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Panel Round Two

Friday, July 11, 2014

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

More questions for the panel: All Together Now, Idle Hands, and Lie-brary.


BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: 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 Brian Babylon, Paula Poundstone and Tom Bodett. Here again is your host at Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill gives you three ounces of legal, recreational rhyme in our listener limerick challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1(888) WAITWAIT. That's 1(888) 924-8924. Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Tom, in the U.S. we've all seen the combination Pizza Huts and Taco Bells, that sort of thing, in one building. Last week, a group in Germany announced it would be creating a new kind of combination - the world's first what?

TOM BODETT: The Strudel-Salami Shack. The...


SAGAL: It's not food.

BODETT: Oh, it's not food. A combo...

SAGAL: Well, you can pray towards Mecca and take communion without leaving the building.


BODETT: Oh, it's like a Christian church and a mosque.

SAGAL: And a...

BODETT: And a synagogue.

SAGAL: Exactly.


BODETT: Wow, nice.

SAGAL: It's a church-mosque-synagogue...


POUNDSTONE: But you know what?

SAGAL: ...Or churmoshagogue - the world's first.


POUNDSTONE: The airport already does that.


BRIAN BABYLON: That's true.

BODETT: That is.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know but that's just one - that's like a one, nondescript room.


SAGAL: This is like, you got the church, you got the mosque, you got the synagogue.

POUNDSTONE: I would still say that it was...

BABYLON: Is there a food court in the middle?

BODETT: No, but that is, like, a food court.

BABYLON: Is there a food court in the middle?

POUNDSTONE: Well, you can get the wafer, the host...

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: ...Out of a vending machine.


POUNDSTONE: I've always felt that for, like, the guy who has - the minister for the airport chapel, you know?

BABYLON: You have to go every other - you have to know a little bit of everything.

POUNDSTONE: Well, you're in the middle of your sermon and a flight is announced...


POUNDSTONE: ...And you lose your flock.


SAGAL: It's a gesture of peace and reconciliation. It's called the House of One. It has three separate areas - mosque, synagogue, church - but - all the same size. But they will be shaped differently to make sure that even in a building devoted to peace, there is something to fight about.


POUNDSTONE: I love that. Apparently, there's just a bench outside for the atheists.


SAGAL: Paula, a recent scientific study found that humans would rather do what than be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes?

POUNDSTONE: Rather do anything...

SAGAL: Well, that we know...

POUNDSTONE: ...Than be alone with their thoughts.

SAGAL: ...But the specific thing they found that people would rather do. I'll give you a hint. We assume this is what Ben Franklin was trying to do with his kite. He was just bored.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, they would rather have electric shock.

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: People would rather suffer an electric shock - they would rather give themselves an electric shock than simply sit still for 15 minutes alone with their thoughts.

BABYLON: How did - wait a minute. How did they...

POUNDSTONE: How do they determine that?

SAGAL: This is how they determined it.

POUNDSTONE: That doesn't sound legal.


SAGAL: This is what they did. They were doing various tests to see how addicted people were to distractions, primarily their phones, of course. And they took people - they put them in a room, and they said, we're going to hook you up with this electrical thing. We want you to press the button and see what it feels like. Go ahead. And they press the button and it was like, ow. OK. And they said, we're just going to leave you here and all you can do is press that button if you want to. You can do nothing else. And of the hundred people they tested, two-thirds of the men gave themselves the shocks.


SAGAL: One-third of the women did it. This is all true.

POUNDSTONE: Did you hear that? Two-thirds of the men.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: One guy - also true - shocked himself 190 times.



SAGAL: But that guy, he thought if he got enough juice in him, he could check Twitter on his own eyeballs.


BABYLON: You know what? That is a - I'm not - I don't believe in drugs, but I'm telling you, they need weed.


SAGAL: Paula, the following books made a list this week "A Brief History Of Time" by Stephen Hawking, "Capital" by Thomas Piketty and "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. What do those books have in common?

POUNDSTONE: Ted Cruz read them to a preschool.


SAGAL: No. Let me - I'll try to give you a hint. It's why decades after it came out, everybody gets irritated by "A Brief History Of Time" spoilers.

POUNDSTONE: No one's finished them?

SAGAL: No one finishes those books.



SAGAL: That's what they have in common. E-readers, they're good for the environment, they're easy to carry, but they know that you are a poser. So even though you downloaded Thomas Friedman's latest yawn-fest and you posted about it on Facebook, and you Instagramed a picture of it propped on your bare legs at the beach, your Kindle knows you actually fell asleep reading the dedication.


BODETT: Now, I have a rule that if a book sits on my nightstand for more than six months, I can claim to have read it.

SAGAL: Right, just by osmosis.



POUNDSTONE: I read really slow. So even if I'm enjoying a book, it takes me forever. I also tend to read nonfiction, which reads slower. Like I read the book "Water," which ironically was dry...


SAGAL: Yes, it was.

POUNDSTONE: ...And it just took me forever. Like, our relationship with water changed during the time that it took me to read the book. The same thing - what was it? - "Guns, Germs, And Steel."

SAGAL: Yeah, a very good book.

POUNDSTONE: We evolved in the time it took me to read that book.

BABYLON: I understand, but you know what books people finish?

SAGAL: What?

BABYLON: The Fabios.

SAGAL: The Fabios?

POUNDSTONE: What's a Fabio?

BABYLON: Wait. Oh, now people don't remember Fabio. How dare you? How dare you?


SAGAL: Wait a minute, you mean, like, the romantic novels?

BABYLON: The romantic novels. Oh, people finish those.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

POUNDSTONE: I've never read a romantic novel in my life.


POUNDSTONE: All right, I read the Fabios.

BABYLON: OK, you read the Fabios. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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