Panel Questions Amazon Tetris; Blast Off!
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Panel Questions

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Panel Questions

Panel 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 Tom Papa, Faith Salie and Alonzo Bodden. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill.

(APPLAUSE)

KURTIS: In just a minute, Bill writes his first op-ed for The New York rhymes in the Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-88-924-8924. Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Tom, Amazon is testing a new method to increase productivity, improving their boring warehouse jobs by converting those tasks into a what?

TOM PAPA: Video game.

SAGAL: Exactly right, Tom.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Basically, the boxes you move in real life correspond to objects in video games on these little screens. There's a space game, a castle game and, of course, Grand Theft Bezos.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The Washington Post called it Tetris but with real boxes. You're pitted against other workers in other departments. And it's fun because, if you win, you might get to keep your health insurance.

(LAUGHTER)

FAITH SALIE: Are you avoiding anything? Are you running over barrels?

SAGAL: I don't know. I myself have not played it. But you are actually - by physically moving things in the world, you are affecting things in the game. It's a huge improvement over Amazon's previous game for warehouse workers - who can go the longest without peeing?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Some say it's just a nefarious way to track employees and increase efficiency. But others say the same thing because that's obviously what it is.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: In a statement, Amazon said no workers had experienced any side effects from the mushrooms they eat to make it possible for them to jump up to the highest level.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Do you play - do you - does any of you play video games?

ALONZO BODDEN: No. I'm not a gamer.

SALIE: Do you?

PAPA: No. I...

SALIE: No.

PAPA: ...Always want to.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: But...

PAPA: But I have a life.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Alonzo, this week, a longstanding debate about space travel was finally resolved. We now know that you cannot achieve propulsion in space using what?

BODDEN: You can't achieve propulsion using explosives, right? There can't be explosions.

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Sort of. It's more personal propulsion around the space station.

BODDEN: Oh, you mean gas?

SAGAL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Let's - how can we say this nice? - gas expelled from a human (unintelligible).

SAGAL: That's exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Or as we call it here on Earth - farts.

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Yeah. I was trying to keep it classy but...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Have you not listened to this show?

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: That's true. I've been here for a while. So, again, this whole episode is just having me question scientists.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yes.

BODDEN: You know, you think they're so brilliant. And it's intimidating.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODDEN: And they're sitting around saying, hey, I wonder if I could fart my way around the space station?

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Well, yes. And then you're like, open the pod bay door, Hal, or at least open a window.

(LAUGHTER)

PAPA: I'm not a scientist. But I know for a fact that my friend Keith (ph) - that his farts light on fire...

(LAUGHTER)

PAPA: ...For a fact. And I also know for a fact, if the flames too close to him while you're doing this experiment, his jeans will light on fire.

(LAUGHTER)

PAPA: You don't even have to be in space. You could just be in a basement in New Jersey.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah. We gathered that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKET MAN")

ELTON JOHN: (Singing) Rocket Man burning up his fuse up here alone - and I think it's going to be a long, long time till touch down brings me round...

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