Today’s show is sponsored by
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s One-Sided Chess Set. ‘I’ll be black.’ This is the Technical Difficulties.
We’re playing Citation Needed. I have an almost-randomly selected article from everybody’s favourite
reliable source of knowledge, Wikipedia, and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a point and a ding [DING], and there’s a special prize
for particularly good answers, which is… And today we have an article with ‘multiple issues’. ALL: Oooo. It needs additional citations; it may need to be rewritten entirely… But nevertheless, we are talking about the flag of Mars. Right. So this is a question about the people
who make Galaxy chocolate, yes? Yes, totally, yes. It’s a bit like a Japanese flag,
only it’s a big Malteser in the middle. Surely that’s the Maltese flag? Ohhh, you! Oh, he’s got you there! He got me bang to rights! Meanwhile, across the river…
there is the flag of Cadbury’s. Yes.
[Laughter] ‘We march beneath our purple banner to GLORY!’ Just loading cannons, again with Maltesers. Just as grapeshot. ‘This is the most delicious battle ev —
AAUGH!’ Aaah! ‘Still pretty good…’ Honeycomb and chocolate in the eye at velocity! So goggles, obviously, is the first consideration,
I think we can all agree. Hershey’s won’t join until 1941. ALL: Ohhh!
[Laughter] Yes! And it’ll just be terrible anyway. That’s more of a comment on their chocolate. Cadbury’s sending in the 1st Mounted Freddos,
as the first…. No, they’d send in Taz’s!
Could you imagine the devastation? That’s why Freddos went up to 20p.
There was a shortage after the battle. Right. Massacred. Massacred. Caramel guts sprayed all over the place! ‘Leave me! Leave me! Go on yourself!’ ‘Aaargh!’ I’ve just got the thought of Mars… like they were multiple rocket-launchers in World War II, a Mars bar, like that. Thump! Thump! Thump! I’ve just got the idea that Swiss chocolate
is sitting in the middle. — ‘Not happening!’
— Nope, nope. Curly Wurlys used as trenching ladders. [Laughter] Using Revels as grenades. Do you remember the Cadbury’s Caramel rabbit? — Yes I do.
— She’d be Florence Nightingale. I was thinking she was the cheesecake for the troops. — Oh crikey. Steady lad!
— And the old ENSA shows. Be still! [Husky voice]
‘Hi boys… I’ll just undo the wrapper slightly…’ [Cheers] ‘Show us your gooey centre!’ [Laughter]
[Groans] That’s the greatest laugh I’ve ever heard! Don’t make him self-conscious of his laugh.
He’s got to keep it going. No! That would be even worse. It was actually — you know what… Horribly, I was laughing over the thought
of one-legged Freddos… ‘Yeah, lost the leg back in ’15 in the Chocolate Wars.’ ‘They did melt a new one onto me, but it’s not the same.’ It’s a leg from a Santa. I just got the thought of Taz’s
riding those Lindt rabbits. No, Lindt… Oh, no, Lindt’s German, isn’t it. It’s not Swiss. I thought, yeah, Swiss neutrality, but yeah. ‘Chaaarge!’ Christ, have I told you about this,
when I went to the Lindt factory… — Hello!
— …in Germany. Did you find the weapons stockpile or something? No, sadly it’s even better than that. Because… you know, you go to the Cadbury’s thing, and it’s pretty much on the site of the real factory… — Yeah.
— You’re just one room over. Well, Lindt have got this little one
that’s on an island in one of the rivers… I forget which German city it is, I do apologize. And so you go on through,
and they’ve got the fake little factory bit, and then there’s this big display board about Mr Lindt. Okay. Saying, ‘da da da… Mr Lindt started this company
in blah blah blah blah in da da da…’ Then the war starts: ‘Sadly, Mr Lindt was tragically killed in 1918.’ So it’s like, oh, so he went to war, you know…
it was a bombing raid or whatever… No! Mr Lindt died when one of his own
fondant boilers exploded. Ohhh! And covered him in delicious goo! — If you’re gonna go…!
— Death by chocolate! [Laughter] And if someone didn’t say that at the time…
[Laughter] ‘Eh? I know it’s a little bit soon but, er…’ [Together] ‘Death by chocolate? Eh?’ I can hear the damn muted trombone… ALL: Womp womp womp… ‘No, it was horrifically heated caramel, Vicar.’ [Laughter] ‘There’s a reason the casket is closed.’ ‘But, er…
Still good!’ ‘In death, as in life… Mr Lindt was delicious.’ [Laughter] ‘All right [??], he may now be just
the human equivalent of a Daim bar…’ Oh! Bad time to take a sip of water, Matt. ‘Soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside — Mr Lindt!’ I almost feel sorry for a man who’s been dead
nearly a hundred years now. A long time ago… ALL: In a galaxy far, far away… Galaxy! ALL: Heyyy! We were talking about the flag of Mars. Yes.
Is it red? Only in part. Is the red bit red? — Yes.
— Ah, there we go. — Point. [DING]
— Yaaay! Not sure why. Is the red bit Mars-shaped, i.e. a circle? No, not at all. It’s very much symbolic, and… Is it a red horizon and then
sort of a black upper band or something? Ooh, close to that. — Blue upper band?
— Oh, with two stars, the Earth and the Moon? — And the sun?
— No… I’m going to give you a point for blue band as well. [DING] You’ve got a red band and a blue band… Oh, okay. It’s a tricolor, like the French flag or the German flag. Right, okay — what, sideways? Sideways. Red, blue… Red, blue and green,
after Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. [DING]
No way! No way! Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, in that order, representing past and possible futures of Mars. Oh, right, green being when we astroturf it. …manage to terraform it. And blue when it has water. Yes. Right. So the green is the bit where we turf it over and have a country park or something like that —
a picnic area… Just —
that’s where we’re going to send all the football. Because we don’t need it here on Earth. I would disagree. That is a great, great idea. …No. You don’t have to agree.
You’re welcome to go to Mars too! No, no, I will be on the supporters’ bus
to Mars and back on a Saturday. I just like the idea of low-gravity football now. Mmm, that’s got a certain charm to it, hasn’t it. It’d be a sod to control. You hoof it, and it comes back and hits you in the head. Well, did you ever play Brazilian football at school, where you’re in the hall,
and off the walls is perfectly valid? — Yes, I did, yes, yes…
— I never played that! Ah, it’s great. It’s a game of football
I can actually get behind. Imagine that — if we could get one of these floaty… You know the big fan chambers
where you pretend you’re skydiving? [Gasps] — Ohhh!
— Oh no, you see, I’ve been to one of them. You can’t control anything in it. Your bladder? Yes. You have to wear a diaper before you go in… Tom Scott’s Anti-Gravity S***ting. Nappy, surely. Tom Scott: Pissing In The Wind. ‘Aaaaah!’ [Together] ‘I’m singing in the rain…’ Ohh! You horrible human beings. So what’s relative gravity on Mars? — Er…
— Give me a moment… — More than the Moon.
— More than a six. It’s nearly one-to-one, isn’t it? It’s actually about a third of gravity — 0.37. — Really?
— Yeah. What, less — is it a third…? Okay. So I’m going to grasp sketchily here
with my poor knowledge of physics… but are we now talking about a pitch
that’s three times the size for the ball to come down? Or do we just make the ball three times heavier? I just think you ask players
to control themselves, quite frankly. Oh, you make it a game of subtlety and finesse Yes, and learn the Martian game. — Oooh.
— Oooh! You can tell who actually bothered by football, here. Because you’d be able to jump higher… — Ohhh!
— So, theoretically… Headers’d be marvelous! — I think…
— It’s not… I think with a third gravity you could expect someone to be able to jump over someone else. — Yeah.
— I don’t think that’s an unreasonable… It’d be like Quidditch! I’m just thinking, actually,
we take it back to the futsal thing, and off the ceiling is perfectly valid. Oh, you would have to have a ceiling, you’re right. You would have to have a roof, you would. That solves it, yeah. It would have to be indoors, and therefore… Because otherwise you’re going to be running for miles
to get the damn ball back. Yeah. And a third gravity… Potentially, I mean, how long could you do
the halfway wall-running thing? — Ohhh.
— Under those auspices? ‘I’m just gonna dribble it three feet up
on the wall here past you…’ You know. I wouldn’t, no. I wouldn’t allow that.
I think you’d… no. I wouldn’t be fine with running up the walls. — Well, you’re not, you’re running along the wall.
— What if you had, like, curved… Oh, yeah! Like a velodrome. Like a half-pipe. A big half-pipe. Because you’d be able to get enough speed up
to do these curving runs… Nah, it’s not the spirit.
I think people would just have to accept that… — Oh, yeah! Because the spirit of the game…
— Not in the spirit of the game! The spirit of the game is on Mars. Is on Mars. Yes. Well, I think that Mars City,
as they will undoubtedly be known… or United, there may be two teams.
It may be able to support two teams, I don’t know… would inevitably have a home advantage. The Mars Derby! The Mars Derby would be the… No, they wouldn’t have home advantage. Don’t forget that the original premise is, we’re shipping every one of the buggers up there! Oh no, I was just thinking of starting a…
of having a team up there and… Nope! Ship ’em all off. Goodbye! One hell of an away trip. It’d be a bit like when QPR had astroturfed the pitch, everyone said they had an unfair advantage. I think it’d be the same with Mars United. I think they would have an unfair advantage. Because they’d have all the breathing apparatus. GARY: They would. They would. Like Arnie in Total Recall. I tell you what, the away attendances
would be shocking, wouldn’t they. When you’re a few years… ‘And it’s a very lifeless crowd here today…’
[Laughter] When you’re a few years down the line, though,
we’d have people who’d grown up on Mars, who are presumably taller, more adapted to gravity. — Like, at that point…
— They couldn’t transfer to the Earth game, could they. — They wouldn’t have the muscle tone.
— No. They’d look at us as a race of
semi-evolved dwarfs, wouldn’t they? Which is why I think we should just nuke Mars now. And just nip this in the bud. Get the first dibs in. What you’re saying is, we should just
fire a Mars at Mars now. Yes. I think we really should. And leave the Freddos where they are. They’ve suffered enough. ‘Eat nougaty death, ye Martian bastards!’ I’m just thinking…
because there’s the idea of ‘Rods from God’… Yes! Hyper-accelerated Mars bar. — Boomf.
— Yeah! Whoomp! Rods from God — do you know the concept? The idea that the only space weapon you really need is a big titanium rod just sitting on a satellite, and then when you’re over the city you want,
you just drop it. Poor Titanium Rod, sat up there on his own. I’d like to see if you could get, like,
Rod Stewart and drop him on… — Yes.
— Ha! [Sings] ‘Baaaby Jane…’ No, that’s more… That’s more psychological warfare.
You parachute him in, still alive. ‘My name is Titanium Rod.’ ‘And I, ironically, am the man
who’s in charge of the titanium rods.’ When it arrives it has as much kinetic energy
as an atomic bomb would. And it levels the city. And all you need to do is
get the thing up there in the first place. — How would you do that?
— ‘All you need to do,’ yeah. *Someone* will drop one, won’t they,
while they’re up there. ‘Ooop! Bugger.’ — Ohhh…
— ‘Oh, there she goes…’ ‘Oh, s***.’ ‘Hello? Is this Chicago?
I’ve, er, got some bad news…’ There’s actually a thing that would prevent both… You know, a legal thing that prevents both
the development of weapons like that, *and* it’s the reason the flag of Mars isn’t official. Does anyone know what it is? Who owns Mars? Bet they’ve sold off plots of it
like they have on the Moon. Yeah. They absolutely have, but again,
this is the thing that prevents it. — Does anyone know what the…?
— No. The International Treaty on
Not Being a Dick About Mars. I’m going to give you a point.
It’s the Outer Space Treaty. Yeah, Interstellar Treaty… [DING]
Yeah. The Outer Space Treaty
bans weapons of mass destruction in orbit, or on the Moon, or anywhere else. And it also means that all the celestial bodies
are open to mankind. Did anyone tell China about that? Yeah, it’ll presumably last
until someone actually lands there. — Yeah. ‘Now it’s ours.’
— At which point… yes. Could you take a medical titanium rod
into space under that pretense? That’s what happened with the supergun, isn’t it? — Yeah, it was.
— The supergun? After the ban on NBC for Iraq… Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, yeah. After the ban for that in Iraq,
he started building an enormous… Er, ‘he’.. Saddam commissioned
an enormous conventional gun, with a bore of about a metre, I think. I think the basic thought was,
‘If I can’t have biological and chemical weapons, ‘I’ll make the biggest, f***-off-est gun I can…’ Yeah. They’ve got a piece in… Project Babylon. — Oh cool!
— Heya. [Matt] It fires gardens!
[Laughter] The whole thing sort of fell apart, and whatever else, but they’ve got a section of the barrel
in Duxford Air Museum. I think it was Duxford — anyway… ‘…barrel length of 46 metres’. — Aww yeah.
— And that was the baby one, the first one. I’m looking around, looking at it…
‘Made in Sheffield’. Yeah. No way!
[Laughter] It was a company called Forgemasters, if I don’t forget… — Yeah.
— If I remember rightly, that were… It does say here, ‘The metal tubes…
were purchased from firms in the United Kingdom, ‘…including Sheffield Forgemasters.’ That’s it. And if you’re going to have a steel company, you call it something like that. — Sheffield Forgemasters, yeah.
— Forgemasters! Well, basically, they were told it was drainage pipe that they were making,
*with a bore on it* in the middle. ‘Yeah, we like to rifle our s***
so it gets away from the cities faster.’ [Laughter] Just get right in the groove there!
Ptoom… Whoof! ‘Were there any bullets left in the gun?’ ‘No, sir. By the time we got there, they’d been rifled.’ [Laughter and groans] Yeah, Big Babylon was meant to be a one… Ha! Sorry — ‘Big Babylon’! …a one-metre-bore supergun. A space gun. It would shoot into… Oh, low orbit and then drop back down, yeah. I seem to remember they got… It was an MP or someone,
the guy that basically rumbled the whole thing. Yeah. Didn’t he come up with the great phrase of, ‘They said it was a sewage pipe, but how come it had
a thumping great muzzle on the end?’ Well, there’s some lovely commentary here, that… ‘Neither of these devices could be elevated or trained,
making them useless for direct military purposes.’ You couldn’t aim them. — You just shot at *something*.
— Yes. I think you vaguely aim at something in the distance, and whatever it hits on, you go,
‘See? We could move it…’ And it’s also immobile, which means it had the same
problem as Germany’s V-3: You can bomb it. It’s there. It’s five hundred feet long. You’re not going to miss that, are you? You’re not going to miss that. You can see it from Mars. I’ll just fill the barrel with chocolate and watch it explode. ‘Right, we’ve filled it with fondant, lads…’ ‘Next time it goes off,
it’s Mr Lindt all over again!’ There is somewhere on Earth
where the Mars flag is flying right now. Kim Stanley Robinson’s back yard. Somewhere it’s officially flying, by governmental decree. Is it the same as another country’s flag? — No, not at all.
— Okay. I’m going to get bone obvious. Are we saying something like Nasa or the European Space Agency or something like that? It’s one of their facilities, yes. The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station —
which is a great name. — Yes!
— Oh, okay. Does anyone want to take a guess where that is? — In the Arctic.
— Is it in the Arctic? Point. [DING] Absolutely. [Laughter]
It’s not a guess. You told us the answer. Oh.
It’s in the name! Is the Flashline Arctic Research Station in the Arctic? No! It’s in Venezuela. I just read the name! I just… I read the name. I didn’t…
[Laughter] …didn’t notice… I thought that was intentional! Keeping the point though! There have been a couple of other fictional Mars flags. This is the one that’s sort of vaguely acceptable Does anyone want to take a guess
what they might have been, and where they might have been? Red background and blue letters: ‘Mars’. You know what, you are so close. [Laughter]
Oh, okay. — No way.
— It’s not actually… It’s red lettering… it’s red on a white background. Yeah? And it’s not quite ‘Mars’ but it’s something very similar. This is from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I’ve not read that one.
I’ve read some Heinlein but not that one. It was simply the symbol for Mars: the male symbol, the circle with an arrow. — Ahhh.
— Ohh. The side effect of that being, you are essentially
just planting a sign that says, ‘MEN!’ What a surprise! From Heinlein! Er, yes, good point. Basically you’d be planting a flag that’s got
Austin Powers’ medallion on it. Yes. Mojo symbol. And meanwhile on Venus, there is a flag that is just literally… There’s a flag that’s on fire. Briefly, before it’s destroyed. Well, you say that…
There was a plan that someone came up with to colonize the upper atmosphere of Venus. So what, fully orbital? Everyone just has to tread water. No, because the upper atmosphere
is about atmospheric pressure. It’s toxic air, but if it’s at atmospheric pressure
and you get a leak, ‘Oh. I will walk up and I will seal the leak.’ Put some Blu-Tack in it. The temperature’s about habitable,
the pressure’s about habitable. So if you can keep a giant balloon up there, and the atmosphere is dense enough
that you could do that, because our air is lighter, you could theoretically have a bubble, just sitting… Just a bubble city… Yeah. Cool! Mind you, that titanium rod program
is coming on a treat. Actually, going back to the earlier part of this conversation, could you get a chocolate bar that could do that? I think reentry might pose a problem for a Mars bar. What if it were in a wrapper? — What, like Eminem?
— Yeah. [Laughs] So what you’re espousing is, putting a Mars bar in like, a round
that will burn up perfectly through reentry… GARY: Yeeeup. Leaving you with a solid Mars bar,
which will then refreeze in the upper atmosphere… Correct. Slowly defrost slightly, and then… Well, it’s not going to be as damaging,
but I like the way you’re thinking. Yeah. That’s the ultimate middle finger, isn’t it? [American accent] ‘Well, I do believe we are
gonna attack you with nuclear weapons.’ ‘Ooh! Mars bar!’ ‘Nuclear weapons? F*** that.
We can take you down with a Mars bar.’ ‘Gentlemen, I have an announcement… ‘I have a Yorkie strategically positioned ‘over the major centres of the world.’ Actually, yeah, that is your weapon of choice. Unless you can afford some of that posh dark chocolate. But I don’t think the Swiss’d sell it to you. I don’t think they’d do it. So yeah, basically the… The weapon of choice for Britain
in the space chocolate arms race — …has to be the Yorkie.
— Has to be the Yorkie, yeah. I know the Swiss’d be wheeling out
the Toblerone and all that, but if you’ve got to keep up with the arms race, we’d just put up a fruit and nut one. [Laughter] Also I’m now just —
with you saying the fruit and nut, I’m now channeling the start of Flash Gordon. [Laughter]
TOM: Oh yeah. ‘Hot sultanas! Hot hazelnuts!’ ‘Most effective, Your Majesty.’ ‘Fudge sauce.’ Just going around trying to catch it all with ice cream. [Laughter] ‘Sir, are you destroying the Earth or making a dessert?’ Both. Little from Column A, little from Column B. ‘But how many will die as a result of this attack?’ ‘Hundreds-and-thousands.’ Yes! You win! Tom, he wins! I feel we’ve been building towards that moment
for the whole episode. Cut. Print. Let’s go home. At the end of the show, Gary — congratulations, you win. Er, you’ve won… You’ve won a holiday to a French resort with Sulu from Star Trek
and the director of Transformers. It’s George Takei and Michael Bay’s
Week Away in Saint-Tropez. [Takei voice] ‘Oh my.’ Enjoy that! — That’s been Matt Gray…
— Bye-bye! That’s been Gary Brannan… That’s been Chris Joel… I’ve been Tom Scott, and we’ll see you next time. That was our show! If you liked it, give us a comment and let us know. And there are more than thirty audio episodes of our reverse trivia podcast over at techdif.co.uk.