It's time for our regular segment in which @Gafgarian (AKA Jeremiah Palmer) provides answers to the burning questions left unanswered in each episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast. Read on to get closure for Sir Gavin of Business Class – #445.
How much are Koi worth?
Despite their Japanese namesake, Koi, as we know them now, actually found their roots in the Chinese rice paddies of the 17th century. Rice farmers were breeding your average carp as food and began noticing the occasional bright colored mutation. The Japanese would buy these bred food fish from the Chinese farmers and, before long, at the encouragement of the Japanese, both Chinese and Japanese farmers were in the selective Koi breeding business. Through selectively breeding these carp aberrations, we, over the next century, essentially created a new species of fish. Genetically identical, with the exception of a simple gene mutation giving them their jewel-like coloring, Koi are the same as the standard carp. Of course it is this simple gene mutation which makes the difference between one $50 fish and 50 $1 fish.
On pricing, a good rule of thumb with is typically, much like diamonds, the bigger the fish, the more expensive it is. In addition to this relatively easily understood factor, there are a few other, more specific factors which can drastically impact the value of these mutated carp. The first, and biggest variable, of these is the type of Koi you may be looking at. There are several different types of Koi, distinguished by the coloring and patterns of their scales. For example, the Chagoi, is chocolate colored and tends to grow unusually large when compared to other Koi. While another, the Ogon, has brightly colored metallic scales all a single color of orange, yellow, platinum, or gold. The demand for these, and other unique types, have driven the price of Koi to their highest prices ever. This is true even among the more common types of Kohaku (white body, red patterns), the Sanke (white body, red and black patterns) and the Showa (jet-black base with white and red markings). In all there are 15 different types of Koi and each will demand slightly different prices based on the market demand as well as the uniqueness of the fish itself.
Following the type, the additional contributing factors to value are quality, coloring, patterns, and size. The quality is more of an overall impression of the fish when observing its health, personality, and a combination of all other factors. Coloring specifically focuses on the boldness, depth, and rarity of its coloring. Patterns, apparently, are usually the deciding the factor between a breed fish and a show fish. Crisp edges or easily discernible shapes like lightning bolts can easily change a value by thousands of dollars. As mentioned above, the biggest influence on the cost is the size of the fish. While typically influenced by the age of the Koi, some types tend to grow a bit larger than others. However, very young Koi can cost only a few dollars. This is because young, and small, fish are difficult to judge the value of since their scale patterns and even coloring can change, sometimes drastically, as they reach adulthood.
In many cases, finding the thousand dollar fish is not an exact science and, given the large amount of Koi breeders worldwide, results can vary. To give you an idea of what an award-winning Koi looks like, however, this video briefly interviews a champion breeder in order to learn some of the features judges look for. In addition, it shows an award winning Koi worth approximately $60,000.
Not bad for some mutated feed carp, huh?
On a side note, I know the owner of KoiToTheWorld and was at his house a few years back. His backyard setup was quite something with multiple tanks filled with Koi and filtration equipment. It has been a bit since we last spoke but, @burnie, I'm sure I could put you in touch should you be interested in replacing your precious colored carp.
When is "Fish" plural?
Right now... maybe.
This is a very valid point, which is usually easily determined by context clues within the sentence, assuming that whoever is speaking, or writing, is using proper grammar. For example, Finding Nemo taught us that "fish are friends not food." This is obviously plural because of the plural helping verb "are"... or is it? See here's the thing, that phrase, though obviously plural because of the helping verb, is only grammatically correct if old Bruce was referring to a very specific singular kind of fish. In other words, if Bruce feels that ALL clown fish are friends not food, then great, he is spot on. However, as he was very likely speaking about ALL fish, regardless of their kind, the grammatically correct phrase is actually, "fishes are friends not food."
Fair warning, you may want to quickly cover your ears in order to keep your brains from literally exploding through your earholes, because I'm not done.
Though off topic a bit from our grammar discussion, I feel I would be remiss in all of this fish talk if I didn't toss up the my personal favorite fact about fish in general. This is that there is actually no such thing as fish.
This concept is a bit rooted in semantics but it is related to the way all animals have evolved over time. While the dictionary definition of a fish is, "a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins and living wholly in water," in reality, the term is more of an umbrella term that describes ANY non-mammal, non-reptile, aquatic vertebrate. This is by contrast to the classification of a dog, for example, which encompasses wolves and domesticated canines only or even a wider net like "bird" which accounts for ONLY the avian variety of flying creatures. Fish, on the other hand, are, evolutionarily-speaking, grouped not by familial succession but rather by the similarities of their habitat. This is because all land creatures are thought to have evolved from fish and, while fish have continued to slowly evolve as well, modern fish essentially share the same ancestors as the wolf or the bird. The idea from there is that if you are referring to modern fish as fish and you are referring to their immediate ancestors as fish then the other branches of the evolutionary tree, which have given us dogs and birds, must also be fish. This thought is of course ridiculous as my dog is no more a fish than I am (though by this view, we all would be fish as well). So the point of semantics is that we cannot pick and choose when something is no longer a fish if its common ancestors and modern relations are considered fish. In that vein, either all animals great and small, including dogs, birds, and even us, are considered fish or there is just simply no such thing as fish.
Is a trampoline a toy?
According to a 2012 article in Pediatrics, a weekly publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is dangerous to consider a trampoline toy. They go on to point out that nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries are reported every year, with a very high percentage of those happening to children. Further frustrations with the lack of cemented regulations include pointing out the discrepancy of safety discussions surrounding proper pool safety when compared to trampolines. For its part, JumpKing, the largest manufacturer of backyard trampolines in the world describe their products as "recreational" but do not seem to use the "t" word at all. Additionally, Wal-Mart and Target both list their trampolines as "Sports and Outdoors" and even Merriam-Webster's definition of the word does not call it a toy. I believe, with all of that in mind, it is safe to say that while a trampoline can be a fun, perhaps even toy-like, device it is most certainly NOT a toy.
Did a kid die from a bouncy castle?
Very similar to the points made above on trampolines, despite repeated injuries occurring to children while playing in bouncy houses, the safety discussions and regulations surrounding them pale in comparison to pools and roller coasters. A 2010 study by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that an average of 31 children a day were brought to the emergency room for bouncy house related injuries. Though not always attributed directly to the bouncy house, fatal head and neck injuries have certainly occurred. According to an item in the Washington Post in 2016, bouncy houses have caused 10 deaths in the last 15 years making an average of less than 1 per year. Notable deaths are a five year old, Jordan Dixon of South Yorkshire, who died when he hit his head on the blower while jumping in a bouncy castle and of a six year old girl from Spain who died when her bouncy castle exploded due to faulty air valves and sent her and six other children flying 45 feet into the air. However, the most known deaths are those of the bouncy castle being picked up and carried by the wind with children inside. There were additional incidents in both 2016 (7 year old Summer Grant of Essex, England) and 2017 (six year old girl from Spain).
World's most expensive toilet?
Before being able to answer this properly, we need to agree upon what qualifies as a potential candidate for this prestigious title. Does it have to be a functioning toilet, for example, or does it had to have been used at least once? What about, does it have to be on our planet for it to be the "world's" most expensive toilet? Why not answer all three and let you decide?
The most expensive functioning, and used, toilet is the "Dagobert" wooden throne, valued at $14,123. In addition to playing "Le Bon Roi Dagobert" when its lid is lifted, the royal throne, inspired by the last ruler of 8th century France's Merovingian dynasty, King Dagobert, also features a pull chain flush, an ashtray, and a candleholder for those late nights on, or hovering over, the toilet.
But that pales in comparison to Hong Kong's Hang Fung Gold Technology's 24-karat gold showroom display piece. Designed and built in 2001 by artist/jeweler Lam Sai-wing, this solid gold and gem encrusted throne sits inside a solid gold bathroom. According to Sai-wing, he was "inspired by communist leader Lenin's vision that the most appropriate thing to do with gold would be to build public toilets out of it." Much like communism, however, the public do not get to reap the benefits of this grandiose imagery either as the toilet is inaccessible by tourists. Given the medium, its value naturally fluctuates and I was unable to find a value which does not include the entire bathroom's worth of gold, but a rough total value is around $5 million. However, reports have said that the owners have recently began dismantling and selling off bits of the bathroom as the price of gold is now significantly higher than the $200 per ounce price tag it had when the bathroom was first built.
However, neither Dagobert's throne nor @Joel's dream episode of Cribs hold a scented candle to the $19 million crapper on the International Space Station. In addition to providing easy grip handles and velcro straps to keep astronauts from floating away while doing the deed, it also features a miniature water treatment plant which is able to quickly recycle urine into completely clean drinking water.
How many shits does the average toilet take in its lifetime?
This is a bit of a tough one since toilets, historically, have been pretty resilient blocks of porcelain. Occasionally the internals which manage the flushing will go off but the actual bowl and tank tend to just persist, assuming you aren't keen to walk around your bathroom carrying a sledgehammer. That said, most toilets in America will end up being replaced just shy of the 30 year mark. It should be noted that this number is usually regardless of the amount of shits that have been taken in it and obviously some toilets are more used than others. Given all of this information, it's time for some assumptions and math. My favorite!
If we agree the average household has three people in it and we all take a dump an average of once a day then, in a single bath house, a 30 year old toilet would have likely seen around 33,000 shits before being replaced.
Does the human mind crave work?
In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a paper titled A Theory of Human Motivation. In it he identified the needs of humanity, in general, as a tiered hierarchy with primitive basic needs like safety forming the base of a "pyramid of needs" and more high-level needs like social interactions being placed at the top. The idea of this structure is that in order for a person to consider the higher level "needs" they must first satisfy the lower, more basic, requirements.
While "working" is certainly not one of these basic needs, there is a valid argument to be made that the fourth level of ego and the fifth, and final, level of self-actualization can both, in a way, point to a need to work. Obviously this "need" would not be the same for everyone there are absolutely those among us who find self-fulfillment from constantly working and accomplishing some personally motivating goals.
The psychological complexities of our needs and desires have been a constant topic of discussion for psychologists for generations. It is unlikely that this will change any time soon... Is that because those psychologists have a "need" to keep working at it? That's up to you, I guess.
Can you spend AAdvantage miles on a British Airways upgrade?
As nearly everyone has tweeted Gavin about the folly of his bet with Ellie by now, I will keep this brief. In a rare turn of events, Gavin is actually wrong about something on the Podcast. It legitimately does not happen often and, apparently, when it does happen it is worth about $3,000, so… good on Ellie!
If you’re interested in the particulars of using your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your British Airways experience, there is an entire page dedicated to it on the American Airlines website. However, it should be known that in my research for this, I have found numerous reports from other AAdvantage members who relayed that many British Airways attendants are unaware of how this process works – or even that it exists, apparently. With that in mind, I would love to say that Ellie should go easy on him, but where's the fun in that?