Ants vs Bees (1)
Announcer: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best.
: The show for people with big opinions.
Molly Bloom: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom, and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and ask you to decide which one is best. Today, one's in the sky, one's underground, one makes a buzz, the other, not a sound. It's all-out bug brawl between two of nature's most innovative insects, ants versus bees. Which little creature is the biggest deal? Here to decide is our judge, Asenat. Hi, Asenat!
Molly: Asenat, I hope you're not afraid of insects because we're going to be hearing a lot about them today. I'm wondering, do you find insects generally fascinating, maybe a little freaky.
Asenat: They're a little intriguing, personally. There are some insects I do not like, I don't like spiders, I don't like anything that's slimy, typically, slugs and snails seem really gross to me. I think I've might have a phobia of them.
Molly: Well, it's a good thing that we're not talking about the ones that you're a little afraid of. Today, we're talking ants and bees. I'm curious, what words come to mind when you think of ants?
Asenat: I've heard they're really hard workers. I heard a lot about their teamwork. They're really tiny, but also really big in terms of how they collectively become one whole.
Molly: I love that big picture thinking. What about bees?
Asenat: I think they're misunderstood, to be honest.
Molly: You are a debater yourself, what do you like about debating?
Asenat: I like that you get to express yourself and your ideas, whether it's ideologically, whether it's through presenting your persuasiveness in forms of logos, ethos, or pathos.
Molly: Can you tell us about logos, ethos, and pathos are?
Asenat: They're debate, not debate styles, but sort of styles in which you persuade your audience. Logos is the logic, ethos is the ethics, and pathos is emotions.
Molly: That's great. You're going to be a perfect judge for our debate today. Do you have any tips for our debaters?
Asenat: The argument you like best is the one you're going to know the most, so just stick with your gut feeling and just stick with that argument. There's always a way to debate it out and there's always a way to win with that argument.
Molly: Excellent. We have an honest, unbiased judge here today for our ants versus bees debate. I think it is time to introduce our debaters. Standing up for the little guy always on the go, careful you don't step on him, it's Tim Barnes for Team Ant. Hi, Tim.
Tim Barnes: (laughs) How's it going? Happy to be here.
Molly: Tim, in one sentence, why are ants the ultimate insect?
Tim: Ants are the ultimate insect because they're stronger than they look and unlike bees, don't need wings and stripes to be cool.
Molly: Very good. Our next debater, he's buzzing with bravado, a friend to the flowers, watch out or he'll sting you. It's Ian Abramson for Team Bee. Hi, Ian.
Ian Abramson: Hello.
Molly: Ian, give us your take on why bees are the better bug in one sentence.
Ian: I'll give it to you in five words, ants take, but bees make.
Molly: Concise and to the point. These are going to be some big arguments for tiny creatures today, but remember, it all comes down to Asenat's opinion. Win her over, and you win the match. Tim and Ian, how're you feeling going into it?
Tim: I'm ready for this. I already beat Ian's argument, ants make things too.
Ian: Well, ants also have wings, you beat your own argument.
Tim: A few ants do, it's not common, most ants don't.
Ian: Some ants make things not all ants, most ants don't.
Molly: Okay. Here's how our debate will go down. The first round is the declaration of greatness. Ian and Tim give us the best facts, figures, and stories about their side. Then their opponent gets a thirty second rebuttal to push back. Round Two is the micro round. This is a creative challenge that both sides prepared for in advance. Next, round three, the sneak attack. We give both sides a surprise format to debate in, they'll need their wits to win this one. Then, round four, the final six. That's when our debaters make their last argument in just six words.
Asenat will be giving out points along the way, but she'll keep her score a secret until the very end. Listeners, we want you to judge too. If you'd like to keep score on an official scorecard, you can download one on our website at smashboom.org or just make your own. Asenat, are you ready for the facts to start flying?
Asenat: I am more than ready.
Molly: Perfect. Let's go.
Announcer: Declaration of Greatness
Molly: Asenat, you have two points to award this round, one for the best declaration and one for the fiercest rebuttal. We flipped a coin and Tim, you're up first. Get us amped up about ants.
Tim: Ants. They're all over. You can find ant colonies on every continent except for Antarctica - which is weird because it literally has “ant” in the name. Can't really make an ant hill out of ice, I guess. Wherever you find ‘em, they're always moving, always busy. Makes you wonder -- what's it like in their world? Maybe like this…
Narrator: It was a glorious, busy day in the ant farm, but the only thing that was wrong was that there was no food. The queen of all ants made an announcement and said…
Queen: I can not and shall not tolerate one minute without food.
Narrator: So the queen called up my partner and I, the two scientific ants, and told us to go into the house of doom… where there are giants and strange creatures.
Queen: You two. Fetch food - I command thee!
Narrator: Exactly after mother told her speech, four soldier ants pulled my partner and I to the back door and kicked us out.
I've always been fascinated with ants. In fact, what you just heard was an excerpt from a short story I wrote when I was in elementary school. Spoiler: the ants do find food and totally save the day.
Ants have a few things in common. Like big heads, powerful jaws, elbowed antennae and verified Instagram accounts. Okay, maybe not the Instagram thing. But they have something cooler -- an exoskeleton. Which is a skeleton on the outside, and it's also fun to say… EXOSKELETON! While our skeletons are on the inside, probably because they're shy and want to hide away and read books or something, ants' exoskeletons protect them like armor!
Ants are also strong. Some can lift up to ten, fifty or, by some estimates, 5000 timestheir own body weight. And they are amazing engineers.
Ants build sprawling cities underground called colonies. The largest on record stretches 3,700 miles! From northern Italy, through France to the coast of Spain.
There are lots of kinds of ants too, ones with kinda innocent names like Carpenter Ants and Weaver Ants…Bizzaro ones, like door-head ants or rasberry crazy ants.
And ones with names that keep you up at night, like Bullet Ants and Fire Ants.
DAVID: So there's 10,000 species of ants in the world.
Tim: That's David Hu. He's a professor of mechanical engineering and biology at Georgia Tech. Basically he's …
DAVID: … a scientist who uses engineering to study bugs.
Tim: David is an ant man. Not THE Ant-Man... I think… He works with fire ants because they do something pretty fascinating: they build with their bodies!
DAVID: And that means they can actually act like Lego blocks and build physical structures that are way taller and way wider than just one ant.
Tim: It's sort of like how cheerleaders can stack into a human pyramid at football games. But way cooler. Fire ants can group together to form towers, bridges and even rafts to protect themselves from drowning when their territory is flooded. It's sort of like how the five power rangers put their robots together to form a megazord.
DAVID: Except instead of just five robots imagine, like 100,000. And if there's several colonies, you could have, you know, 10 or 20 colonies forming this huge, you know, a bed-sized raft of like millions and millions of ants.
Tim: When they build something it's both sturdy and changeable because sometimes ants make mistakes. Like maybe they'll build a tower and they'll build up too tall on one side. So, they gotta let some ants ooze out and start over.
You know what? It reminds me of a great quote from Martial Arts master Bruce Lee about being like water…
BRUCE LEE: Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
DAVID: And I bet Bruce Lee if he saw the fire and see what it changed, he's like, Oh, don't be like water. Be like a raft of oozing fire ants that is about to bite you.
Tim: But ants do more than just build cool things. They also help plants by digging into the ground and creating tunnels for air and water to reach the roots. They help crops by protecting them from other bugs. And they gobble up food that otherwise would begin to mold, rot and smell.
And get this: there are more living ants on Earth than any other things besides bacteria. Maybe it's time to stop thinking of them as pesky invaders who eat all our cookies. Ants don't really invade our homes. We invade theirs.
Wow. Kinda wish I were an ant now.
Molly: Tim turning all of us into ant men and ant women with that hard-working declaration for ants. All right, Asenat, what stood out to you about Tim's argument?
Asenat: I like their use of ethos, logos, and pathos. I found out that they used the professor's input as logic, their emotions were the story that they read, or that they wrote beforehand when they were younger. Those are all things that really stood out to me and I love them.
Molly: Excellent. Yes, I love the thought of little baby Tim, writing his ant story. It makes me so happy. Okay, Ian, you have 30 seconds to respond to anything that you heard in that ode to ants. Your time starts now.
Ian: My biggest question that I will begin and end with is, what would you rather eat? Honey or whatever it is that ants make? I was kinda not clear. Tim said that ants make stuff. What is it, holes in the ground? Is that what you want? I don't need more holes in the ground. Listen, ants are great, but I wouldn't invite them to a picnic, and neither would you. Let's be serious. I would also say that ants just follow a path. They have to follow each other but bees are independent and they can trail their own path to find their own food. Ants are only followers-
Tim: Wow. You're anti-working together as a group the way ants do?
Ian: Tim, ant is in the word anti.
Tim: All right. Enough with you and your logos. Okay?
Ian: It's ant-I.
Tim: I can't think of anything that makes bees more frightening than thinking about how independent they are. They can just go rogue.
Ian: What you're saying that you like about ants is that they're completely controlled by the people in charge?
Tim: I wouldn't say that. I'd say that they have a sense of honor. They have a sense of duty. It's almost like the Vulcans in Star Trek, you know how they say the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? That is the motto for the ant.