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Panel Questions

Panel Questions

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Shannon, researchers have learned to decipher the calls of bats, and it turns out bats spend most of their time doing what?

SHANNON O'NEILL: Screaming.

SAGAL: Well, they do scream, but they're screaming for a particular purpose.

O'NEILL: Oh, just complain.

SAGAL: Yes.

O'NEILL: Great.

SAGAL: Complain and argue...

O'NEILL: Yes.

SAGAL: ...With each other.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O'NEILL: Oh, wow.

SAGAL: That's what bats do, apparently. According to a study from Tel Aviv University, bats spend the majority of their time arguing with each other about food, sleep and sex.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The researchers also learned that bats vary how they speak - this is all true - depending on the relative status of the bat they're talking to. So it's like, Ralph, I'd prefer it if you gave me a little more room versus, Marvin, your ass is hanging in my face.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULA POUNDSTONE: How can they know that...

SAGAL: I'm...

POUNDSTONE: ...The bats are complaining? That's just stupid.

SAGAL: Because...

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of my assistant Wendell (ph) who always thinks he knows what my dog is thinking.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: You know...

SAGAL: He's specifically, like...

POUNDSTONE: ...Oh, he's so sad when you leave. He wishes he was going with you. Really? He's sleeping on my bedroom floor. I think he's fine.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Let me explain.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. No, that's absurd.

SAGAL: So what...

POUNDSTONE: So how did they figure it out?

SAGAL: Paula, this is science. The researchers...

POUNDSTONE: Yeah (laughter).

SAGAL: They recorded millions of bat calls, right?

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating bat call).

SAGAL: And then they used a computer - right...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...To...

POUNDSTONE: And then they used a computer for what?

SAGAL: They used it to...

POUNDSTONE: No.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All of a sudden, I have this weird pang of sympathy for your high school teachers.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

O'NEILL: I bet right now, a bunch of bats know exactly what's happening right now.

SAGAL: I know. I know. That totally makes sense.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating bat call).

SAGAL: So anyway, so they used computers to analyze and sort out the different calls, and then they compared that to video of what the bats were doing.

POUNDSTONE: What if bats are passive-aggressive or sarcastic?

SAGAL: How would a bat be passive-aggressive?

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: So - 'cause you're saying that they could tell by what they were doing.

SAGAL: Yes.

POUNDSTONE: What if, for example, one bat brings - I don't know. What do they eat? Do they eat mice or something?

SAGAL: They eat bugs, generally speaking.

POUNDSTONE: OK. So what if one bat brings a bug to another bat and says, go ahead. Go ahead. Eat it. Right? See, now, from the scientists' point of view, they would say, oh, well, that's like they're being nice to the other bat. But it wasn't. It was like, go ahead. Eat it.

SAGAL: Fine. You can have it.

POUNDSTONE: Exactly. Take more from me, why don't you?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So do you feel...

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating bat call).

SAGAL: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

O'NEILL: Now do that sarcastically.

MO ROCCA: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating sarcastic bat call).

(LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: There you go.

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating sarcastic bat call).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALK TO THE ANIMALS")

SAMMY DAVIS JR: (Singing) Whoa, if I could talk to the animals, just imagine.

SAGAL: Coming up, we're going to give you everything you want in our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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