Comedians Erin Jackson and Laurie Kilmartin work together to answer questions about some of the world's fastest things.
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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Thank you, Jonathan. We're here playing games with two of my absolute favorite comics and friends, Laurie Kilmartin and Erin Jackson.
OK. Laurie, you have a teenage son.
LAURIE KILMARTIN: Yeah.
EISENBERG: How's he doing?
KILMARTIN: I haven't seen him in two months...
KILMARTIN: ...Because he's in the garage playing video games, and I don't care.
COULTON: That sounds right. That sounds right.
EISENBERG: He's fine.
KILMARTIN: He pops in the house every once in a while to microwave mac and cheese. So we exchange pleasantries, and then he leaves me alone again.
EISENBERG: But that would be no different, right?
KILMARTIN: No. Yeah. He has no idea there's a pandemic.
COULTON: It wasn't until I had a 15-year-old daughter that I understood completely why my mother at some point said to me, this is not a hotel.
ERIN JACKSON: Guys, I live alone, and it's great.
EISENBERG: OK, so you're going to work together for this game. It's called In A Hurry. It's about some of the galaxy's fastest things.
EISENBERG: So is the fastest animal on Earth an animal that runs on land, swims in water or flies through the air?
KILMARTIN: I normally would say cheetah because they're the fastest land animal.
EISENBERG: You are correct. You are correct with that.
KILMARTIN: She's bringing in birds now.
KILMARTIN: You know what I'm saying, Erin? Like...
JACKSON: Yeah. So I definitely - yeah, 'cause I was going the same way. I was going to say, like, a cheetah or, like, some kind of big cat. So, yeah, I'm cool with saying bird. That makes more sense.
EISENBERG: You are correct. It is air. And it's the peregrine falcon - is the fastest.
EISENBERG: According to the Smithsonian, the peregrine falcon will dive bomb its prey at speeds up to 242 miles per hour.
EISENBERG: And let me tell you something - on the roof of our apartment building in Brooklyn, there turned out to be peregrine falcons that were nesting the next building over. And they had had fledglings, babies. And the mother, of course, is very territorial. And we were up on that roof kind of looking at them. And I guess the fledglings were learning how to fly. And my husband got, like, way - like, went to the furthest part of the roof to take a look. And he got dive-bombed.
JACKSON: Oh, my goodness.
KILMARTIN: That's exciting.
EISENBERG: Yeah, I've never - yeah. He screamed in a pitch I didn't know could come out of him...
EISENBERG: ...And was spread eagle on the...
JACKSON: He could've made a sound effect for a movie.
EISENBERG: Exactly. It was exciting.
KILMARTIN: (Laughter). You've never been attracted to him since.
KILMARTIN: You heard that noise, and you're like, oh, this guy can't save me.
EISENBERG: I know. Me and the falcon - we're dating - the falcon and I.
COULTON: All right. Here's your next clue. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is the fastest human on Earth. According to The New York Times, what is his top recorded speed in miles per hour? Is it 15 miles per hour, 27 seven miles per hour or 41 miles per hour?
JACKSON: Forty miles an hour is pretty - that's not possible, right?
KILMARTIN: I don't think so.
JACKSON: No, I don't think that's possible. He's pretty fast. His name is Bolt. I'm going to - I'll split the middle. I mean, 15 still sounds best. But, you know, Michael Scott ran that fast on "The Office."
JACKSON: What do you think, Laurie?
KILMARTIN: Well, first of all, I thought, if I remember correctly, Britney Spears actually ran faster than Usain Bolt, right?
EISENBERG: That's right.
KILMARTIN: So I argue that your premise is faulty, Ophira.
EISENBERG: But to retort, after the memes, Britney did come back and say she was joking.
KILMARTIN: I guess I'd say that, too, if I was that fast, and I was trying to keep it a secret.
KILMARTIN: I'm going to go with Erin, and I'm going to say 15 an hour sounds pretty fast.
COULTON: It is pretty fast, but he actually did 27 miles per hour.
KILMARTIN: But he can't do it for an hour. He can only do it for 9 seconds.
JACKSON: Like, 9 seconds at a time. Right.
COULTON: So he's not so great.
KILMARTIN: Yeah, really, he hasn't beat the peregrine falcon, as far as I'm concerned.
COULTON: No, no, he has not.
EISENBERG: Not even close.
COULTON: OK. Here's another one. Earth takes 24 hours to rotate once on its axis. So in terms of rotation speed, what is the fastest planet in our solar system? Is it Mercury, Venus or Jupiter?
KILMARTIN: I would guess Mercury just because I feel like it.
EISENBERG: Yeah, it's hot and close, right?
COULTON: Hot and close (laughter).
COULTON: How do you feel about that, Erin?
JACKSON: You know, I was going to go with Venus 'cause I like the name better. But I don't - you know, I'm willing to go with Mercury.
COULTON: Mercury. It's actually Jupiter.
COULTON: It only takes about 10 Earth hours to rotate all the way around its axis.
KILMARTIN: Well, we can't live there. Do you know how quickly I'm going to age?
EISENBERG: But they are zipping through quarantine. They are just - yeah.
KILMARTIN: (Laughter). They're in phase four - the whole planet. They're all out.
JACKSON: Step it up, Earth.
EISENBERG: You guys did great.
EISENBERG: And that's it. Such a pleasure to see you. Hope to see you in real life soon.
EISENBERG: Laurie Kilmartin, Erin Jackson, thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you. This was fun.
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