Rats vs Pigeons (1)
Announcer: From the brains behind brains on its Smash Boom Best.
Ethan: The show for people with big opinions.
Announcer: From the brains behind the Brains On it Smash Boom Best. The show for people with big opinions.
Molly: 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, we're switching it up. Smash Boom Best is going to fall on smash boom pest. We've got two pesky critters going head to head in today's debate. They're known for their love of big cities and dropped food. It's rats versus pigeons.
Feathers will fly. Tales will twitch, but which cunning creature will come out on top? It's tough to say but luckily Ethan is here to help us decide. Hi Ethan.
Molly: Ethan, when I say rat what comes to mind?
Ethan: Basically, this somewhat adorable, somewhat creepy creature that you'd normally find in an attic.
Molly: What about when I say pigeons?
Ethan: I would say a pesky bird that would come and eat your bread in New York.
Molly: Do you already think one of these animals is cooler than the other one?
Ethan: I think they're both equally creepy. Today I'm going to be judging it on creepiness.
Molly: Do you at home like debating?
Ethan: I've had debating discussions with some of my friends on like Minecraft or Fortnite or Marvel versus Star Wars and all different kinds of things like that. Actually recently in the Boy Scouts I had a little debate thing that had to do with a merit badge.
Molly: What tips do you have for our debaters today?
Ethan: A tip would probably be to give it your all and state your facts and just try to think on your feet.
Molly: Excellent advice. Well, let's meet our debaters here to defend, Wiley, and resilient team rat, it's Elyssa Dudley. Hi, Elyssa.
Elyssa Dudley: Hello, hello.
Molly: Elyssa, in a single sentence, why are rats the smash boom best?
Elyssa: Because a rat could save your life one day and a pigeon would just poop on you and maybe murder you with its poop.
Molly: Whoa, whoa. I hope you got some facts to back that up and here to represent intelligent, intrepid team pigeon it's Tom Weber. Hi Tom.
Tom Weber: Hello. Team pigeon, piu, piu, piu.
Molly: In one sentence, Tom, why are pigeons cooler than rats?
Tom: Pigeons reflect humanity, whatever you like about them is what you like about us and whatever you hate about them is really what you hate about us.
Molly: Whoa, getting deep all ready. Let's review the rules of the game. Round one is the Declaration of Greatness. When our debaters will use facts, logic and all the charisma they can muster to present the most persuasive arguments for their side. After each declaration the opposing team will have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statement. Then we've got the Micro Round, a creative challenge each side has prepared for in advance. Round three is this Sneak Attack, a surprise challenge debaters will respond to on the spot.
Last but not least we've got the Final Six. In this round each team will have six words to make a closing case for their side. Our judge, Ethan, will award one point after each round but he'll keep his decisions top secret until the end of the debate. Listeners, we want you to judge too. This is a tough one. Mark down your points as you listen. At the end of the show, head to our website smashboom.org and vote for whichever team you think won. Everybody, are you ready?
Elyssa: I'm so ready.
Ethan: Excited to judge.
Molly: Then it's time for the--
Announcer: Declaration of Greatness.
Molly: Our debaters will present the most fascinating facts and awesome arguments in favor of their side. We flipped a coin and, Elyssa, you're up first. It's time for a Declaration of Greatness for those quick-witted and whiskered wonders, rats.
Elyssa: Ethan, your honor, our esteemed judge. We are here today to discuss rats and-
Person #1: OHMIGOD A RAT?! WHERE? !
Elyssa: There's nothing to worry about, ma'am. As I was saying: rats are-
Person #2: DID SOMEBODY SAY RAT?? ?
Elyssa: Yes. But I'm just trying to say that rats are actually-
Person #3: (blood curdling scream)
Elyssa: Alright, alright! GIVE IT A REST! Rats don't have the best reputation…
Hollywood loves to hate on rats. They've been the villain, and the butt of jokes. They're almost never the hero. That is, until…
REMY: I like good food. And good food is hard for a rat to find!
Elyssa: That's right, Ratatouille! The 2007 Pixar movie about an adorable rat named Remy who becomes a chef.
Ok, it's fiction. But Ratatouille got a lot right about rats. They're super smart, exceptionally clean, work well with humans. And...
FAST: They have really great sense of smell.
Elyssa: That's Dr. Cindy Fast.
FAST: They're nocturnal, like other rodents, which means they don't see very well. They're used to being out in the world in the dark. So they navigate that space using their nose.
Elyssa: Dr. Fast works for a nonprofit called APOPO, where she's in charge of training rats to save lives.
APOPO's rats are trained from birth to sniff out danger - like landmines.
Landmines are explosive devices that are buried underground during wars or other conflicts. Because they're hidden underground, it's hard to find them. And if you accidentally step on one - they explode - which is very dangerous -- and even deadly. Landmines prevent people from using land for things like farms or playgrounds.
Enter… landmine-detecting rats! !
FAST: So they can use this really keen sense of smell to identify where a landmine is, by sniffing out the explosives that are in the landmine, the really dangerous part of it.
Elyssa: And luckily, African giant pouched rats are too light to trigger a landmine! So everyone stays safe while the rats are working.
Plus, these rats are easy to train, because they'll do anything for their favorite food.
FAST: And for the rat, that's banana, they love bananas. So anytime we're working in the field, the rat just kind of trots along back and forth, sniffing the ground. And as soon as he finds something that smells like explosives, he'll stop, kind of sniff around and then dig very furiously at the ground. And we know instantly that something is there.
Elyssa: This year, one of APOPO's rats, Magawa, won an award for his lifesaving work.
FAST: He has found over 60 items of explosives in Cambodia. So that's more than 20 soccer fields. He searched all of that and said, this is now free of landmines. And the local community is now using that land.
Elyssa: Now Magawa wears a tiiiiny gold medal on his harness when he goes to work, and it is unbelievably cute. But that's just one woman's opinion.
There are over sixty species of rats, and the biggest difference between rat and a mouse is just their size! But when you imagine a classic rat, you're probably thinking of a black rat or a brown rat.
These guys are playful, they're good at problem solving and puzzles, and a recent study showed that these kinds of rats actually giggle when tickled. You have to use a special microphone to even hear it, but it sounds like this:
(clip of rat giggle)
Rats are empathetic too! Another study showed that they'll save another rat from drowning - even if it means losing out on a tasty treat.
They also make great pets. I'm speaking from experience. When I was a kid I had a pet rat named Amos.
Dad: Amos was this warm fuzzy critter that just wanted to snuggle.
Elyssa: Meet my dad! Who… in retrospect, was probably the one cleaning up Amos' poop. Still, he sings his praises.
But here's the plot twist: my family had another pet too.
One day my dad found an abandoned pigeon nest while cleaning the rain gutters.
Dad: So I gently put the egg's in the breast pocket of my shirt…
Elyssa: We got an incubator, and soon, one of the eggs hatched! We named him Jack. We fed him and he grew.
Dad: Oh, he was imprinted. He was part of the family. He'd come flying down and land on my shoulder. He was very affectionate.
Elyssa: Until Jack the pigeon... BETRAYED MY FAMILY.
Dad: He'd fly down and start pecking on our hands really hard. It didn't really hurt, but it wasn't really warm and fuzzy either. I'm not sure what was going on in his little bird brain. I don't think a whole lot to be honest with you.
Elyssa: So what's a better pet: a rat or a pigeon?
Dad: Oh, a rat.
Elyssa: So take it from my dad, Ethan, rats are the clear choice. They're cute, fun, smart as heck, and they'll gladly save our lives if we just give them a little bit of love. And maybe some banana.
Molly: A heartfelt reputation rehab for rats there. Ethan, what did you think about Elyssa's Declaration of Greatness? What stood out to you?
Ethan: Just like the image of the rat in my head lowered my heart rate. Also you mentioned Remy, Remy the rat from Ratatouille, which I am super happy about. I thought that was a really, really heartfelt and put together presentation.
Molly: Excellent. Well, Tom, I'm sure you have a few thoughts to share. It's time for your rebuttal. Conjure up your most pigeon-like pizzazz. You've got 30 seconds to let it fly and your time starts now.
Tom: I'm all for the great stories about your pets. I really think that it's great that they're finding use for the landmine story that you talked about. What about the story in the Bronx recently where the guy fell through the sidewalk into a dark hole that was filled with rats. He was trapped for 30 minutes, true story, with rats crawling all over him, and to this day, he is traumatized. They'd been doing interviews with them. He says I can't walk down the street anymore without feeling those rats walking all over me. They're so-- yucky.
Molly: And time.
Elyssa: You know who's really traumatized by this story, Tom, it's the rats who were minding their own business in their home and a giant fell from the sky. They will never recover from this experience.
Tom: If that had happened into a big hole of pigeons they would've just flown away. They would've kept crawling all over them because pigeons can fly, and who doesn't like stuff that can fly?
Elyssa: I don't trust things that can fly.
Molly: (laughter) Tom, it's your turn. Let's hear more about those flying things. We want to know why pigeons are the smash boom best.
Tom: The year is 1918. World War I is raging in Europe and a group of American soldiers are caught behind enemy lines taking fire. In fact… some of the fire is from their fellow Americans… who don't realize they're there.
They have to tell them to stop!
They send messenger after messenger, but each one is shot down … until there's only one messenger left. As this brave soul heads out into the fray, a shell explodes right beneath them! Oh no! All is lost!
But wait! The messenger is still alive! Injured but determined, they keep going, and deliver a note that saves the lives of nearly 200 American soldiers.
That messenger was a hero. And they were also, wait for it… a PIGEON.
True story! Shot through the chest and leg, the pigeon (known as Cher Ami) still managed to fly 25 miles to deliver that message.
Then the same thing happened in World War II when a pigeon named… G-I Joe delivered a message to British commanders that called off an attack that could have killed a thousand fellow Britons.