Wisdom Of The Crowd

Dec 1, 2017

Can you guess how many people follow the most-followed raccoon on Instagram? We challenged house musician Jonathan Coulton and the hive mind of our audience to a guesstimation game.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

While Amanda and Demian get ready for the final round, it's time for us to play a game. This is Wisdom of the Crowd. We asked a previous live audience at the Bell House to estimate a bunch of quantities. For example, how many quills does a porcupine have? We've averaged their answers together. And now we'll find out who is better at guesstimating - the crowd or house musician Jonathan Coulton. Here we go. Jonathan.

JONATHAN COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: According to the Guinness World Records, how many followers does the most followed raccoon on Instagram have?

COULTON: Verified raccoon or just any raccoon?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's - yeah. Pretty sure verified.

COULTON: OK. Let's see. It's got to be a surprisingly high number. Otherwise, you wouldn't be asking the question.

EISENBERG: I mean, this...

COULTON: If the answer's, like, 34, it's like, that's not interesting.

EISENBERG: Yeah. This raccoon is an influencer and a disruptor.

COULTON: It's a very...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I'm going to say it's in the range of hundreds of thousands. I'm going to say 250,000.

EISENBERG: Our audience guessed 8.2 million.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That's a lot but possible.

EISENBERG: OK. The correct answer is 1.1 million. So that means you got the points.

COULTON: I'm closer.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Sorry, audience.

EISENBERG: The raccoon's name is Pumpkin. And he lives in the Bahamas.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I don't know if he started off living in the Bahamas, or if he just is retiring on his Instagram fame.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Jonathan, according to National Geographic, how many Lego bricks are there for each person on Earth?

COULTON: I know how many Lego pieces there are per person in my house.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And what is that?

COULTON: It's a very high number.

EISENBERG: Thousands.

COULTON: I don't know exactly. It's thousands. It's easily thousands. But not everybody has Legos.

EISENBERG: True.

COULTON: Some people don't have any Legos.

EISENBERG: I have no Legos.

COULTON: You will. You have a child. You will have Legos.

EISENBERG: I will have Legos.

COULTON: You will step on a Lego in the middle of a night in your bare feet.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And that child that you promised you would love forever and never leave you will curse. You will curse that child's name.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: So let's see. There's, like, some number of billions of people in the world - 7 - maybe 7, 8 billion people in the world these days. Legos - they got to be making. They make a lot of Legos per year. They've got to be making millions of Legos. A lot of them get lost. A lot of them get angrily thrown away after a parent steps on them in the middle of the night.

EISENBERG: Sure.

COULTON: But still, that's a ton of Legos. Average Lego kits got to have hundreds of pieces in it. So that's - even if one kid just has one kit, that's hundreds. Hmm.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I'm going to say - this is crazy. I'm going to say there are a thousand Legos per person on Earth.

EISENBERG: A thousand Legos. OK. Our audience guessed 14,600 per person.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: The answer is 80.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: All right. That's still pretty impressive.

EISENBERG: So you win again.

COULTON: I win again.

GREG PLISKA: Was that an audience of 5-year-old boys?

EISENBERG: It's hilarious.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I know. Fourteen thousand?

PLISKA: That's my son's goal.

EISENBERG: Jonathan, according to Guinness, how many years did the world's oldest cat live?

COULTON: 1.7 million years.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I had a cat that I got when I was a sophomore in college. And we're like, oh, let's get a cat. And then I didn't realize that the cat was going to live many years. I hadn't really thought about it. And so this cat was still alive when I had children. This cat lived to be like 21 years old.

EISENBERG: Wow.

COULTON: And that was pretty old for a cat. So I don't think it's going to get too much older than that. But I'm going to say surprisingly older than that. I'm going to say 26.

EISENBERG: Twenty-six...

COULTON: Too high.

EISENBERG: Our audience guessed 33 years. The correct answer is 38 years...

COULTON: Whoa.

EISENBERG: ...And three days - 38 years and three days.

COULTON: Holy moly.

EISENBERG: Yep. I know everyone is freaking out about that idea.

COULTON: I guarantee you that cat was no fun for the last 20 years of its life.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Well done - I feel like - yeah - you were amazing on that and so was our crowd. That was Wisdom of the Crowd - well done, Jonathan - well done, audience.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.