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SciShow Quiz Show is back, with familiar faces Hank Green and Caitlin Hofmeister battling it out over questions on water, fire, and computer science!
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(SciShow Intro plays)


Michael: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to SciShow Quiz Show, bringing you the finest in quiz show entertainment since 1853.  Today, we have SciShow Space host, Hank Green.

Caitlin: Aaaah. I thought that was going to be me!

Hank: That was a split. I do show--spice--show. I do that. 

Michael: Moving right along. We have other SciShow Space host, Caitlin Hofmeister. So, Hank, today you are playing on behalf of Kate Anderson.

Hank: Hi, Kate! I'm here for you. I feel like all the people who are behind the camera should have clapped for us. 

Michael: You didn't hear all that clapping sound?

Hank: Yeah, that's good. And for Kate, also, that clap was for Kate.

Caitlin: Kate Anderson! 

Michael: Caitlin, you are playing on behalf of Douglas Mestanza. 

Caitlin: Douglas Mestanza! Mestanza.

Michael: Now, for our contestants, uh, you both start out with 1000 SciShow points, SciShow bucks.

Hank: SciShow Quiz Bucks.

Michael: SciShow Quiz Bucks.

Hank: SciShow sestertii.  Nope, nobody?

Michael: What's a--what?

Hank: No?  No one?  No.  Just me.

Michael: What's a sesterce? 

Hank: It's an ancient Roman unit of currency. 

Michael: Okay, you each have 1,000 ancient Roman units of currency. 

Caitlin: Perfect.

Michael: Okay. If you answer a question correctly, you'll win some ancient Roman units of currency, if you answer incorrectly, you will lose some ancient Roman units of currency.

Hank: Sestercii. Just say sestertii like a normal person. 

Caitlin: Make it easy. 

Michael: And then whoever has the most sestertii at the end of this whole thing will win some DFTBA merchandise. Stefan, what do we have for them today?

Stefan: Today's lucky loser will take home the coveted 'I Lost at SciShow Quiz Show' pin, and this signed card that sealed your losing fate. But don't worry, Douglas or Kate, you are not the loser, Hank or Caitlin is. And today's winner will be sent the 'I Won at SciShow Quiz Show' pin, the signed winning card, and a special assortment of DFTBA merchandise. Back to you.

Hank: Well, apparently, it's Sesterces, according to J.

Hank's mobile phone: Sesterces.

Michael+Caitlin: Sesterces.

Hank: I've said it wrong my whole life.

Michael+Caitlin: Sesterces.

Caitlin: Me too, because...

Michael: Hank just looked it up, it's sesterces.

Hank: Yeah, all right, this is sponsored by The man who says every single word. I love this guy.

Hank's mobile phone: Sesterces.

Caitlin: Sesterces.

Michael: Okay. You guys ready for round one?

Caitlin: Yes. Ready!

Hank's mobile phone: Bleeped out word.


Caitlin: J says everything.

Michael: Literally everything. 

 Round 1


Michael: Um, Round one is weird things in the water.

Hank: Okay.

Michael: In 2009 villagers off the coast of Alaska noticed a huge dark mass of floating goop in the Pacific Ocean. It was black, hairy looking and smelled kinda strange. Locals couldn't remember ever having seen anything like it, and at first, no one was quite sure what it was. For lack of a better term, the media just called it "the blob".

Hank: Kinda gross.

Michael: Eventually, lab tests revealed the culprit. Was the blob made of oil, algae, zooplankton or squid ink?

Caitlin: I'm gonna say squid ink, cause that sounds awesome.

Hank: It's just squid ink that collected a bunch of hair?

Caitlin: Nooo!

Michael: You are not correct.

Caitlin: Sorry Douglas.

Hank: Okay, I'll go cause you lose points if you get it wrong anyw.. if you don't answer, as well as getting it wrong, so there is nothing wrong with going second. The answer is: Oil.

Michael: Incorrect!

Caitlin: Woo! That would be really sad...

Hank: Woo!

Caitlin: If it was oil.

Michael (green-screen): The answer, is algae. At first the coast guard did think that the blob might have been the result of an oil spill, but analysis showed that it was just a huge algal bloom. Algal blooms aren't all that unusual, but they're more often red, yellow or green. Not black. With the right combination of temperature and nutrients, large amounts of algae form in a phenomenon often called red tide. These blooms can sometimes be toxic to other organisms. All that remained of one goose that encountered the blob, were some bones and a pile of feathers.

Michael: [coughing] Question 2. Marine life is known to be kind of strange. Barreleye fish can have translucent heads, female anglerfish can just sort of absorb the males, lungfish have lungs, but sometimes a marine organism will do something that makes it seem like it's missed its true calling in life, as a bird for instance. On that note: Which of these marine life forms can fly?

Caitlin: Okay

Michael: Is it, squid, octopuses, jellyfish or cuttlefish?

Hank: Pfff... Squid; Michael!

Michael: You are correct!

Caitlin: Wow!

Hank: I thought I'd heard about that.

Michael: Hmm.

Caitlin: What? 

Hank: They have flying squid!

Michael: The great flying squid of 1973.

Hank: Of nineteen seventy...

Caitlin: My favorite movie!

Michael: Yeah!

Hank: Oh is that the one that like eh, that they brought Boba Fett back for? And he, he rode on the back of a giant flying squid?

Michael: Yes.

Michael (green-screen): At least one species of squid, the neon flying squid, can fly. Though there have been many reported sightings of squid flying over the ocean it wasn't until 2011 that researchers actually confirmed it. This twenty centimeter squid gathers water in its mantle, the fleshy flaps around the upper part of its body, then it shoots the water out to propel itself out of the water, then spreads its fins and tentacles to glide for up to three seconds. Within those three seconds, the squid have been known to travel more than 30 meters and can reach speeds of over 40 kilometers per hour. Other ocean inhabitants, like the flying fish and the manta ray, can also fly and glide, but the squid is the only animal known to use jets of water for flight.


Michael: That is 100 sesterces for Hank.

Caitlin: Do I lose 100 sesterces?

Michael: Uhhh... Yeah, sure, good thinking.

Hank: Thanks!

Caitlin: Sorry Douglas. I'm just trying to-

Hank: Keep it honest?

Caitlin: Yeah.

Hank: This makes no sense.

Michael: In the early 20th century, wooden piers were built in New York City's harbors, a move that made a lot of sense at the time: wood was strong, it's easy to build with and certainly wasn't going to rust. Over the decades, however, a lot of industrial pollution built up in the city's rivers. While this caused all sorts of harm, the piers at least remained undamaged. But in 1972 the Clean Water Act was passed and the city started cleaning up its rivers. Soon, the piers became unstable, and by now many of them have collapsed.

Michael: So why did cleaning up the rivers destroy the piers?

Michael: Was it "The pollutants contained metals that were actually fortifying the wood?"

Michael: "The cleaner water was causing the wood to decay faster?"

Michael: "The cleaner water was attracting more people and therefore more foot traffic?"

Michael: Or " The pollution was killing wood-eating organisms, which are now thriving?"

Hank: You go first.

Caitlin: I'm going to say the last one.

Michael: You are correct!

Hank: Good, cause I probably would have said the first one.

Michael (green screen): When the piers were first constructed, New York City's rivers were so heavily polluted that they killed off nearly everything living in the water. And any organisms clinging to a ship's hull would die when it docked. That was great for wooden ships and piers because plenty of underwater life would have loved to take a bite, including a mollusk known as the naval shipworm. But once the harbors had been cleaned up, they were free to thrive. Shipworms eat wood structures from the inside out, and in the case of the piers, they weakened the support pilings until they eventually collapsed. The city has saved some of the piers by reinforcing them with concrete, but all that remains of those that have collapsed are broken pilings sticking out of the water.

 Round 2


Michael: Round 2 question 1 is all about fire! Spontaneous combustion is when something gets hotter and hotter, usually because of a runaway chemical reaction, until eventually it ignites without any outside input. Some foods have been known to spontaneously combust, in one case because of the heat from a reaction that breaks down fat.

Michael: Which of these foods spontaneously combusts? Is it popcorn kernels, pistachios, chickpeas, or barley?

Hank (buzz): You said it was because of fat, so I'm going to go with pistachios?

Michael: You are correct!

Caitlin: Wooooh!

Hank: Yay! Cause none of the rest of those things were fatty at all. Stefan, tell us more about pistachio explosions.

Michael: Stefan?

Caitlin: It's Michael.

Hank: Oh, right.


Michael: I will tell you more about pistachio explosions right now!

Michael (green screen): Pistachios combust so easily that there are actually strict guidelines for how they're shipped. Temperature is important obviously, but so is humidity because for pistachios the balance of water and fat is key. When water content in the nuts gets too high, enzymes in the pistachios start to break down fat in a process that consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide and a whole lot of heat. Eventually, they start to burn. Moral of the story: don't stash your pistachios!

Michael: Okay, we have reached that point in the show where we do the double-or-nothing.

Hank: Oh gosh!

Michael: While you decide how much to bet, I'm going to tell you that the topic of the next question is computer science.

Hank: Oh.

Caitlin (quietly): Crap.

Michael: So while you guys decide that, we'll go to commercial break!

 Round 3


Michael: Welcome back! You guys ready for round 3?

Hank: This is the last round, Michael.

Michael: Okay. One of the more well-known problems in computer science is that it's really difficult to get the computer to produce truly random numbers. Since all programs follow a set of rules, you can't really ask them to come up with a set of numbers that are truly random. To get around this problem, random number generators will often start out with one number, or a seed, then perform a set of calculations on that seed to get a different number. But for the result to be truly random the seed has to come from somewhere random, completely out of the computer's control, like nature.

Michael: So the question is: Which of these has not been used to produce random numbers in a random number generator? Is it lava lamps, radioactive decay, ocean waves, or atmospheric noise?

Caitlin: I really want lava lamps to have been used.

Hank: I'm glad to know that this isn't really a question that I should know the answer to. (laughter) I don't feel bad about not knowing this one.

Caitlin: Okay, I'm ready.

Michael: You guys ready to reveal your answers?


Michael: You're both wrong!

Hank and Caitlin: Nooooo.

Caitlin: I'm glad that lava lamps have been used.

Hank: Yeah. I knew radioactive decay had.

Caitlin: That doesn't seem that random.

Hank: Which one is it?

Michael: Ocean waves.

Caitlin: I was going to say that!

Hank: That was actually- that was my second choice, I promise.

Michael: Okay, so if Hank loses 601 sesterces...

Caitlin: Yep, sorry Douglas.

Hank: I win.

Michael (green screen): In 1996, three American computer scientists created a random number generator called Lavarand. Basically, they took pictures of working lava lamps, then picked the seed out of the data encoded in that image. Since the motion of the bubbles in lava lamps is impossible to predict, they could be sure that the images, and therefore the numbers, would be random.

Michael (green screen): Radioactive decay is also a great seed for random number generators because it all depends on probability. For example, when we say that the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years, all we really mean is that by then roughly half of the atoms in a sample will have decayed, but we don't exactly know when each atom will do it.

Michael (green screen): Finally, atmospheric noise refers to random changes in atmospheric data, kind of like static on a TV screen. Websites can monitor that atmospheric data, represented as numbers, and generate seeds based on whatever data they get at the time. So if you're ever looking to run a lottery, these are the best ways to play fair.



Michael: So Hank wins 399-50.

Hank: Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!

Michael: I'm sorry Caitlin.

Caitlin: It's okay.

Michael: Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Thanks for joining us on this episode of SciShow Quiz Show! Don't forget to check out SciShow Space and SciShow at some URLs that are-

Hank: On the screen.

Michael: On the screen and, uh, you know-

Hank: In the description.

Michael: Specific to each one of those things.

Hank: They are two different channels.

Michael: Yes. Excellent. Goodbye.