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Watch SciShow Creator Hank Green battle brains with SciShow Writer Ceri Riley.

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Mangrove Killifish;jsessionid=DEED1F1FC3ADA00B75ED11D057E21E86.f01t01

 (00:00) to (02:00)


M: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to SciShow Quiz Show, a gluten free part of this balanced breakfast.  Today on the show, we have Purple Tank Co-Owner Hank Green, how's it going?

H: Heyyy.

M: And we have Protein Pathway Grandmaster, Ceri Riley.

C: Oh boy.

H: Hi.  Ceri is one of our writers for SciShow and she's really excited to be here.

C: I was so excited and definitely not terrified. 

M: Good.  

H: You didn't write this one, though.

C: No, I didn't.  I wrote the other one.  

M: The Katelyn Salem one.  So, uh, Hank?

H: Yes?

M: Today you are competing on behalf of Patrick Merrithew.  

H: Hi Patrick.  I paused for a while, 'cause I wasn't sure if Michael had pronounced your last name right, but now I feel like we should have just plastered right on.

M: To be honest, I'm not sure I said it correctly either.

H: And not really questioned it, 'cause--we're just gonna have to guess.

M: Ceri, you are playing on behalf of Bader AlGhamdi.  

C: Good.  Let's go.  

H: You're not terrified at all.  Make this happen.

M: Okay, so both of you start off with 1000 SciShow bucks.  Each time you answer a question correctly, you'll win some number of points.  If you answer incorrectly, you will lose some number of points.

H: But not answering really isn't an option, because that just makes you look weak.  

M: And whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins some fantastic prizes on behalf of their Patron.  So Stefan, what are we competing for today?

S: Thank you, Michael.  Patrick and Bader will both receive signed cards from our final round with our contestant's final guesses and wagers on them.  The runner up will receive the I Lost SciShow Quiz Show pin, very nice, and the winner will take home the I Won SciShow Quiz Show pin and some secret SciShow swag from  Back to you.

M: Okay.  You guys ready to hit the light?

H: Yes.

C: Sure.

M: It's starting to get pretty wintery here in the Northern Hemisphere, so our first round is about the cold.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

C: Okay.

M: And our first question in this round is about the coldest continent.  Not much can live in Antarctica with all that ice and wind and freezing temperatures.

H: For a second, I thought that the question was going to be, what is the coldest continent, and I was like, boom, I got that one!

C: I was thinking that, too!

M: Africa.  

C: Thought it would be a trick question or something like--

H: Yeah, I was so excited.  

C: Yep.

H: Continue, sorry.

M: Given that we've got the ice and the wind and the freezing temperatures, some animals are still able to manage with the help of some special adaptations.  So the question is, what is Antarctica's most abundant land animal?  Is it penguins, mosquitoes, nematode worms, or tardigrades?

H: I'm gonna go with nematodes.  Do you wanna know my reasoning?

M: Sure.

H: 'Cause they're little and weird and tardigrades, I feel like I would have heard about that.  

M: Well, Hank, you are correct.

H: Hey! 

M: So that's 100 points for Hank Green.

H: But I would not have been surprised if it was mosquitoes, 'cause they go everywhere.

C: I was gonna guess mosquitoes.

H: Life finds a way.

M: The answer is C, nematode worms.  Nematodes have a few techniques for surviving in some of the coldest weather on Earth.  Like some other animals that are adapted to cold, they have a compound called glycerol in their blood, which acts as an antifreeze.  If it gets so cold that ice crystals start to form in their blood anyway, they also have special proteins that surround the crystals to protect themselves from damage.  Nematodes can also protect themselves by what's essentially freeze drying.  When the temperature drops too quickly, they let themselves dehydrate and enter a kind of inert state.  Once it gets warmer again, they absorb moisture and go back to being their usual wormy selves.  Penguin, meanwhile, aren't considered land animals at all because they spend so much time in the ocean, and there are no mosquitoes in Antarctica.  Tardigrades do live there, though.  We haven't directly counted the populations of nematodes or tardigrades, but by analyzing amounts of different species in soil samples, researchers have concluded that there are more nematodes in Antarctica than tardigrades or any other land animal.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

The next question is about things that seem to work only at very low temperatures: superconductors.  Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity perfectly without the usual loss of energy that regular conductors have, but they only work at super cold temperatures.  In 2010, researchers were testing a new kind of superconductor that was made by heating a compound called iron telluride in water.  At one point, the team was at a party and came up with the idea of soaking the compound in different kinds of booze they had on hand, like beer, wine, and whisky.  Red wine turned out to be the best choice.  It made 62.4% of the material become superconducting.  Why?  Was it because of the concentration of ethanol in the wine, the acid found in the wine, the compounds in the barrel used to age the wine, or the yeast in the wine?  

H: I'm not gonna take that risk.

C: Okay, uh, the acid in the wine.

M: Ceri Riley, you are correct.

C: Ohh!  That's amazing.

M: That's 100 points for Ceri Riley.  

C: That was like, yes.  

H: Yep.  I would have--I was between those two, the acid and the ethanol, but I had no idea which one it was, but I guess it makes sense 'cause all those other things have ethanol.  (?~5:21)  

What else did they try?  Did they, like, pee in there?  Did they, like, do some, like, blood sacrifice to the--

M: I don't know, but future me is probably going to tell you right now.

The answer is B, the acid found in the wine.  Many of the alcoholic drinks that researchers tested increased the amount of superconducting material compared to water.  Beer, for example, caused 37.8% of the material to become superconducting, but the red wine caused, by far, the highest increase.  Researchers then tested different kinds of red wine and compared their effectiveness to their composition to try to figure out what was happening on the molecular level.  Turns out that a type of red wine called Beaujolais increased the superconductivity more than the other kinds of red wine, because it has more tartaric acid, a weak carbon-containing acid that's sometimes used in baking powder.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

In salt form, it's also known as cream of tartar.  After some more research, the team concluded that weak carbon-containing acids increase superconductivity by changing the structure of the iron telluride.  

So as a biochemist and a biologist, you probably both know at least a little bit about the subject of our next round.

H&C: Okay.

M: Carbon.

H: Sure.

C: Okay.

M: Carbyne, with a y, is a type of carbon that's structured as just one chain of carbon molecules with alternating single and triple bonds.  It's stronger than any other known material, but it's also really hard to make.  So far, the longest chains made in a lab have been about 6400 carbons long, but carbyne has been found naturally in some places like meteorites.  Where else might you find it?  As an impurity inside a diamond, in the Earth's mantle, in the Sun, or in interstellar dust?  

H: I'm gonna say interstellar dust, but before I do--

M: You just did!

H: In the Mars trilogy, a space elevator collapses onto the planet and in the process, like, it generates so much energy that it like, whips around and it causes a lot of destruction, and one of the things that it also does is create all kinds of crazy chemical compounds that they are then able to harvest that would never have been created in any other way 'cause of the amount of energy that was involved in that.  One of them was weird carbon chains like that, so that's one place you might find it, in a collapsed space elevator, but additionally, since you said that it was in the meteorites, I'm gonna say interstellar dust.

M: Well, Hank, you are correct.

H&M: Heeey!

M: The answer is D, in interstellar dust.  German chemist Adolf von Baeyer first proposed the existence of carbyne in 1885, but all he knew was that long carbon chains might exist.  Ever since, researchers have been trying to figure out how to make these chains, but as you can probably imagine, it's tougher to engineer chains that are just one atom thick, especially because they aren't very stable.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

But in 1980, a group of astronomers from the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cambridge, England proposed that natural carbyne could be found in interstellar dust.  Earlier studies had looked at the electromagnetic radiation coming from interstellar dust to try to match up its spectroscopic signature with known compounds and see what the dust is made of, but parts of the spectra weren't a match for the compounds astronomers expected to find in interstellar dust.  The Cambridge team realized that the data could match up with carbyne though, and the fact that carbyne has been found in meteorites and other studies describing the conditions where carbyne can form, the researchers concluded that these long carbon chains were in interstellar dust.

So that's 200 points for Hank.  Now, there's also a new form of carbon that was only invented last year.  It's called Q-Carbon.(?~8:50)

It's made my taking layers of non-crystalline or amorphous carbon using a laser to heat it up and then cooling it really fast.  

H: Okay.

M: The team that invented Q-Carbon also discovered there's something unique about it.  What is that special property?  Is it that Q-Carbon is permanently magnetic, liquid at standard temperature and pressure, electrically conductive, or a superconductor?  

H: Go ahead.

C: Okay.  The superconductor one?

M: Ceri Riley, you are wrong.

H: Awww.

H: I'm gonna guess the one about it being a liquid.

M: Hank Green, you are also wrong.

H: Awww.  I thought that would be really cool.

C: That would be really weird, yeah.

M: It is that it is permanently magnetic.  

H: That doesn't make any sense at all.

C: Explain it to us, Michael.

M: The answer is A, Q-Carbon is ferromagnetic, that is, permanently magnetic.  Q-Carbon is actually a lot like diamond, except that the carbons inside it are arranged much more haphazardly, and it's even harder than diamond.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Q-Carbon is also electrically conductive, but so are other forms of carbon like the graphite of your pencil.  But Q-Carbon is ferromagnetic at room temperature, because of the disorganized way the carbons are bonded to each other.  No other plain forms of carbon are permanent magnets.

Our final round is actually about biology, specifically, fish.  Herring live in big, fast swimming schools called shoals, and they have a unique way of keeping these shoals together, specifically at night.  How do they do it?  Is it by infrasonic communication, farting, vibrating their swim bladders, or swimming in circles?  

H: Wait a second.  That first thing wasn't even words.

M: Infrasonic communication.  

C: I think that's like, below, I think that's like deep sounds.

M: Very long wavelengths.

C: Like infrared.

H: Long wavelength sounds.  Which you might do by vibrating your swim bladder.  So I'm just gonna rule both of those out.

M: (?~11:05)

C: What were the other options?

H: Farting, obviously.

C: Yeah, okay.  

M: Infrasonic communication, farting, vibrating their swim bladders, swimming in circles.  

H: Alright, somebody has to do it.  

C: The swim bladder one.  

M: Incorrect.  

H: That's totally--

M: We're in the 300 point round, so I'm sorry to say that's -300 points.  
H: 300 points!

C: That's a lotta points.  It's okay, it's fine.

H: Alright, I feel an obligation to answer now, I'm gonna go farting.  

M: Hank--

C: Is it farting?

M: You are correct.

C: I'm so mad!  That's just rude.

H: I wanna know more about this!  

M: Well, let me tell you about it.  The answer is b, farting.  Herring release bubbles from their rear ends especially at night, which makes a high-pitched noise that other herring can hear.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

The gas isn't because of something they ate.  The fish specifically swallow air from the surface.  When it's dark and there're lots of fish around, the herring fart to help each other keep track of the shoul.  The fish that eat herring aren't as sensitive to high-pitched sound so the herring can communciate with each other without telling their predators where they are.  

We have reached our double or nothing question, wherein our contestants can wager any number of the points they have.  Hank is at 1400, Ceri, you have 600.  So, I can tell you that the next question is also about fish.  

H: Okay.

C: I didn't do so well on the last one about fish.

M: Place your bets, we'll be right back after these commercial messages.

Welcome back.  Mangrove killifish are tiny fish that live in Florida, Central America, and South America, and what's weird about it is that they can survive on dry land for up to two months and they have to because they live in little pools of water that disappear during the dry season.  The fish have lots of adaptations to help them survive on land, but which of the following don't they do?  Lower their metabolic activity, breathe through their skin, bounce around using their tails, hunt for food on land.  

H: What? They do one of those two things?  

M: They do three of those things that I just said.

H: Yeah, but obviously they decrease their metabolic activity.

C: Yeah, (?~13:35)

H: I'm fascinated.  

M: You guys ready?

H: Yes.

M: Alright.  Show your answers.  

H: Oh, we both said the same thing.  

M: Wow, you're both equally wrong!  The answer is lower their metabolic activity.  

H: What?!

C: Are you serious?

 (14:00) to (15:35)

H: Oh man!  

C: Past me is really embarrassed.  We were so sure!

H: Well, at least we're together.

C: Yeah.  

H: Oh man.

C: And you bet all your points.

H: I did, and so did you.

M: Wow, so you guys tied with zero points.  

The answer is A, mangrove killifish don't lower their metabolic activity to help them survive on land.  When their pools dry up, the fish just kind of keep going about their business.  As long as they're kept moist, they can breathe and even excrete waste through their skin.  They can move around on land either by wiggling their bodies or by using their tails to launch themselves into the air.  Since they can move around on land, they can capture the insects they eat, so mangrove killifish don't really need to conserve energy when their pools dry up.  They have no problem keeping their bodies going even on land.

H: Well, I think that we can say that we both won.  Or--and so everybody's gonna get something in the mail.

M: Everyone always gets stuff anyway.

H: Yeah, everyone always gets stuff anyway.

S: But everyone gets both pins this time.  Whoo!  

M: This was an exciting quiz show.  

H: Oh man, it was.

M: Well, thank you, boys and girls, for watching at home.  If you'd like to help us make more stuff like this, you can go to and don't forget to go to and subscribe.