Samurai Vs. The Stink: The Science of Invasive Wildlife Species Where in the world did all of these hungry stink bugs come from? How in the world can we stop the invasion in time to save our crops? And why in the world are scientists looking at the Samurai Wasp for the answer? Join Mindy and Guy Raz for The Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Wow in the World of invasive wildlife species!
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Samurai Vs. The Stink: The Science of Invasive Wildlife Species

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Samurai Vs. The Stink: The Science of Invasive Wildlife Species

Samurai Vs. The Stink: The Science of Invasive Wildlife Species

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/622596795/622640033" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Stay seated. Three, two, one, ignition.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Get ready for an adventure of magnificent proportion.

THE POP UPS: (Singing) I don't know what you've been told, but we're in a golden age - so many discoveries that are jumping off the page. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: With Guy and Mindy.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: We're on our way, Houston.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

OK. Let's see here - puffed quinoa, check. Salted seaweed, check. Kale chips, check. Now just to shake this all up. And there we go. The snack mix for my Movie Marathon Snack-Tacular (ph) Special.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOORBELL)

RAZ: Oh. (With food in mouth) Coming.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOORBELL)

RAZ: Oh, hey, Mindy.

MINDY THOMAS, HOST:

Good morning, Guy Raz.

RAZ: Good morning? Mindy, it's 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

THOMAS: Yeah, but I only got up, like, five minutes ago. So (yawning) still bright and early for me.

RAZ: Oh, right.

THOMAS: Anywho, I brought over a few snacks for the movie marathon - thought they might give us the little energy boost that we need to get through the next few hours. Back her up, boys.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRUCK BACKING UP)

RAZ: What in the...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) OK, stop. Dennis, stop.

THOMAS: And dump.

RAZ: Dump?

(SOUNDBITE OF DUMPING SNACKS)

RAZ: (Screaming).

THOMAS: Perfect. Surprise.

RAZ: Mindy, what is all this stuff? Pop Brocs (ph)? This is popping candy broccoli?

THOMAS: Well, you're always going on and on and on about healthy eating habits, so I thought I'd shake up my snack habits a bit.

RAZ: Mindy, this isn't what I meant when I said healthy eating habits. Have you got anything that's actually made of real food here? I mean, look at this stuff.

THOMAS: Isn't it beautiful, Guy Raz?

RAZ: Fish oil sherbet? What is this?

THOMAS: Just a snack-tacular source of omega-3s. Oh, you making popcorn over here?

RAZ: Well, actually, quinoa puffs.

THOMAS: (Spitting) Quinoa puffs?

RAZ: Well, it's got some kale mixed in.

THOMAS: Yeah, I think I'll stick with my fish oil sherbet.

RAZ: OK. Suit yourself.

THOMAS: So did you decide on what movie we're going to watch today?

RAZ: Oh, yeah. I've got the trailer queued up here. Check it out.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) No one knows where they came from.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) Oh, honey, you look tired.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) No one knows how it happened.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Mom, my portable gaming device is out of batteries. I need batteries.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) And no one will survive the curse of the mombies (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Brains.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Mom, you're scaring me.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Brains.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) What about my brain?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Use your brains.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) What?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Where are your brains?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character, crying) I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Well, where did you leave them last?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character, crying) I don't know. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) From the director that brought you "Who Moved Dad's Tools?" and "The 50-Foot Sister" comes...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Is that what you're wearing?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character, screaming) They have bagged lunches...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) It was on sale.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character, screaming) ...With extra raisins.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Raisins are good for you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) It's "The Invasion"...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Put on your sweater.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) ..."Of The Mombies."

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) I'll start treating you like an adult when you start acting like one.

RAZ: Looks pretty great, huh?

THOMAS: I don't know, Guy Raz. I mean, I love a good zombie movie, but are you sure you're going to be able to handle this?

RAZ: Well, what do you mean?

THOMAS: Well, the last time we watched a scary movie, you had nightmares for a week.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHOOSH)

RAZ: (Snoring). No, don't go into the fire station. No, stay away from me, robo rescue dog. No.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHOOSH)

RAZ: Nah, I'm sure I'll be OK.

THOMAS: All right. Well, park your keister, meester (ph), and let's get this party started.

RAZ: Well, we can't start just yet.

THOMAS: Why not?

RAZ: Reggie isn't here yet. And...

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE VIBRATING)

RAZ: Oh, that's my phone. Let's see - a text from Reggie.

THOMAS: Oh, what's it say?

RAZ: Running late. Traffic on the polar jet stream is - person finger wave?

THOMAS: What? Let me see that. Oh, Guy Raz, that finger person wave is the emoji for cuckoo. He's saying that the traffic is crazy.

RAZ: Well, whatever it is, looks like Reggie is going to be late.

THOMAS: Aw, man.

RAZ: Don't worry, Mind (ph). It's going to be so worth it. I've been waiting to see this movie ever since I started reading about another kind of invasion.

THOMAS: Another kind of invasion? Are you talking about "The Invasion Of The Killer Cucumbers"?

RAZ: No, Mindy. I...

THOMAS: Or that other movie "The Grandma From Outer Space"?

RAZ: No, Mindy. I'm not talking about a movie.

THOMAS: Oh.

RAZ: I'm talking about a wide-scale invasion that's happening in nature right now, right here in the United States.

THOMAS: What is it? Kale? Yoga? (Gasping) Is it those frozen yogurt shops? Guy Raz, they are everywhere.

RAZ: No, actually, it's none of those things.

THOMAS: Then what is it?

RAZ: Mindy, I'm talking about invasive species.

THOMAS: Invasive species?

RAZ: That's right.

THOMAS: What exactly is an invasive species?

RAZ: Well, I think I have a...

THOMAS: Because it sounds like an alien sci-fi movie.

RAZ: I think I have a book on this topic. Let me see. Ah, hear it is. "Biodiversity: The Interconnected Nature Of Nature."

THOMAS: Biodiversity, huh? Isn't that just a fancy-pants word for how many species live in one particular place?

RAZ: That's exactly right. Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in one specific habitat or ecosystem.

THOMAS: Got you. So what does that have to do with our invasive species?

RAZ: Ah, here we are. Let me read it. An invasive species is a species whose introduction to a new habitat causes environmental damage.

THOMAS: Oh, OK. So it's kind of like when I come over to your house but then leave a 5-foot-high pile of garbage behind.

RAZ: Well, a little. But to really be an invasive species, the animal or plant not only has to come from a different ecosystem, but it also has to cause damage to the new ecosystem.

THOMAS: I've heard about this problem. And you know what? Now that I think of it, I think the lionfish is an invasive species in parts of the Atlantic Ocean around Florida.

RAZ: That's right. They originally came from the Pacific Ocean. And now these lionfish are eating many of the smaller fish in the Atlantic.

THOMAS: But they sure are beautiful.

RAZ: They are. But invasive species are a huge problem, Mindy. In fact, invasive species are one of the biggest threats to animals and plants in the wild.

THOMAS: Oh, no.

RAZ: Yeah. Just take a look at these horror stories in here.

THOMAS: Horror stories? I thought this was a textbook.

RAZ: Well, it jumps around a lot.

THOMAS: The tale of the American chestnut. The year was 1904. And a trading ship traveling from Asia docks in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #7: (As character) Land ho.

THOMAS: Little did they know that the cargo they were traveling with would go on to wipe out one of the country's most beloved trees, the American chestnut.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Oh, golly, I love my chestnut tree.

THOMAS: Onboard that trading ship was a disease known as Asian chestnut blight fungus.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAM)

THOMAS: Over the next 40 years, this fungus killed off more than 4 billion trees, wiping out almost 180 million acres of chestnut trees.

RAZ: One hundred eighty million acres? That's almost twice the size of California.

THOMAS: Guy Raz, I wasn't finished with my story.

RAZ: Oh, sorry, Mindy.

THOMAS: The loss of these chestnut trees was a disaster not only for the tree lovers...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) No, my tree. My beautiful American chestnut tree. Why?

THOMAS: ...But also for the animals that lived in them. With no home left, 10 moth species that lived in chestnut trees went extinct.

RAZ: Oh, no.

THOMAS: And look. This isn't even the only horror story in this book, Guy Raz. These invasive species keep popping up all over the place - brown tree snakes in Guam.

RAZ: Goats on the island of St. Helena.

THOMAS: OK, Guy Raz. These stories might be a little too spooky, even for me.

RAZ: I know what you mean. I think I preferred it when the invasive species were just undead mombies.

THOMAS: Whoa. Look here, Guy Raz.

RAZ: What is it?

THOMAS: The great American plague of 2018.

RAZ: (Screaming).

THOMAS: One part residential nuisance, one part agricultural nightmare, smaller than a penny, this six-legged, shield-shaped insect has devastated crops across the United States and shows no signs of slowing down.

RAZ: What is it, Mindy?

THOMAS: The brown marmorated stink bug.

RAZ: Stink bugs?

THOMAS: Yeah, just like this guy.

RAZ: (Screaming).

THOMAS: Calm down, Guy Raz. You're going to scare him away.

RAZ: And who exactly is him?

THOMAS: Steve.

RAZ: Steve?

THOMAS: Yeah, Steve. Stink Bug Steve?

RAZ: Mindy, you're friends with a stink bug?

THOMAS: He's more of a friend of a friend. He started crashing here in the winter with about 25,000 of his friends. Everyone else left in the summer, but Steve decided to stick around. Isn't that right, Steve? I brought him from home. I keep him in my pocket.

RAZ: Mindy, I had no idea your house had a stink bug infestation.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah, but it's not just me, Guy Raz. Stink bugs are found all over America now. They were first spotted in Pennsylvania in 1998, then Maryland in 2003, West Virginia and Delaware in 2004, New York and Ohio in 2007.

RAZ: Oh, man.

THOMAS: Guy Raz, stink bugs can now be found in every U.S. state other than Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska.

RAZ: Man, those stink bugs really get around.

THOMAS: Oh, hang on a second. What was that, Steve? Oh. Oh, yeah. I'll tell him.

RAZ: Tell me what?

THOMAS: Steve says he used to average a mile and a half of travel every single day with those little wings.

RAZ: Wow. And so why are Steve and his friend considered - what did you call them again?

THOMAS: Oh, the great American plague of 2018.

RAZ: (Screaming).

THOMAS: Well, it's because of their ridonkulous (ph) appetite.

RAZ: Really?

THOMAS: Really. Check out this list of foods they eat.

RAZ: Whoa. That's one long shopping list. Apple, peaches, sweet corn, soybeans, tomatoes, bell peppers - it just keeps going.

THOMAS: And the list is only getting longer.

RAZ: What do you mean?

THOMAS: Well, when the stink bug found its way to California, it ate through all of the almond trees in the area despite the fact that, as far as we know, they've never done that before.

RAZ: So these stink bugs are just roaming across the country, trying out the local delicacies?

THOMAS: Yeah, pretty much.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHOOSH)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #9: (As character) No, you stink.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) You stink.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #9: (As character) No, you stink.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #11: (As character) Howdy, y'all. Welcome to Uncle Leo's American Diner. What can I get for you today?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #9: (As character) Oh, so many things to choose from. Everything looks great. I'll take a peach from Georgia, a Californian orange, some Ohio soybeans, a couple of Washington apples...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #11: (As character) Oh, we are out of the Washington apples.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #9: (As character) Oh, that stinks.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #11: (As character) I am sorry. Could I interest you in one of these New York apples? They're big.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHOOSH)

RAZ: So what are farmers doing to try and stop these invasive insects from eating all their crops?

THOMAS: Well, according to your big, old textbook over here...

RAZ: Well, technically, a text/horror story book.

THOMAS: Right. So according to this, there are a couple of ways that we can try to control invasive species. Let's see here. Number one - a chemical control.

RAZ: Chemical control? You mean like pesticides?

THOMAS: Yep. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers put on their crops to stop insects from nibbling on them.

RAZ: So why aren't these chemicals keeping the stink bugs away?

THOMAS: Well it has something to do with how the stink bug eats.

RAZ: How they eat? What do they do, put their food in a smoothie blender?

THOMAS: Nope. But you're not far off.

RAZ: Really?

THOMAS: So even though these six-legged pests might not smoothie their food, they do juice their food. Well, sort of.

RAZ: Well, you know, what I always say - a cold-pressed kale juice in the morning can't be beat.

THOMAS: What? No. They're not drinking cold-pressed juices, Guy Raz. You see, the stink bugs, like Steve here, have a very thin and sharp mouth, which makes it almost like a straw. See?

RAZ: Oh, yeah.

THOMAS: And so - hold on a second. I can give you a live demonstration here. I'll be right back. Wait here with Steve, OK?

RAZ: What?

So, Steve, do you like neckties?

THOMAS: Run, run, run, run, run. OK. I'm back.

RAZ: Where'd you go?

THOMAS: To get this.

RAZ: An apple?

THOMAS: Yeah. Check this out. Hey, Steve. Who's a good stink bug? Who's a good stink bug? You want an apple. Yeah? All right. OK, Guy Raz. Now watch this. This is how the stink bugs juice their food.

RAZ: Whoa.

THOMAS: They stick their straw-like mouths into the plant, which, in this case, is this apple.

(SOUNDBITE OF SUCTION NOISE)

THOMAS: And then they suck out all of the juicy nutrients.

(SOUNDBITE OF SUCKING THROUGH STRAW)

RAZ: Whoa. Wait. Wait. Now it's starting to make sense. If Steve was out in the wild, and this apple was covered in pesticides, Steve wouldn't get poisoned because his mouth wouldn't ever touch the surface of the apple at all.

THOMAS: Exact-oritos. And to top it all off, the brown marmorated stink bugs like Steve here have long, stilt-like legs which keep them high above the poisonous surface. Here. Check it out.

RAZ: Oh, yeah. So let me get this straight. The stink bug avoids getting poisoned by drinking its food through a straw while on stilts.

THOMAS: Pretty crazy, right?

RAZ: Anyway, what's the second way to control an invasive species.

THOMAS: Well, it's a little something called - let's see here - aha. A biological control.

RAZ: Huh?

THOMAS: This is when you bring a natural predator to the invasive species inside the environment.

RAZ: Oh, I get it - because a predator is an animal that would eat the invasive species. So if you bring in an invasive species predator, then that predator will hunt it down and reduce its population.

THOMAS: You got it, Guy Raz.

RAZ: Huh. So what's the stink bug's natural predator.

THOMAS: It's a little insect known as the samurai wasp. Hi-ya.

RAZ: Of course. The samurai wasp. Trissolcus japonicus.

THOMAS: Oh, no, Steve.

RAZ: What? Did I scare him off?

THOMAS: Yeah, think you did.

RAZ: Man, these samurai wasps must really be something.

THOMAS: Nah, it wasn't the wasp part. He just really hates Latin.

RAZ: Oh.

THOMAS: Anywho, right now these researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to see how good these samurai wasps are at hunting down and killing the stink bugs.

RAZ: Go on.

THOMAS: And when they studied them, the researchers found that these wasps liked to crawl inside the eggs of the stink bug and lay their own eggs inside of them.

RAZ: Yikes. Now, that seems like a scary movie.

THOMAS: Tell me about it.

RAZ: So these researchers are making more of these wasps in the lab, so they can then one day release them into the wild and stop the march of the stink bugs?

THOMAS: Yeah, that's the plan. It's a real bug-on-bug battle. They've already been released in Oregon. And later this year, the researchers are hoping to release them in New York state, as well.

RAZ: Well, I hope it works because a similar thing has been tried before. And, well, it doesn't always turn out well.

THOMAS: Really?

RAZ: Yup. Let me tell you about another invasion.

THOMAS: "The Invasion Of The Killer Cucumbers."

RAZ: No, no.

THOMAS: Man...

RAZ: This invasion takes place in Australia.

THOMAS: (Imitating Australian accent) Australia, eh?

No, that's not it.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: (Yelling) Reggie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Hey, Reg. Big news. We're going to Australia.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

RAZ: Wait. What? What about our movie night?

THOMAS: The mombies will still be in the movie when we get back. Come on. You ready?

RAZ: Mindy, isn't it getting a little late?

THOMAS: What are you talking about? I just woke up.

RAZ: Mindy, it's 5 p.m.

THOMAS: Yeah, but it's 5 a.m. in Australia. Come on. Let's go.

RAZ: (Groaning) OK, fine. But only if we're quick. I still want to see this mombies film.

THOMAS: Don't worry, Guy Raz. We'll be back before you can even say brains.

RAZ: OK.

THOMAS: Now hold on tight because here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

THOMAS: Made it. Thanks, Reg.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: It's hotter than a billygoat with a blowtorch smothered in spicy salsa out here. Must be 100 degrees.

RAZ: Well, we are in Australia. So technically, it's 40 degrees Celsius.

THOMAS: Well, whatever it is, I'm going to need a popsicle. Wait. Where are we, Guy Raz?

RAZ: I think we're in the state of Queensland, Mindy, and, by the looks of it, in the middle of the desert.

THOMAS: Oh, man. Not again. Reggie, I said take me to the Australian dessert, not the Australian desert.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Anywho, why didn't you want to bring me all the way out here to the other side of the planet?

RAZ: Me? It was your idea to come out here.

THOMAS: Well, my idea based on your idea.

RAZ: (Groaning).

THOMAS: So why did I bring us all the way out here to the other side of the planet?

RAZ: Well, because Australia and particularly the state of Queensland has had a pretty rocky history when it comes to invasive species.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah?

RAZ: Yeah. It all started in the early 1800s, when an invasive species, a cactus called the prickly pear, was brought to the country and started popping up all over the place.

THOMAS: Oh, man.

RAZ: So the Australian government decided to introduce a moth. And that moth, the Cactoblastis moth, which is actually native to South America, came into the areas that were overrun with this cactus.

THOMAS: But why?

RAZ: Well, as it turned out this moth - or, rather, the caterpillars that eventually turned into the moths - had an appetite for prickly pear. And the idea was that this moth would lay its eggs in the cactus. Then when the caterpillars would hatch, they would chomp down on the cactus and keep them from spreading.

THOMAS: A biological control.

RAZ: Exactly.

THOMAS: So what happened?

RAZ: Well, after 3 billion moth eggs were placed strategically around Queensland, the prickly pears were completely gone in just seven years.

THOMAS: So it worked.

RAZ: Well, it did. But Queensland also happens to be the home of one of the biggest biological control blunders in the history of invasive species. In fact, I think you can see one right there.

THOMAS: Let me just get out my adventure tool box here. I know I've got some magnifying goggles in here somewhere. Got them. All right. Now what am I - Guy Raz, what is that?

RAZ: That, Mindy, is a cane toad.

THOMAS: There must be hundreds of them.

RAZ: There are. And they were originally brought to Australia in the early 20th century to prey on a beetle that was eating all the farmers' sugarcane.

THOMAS: Whoa. And then what happened.

RAZ: Well, they did just that. They got rid of the sugarcane beetle. But then...

THOMAS: But then they started popping up all over the place because they don't have a natural predator here.

RAZ: Exactly. There's nothing to eat the cane toads. So now there's over 200 million of them all across Australia.

THOMAS: Oh, man. So the species brought in to stop the invasive species has become an invasive species itself?

RAZ: Exactly, because just like the stink bugs these cane toads eat crops. And they can even harm the native wildlife in Australia.

THOMAS: That's awful.

RAZ: Yeah. That's why the United States Department of Agriculture is being so careful about releasing those wasps to eat the stink bugs.

THOMAS: Yeah. I guess they don't want to repeat what happened here in Australia.

RAZ: Yeah. And speaking of that, we should probably head back home now before this horde of cane toads gets any closer to us.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah. Before they get any closer. Right.

RAZ: Mindy, what was that?

THOMAS: I didn't hear anything.

RAZ: Mindy, did a cane toad just jump out of your pocket? Mindy, what are you doing with pockets full of invasive species?

THOMAS: I just wanted to bring back some souvenirs from our trip to Australia.

RAZ: We just talked about this. (Screaming). They're everywhere.

THOMAS: Oh, but look at their little faces. They're so cute.

RAZ: (Screaming).

THOMAS: Come on, Guy Raz. Give him a little snuggle. Here. Come on. Do it.

RAZ: Keep that thing away from me, Mindy.

THOMAS: Oh, come on. He likes you.

RAZ: Run, run, run...

THOMAS: Guy Raz, where are you going?

RAZ: ...Run, run, run, run, run, run.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: WOW IN THE WORLD will be right back. Grown-ups, this message is for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: That's it. Back to the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIALING PHONE)

THOMAS: Hi. Thanks for calling WOW IN THE WORLD. After the beep, get ready to record.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

HANAN: Hi, Mindy. Hi, Guy Raz. My name is Hanan (ph). I am from Edmond, Okla. And my wow in the world is that my grandma has synesthesia. She can taste names. Mindy is a chocolate-dipped cherry. Guy Raz is a pie crust. And Raz is a dried Kool-Aid. Bye, Mindy. Bye, Guy Raz. Keep up the good work. Love your show.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

JOY: Hi. My name is Joy (ph). And I'm from Orlando, Fla. And my wow is that scientists can clone animals. Bye, Mindy and Guy Raz. I love your show.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

ADDISON: Hi. My name is Addison (ph), and I am 8 years old. I live in Bloomington, Ill. My wow in the world is that iguanas can look both left and right at the same time. I love your show. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

DIEGO: Hello, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Diego (ph). And I live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My wow in the world is that Einstein's theory was energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. And I'm in second grade now. And I'm 8 years old. Love your show. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

MIRANDA: Hi, Guy Raz and Mindy. My name is Miranda (ph), and I am 6 years old. And I live in Gardena, Calif. And my wow in the world is that there are good germs and bad germs. Bye, Guy Raz and Mindy. I love your show.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

TYLER: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name's Tyler (ph). I'm from Portland, Ore., and I'm 7 years old. My wow in the world is that elephants have feelings. Bye, Mindy and Guy Raz. I love your show.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

NOLAN: Hi. My name is Nolan (ph). And I live in Monument, Col. And my wow in the world is that lightning is the main cause of forest fires. I love your show, Mindy and Guy Raz. I'm 7.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

ROBERT: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. I'm Robert (ph) from San Francisco. My wow in the world is I'm up at 3 in the morning at a sleepover, playing my friend's piano. (Playing piano). I'm terrible. Bye, Mindy and Guy Raz.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: End of messages.

THOMAS: Hey, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us this week on WOW IN THE WORLD.

RAZ: And if you want to keep the conversation going, check out some of the questions we've posted on this episode at our website wowintheworld.com.

THOMAS: And grown-ups, there you can find more details on how your kids can become part of the World Organization of Wowzers. Lots of cool perks - exclusive T-shirts, autographed pictures of us and a bunch of other cool stuff - wowintheworld.com.

RAZ: Our show is produced by Jed Anderson...

THOMAS: Say hello, Jed.

JED ANDERSON, BYLINE: Yello.

RAZ: ...With help from Thomas van Kalken, Chelsea Ursin and Jessica Boddy. Meredith Halpern-Ranzer is the big boss.

THOMAS: Our theme song was composed and performed by The Pop Ups. You can find more of their awesome, all-ages music at thepopups.com.

RAZ: And, parents and teachers, if you want to send us an email, our address is hello@wowintheworld.com.

THOMAS: Grown-ups, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @wowintheworld.

RAZ: And if you want to be featured at the end of the show, call us up and tell us your wow in the world.

THOMAS: Our phone number is 1-888-7-WOW-WOW. That's 1-888-7-WOW-WOW.

RAZ: And, parents, if you want to upload any photos or videos or messages to us, please visit wowintheworld.com and find a link where you can do just that.

THOMAS: And if you haven't already done so, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts or however you get your podcasts. Leave us a few stars and a review and be sure to tell a friend about the show. Until next time, keep on wowing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: WOW IN THE WORLD was made by Tinkercast and sent to you by NPR.

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