The Universe Is Dented

Some of the most popular stories on the Web.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

I'm Luke Burbank.

ALISON STEWART, host:

And I'm Alison Stewart.

Every day, you look at this glowing box in front of your little face, got a bunch of wires coming out of the back. And you hold this plastic doodad in your hand that's attached to that box, and you use it to point at things inside the box. And when you point to the certain things in the glowing box enough times and encourage others to view the items to their boxes, those things rise to the level of The Most.

BURBANK: W00t, w00t.

(Soundbite of music)

BURBANK: That was a long climb for a short slide. But I respect the attempt, Danimal.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Okay. So starting off our Most today, we go into the control room -Trisha McKinney, our editor.

TRISHA McKINNEY: Hello, hello. I have - from the glowing box in here, I have one of the most viewed and emailed stories on Yahoo! News, and it's about Merriam Webster's word of the year - w00t.

STEWART: W00t. W00t.

BURBANK: Is that a w00t, w00t? Uh-huh.

STEWART: Uh-huh.

KORVA COLEMAN: Is this an adjective or a noun or a verb?

McKINNEY: I'm glad you asked, Korva Coleman.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McKINNEY: Let's talk about how it's spelled. It's spelled W-O-O-T - I mean, sorry, W-0-0-T, sometimes spelled with a seven. It is an explanation of happiness or triumph. And, you know, it's mostly used by gamers to say, you know, when they win a game, say, I own you, w00t w00t, with a seven.

COLEMAN: It's an interjection.

McKINNEY: I don't know how you pronounce the seven, actually. But…

COLEMAN: It's an interjection. Isn't it interjection, a celebration…

BURBANK: It's a celebration…

McKINNEY: …of excitement and emotion…

BURBANK: It's an emotion.

STEWART: Hallelujah, hallelujah. Yes, we all watched "Schoolhouse Rock."

McKINNEY: Yeah, as we all watched "Schoolhouse Rock."

BURBANK: W00t, w00t for "Schoolhouse Rock."

McKINNEY: This is part of a leetspeak, a leet spelled L-3-3-T, or sometimes with a seven. There you go. Anyway, so, Merriam Webster has an online poll, and that word won for the word of the year.

STEWART: All right. My…

BURBANK: It's a w00t, w00t.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Love that. My Most comes from CNN, which now has a most watched video segment, and this should be no surprise this is the number one most watched. There are some young women in New York who have won $10,000 because they entered a contest from darejunkies.com. They entered the New York City subway system and began to do pole dances and give lap dances to unsuspecting commuters just riding the N train on their way home.

BURBANK: Is that what you call it? Riding the N train.

STEWART: Riding N train. I got a new one.

McKINNEY: Oh, honey. That's taking the A train, if you ask me.

BURBANK: I have been riding the N train lately.

STEWART: Now, these are their real names: Isis, Melissa and Jessica.

BURBANK: Yeah, those are their Christian names, I'm sure.

STEWART: Those are their real names. I know it sounds like their pole dancer names, but it's actually their real names. And CNN has been running a clip, a little package about the story. Here's a - here's one of the lovely ladies.

Ms. LAURA ANDERSON: It just got really fun, like, playing with the people little bit, kind of like ruffling some feathers in the sense, just to kind of like break the tension.

STEWART: You know? The MCA is not amused, apparently. They issued a statement, while the rules don't specifically state lap or pole dancing, what is depicted here is disorderly conduct.

(Soundbite of laughter)

DAN PASHMAN: You know, I…

McKINNEY: Sounds like they should be in a Minnesota bathroom.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: I made a very similar video to this, and it didn't get nearly as highly ranked as this one. I don't know why. I there's like…

STEWART: We should…

PASHMAN: …sexism out there on the Internet, maybe.

STEWART: You should shave your face before you did anything.

PASHMAN: Yeah, I guess.

BURBANK: Isis that's their real name? I think the reason there was less stripping in the '30s was not because people were classier or because who wants to hear, stepping off the main stage, it's Edith.

STEWART: Edna and Mabel.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: So I get a Most e-mailed here from Yahoo! News. You guys may know Michael Schumacher. He was a seven-time world champion Formula One racecar driver. He's retired. But apparently, he still has some of his driving shops. He was with his wife and two children heading to the airport. They were late for their flight, and he convinced the cab driver to let him take the wheel to get them to the airport on time. And apparently, he drove like a Formula One driver might drive when he's late for a flight. The cab driver said, I found myself in the passenger's seat, which was strange enough. But to have Schumey behind the wheel of my cab was incredible. Then the cabby says he drove it full throttle around the corners and overtook in some unbelievable places.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Nice.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Amazing.

STEWART: Hey Korva, you're up next.

COLEMAN: Okay. I've got something out of Space.com: Scientists working with the Voyager space probe believe the universe is dented. Now this dent is at the edge of the solar system, and this is where these solar winds run up an edge against an edge of the universe. It's called an abrupt shockwave, and the Voyager crossed this boundary, and that's when the scientists learned that the edge was a little squashed. And it's an interstellar magnetic field that's doing the squashing.

So here's my question. How can you tell that the universe is squashed? I mean, who's looking? I mean, is Archimedes standing there promising to compress the universe or standing there with one of his levers? I mean, I have no idea. How can you tell?

STEWART: Because you got $2 off.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: Two dollars.

BURBANK: Well, and here's the part, Dan - Dan, Dan Pashman, come back and say thing you said in the (unintelligible) about the universe being dented.

PASHMAN: Well, we parked it in a great spot. I don't understand. I mean, there's no note, you know? I mean, someone else doesn't know how to drive their universe.

COLEMAN: You can't get a ticket or anything.

BURBANK: Yeah, exactly.

STEWART: Yours is a little bit sad, Luke. But…

BURBANK: Well, it is, although it's just kind of a nice…

STEWART: Nice.

BURBANK: …nice sort of tribute. It's from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and it's the most e-mailed story there. And it's about a guy named Ben Collie, who was actually in the plane crash in 1967 outside of Madison, Wisconsin that killed Otis Redding and Otis Redding's band - a bunch of guys from the Bar-Kays, they were called. And it just sort of talks about this guy, Ben Collie. It's like, he was in the crash, and he survived kind of quite miraculously and he's gone on to sort of keep the Bar-Kays' sound alive. And there's a photo of him, and he looks like he's keeping together pretty well. He doesn't look - I know how old is he, actually? It's somewhere in the story. But however old he is, he doesn't' look that old. This was 40 years ago this crash happened.

STEWART: Wow.

BURBANK: And so if you get a chance today, get on the iTunes and listen to some Otis Redding. You want to hear some Christmas music that will change your life, Otis Redding - "Merry Christmas, Baby." Good stuff.

MATT MARTINEZ: Lovely.

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