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Bluff The Listener

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 Demi Adejuyigbe, Amy Dickinson and Alonzo Bodden. And here again is your host, a man who just swallowed one of his puzzle pieces just to keep it interesting, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ANTHONY HASHEF: Hi, this is Anthony Hashef calling from Lake Almanor, Calif.

SAGAL: Where is that? Lake Almanor?

HASHEF: Almanor, yes. It's in the Lassen National Forest in Northern California, even more north than the Bay Area.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. That's a beautiful place to be. What are you doing there, hiding from the feds?

HASHEF: More or less. I'm with my family, so it's about the same.

AMY DICKINSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: No, that's cool, yeah. How's your pandemic been going? How's your quarantine?

HASHEF: It's been going well, been reading a bunch, staying busy. So no complaint.

SAGAL: Well, I'm glad to hear it. I'm glad to hear. Well, welcome to the show, Anthony. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what's the topic?

KURTIS: This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquariums.

SAGAL: Aquariums, a time-honored attraction where you can look at fish you don't have to eventually flush down the toilet. This week, our panelists will tell you about an exciting new update coming to an aquarium near you. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

HASHEF: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Demi Adejuyigbe.

DEMI ADEJUYIGBE: Well, if you ever wanted to be part of the Pittsburgh Penguins but didn't have the knack for ice hockey, here's your chance. An aquarium in Pennsylvania is giving patrons the once-in-a-lifetime chance to eat, sleep and live like a penguin for a week in one of their penguin enclosures. For the tidy sum of $25,000, which is about three buckets of mackerel on the penguin exchange, guests will receive lessons on how to maximize their weeklong adventure. These lessons include learning their daily schedule, learning how to communicate with the penguins and learning how to tell them, I'm actually seeing somebody right now when their mating rituals begin.

ALONZO BODDEN: (Laughter).

ADEJUYIGBE: Customers of the penguin encounter experience will be asked to suit up in custom penguin wetsuits that will allow them to blend in more easily, though guests are welcome to simply bring their own tuxedos from home. From then, the week will start with them watching various films that properly highlight the penguin life, including "Mr. Popper's Penguins," "Happy Feet" and "Batman Returns" starring Danny DeVito. Guests won't be leaving empty-handed, though. At the end of the week, every visitor is given a video montage of their experiences that week narrated by none other than - you guessed it - Morgan Freeman.

DICKINSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: A program at a Pennsylvania aquarium where you get to go and be a penguin. They seemed like they'd have a lot of fun. Your next story of a splashy new trend comes from Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: People love dolphin encounters. They love to swim with them, pet them and play with them in the water. You know who hates it, though? Dolphins. Enter the robot dolphin. A San Francisco developer has made a robot dolphin that can swim underwater exactly like an actual dolphin does, except that this dolphin doesn't eat, poop or attack its handler in a fit of rage. The robot dolphin is so lifelike that it would easily fool a typical guest at SeaWorld. But then again, a robot version of Dolph Lundgren might fool the typical guest at SeaWorld. These robot dolphins can swim up to 10 hours on a single charge and are operated remotely by a person. The company's representative, Li Wang (ph), said, we believe that it's time to reimagine this industry and that this approach can be more humane and more profitable at the same time. And all the dolphins currently swimming free responded, (imitating dolphin).

BODDEN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Wow. Was that a real dolphin, or was it Memorex? That was amazing. Robot dolphins for you to encounter with instead of annoying real ones. Your last story of cutting-edge aquatics comes from Alonzo Bodden.

BODDEN: Our nation has two problems - people are incredibly stressed and upset, and aquariums are all bleeding money without paying customers. Dr. William Tavern (ph) has solved both problems with his new program, Aquarium Rehab. Based at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Dr. Tavern says the sea life on display helps patients put their lives in perspective, or it will after 30 days of living at the otherwise empty aquarium. There's no better way to learn calm in a stressful situation than swimming in a shark tank, said patient Tommy G (ph). I worked in the finance industry, and the stress drove me crazy. Then I swam with real sharks. Suddenly, variations in the Nasdaq weren't scary at all.

Another patient, Liz L (ph), found calm in watching schools of fish swim. I was a party girl, she says. Now I'm married and living in suburbia. I was thinking how boring it always is, stuck at home. So I started drinking again. But then I spent a month just watching a school of fish swimming as a group. Yeah, I watched one of the fish lead the group. Wow, look at me. And then he was eaten. Now I'm the most energized, happiest mom in the PTA. That could also be because I'm the only one there not on Xanax.

Dr. Tavern has had a pretty low relapse rate and is trying to expand to other aquariums. He says, quote, "most patients do a pretty good job in the real world, although I do have a problem with Tommy coming back again and again - not because he's drinking. No, he's now addicted to swimming with sharks."

SAGAL: All right. One of these things is something that you might be able to find quite soon in an aquarium. Is it, from Demi, an aquarium in Pennsylvania that lets you pretend to be a penguin, including your own little documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman; from Amy Dickinson, robot dolphins that you can actually swim with that allow you to encounter a dolphin without bothering an actual dolphin; or from Alonzo Boden, a therapy for rehab in an aquarium based on just spending a lot of time with fish? Which of these is the real story of an aquarium attraction in the news?

HASHEF: This is a tough one, but I'm going to have to go with the robotic dolphin.

SAGAL: You're going to choose Amy's story of the robotic dolphins?

HASHEF: Yes.

SAGAL: To bring you the correct answer, we don't have a dolphin, but we do have someone involved in the real story.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROGER HOLZBERG: This animatronic dolphin concept would essentially be big giant swimming puppets.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIRHORN SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: That was Roger Holzberg. He's the lead experience designer at Edge Innovations, the company behind the new robot dolphins. Congratulations. You got it right. You earned a point for Amy Dickinson. You won our prize - the voice of your choice in your voicemail. Everything is basically going great.

HASHEF: Awesome. Thank you guys so much.

SAGAL: Thank you for playing. And stay safe.

KURTIS: Good for you, Anthony.

HASHEF: All right. You guys take care now.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ROBOTS")

SENOR COCONUT: (Singing) We are the robots. We are the robots. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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