.
Tom:Wait, the patrons didn't? The patrons were just like, this is—
Luke:The patrons didn't until I told them, because I was doing everything wrong, so I told them.
Jade:He was just, the patrons were like, "Why does this guy suck so much?" And then you like had to tell them.
Luke:Exactly. So yeah, Corry, you're right. I have just as much experience as you, and so we're gonna get this question together.
Corry:Yeah, I mean, so working in bars. The only specific thing I can think of is the size of the spirit bottles. They have bigger spirit bottles and bars, and I feel like there must be a limit on the ones that you're allowed to sell. (gasp) Oh my gosh.
Corry:Bars, if you want to get stock for a bar, you can only buy it from these big sort of stock depots that you can only get into if you have a business that has a license to sell alcohol. So maybe it's related to that.
Tom:In this case, they were trying to fence them illegally. So that's less of an issue.
Luke:Is it that the spirit bottles that they use at bars have that little weird attachment on it that does the 25 mL deposit, and that's a specific attachment and nobody who doesn't already own a bar will have that attachment? So they don't want to buy your alcohol.
Corry:You can get those at home.
Tom:Yeah, you can spot the person who hasn't worked at a bar, 'cause those do not come with the bottle.
Luke:No, I know, but you have to attach them, I mean. You'd have to attach it and if you don't have it, you don't wanna buy the alcohol.
Tom:Optics, they're called.
Corry:You can get them at home. I know because my grandparents were alcoholics. No, I shouldn't put that in, sorry.
Luke:Hilarious, no, that's brilliant.
Jade:We're learning a lot about each other here. Is it something to do with the brand of the alcohol? Was it a very like rare brand?
Tom:This would actually be the other way around. This would only apply to the really common kind of what do they call, house spirits. Like the fancy ones probably wouldn't have this problem.
Corry:Yeah, so then there's red star vodka or something that I only ever see in bars, and you can't buy anywhere else. Is it—
Tom:You can get— there's certain brands like that, but in this case, these are these are cheap supermarket brands. These are the kind of things where if someone pulls up in a van and goes, these have fallen off the back of the lorry. Yeah, no, entirely genuine. There might be some reason to be sceptical of them.
Tom:Fine for bars, bit confusing for people.
Corry:So we've mentioned size and brand, but it...
Luke:Is there concentration involved? Concentration of alcohol?
Tom:It's not like the post mix syrup. They don't put, they don't put it up to the optic and like it drops out one drop of pure flavoured alcohol and load of water. That would be... Coke Freestyle machines, just with booze. Actually, that's a really good, wow. Sorry.
Luke:It saves on shipping costs.
Tom:I mean more, more like that's the thing you'd see built in a bar, really. You'd see a Coke Freestyle machine that someone's also put a booze thing in.
Jade:Was it that they had a hard time selling it to bars or to people?
Tom:To people. Bars would've been fine with this. These would've fit right in, in the bar, but they wouldn't have at home.
Corry:Maybe it's the container that they were in.
Tom:You've actually already touched on why with the optics. There's something that bars do that you don't—
Corry:Oh my gosh, I just realised because they go into the optics, the labels are the other way around. So that they're the right side up when you've got them in the optics.
Tom:Yes, absolutely right. I was hoping the one person who has properly worked in a bar would remember that at some point. Yes, spot on. The labels were upside down. So if you try to go into, you know, your local dodgy, wherever you sell stuff. I don't know, I'm not a criminal. And go, "Would you like to buy some of these?" They're gonna go, "Oh, they're fake. You got the labels on upside down." And that is how the story goes.
Tom:The bottles of spirits used in pubs, at least for the cheap brands, generally have the label upside down.

Our last guest question comes from Jade. Jade, over to you.
Jade:Okay, the question is:

If it rises by a few cents, it can get out of control within milliseconds. If it reaches a dollar, it's a disaster. What is it?

I'll give you that again.

If it rises by a few cents, it can get out of control within milliseconds. If it reaches a dollar, it's a disaster. What is it?
Tom:So my first thought was some kind of hyper-fast stock trading thing. That's like that flash crash where some computer tripped a thing and just sort of all the stock markets suddenly crash. But this is going up, not down.
Corry:Reaches a dollar. So the cost of something being a dollar. Because that's already more than say, petrol, so... Oh, what could it be?
Luke:It could be like a transaction fee type of thing. Or something that's meant to be...
Luke:Yeah, it's meant to be pegged to a dollar
Tom:or something like that.
Corry:Maybe it's related, maybe, okay. So it must be proportionally related to something else, because if something reaches, say a dollar. A dollar isn't very much. But a dollar per x amount of something would be a lot, right?
Luke:It's the Euro a few weeks ago.
Corry:Yes, Luke, date this podcast.
Luke:Oh yeah, sorry.
Tom:It's the Euro a few months ago. It's the Euro a few years ago. Thank you. We'll just edit the right bit in at whichever moment. If you can give us decades and centuries of millennia just.
Luke:It's the Euro that one time the Euro did that thing.
Tom:The minute you said rises by a few, I was thinking, is this sea level or something like that? But it's cents and dollars. I can't think of anything other than currency that's in cents and dollars.
Luke:Can it go above a dollar? Is that possible?
Tom:I mean, apparently, but then it's a disaster.
Luke:But as it reaches a dollar, it's a disaster. Can it go above a dollar?
Jade:It has reached a dollar on a number of occasions in different parts of the world.
Tom:Out of control within milliseconds. So I, for a minute I was thinking like the expected return on a lottery or something like that. So... but that's not a disaster. That's great for the lottery and the winner. Like if there, there's a few times in history when lotteries have had positive expected value. So you could if you buy a ticket, statistically, you would likely to win more than that ticket cost. But it's really rare. And the only people who can properly exploit that are already rich. So that's not a disaster though. If that goes over a dollar, that's great for the punters, and it's great for the lottery, 'cause they're still making money.
Corry:I think... I think it's probably, I think I might have it. And entirely unrelated to what you were just saying Tom, sorry.
Tom:That's fine. You know what, I'm gonna claim that some word in that monologue about lotteries sparked an idea in your head, Corry. Go for it.
Corry:Maybe it's got to do with the cost of production of money, right? Because if the cost of producing a dollar goes over a dollar, then that's completely out of control. And in some countries that must have hap— like the penny right now in the US costs more than a penny to make. Is it anything along those lines maybe?
Tom:Yes, they changed the makeup of the UK one, didn't they, as well? To make sure that wasn't possible. But I don't see that getting out of control within milliseconds.
Jade:I think I'm gonna give you guys a hint. It's gonna completely turn everything upside down. It has nothing to do with money.
Tom:Right, so what else gets measured in cents and dollars?
Corry:Oh, hold on, hold on, hold on. Are you saying dollars or dull hairs? Which one of those two is it?
Jade:Dollars. D-O-L-L-A-R-S, dollars. Good question though.
Tom:What else can get measured in cents? Like pitch of music can get measured in cents.
Luke:But not in dollars.
Tom:Not in dollars. That goes into tones and semitones. So...
Corry:Is it colloquial then, maybe?
Corry:Using cents and dollars, no?
Luke:It goes up by a few cents.
Jade:I kind of feel like this one's the kind of thing that you, if you don't know it, I dunno how you would come to know it.
Tom:Out— it's out of control within milliseconds, which implies to me that it's either some computer thing, or it's some complicated physics thing. Like this is a chain reaction or something like that. That if it goes, if it starts spiking a little, it...
Tom:But I don't think nuclear reactions are measured in cents.
Luke:Something like with the LHC, like the LHC?
Corry:Does this have to do with nuclear physics?
Corry:No, at the Large Hadron Collider?
Jade:Not exactly the Large Hadron Collider.
Corry:Is this to do with nuclear meltdowns?
Corry:Because there's been some in some different countries and...
Jade:Yes, that's a, that's it, exactly. And dollars and cents are the units of reactivity.
Corry:Oh. I definitely knew that then. I definitely knew that at some point in my life.
Jade:Which is like, why would they name units of reactivity, dollars and cents? That just seems like they're trying to be confusing.
Tom:Right, that's...
Corry:For this podcast exactly. This is, that's the only reason. Someone thought, you know what? A podcast a few years from now is gonna need this.
Tom:What is reactivity? Is that how much the... how much the reactor is like going, I. All I remember is that like you put control rods in to dampen the reaction, and you put— So is it how much... that reaction is growing, or how much that reaction is self-sustaining? I don't know.
Jade:A state called prompt criticality is reached, if the reactivity level reaches one dollar, which means that rate at which fission occurs increases exponentially, releasing more prompt neutrons, which trigger more reactions, and so on.
Tom:So one dollar is runaway chain reaction, and zero is everything steady. Who named that dollar? Like...
Jade:Right? They should not have been in charge.
Luke:Probably an American.
Corry:Yeah, I feel like American scientists specifically enjoy being needlessly confusing.
Luke:And patriotic.
Tom:I've just had a note through to say that his name is Louis Slotin, and he is a very famous physicist.
Jade:Physicists do like to use the same names and symbols to rename various things. It's very annoying when you're doing a physics degree.
Corry:Just another reason not to do a physics degree. No education!
Jade:Reactivity is measured in dollars and cents. Zero cents is stable. And when you get to one dollar, that's a just a crazy reaction and you wanna get out of there.
Tom:So one last order of business. At the very start of the show, I asked the audience why Leslie Hope the comedian changed his name to the much more famous Bob Hope. Just before I give 'em the answer, any ideas from the panel?
Luke:Bob Hope's much more famous.
Corry:Is it that Leslie Hope was already famous?
Tom:Is this like a Screen Actors Guild kinda situation,
Corry:where you can only have one name?
Tom:It's very much about the name, and I don't think any comedian would want the name Leslie Hope.
Corry:Oh, was there a famous murderer or something at the time, called Leslie Hope? Like a serial killer.
Tom:It's about the name itself.
Luke:Les Hope, Leslie Hope.
Jade:Oh, 'less hope'. It shortens to 'Les Hope'.
Tom:Which means it would show up in the phone book and in directories as...
Luke:Oh my gosh.
SFX:(triumphant group laughter)
Tom:Absolutely right. He changed it.
Tom:Or at least so he says. Obviously it's an anecdote from a comedian, so how much of that is true I will leave to the viewers' discretion.

That is our show for today. Thank you very, very much. Let's start with Luke. Tell us what you've got going on. Where can people find you?
Luke:Yes, I host a podcast called Sci Guys with Corry as well. And I've also got my first feature film out called The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. You can find me at @LukeCutforth everywhere.
Corry:You can find me at @notcorry everywhere. And also as Luke said, over on Sci Guys at @sciguyspod everywhere.
Tom:And Jade.
Jade:I run a YouTube channel called Up and Atom and you can find me on YouTube at @upndatom.
Tom:And if you wanna know more about this show, you can go to We are @lateralcast basically everywhere, and you can catch video highlights at Thank you very much to Jade Tan-Holmes.
Jade:Thank you, Tom.
Tom:To Corry Will.
Corry:Thank you, Tom.
Tom:To Luke Cutforth.
Luke:Thank you very much, Tom.
Tom:I dunno why I got a round of thanks instead of goodbyes there, and I'm very grateful. And you know what, we'll leave them in. I will take the praise. My name's Tom Scott. This has been Lateral.
Luke:Thank you, Tom.
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