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Panelist Questions

Panelist Questions

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BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Negin Farsad, Hari Kondabolu and Luke Burbank.

(APPLAUSE)

KURTIS: And here is your host at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill uncorks a bottle of his finest rhyme. It's so good you want him to fill your glass to the rim-rick (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I hate myself at this moment.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's the Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. But right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Luke, we all know a crying baby can be calmed with a pacifier. Well, this week, adults got an equivalent. Inventors have unveiled a piece of plastic. It's four inches by two inches, and it replaces what?

LUKE BURBANK: It's a flat piece of plastic?

SAGAL: It's a flat rectangle. It's about four inches by two inches.

BURBANK: Is it a cover for your smartphone?

SAGAL: No, it's not a cover for your smartphone.

BURBANK: Can I get a hint?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, you know how a pacifier sort of takes the place of a real nipple?

BURBANK: It's a pretend smartphone.

SAGAL: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: To alleviate your smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction is a real problem. Many users experience physical withdrawal when they're separated from their device and turn tricks just to get a quick hit of Twitter.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: You got anything in an old Nokia?

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Just something to get me through, man.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So to help people manage to spend time without constantly staring at their phone, one designer has created the substitute phone. It has the shape and weight of an iPhone but does absolutely nothing. You just play with it. And you push these useless buttons so you don't go into phone withdrawal. And the worst part is you buy one of these things - it's a useless slab of plastic. And then, like, next year, they come up with Useless Slab of Plastic 10. And you have to...

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: I've been trying to occasionally leave the house without my phone just as a kind of exercise in not being so obsessed with it.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: And a couple days ago, I was going out of the house. I saw the phone there. And I was like, I'm leaving you behind. And, like, I don't want to overdramatize this, but I think I know how Neil Armstrong felt.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: It was terrifying. By the way, Neil Armstrong was the first one on the moon. Right?

SAGAL: He was, yeah.

BURBANK: OK.

SAGAL: You got that right.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: I was in a restaurant the other day here in Seattle, and my phone was dead. So the very nice server offered to charge it over by the kitchen. And I was leaving, and she said, well, I'll make sure you don't leave without your phone. And I'm like, oh, great. Why don't you also tie me down to make sure I don't rocket up through the ceiling into the sun because that's just as likely.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Leave without my phone.

HARI KONDABOLU: I feel like people are more likely to leave their babies in cars than their phone.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: Statistically.

KONDABOLU: Yes.

SAGAL: You can imagine, like, somebody gives the phone to the baby to play with, walks away from the car...

KONDABOLU: Yeah (laughter).

SAGAL: ...Says damn it, comes back - takes the phone from the baby and leaves.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Hari, new research out this week could settle a centuries-old debate. Scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville say they have determined that dogs - dogs - are finally and scientifically proven to be what?

KONDABOLU: Better than cats?

SAGAL: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Specifically...

(APPLAUSE)

KONDABOLU: Thank God. That is settled. It's done. It's done.

BURBANK: It's over. Stop arguing.

NEGIN FARSAD: Wow.

SAGAL: The dog people and the cat people in the audience are fighting like...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...I don't know how to put it. No, it's actually - specifically, the study showed not so much that dogs are better than cats - that's subjective. Maybe people like horrible little monsters that hate you. But...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...What they found was that dogs are scientifically smarter than cats.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Yes. Yes, I know. It turns out that, anatomically, dogs have twice as many cortical neurons as cats. That's a standard measure of intelligence.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Don't laugh. That's science, damn it.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So that's when you ask your dog - who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? Your dog answers - well, what is good really?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Are we referring to the so-called human good, as Aristotle conceived of it, or the good of how vomit tastes?

(LAUGHTER)

KONDABOLU: Oh, that's ruff.

SAGAL: That is ruff.

(APPLAUSE)

FARSAD: Oh.

KONDABOLU: OK. Goodbye, everybody.

BURBANK: I'm glad...

KONDABOLU: Nice to see you all.

BURBANK: Hari, I'm glad you were able to bring this crowd back together with that...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: ...Terrible wordplay. I have not seen a public radio crowd this torn since the great Philip Glass versus Kronos Quartet debate...

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: ...Of 2013.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN BARRY SONG, "SMOKEY JOE")

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