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A Podcast Of Unnecessary Detail
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A Podcast Of Unnecessary Detail

Author: Festival of the Spoken Nerd

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Series 3 is here! Check out festivalofthespokennerd.com/tickets for details of our live shows in the UK and streamed across the world.


Looking for a science comedy podcast that doesn't skimp on the details? We've got you. One starting point sets off three different science stories from the trio behind comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd.


Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, experiments maestro Steve Mould and geek songstress Helen Arney take a single phrase and use it to investigate things that might not seem particularly interesting on the surface, but become fascinating when you get down to the nitty and / or gritty.


Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

24 Episodes
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Back once again after a seasonal break, Series 3 continues with some Ingenuity from Steve, some DOOM from Matt, and a song about the man, the myth, the mathematician Archimedes from Helen:- Steve's bit (00:55)- Matt's bit (18:36)- Helen's bit (39:56)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. To download songs from the series visit Helen's Bandcamp Page.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. This series is sponsored by Brilliant.org, the place to learn maths and science through interactive online lessons. Start your free trial at Brilliant.org/apoud, and the first 200 Unnecessary Detail listeners who sign up for annual membership will get 20% off on the same link.Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3.3 - "You'll Log"

3.3 - "You'll Log"

2023-12-1538:39

Series 3 brings 2023 to a close with a festive special that reaches the parts that other festive specials don't reach... 3D programmable tree lights, the real reason people kiss under the mistletoe and a disappointingly bleak Laboratory Christmas Party take us into the new year with more detail than anyone could possibly need or want. Thank you, as ever, for listening!- Steve's bit (00:56)- Matt's bit (08:38)- Helen's bit (28:21)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- Helen has re-found her binary advent calendar, and it has only 5 doors! 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 are enough to get every number up to the magical 24. Unfortunately the physical calendar is long gone, but you can find a photo in the show notes on our episode page. - On twitter, James Cooper has added some helpful etymology! In a great example of language reflecting nature, the Saxon words that make up mistletoe, 'Mistel' and 'tan' can be translated into 'poo on a stick'. More Mistletoe facts here. For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Download songs from the series from Helen's Bandcamp Page.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. This series is sponsored by Brilliant.org, the place to learn maths and science through interactive online lessons. Start your free trial at Brilliant.org/apoud, and the first 200 Unnecessary Detail listeners who sign up for annual membership will get 20% off on the same link.Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Against all odds, Series 3 continues with a complicated automotive engineer from Helen, a complicated visual processing system from Steve, and a complicated restaurant triangulation problem from Matt:- Helen's bit (00:55)- Steve's bit (22:35)- Matt's bit (41:45)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. To download songs from the series visit Helen's Bandcamp Page.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. This series is sponsored by Brilliant.org, the place to learn maths and science through interactive online lessons. Start your free trial at Brilliant.org/apoud, and the first 200 Unnecessary Detail listeners who sign up for annual membership will get 20% off on the same link.Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In a surprise first episode of Series 3 (truly, no-one is more surprised than us to be popping up in your feed right now...) Steve tells the truth about the Prime Meridian, Helen brings a song from her new musical "Almost Astronauts", and Matt attempts to divert an apocalyptic future scenario - with maths:- Steve's bit (00:48)- Helen's bit (17:01)- Matt's bit (34:06)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. This series is sponsored by Brilliant.org, the place to learn maths and science through interactive online lessons. Start your free trial at Brilliant.org/apoud, and the first 200 Unnecessary Detail listeners who sign up for annual membership will get 20% off on the same link.Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
To Infinity And Beyond

To Infinity And Beyond

2022-06-1453:42

In the final episode of this series, Steve gives faint stars the side-eye, Helen sings a relatively short song about relativity and Matt gives a standing ovation to the desktop calculator that rerouted a space probe. Up, up and away!- Steve's bit (01:54)- Helen's bit (16:13)- Matt's bit (36:07)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Steve, Helen and Matt introduce the final installment of their live shows, performed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. With sets from astrophysicist and emo kid Jen Gupta, NATO alphabet innovator (in-NATO-vator) Ted Hill, stand-up medic Matt Hutchinson and Rock ‘n’ Roll IT consultants Foxdog Studios. Also contains extra details from Steve talking about tastebuds, and Helen singing about radioactive bananas:- Steve's bit (01:29)- Jen's bit (12:08)- Ted's bit (21:32)- Foxdog Studio's bit (27:26)- Matt H's bit (31:14)- Helen's bit (38:43)We'd like to add a special thanks to everyone who made these live shows possible! Our co-producer Hana Ayoob; production assistant Nicole Jacobus; sound recordist Robert Wells; Chris, Lou, Ellen, Joan, Frank and all the team at Bloomsbury Theatre; and our series producer and editor for these episodes, Lyndsay Fenner. Plus every fantastic performer, and all the brilliant audience who turned up on both nights to holler, cheer and laugh. High fives to all of you!SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Lock And Key

Lock And Key

2022-05-3101:02:091

In this episode, Matt exposes false advertising in the Jigsaw Puzzle industry, Steve matches up what we know about the immune system, and Helen writes a new tune that fits an old song. If you like detail, have a listen. You’ll fit right in: - Matt's bit (01:28)- Steve's bit (19:23)- Helen's bit (32:56)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- Harlekintiger on twitter has recommended this video by Howard Ho about "We Don't Talk About Bruno" for another analysis of how it works and why it's so catchy. We didn't have time to go into as much detail as we would have liked, and this episode was already the longest of this series. Enjoy!For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Matt, Helen and Steve introduce more favourite moments from their recent live shows, performed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. With comedian Rachel Wheeley talking about the Greenwich Time Signal, biochemical engineer Michael Sulu on the potentially fatal difference between tubes and pipes, and zoologist Hana Ayoob sharing the Honey Badger love. Plus Matt on fast food, bad maths and McCombinations, and Helen with a song about losing love at the circus:- Matt's bit (1:27)- Rachel's bit (15:09)- Michael's bit (24:02)- Hana's bit (34:45)- Helen's bit (44:00)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- The original version of this episode contained a naughty word that wasn't beeped out - oops! We've fixed it now.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On The Ones And Twos

On The Ones And Twos

2022-05-1747:251

In this episode, Steve explains why all the molecules in your body are right handed, Matt bigs up the strong law of small numbers and Helen grabs the mic to get on the ones and twos. Stand by to receive details!- Matt's bit (1:10)- Steve's bit (18:19)- Helen's bit (32:49)- "One" Song from "Hello Numbers" (40:25)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- Every time Matt mentions the "Lagrange constant" please change it in your head to "Legendre constant" in your head. He was close, but not close enough! See the show notes to find out more about both Legendre and Lagrange.- The audio for this episode was updated on 1st June after some changes were made to the lyrics on the song recording. Everything else about the episode is the same.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Live And Kicking Part 1

Live And Kicking Part 1

2022-05-1053:111

Helen, Matt and Steve introduce the best bits of their recent live shows, performed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. With nerdy guest performers Dr Rohin Francis aka Medlife Crisis discussing why the human body isn’t really fit for purpose, and comedian Rosie Wilby on whether monogamy is truly dead. Plus the Nerds share their own unnecessary details on stage, with Matt throwing the rule book at Swiss Trains, Helen singing numbers in rhyming order, and Steve breaking into his own car:- Steve's bit (01:33)- Rohin's bit (14:40)- Matt's bit (23:45)- Rosie's bit (39:05)- Helen's bit (47:58)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- Sorry to everyone who accidentally got an advert in the middle of Helen's song... we put the ad marker in the wrong place. Totally our fault! We won't do it again.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Curiouser and Curiouser

Curiouser and Curiouser

2022-05-0345:131

In a different kind of episode, our intrepid Detailers reveal three facts that they just could not believe the first time they heard them, but turned out to be true. The reproductive habits of barnacles, the unexpected mating call of the tawny owl and a freaky formula that draws a picture of itself all get the Unnecessary Detail treatment:- Helen's bit (01:12)- Matt's bit (16:08)- Steve's bit (34:12)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- A few weeks after we recorded this episode, New York Times published an extremely detailed and well-researched article debunking the "Birds Released In Central Park By Shakespeare Fan" story. Read it here, with thanks to listener Joshua Miller for sending over this link. For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds

2022-04-2646:551

In this episode, logical thought and raw emotion meet as Matt finds two numbers that say “I Love You”, Helen sings mathematical equations that are guaranteed to make your brain light up and Steve embarrasses himself with the science of blushing:- Steve's bit (00:51)- Matt's bit (11:15)- Helen's bit (30:13)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- Liran Bromberg emailed to clarify that the Choco Leibnitz biscuit is - in fact - named after the mathematician. Which surprised Helen, who thought that all of the biscuits and "biscuits" mentioned in her song were just naming coincidences. Thanks for the bonus fact, Liran!For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Input and Output

Input and Output

2022-04-1951:45

In this episode, Steve explains how computers talk to each other behind our backs, Helen co-writes a song with a popular internet search engine (if you can’t work out which one, Google it) and Matt brings an Oscar-winning algorithm to the table:- Steve's bit (00:56)- Matt's bit (16:18)- Helen's bit (36:24)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... Head to the episode page to see them. If you're looking for the API that Steve and Matt mentioned, try https://stevemould.com/api.Corrections and clarifications:- MikoKisai (and many others since he first noticed it...) has kindly pointed out that at various points, Steve gets his acronyms wrong: API is short for application programming interface, not application protocol interface. Cheers Miko!- Steve Howe also pointed out an error from Helen: A major and F# minor are the "same" key, not A major and C# minor as she said.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Go Forth and Multiply

Go Forth and Multiply

2022-04-1251:331

In this episode, Matt finds out how a runaway algorithm created the world’s most expensive book, Helen searches for the most singable fruit fly genes and Steve considers whether donating a kidney is easier than buying a house:- Steve's bit (00:46)- Helen's bit (11:05)- Matt's bit (37:30)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Primed and Ready

Primed and Ready

2022-04-0545:121

In this episode, Matt finds his portrait in a Prime Number, Helen sings about the biggest Prime Number ever discovered (at the time of recording) and Steve discovers the hot new trick that wild honey bees are using to defend themselves:- Steve's bit (00:52)- Matt's bit (13:33)- Helen's bit (26:12)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far...For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Flush and Forget

Flush and Forget

2022-03-2949:351

In this episode, Steve discovers the greedy cup siphon hiding inside your loo, Matt delves into Joseph Bazalgette’s calculations for London’s sewer system and Helen teaches everyone how to flush a toilet, through the medium of song:- Steve's bit (00:48)- Helen's bit (11:48)- Matt's bit (28:03)SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the episode page to see everything.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far. But we have been sent some fantastic sewer tour suggestions, and a range of toilet flush photos from around the world, so we've updated the episode page with all of that.For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: http://festivalofthespokennerd.com. Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts for new episodes as soon as they are released!Looking for a science comedy podcast that doesn't skimp on the details? We've got you. One starting point sets off three different science stories from the trio behind comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd.Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, experiments maestro Steve Mould and geek songstress Helen Arney take a single phrase and use it to investigate things that might not seem particularly interesting on the surface, but become fascinating when you get down to the nitty and / or gritty.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter @FOTSN, Facebook, Instagram or email us on podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Transmission

Transmission

2020-09-2243:501

In this final episode of Series 1, Steve talks about how plants transmit their genes, Helen eavesdrops on whales and Matt decodes spacecraft transmissions. Plus a song about the bravest little transmitter in the known universe:- Steve's bit (00:45)- Matt's bit (13:40)- Helen's bit (26:15)- The Philae Song (39:15)For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the Transmission episode page to see everything in once place.Corrections and clarifications:- Steve repeatedly refers to the Oak Tree as an "Acorn Tree" - which is taxonomically and linguistically incorrect, but as we only spotted the mistake in the final edit we left it as it is. You're smart enough to work out what he meant, right? ;)- Several people got in touch to say they've consumed a cashew apple! Our pal Simon Watt has tried it in a "caju" smoothie, and Christa Norton tells us that if you mix it with chilli powder it's a great alternative to lemon when you're doing tequila slammers. Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Table

Table

2020-09-1540:51

Steve goes to war against rote learning; Matt tells us how ancient numbers affect what we can and can't name our dogs; and Helen's bit is elementary, my dear listener:- Matt's bit (00:50)- Steve's bit (11:15)- Helen's bit (22:00)- Helen's bonus brassy song (37:05)For tickets to live shows, nerd merch, our mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  SHOW NOTES: Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the Table episode page to see everything in once place.Corrections and clarifications:- Regular listener Paul has pointed out that not ALL phone numbers can actually be used as phone numbers. The system connects on the first valid match, so phone numbers longer than 4 digits cannot start with emergency services number 999, or 111, or anything like that. The actual numbers depend on which country you're in, of course.  - Not every IV is written as IV... @DavidDanaci sent in several examples of watchmakers who use IIII instead of IV on their watch faces: Patek Philippe, Breguet and Alange & Soehne. One large scale counter-example is the Great Clock of Westminster, aka the Elizabeth Tower clock, aka, the clock that houses Big Ben aka the massive clock in London colloquially known as Big Ben. Yes, Big Ben is the bell, not the clock or the tower. But you knew that already, right? - Benedikt Gocht emailed to point out that we won't be waiting for another 18 elements to reach the next noble gas, but more like 50 or 54, depending on which model you use to predict the properties of elements after 118. There go Helen's dreams of an element called "Hanon" in her lifetime...Thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Stick

Stick

2020-09-0835:04

In this episode, Steve talks about a sticky effect, Matt gets us tangled up in stick knots, and Helen gets stuck into sticky numbers: - Steve's bit (00:45)- Matt's bit (10:15)- Helen's bit (22:05)For live shows, merch, mailing list and more, visit: festivalofthespokennerd.com.Want to get in touch? We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email podcast@festivalofthespokennerd.com. Come for the Unnecessary Detail. Stay for the A Podcast Of.  SHOW NOTES Unfortunately our show notes are too big for Acast's margins to contain... head to the Stick episode page to see everything in once place.Corrections and clarifications:- None, so far... Thanks for listening!  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Comments (7)

Aaron Dick

I really want to the Matt Parker Face Prime but the show notes link doesn't work. Anyone able to help?

Apr 13th
Reply (1)

WaiTo Tsui

I want more of these podcast. they are so fun

Mar 26th
Reply

WaiTo Tsui

I love these chat.

Jan 22nd
Reply

Doctor Nuu

cancelled?😪

Oct 24th
Reply

Henri

mind blow !!!! the only time table i learned is 7 times 7 equal 49. i never to this day realised the point was to learn them by earth !

Sep 20th
Reply

Alexander Harris

brilliant!

Sep 11th
Reply
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