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Hank Green and Michael Aranda must put their knowledge of hearing, seeing, and tasting to the test in order to win this quiz show written and hosted by the inimitable Blake de Pastino and his sidekick, Smart Blake.
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Loudest Sound:

Blue fish:


Media Links:

Whipcrack Sound Effect by: CGEffex

 (00:00) to (02:00)

(Intro song)

Blake: Hey internet, sup girl, this is Blake de Pastino, editor in chief of SciShow. And I'm only here today because of you, the internet, has asked for a battle royale, if you will, are you doing okay?

Hank: No, I'm fine.

Michael: (laughs)

Blake: Between the two powerhouses that make SciShow Quiz Show go. So there's YouTube magnate, William Henry "Hank" Green. Do people really call you that? Hank? Never.

Hank: I don't know.

Blake: And then, the man I'm replacing today, and who was nice enough to let me borrow this tie, Sci Show's other host, Michael Aranda.

Michael: We have a lot of those ties.

Blake: Would you like-- Can I keep this one?

Michael: Which, I think, are still available at

Blake: Ohh.

Hank: /SciShow

Blake: Mhmm.

Hank: Pro tip, when you're recording a video, don't just like grab your mic.

Blake: Oh, sorry. (pats mic)

Michael: (laughs)

Blake: Sorry Stephen, I just have a little bits of crumbs.

Michael: And my power bar.

Blake: As a special thank you to our patrons on Patreon, we've selected two of you to win the prizes that these two guys will earn for you today.

Hank: Who are the people?

Blake: Well, Henr-- I mean "Hank," you'll be competing on behalf of Kevin Bealer. And Aranda, is it okay if I call you by your last name? I just--

Michael: Yes, uh. Acceptable.

Blake: Well, you'll be playing for Ry Prindle. I couldn't say that-- Hey Mike!

Michael: Ry Prindle-- Yeah, my-- I'm not a Mike. 

Blake: Yeah, that doesn't seem to work. 

Hank: (laughs)

Michael: I'm not a one syllable kind of guy.

Blake: I'll start you both off with one thousand SciShow bucks.

Hank: You're both embarrassing me. 

Blake: Mission accomplished. And unlike last time when a host did this game, I got a lot of guff for making up points as we went along. So I'm gonna say in advance, how much each question is worth.

Hank: Okay.

Blake: If you get the question right, you win those points. If you get it wrong, you lose those points.

Hank: Okay.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Blake: This keeps things interesting, okay?

Hank: Alright. 

Blake: So, what will our Patreon patrons win? Here's Stefan, to 'xplain it to ya.

Michael & Hank: (starts laughing)

Stefan: Both Kevin and Ry, regardless of how Hank and Michael do, will both receive autographed cards from our contestants with their final guesses and wagers on them. The winner will take home the elusive "I won SciShow Quiz Show" pin and the lucky loser will win the ultra rare, "I lost SciShow Quiz Show" pin. But the winner will also take home some secret SciShow swag from Back to you, Blake!

Michael: Wow, Stefan. That was great 'xplaining.

Blake: Yeah.

Hank: I am super 'xplained.  

Michael & Blake: (laughs)

Blake: Okay, get ready to hit the light, which by the way does not work. This is purely--

Hank: No, it does. It turns on. 

Blake: Oh really?

Michael: It's just, you can't push it on this side.

Hank: Yeah...

Michael: This side works.

Blake: Okay.

Michael: This is a very high-budget show.

Blake: Yeah. Your first round is called the sound of science.

Hank: Ohh. 

Blake: Souuund...

Hank: One hundred and ninety-four decibels. 

Blake: Of sciiience.

Michael: That was the answer to that.

Blake: That was actually part of this quiz show before, and then we took it out. We'll just [Claps] Our first round is dedicated to the science of sound, so maybe I should have called it that instead.

Hank: No, it's fine.

Blake: OK. Even though the physics of sound seems pretty simple, vibrations create waves that travel through a medium to our ears, there's a lot more to explore there. For example, whips!

Hank: Aw, yes.

Blake: Believe or not, there have been many papers written and many theories offered about why a whip makes a cracking sound when you whip it. But, in 2002 a pair of physicists from the University of Arizona finally figured out the source of this sound.

Hank: Oh.

Blake: So, for 250 American SciShow Bucks-

Michael: Oh

Blake: Why does a whip make a cracking sound? Is it-

Hank: Devo

Blake: [Laughing] I'm going, now there are five choices.

Hank: [Laughing]

Blake: Is it, A, the sound of the front of the whip coming in contact with the middle of the whip, B, the sound of the leather in the whip literally cracking, C, the sound of the tip of the whip being snapped backward, or D, the sound of a sonic boom made by the length of the whip?

 (04:00) to (06:00)


Blake: Yes, Mike Aranda.

Hank: [Laughing] That's a real careful and, and, and delicate button push

Blake: Mhmm, very thoughtful

Michael: A

Hank: A, he says.

Blake: I'm sorry that's incorrect.

Hank: Oh it's red. Do I have to answer?

Michael: It seemed like the dumbest answer, so I was like it must be that one.

Blake: [Laughing]

Hank: Which one was that?

Michael: The one where the tip comes in contact with the middle.

Hank: Right, so I'm gonna- It can't be sonic boom, because everybody said that forever, so I feel like we knew that before. So, it must be new information. So, I'm gonna go with, um, the, C, which I can't even remember what it was.

Blake: That's the- C is the sound of the tip of the whip being snapped backward.

Hank: Sure, that.

Blake: Your reasoning is very sound but slightly flawed, because the answer is D.

Hank: Shhhhhhhhhhhh

Michael: See, that just seemed so obvious.

Hank: Right. Well, I guess we didn't know for sure until 2002.

Blake: Why is the answer D? I don't remember, and I wrote this script, so-

[Hank and Michael laughing]

Blake: I only got this job because my eyes matched the drapes. To explain the answer we have someone who is smarter than me, Smart Blake. Take it away Smart Blake.

[Hank laughing]

Smart Blake: Thanks, dumb Blake. I'll take it from here. For a long time, the cracking sound was though to be caused by the very tip of the whip breaking the sound barrier, creating a cushion of compressed air that makes a noise like a sonic boom. But, in 2002, the Arizona researchers found that by the time the whip cracks, the tip is actually going about twice the speed of sound and it reaches that speed without making any noise. After further investigation, they found that what makes the crack is the loop that forms in the length of the whip when it's snapped. The loop travels down the whip toward the tip so fast that it eventually reaches 1,234.8 kilometers an hour, the speed of sound. And, that's when you hear the [whip cracking].

Blake: Thanks, Smart Blake.

[Michael and Hank laughing]

Blake: Handsome though, isn't he?

Hank: Yeah, I like, like his glasses

Michael: Dashing!

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Blake: Now, whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in the woods is a question for philosophers, but a question for scientists might be what makes a sound that everyone can hear? So, for another 250 SciShow Bucks, what was the source of the loudest sound ever registered? Was is A, the first ignition of the Saturn V Rocket in 1966, B, the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883--

Hank: Wait, is this like recorded history? What's happening?

Blake: Ever registered is what it says.

Hank: Registered?

Blake: Yeah

Hank: By a machine?

Michael: By anything [laughing]

Blake: Yeah. Um, eee, ooo. [laughing]

Michael: Does a, does a, an, an ancient philosopher recording events on his parchment, does that count as registering?

Blake: It's a--

Hank: Couldn't be, no.

Blake: There are his- historical records of it.

Hank: OK.

Michael: OK, alright.

Blake: C, the impact of the Pribram Meteorite in Czechoslovakia in 1959, or D, the detonation of the first 10 megaton nuclear bomb in 1952?


Hank: Well that's definitely

Michael: B?

Blake: Correct, it is B, the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

Hank: Ah, that's probably pretty loud.

Smart Blake: Now, there aren't any recordings of the eruption of Krakatoa, but historically records from all over the world registered its impact. On August 26, 1883, the volcano in what's now Indonesia erupted with such force that its sound was heard about 5,000 kilometers away, on the island of Diego Garcia. And, although there were no earthquakes or other shocks, the impact of the sound shattered windows and broke down brick walls within 160 kilometers. Not only that, but even farther away, in cities as far as Mumbai and Berlin scientists observed sudden spikes in barometric pressure. Those were the peaks of the shockwaves coming from Krakatoa, and they were so strong that they actually circled the Earth at least 4 times. If you want to compare in terms of decibels, Krakatoa's eruption was measured, using barometers, at over 172 decibels from 160 kilometers away. By comparison, the Saturn V Rocket and a nuclear bomb have been measured at 220 to 250 decibels from just a few hundred meters away.

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Smart Blake: And, the Pribram Meteorite was only about 9 and a half kilograms and wasn't very loud. Sorry.

Blake: Round two! This round is about the science of color. So, we're going to move on to another one of our senses and talk about how things, specifically animals, look and why they look the way they do.

Michael: Mm

Blake: Let's start with a condition found in all animals, including humans, that affects their appearance. For 500 SciShow Bucks, what is the condition known as piebaldism?

Michael: As what?

Hank: Piebal--

Blake: Piebaldism.

Hank: Piebaldism.

Blake: Want me to spell that for you?

Michael: Sure.

Blake: P-I-E-B-A-L-D-I-S-M

Michael: Exactly the way I expected it. OK.

Hank: It's when your pie has no hair.

Michael: Yes.

Blake: Is piebaldism A, a total lack of body hair, B, a congenital excess of body hair, C, intermittent lack of pigmentation, or D, a total lack of pigmentation.


Hank: Uh-

Blake: Yes?

Hank: I'm going to say no body hair at all.

Blake: I am sorry. That is incorrect.

Hank: I'm bad at this game. I'm going to go into the negatives, man. I made it really real.

[Two chimes]

Blake: Yes, sir?

Michael: Um, the one where there's, uh, some hair loss, not all of it. I don't remember which though.

Blake: That's not an option.


Blake: There's total lack of body hair, excess of body hair.

Hank: Yeah.

Michael: Oh!

Blake: Intermittent pigmentation, or total lack of pigmentation.

Michael: I thought B was like excess of body hair loss.

Blake: Oh, OK.

Michael: Um, sure let's still go with B. Why not?

Blake: OK, that's still wrong.

Hank: Ah, yeah! It's going to be C right?

Blake: The answer is C, an intermittent lack of pigmentation.

Hank: Yeah. Yeah I feel like I knew that some- at some point in my life I knew that and then I forgot.

Michael: At no point in my life have I ever known that.

Blake: Oh, really?

Michael: Pretty sure this is brand new information.

Blake: Well, you should pay attention to what Smart Blake has to say.

Smart Blake: Lots of non-human animals owe their distinctive looks as well as their names to piebaldism, like the magpie and the bald eagle. In these and other animals, piebaldism manifests itself as patches of hair or feathers that lack pigmentation, while the rest of the animal has some coloration.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Smart Blake: But the term also applies to humans, in whom piebaldism can create patches of unpigmented skin and hair. One of the most common effects is a lack of coloration and a lack of hair in the front of the hairline, this is known as a white forelock.

Blake: So that question tells you that this round is about animal colors.

Michael: Mm.

Blake: Let's talk about another condition that affects coloration, erythrism. It's a phenomenon that's found in animals as diverse as salamanders, rabbits, leopards, and zebras, but it was first discovered in the 1880s, in a species of katydid and the katydids appeared to be super obvious in the wild because of their strange coloration. So, for another 500 SciShow bucks, what color does erythrism produce? Is it A, red, B, yellow, C, blue, or D, white?

Hank: I've heard this-

[Two Chimes]

Hank: I've heard this prefix before.

Blake: Yes, you're big on etymology so maybe this would-- there's a clue in there for you

Hank: Yeah, but I don't know.

Blake: Oh

Hank: I'm gonna go with red. I'll go with red.

Blake: Yes, correct! It is red.

Hank: Yay! I felt like that might have been right.

Blake: Yeah.

Michael: Mm.

Hank: Or, just, I flipped a coin twice and got heads both times.

Blake: [Laughing] We'll see

Smart Blake: Scientists aren't exactly sure what's causing it, but erythrism seems to be the result of a recessive gene that causes either too much red pigment or too little of other colors. And, while it's been found in vertebrates of many kinds, it seems to be most commonly observed in insects, with katydids and grasshoppers have been found rocking the pink. But, what's perplexing is how such a trait could be heritable among animals in the wild. Presumably, bugs that are born bright pink aren't going to last very long until they're picked off by predators, but apparently erythristic insects keep living long enough to pass the trait along.

Michael: Mm.

Hank: I got points. [Dancing] I got points.

Michael: [Dancing] Hank got points. Hank got points.

Hank: It's the first time this game I got any points. I really got-- what am I thinking of?

Michael: I don't know, Hank. What are you thinking of?

Blake: Eryothermisis--Erythromycin? That's the first I thought of.

Hank: [Nodding] Erythromycin.

Blake: So, I looked it up and that's Greek for red, erythro.

Hank: OK.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

Blake: Finally, we've all heard of colors that don't appear in nature, but there are some colors that vertebrates find almost impossible to produce.

Michael: Mm

Blake: In fact, there's one color that only a single vertebrate on Earth has been found to contain the true pigment for.

Hank: Oh.

Blake: For 500 SciShow bucks--

Hank: That's really cool.

Blake: --what is that rare color that only 1 genius of vertebrate can produce? A, purple, B, yellow, C, green, D, blue.


Blake: Yes?

Michael: Blue?

Blake: Correct, Blue

Hank: Oh, wow. I'm glad I didn't buzz in. I feel like I should have just to get my point total up, but I wouldn't have said blue. Cool.

Blake: Nature's fascinating, but again, I don't know. We'll have to have him explain.

Smart Blake: Well, there are many animals that can appear blue, like blue birds and blue poison dart frogs, they don't contain any actual blue pigment. Their feathers and skin have colorless structures that scatter light, creating a blue effect, much in the the same way that blue eyes don't have any actual blue pigment in them. So, for a long time, true blue pigment was completely unknown among vertebrates, but in 1995, Japanese biologists discovered a new genius of fish that contained actual blue pigment cells. The two species that contained this coloration were named the mandarin fish and psychedelic fish, and their newly discovered blue making cells was dubbed cyanophores.

Blake: OK, are you ready? Because, it's time for round three, and this is called the Bitter End.

Hank: Oh, is that the actual name of the--

Blake: It's the name of this round.

Hank: OK, so I need to know about taste?

Blake: Very good. It actually is about gustation, or the sensation of taste.

Michael: OK

Hank: Oh, OK

Blake: Based on what you think you know about gustation, place your wagers-

Hank: OK

Blake: -for how many SciShow bucks you want to bet on the results of this question.

Michael: [Sharp breathing]

Blake: Don't choke, don't choke, don't choke.

Hank: He's just trying to intimidate him.

Blake: [Laughing]

Michael: I'm so intimidated right now, um.

Hank: [Writing noise]


Blake: It's a big number. I'd be slightly scared if I was you.

Michael: Hmm, OK.

Blake: Stick figures don't count. You have to write an actual number.

Michael: Oh, OK. [Laughing]

 (14:00) to (16:00)

Blake: OK, you ready?

Hank: Yes!

Blake: Many of the most bitter substances found in nature have been used in alcoholic drinks.

Hank: Sure.

Blake: In fact, if you've had an booze at all, you've probably tasted some of the bitterest plants on Earth and lived to tell about it.

Michael: Hmm.

Blake: So, congratulations, so far.

Hank: Michael doesn't drink very much, actually. So no, he hasn't [Laughs]

Michael: I don't, I don't, I don't drink-- I, yeah.

Blake: Oh, really?

Michael: Yeah.

Blake: So, this will all be new to you.

Michael: Great!

Blake: There's one substance that has been deemed the bitterest naturally occurring substance in the world, and you can find it as close as the nearest bar.

Hank: OK.

Blake: [To Michael] I'll take you there after this is done.

[Michael snickers]

Blake: What is this substance? Is it A, gentian root, the main ingredient in the cocktail flavoring known as bitters, or B, wormwood, the main ingredient in absinthe, C, quinine, the main ingredient in tonic water, or D, hops, an ingredient in beer?

[Hank sighs]

[Blake making a clock ticking noise]

Michael: I'm ready.

Blake: You're ready?

[Pen clicks on table]

Blake: Alright--

Hank: I'm so ready.

Blake: --show the camera you're cards.

Hank: Oh god, I'm scared!


Blake: Dudes, you're both incorrect.


Hank: Ah, well you win.

Michael: Oh.

Hank: Was it bitters?

Blake: Yes.

Hank: I figured it wasn't bitters, because that one seemed a little obvious.

Michael: I thought it was hops.

Blake: Gentian root, the main ingredient in bitters.

Hank: Well, I have had bitters, and it's very bitter.

Blake: But, how bitter is it?

Michael: The bitterest.

Blake: Smart Blake will tell you.

Smart Blake: The yellow gentian plant, known as gentiana lutea, is native to Europe, and all of the plant is extremely bitter, not just the roots. That's because the plant is rich in a compound known as amarogentin, a chemical that's 300 times as bitter as pure quinine, and, by one estimate, a mixture of just 1 part amarogentin to two hundred thousand parts water would be undrinkable. So, the dash of bitters that you put in your manhattan has gentian root in it, but a lot less than that. Like, by comparison, wormwood, the main ingredient in absinthe, is probably the second bitterest substance thanks to a glucicide compound known as absinthin.

 (16:00) to (17:09)

Smart Blake: As for beer, historically research has shown that before hops was introduced as a brewing ingredient, gentian root was used, which would have made for some very bitter beer, indeed.

Blake: Thanks one last time, you really pulled your weight in this one, Smart Blake. And, uh-


Blake: I am happy to announce that the winner is Ry Prindle.

Hank: Yay!

Michael: Ry Prindle, it's been a long and strange journey, but in the end, we emerged victorious.

Hank: We, Kevin, lost. I'm on a losing streak. Got to stop placing your bets on me, SciShow folks.


Blake: Thanks for joining us for SciShow Quiz Show. Don't forget to go to and subscribe!

Michael: Yes!

Hank: Good job. That was like his eighteenth try.


Blake: We will be here all day. Oh, this is what I really look like, by the way.


[Outro music]