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Panel Round Two

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Paula Pell, Adam Felber and Charlie Pierce. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: In just a minute, Carl says Michael Phelps may have more medals, but he prefers Rhyme-an Lochte.


SAGAL: That'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. Right now, panel, though, some more questions for you from the week's news.

Adam, everyone knows that Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is one of the names being mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate on the Republican side. But this week Portman revealed something people don't know about him. On a recent trip to Chile, his life was saved, he says, by whom?

ADAM FELBER: A recent trip to Chile.

SAGAL: Yeah. He was in Chile. He got in trouble and he says he was saved by thinking about whom?

FELBER: The humble sea bass.


SAGAL: What a source of wisdom.


SAGAL: No, although that would be awesome if it happened.

FELBER: Governor Mark Sanford.




SAGAL: I'll give you a hint. Even though Portman was trapped, they couldn't take away his freedom.

FELBER: Oh, you got to be kidding me.


FELBER: He was - William Wallace.

SAGAL: Played by?

FELBER: Mel Gibson. Yes, Mel Gibson.



SAGAL: His life was saved by Mel Gibson, or at least Mel Gibson as he appeared in the movie "Lethal Weapon 2."


SAGAL: Portman goes kayaking. His kayak overturns. He's in Chile, right, and he ends up with a dislocated shoulder, in the middle of the stream, clinging to a rock. Then, he remembers something Mel Gibson does in "Lethal Weapon 2." And he slams his shoulder into the rock, pops it back in, swims to shore. The story he told.

FELBER: That's the story he told as he's trying to get the VP nomination.

SAGAL: Exactly.


FELBER: Sounds plausible to me. How many witnesses were there?

SAGAL: He's trying to be more interesting than, like, Tim Pawlenty.


SAGAL: It's like, you know how you can be more interesting than Tim Pawlenty? You slightly loosen your tie.

FELBER: Right.

SAGAL: That'll do it.


SAGAL: Charlie, the Atlantic, following up on an episode of "This American Life," recently posted some reflections from first time visitors to the USA, and they found one thing that really surprised people who first arrive in this country is what?

CHARLIE PIERCE: How crummy our health care system is.

SAGAL: No. They expected that.

PIERCE: Oh, that's true.


SAGAL: They're wondering where the talking horse is and the desperate housewives.

PIERCE: What, they all think that like American television shows are real?

SAGAL: Yeah. They're all surprised that it's not like TV.


SAGAL: That's the answer. The main way...

PIERCE: Well, I was sitting down with Captain Kirk just the other day.


PIERCE: And we were talking about this phenomenon.


SAGAL: The main way most people around the world first experience the United States is either through our television shows or drone attacks.


FELBER: And many of them eventually come to choose drone attacks.

SAGAL: That's true. And who can blame them...


SAGAL: ...for thinking all doctors are dreamy or that the people on "Dancing with the Stars" are actually stars.


SAGAL: One Chinese visitor quoted in the Atlantic insisted that all Americans get new boyfriends or girlfriends each week, citing "Friends" and "Sex and the City" as evidence, while a visitor from the Middle East was shocked to learn that he was not a terrorist.


SAGAL: Foreign viewers of NBC were especially confused. They believe that in America, everything happens 12 hours after it actually happens.


FELBER: It's weird. It's been 50 minutes and this crime is still not yet solved.


FELBER: I thought I was in America.

SAGAL: Where are the enormous New York apartments affordable by unemployed young people?



SAGAL: Paula.


SAGAL: This country has dealt with drunken driving, as well as other perils to the public safety. Now authorities say we're dealing with a new threat. What?

PELL: Putting your makeup on in taxicabs.

SAGAL: No. That can be dangerous.

PELL: A new threat in cars.

SAGAL: Well, not, not necessarily. This one is actually interesting because it's for people who are pedestrians.

PELL: Texting while texting.

SAGAL: Texting while texting.


SAGAL: So in other words you're texting on one phone and you take out another phone and you start texting on that and the danger is you might screw up the first text.

PELL: Exactly.

FELBER: Happens to me all the time.

SAGAL: That's interesting, but no. You were there. Texting while?

PELL: Crossing the streets.

SAGAL: Well texting while walking.


SAGAL: The problem is distracted walking.

PELL: Walking.

SAGAL: Right. Accidents involving pedestrians are up, and authorities blame people walking with their heads down, texting or reading their smart phones. As evidence they can cite such last texts such as, "Hey, that sounds like a bus."


SAGAL: And "Hey, I'm visiting Grand Cany-aaaah."

FELBER: Always ending in a sideways frowny face.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: Exactly. His last act was to send a sad emoticon.


SAGAL: I'm sorry, what's the emoticon for falling to my death? It's a semicolon, an arrow pointing down.

PIERCE: The one for hitting the ground is a simple asterisk.

SAGAL: That's true. Paula, some good news. A team of epidemiologists says they can reliably predict when you'll get the flu a week ahead of time, by simply taking a look at what?


PELL: Looking at the nasty face you're making.

FELBER: Looking at the virus' appointment book.


SAGAL: It's all online now.

PELL: I think it is - is it something about your eyes?



SAGAL: It's like, describe your symptoms in a 140 letters or less.

PELL: The way you're tweeting.

SAGAL: Yes, by looking at your tweets.



PELL: They know you're going to have the flu?

SAGAL: Apparently, University of Rochester scientists created an algorithm that can identify flu hotspots by tracking where people were, when they tweeted things like "oh, feeling a little sick, " or "sharin' a lollipop with a hobo."


SAGAL: It figures out where that's happening and where healthy people are. It can predict where the flu will spread.

FELBER: It's very scientific.

SAGAL: If can be incredibly effective in preventing the spread of disease, especially...

FELBER: This street tastes awful.


SAGAL: I knew I shouldn't have licked that sore.


SAGAL: Hash tag regret.


PELL: These chairs in the ER taste delicious.


(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.