Our panelists tell three stories about an unintended consequence of progress.
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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 Charlie Pierce, Brian Babylon and Faith Salie. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Thanks, Carl. And by the way, if you miss us during the week, you can also find us on Facebook and at twitter.com/waitwait. I myself am at, at Peter Sagal on Twitter. 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.
BRENNA SEUFERT: Hi, this is Brenna, from Charlottesville, Virginia.
SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Charlottesville?
SEUFERT: They're great.
SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. Charlottesville is a beautiful town. I was there myself just recently.
SAGAL: Yeah, what do you do...
SAGAL: She's like, oh, yeah, great, terrific. I'm supposed to like you now because you were here.
SAGAL: Well, it's nice to have you with us, Brenna. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Brenna's topic?
KASELL: My Google done broke.
SAGAL: High tech media is great. You can read news on your phone, or on your tablet, or on your dog. Oh no, wait, that was the drugs.
SAGAL: But there are hidden downsides to this brave new world. Each of our panelists are going to tell you a story about a repercussion of the all digital world that nobody saw coming. Guess the true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to go?
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Charlie Pierce.
CHARLIE PIERCE: Walton Wild Office Products in Algoma, Wisconsin had been in the paper shredding business for 60 years. Ever since founder Bob Walt had invented his revolutionary new feed mechanism, their machines were the pride and joy of the town. The Algoma High School football team is called the Shredders.
But now, with more and more of the business being done without any paper to shred, the demand for W & W shredders have plummeted and the company is in danger of collapsing and with it the whole town.
But engineers found a solution in the company's past. "Old Bob Walt started out working the grinder at his father's butcher shop," recalled Bill Weishopple, the president of Walton Wild. "It was there that he first thought up the idea for his feed mechanism." So the company took their inventory of unsold paper shredders, put them in boxes labeled "Artisanal Meat Grinders and Salami Slicers."
PIERCE: They started demonstrating the machines at organic restaurants and groceries all across the country and sales have been through the roof. One place in Green point, Brooklyn keeps its machine running 24/7 making a specialty, organic beef confetti tartare.
PIERCE: And for the vegetarians out there, the company is also offering state of the art lettuce shredders.
SAGAL: Paper shredders turned to food and meat shredders, to save a town in Wisconsin. Your next story about the consequences of the digital age comes from Brian Babylon.
BRIAN BABYLON: Every year, the American Psychological Association releases a new edition of its Journal on Psychological Disorders. And this year, they've made an addition. Their journal now includes something called Acute Over-sharing Disorder, also known as Kardashian Disease.
BABYLON: According to the journal, this disorder affects 2.3 million Americans every year. Doctors and psychiatrists blame smart phones and everything on the internet. Symptoms of AOD include using idiotic acronyms like LOL or ROLFL instead of actual laughter, thinking it's OK to describe your baby's bowel movements in graphic detail during important business meetings, taking pictures of your food and showing it to your date who is sitting across from you in the restaurant.
BABYLON: One AOD patient told reporters, "When my doctor told me I had something called Kardashian Disease, I naturally assumed it was an STD."
BABYLON: "I was so relieved to hear I just had a crippling psychological disorder."
SAGAL: Acute Over-sharing Disorder, the disease of the new digital age. Your last sad tale of these modern times comes from Faith Salie.
FAITH SALIE: Yeah, your smart phone is pretty awesome. It can scan business cards, start your car, and monitor your baby all day long without your nanny even knowing. But can your dog poop on it? That's why you should never underestimate the power of print.
For years, with the rise of smart phones, iPads and laptops, print newspapers have not been getting their due. Now they're getting their doo-doo. A shortage of newspapers has meant that puppies at the San Francisco Animal Control Agency have been in danger of having nothing on which to poop. But now, the San Francisco Public Library is saving the day, by donating old newspapers to line doggie cages. This is a real journalistic scoop.
SALIE: This week, the library filled an animal control van with two 32-gallon recycling bins full of newspapers. The only potential critics of this contribution are the Bay area second grade teachers who fear a generation of children will grow up without paper Mache.
SAGAL: All righty then, here are your choices. One of these is a true story of an unintended repercussion of the digital age.
It is from Charlie Pierce; a shredder company goes almost out of business but repurposes itself as a meat shredder? From Brian Babylon: a new disease, Acute Over-sharing Disorder, defined by the American Psychological Association? Or from Faith: a terrible shortage of paper for the paper training of puppies in San Francisco? Which of these is the real story?
SEUFERT: I'm going to have to go with the paper shredder story.
SAGAL: The paper shredder story, Charlie's story...
SAGAL: ...about the small town in Wisconsin which almost went under because their paper shredder company could not make any more sales?
SEUFERT: Yeah, that's the one.
SAGAL: That's the one. All right, well we spoke to somebody who knew something about this story.
NEIL RILEY: The animal shelter has always relied on newspaper donations from the public, but those are becoming less dependable as fewer people get their newspapers delivered.
SAGAL: That was Neal J. Riley, the reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle who writes about city hall and now other things. So I'm afraid, no, you were fooled by Charlie, as so many have been over the years.
SAGAL: It turns out, of course, that Faith had the real story. So I'm afraid you didn't win the game, but you did earn a point for Charlie.
PIERCE: Thank you, Brenna.
SAGAL: Thanks for playing.
SEUFERT: Good, yes. Thank you.
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