Two iconic ecosystems hurl tree-mendous facts and rock-hard arguments in today’s colorful debate. It’s coral reefs versus rainforests! Comedian and host of Forever Ago, Joy Dolo, takes salty swings at science writer and comedian Kasha Patel in this rip-roaring battle… but which realm will rain supreme?

Vote below for the team YOU think won.

Audio Transcript

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INTERVIEWER 1: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best.

INTERVIEWER 2: 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, two iconic ecosystems show off their stuff. It's coral reefs versus rainforests. Will coral reefs swim to victory? Or will rainforests reign supreme?

Both are known for their beauty and bounty of plants and animals, but only one can win. Lucky for us, we have Laalitya here from Mason, Ohio, to help us decide which is the most awe-inspiring of them all. Hi, Laalitya.


MOLLY BLOOM: So Laalitya, I hear you're a 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search finalist. That is a big deal. So can you tell us a little bit about the research you did for your project?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Yeah. So I developed a method that is able to detect water contamination through the analyzation of microscopic images of water. So it's basically this device that takes images, runs it through AI, and then it can tell you whether or not there's any contamination present in the system.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's incredible. So what inspired that research?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Yeah. So on a family trip to India, I saw the glaring water gap. There was a lack of access to clean water. And despite the precautions my family and I took, I still fell ill from drinking contaminated water. And when I returned home, I found out about how global of an issue this is and that the current detection systems just aren't up to par. So I set off to invent my own.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wow. That is amazing. Your interest in clean water and the environment makes you the perfect host for today's episode. I am so excited to learn more about these two very excellent and very important ecosystems. As you're about to hear, they do so much for us and our planet, and we humans have to do everything we can to keep them healthy and protect them.

And here to sing the praises of captivating coral reefs is Joy Dolo. Hi, Joy.


MOLLY BLOOM: So Joy, in a single sentence, why are coral reefs the Smash Boom Best?

JOY DOLO: (SINGING) Aruba, Jamaica, ooh, I want to take you to the coral reef. It's a living structure and there are no bees. It's pretty landscape fun for the family.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love a musical start. And now, for team rainforest. it's Kasha Patel. Hi, Kasha.

KASHA PATEL: Woohoo! Rainforest!

MOLLY BLOOM: Kasha, in one sentence or melody, why should rainforests be crowned number one?

KASHA PATEL: OK, I think it's pretty obvious. Rainforests are beautiful, exciting, and fun, and you're way less likely to drown in a rainforest than visiting a coral reef.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Well let's review the rules of the game. Round one is the Declaration of Greatness. Using facts, logic, and top-notch storytelling, our debaters will present the most persuasive arguments in defense of 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 four in advance.

Round three is the Sneak Attack, a surprise challenge debaters will respond to on the spot. And to top it all off, 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 Laalitya will award two points in the first round and one point in each round after that. But she won't tell us who she's voting for. You'll have to stick around to the end of the debate to find out who the winner is.

Listeners, we also want you to judge the debate. So grab a pencil and paper and keep track of your points. At the end of the show, head to your website,, and vote for whichever team you think won. OK. Everybody, are you ready?


JOY DOLO: Oh yeah. You better halieve it.

KASHA PATEL: I think we should leaf that pun alone.


JOY DOLO: Shall we?


MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Well then it's time for the--

INTERVIEWER 1: Declaration of Greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our debaters will present the most fascinating facts and awesome arguments in favor of their sides. We flipped a coin, and Joy will go first. Joy, let's hear your defense of coral reefs.

JOY DOLO: I don't want to be the great barrier of bad news.


Great barrier. But comparing coral reefs to rainforests is below sea level. Coral reefs are way better than rainforests. Just ask my friend Isaiah. He's an oceanographer, and he studies coral reefs, so he should know.

ISAIAH: Coral reefs offers everything rainforests do and more.


So that's my take on that.

JOY DOLO: I couldn't agree more, Isaiah. Coral reefs are magical underwater kingdoms. Picture a vast collection of rainbow colored rock-like things. All kinds of spiky, wavy, bubbly shapes. And they come in all sorts of colors-- blue, yellow, red, green, brown. Some are even fluorescent.

They are utopias under the sea. Where sea fans wave, seahorses party, and scuba divers say hello to their marvelous marine friends.


JOY DOLO: They are also thought to have more bio-dive-rsity than rainforests. Which means they're home to more crazy creatures and plants. Plus, they protect and help us humans. So come on, let's dive in and explore why coral reefs are the chicken of the sea.


Oh wow, gorgeous. Yes. It's turtle-y awesome down here. Coral reefs are ecosystems, AKA community living spaces for plants and animals. And even though they occupy just 0.1% of the area of the ocean, they're home to 25% of marine life on Earth.

ISAIAH: Coral reef's ecosystems are these really big-- think high density urban housing. Right? But for animals and lots of marine life.

JOY DOLO: It's true. Everybody and their grandma lives in and around coral reefs. There are sharks, lobsters, clams, sponges, sea turtles, a ton of fish, and so much more. Why, the pygmy seahorse, the smallest seahorse in the world, lives here. And so does the Hawaiian squirrel fish.


JOY DOLO: The potato cod.


JOY DOLO: The spaghetti worm. Even SpongeBob Squarepants.


JOY DOLO: But before we get distracted by all of our reef dwelling friends, let's talk a little bit more about corals themselves.

ISAIAH: Corals are actually like this weird mix of part animal, part plant, and part rock.

JOY DOLO: So the animal part of corals are these tiny squishy creatures called coral polyps, which look like upside down jellyfish. These polyps build hard outer shells, or exoskeletons, which become the rock part of the reef. Then, tucked inside the coral polyps is the plant part. The algae that gives coral its vibrant color.

All three parts work together like a three-part harmony to make corals--

(SINGING) The amazing creatures that they are. The amazing creatures that they are. The amazing creatures that they are.

So coral reefs are living, breathing apartment complexes under the waves. And they help humans in countless ways.

ISAIAH: One in every 10 fish consumed around the world, believe it or not, comes from a coral reef. So even if you don't live near one, you probably depend on one more than you think.

JOY DOLO: Or maybe you've taken a coral reef made medicine. A ton of different antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory medications are made out of organisms that live in and around reefs. And it's 300 to 400 times more likely to find new life saving medicines in the ocean near a reef than it is to find them on land. Boom. Take that, rainforest. Reefs are like an underwater pharmacy.

(SINGING) I live in a pharmacy under the sea. Coral reefs.

Coral reefs also protect our coastlines. When strong waves from tropical storms and hurricanes approach land, reefs can absorb a lot of their energy before they make landfall, saving lives, homes, and livelihoods from destruction. Man, those coral reefs are selfless. Selfless.

Finally, coral reef magic makes money, honey. Beaches with clear water and lots of sunlight have been a popular destination for tourists since forever. And beaches near coral reefs are the most desired destinations. You'll find these spots all over the world. In Indonesia, Australia, Belize, Papua New Guinea, and even Florida. These reefs create jobs, raise environmental awareness, and help support local communities, because people can't stay away.

So Laalitya, the choice is yours. Sweat it out in a murky rainforest and risk getting attacked by bugs the size of your face, or take a cool relaxing dive in the sapphire seas surrounded by the magical underwater kingdoms we call coral reefs.

MOLLY BLOOM: A melodious and marvelous argument in support of coral reefs. Laalitya, what stood out to you about Joy's declaration of greatness?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Well, of course, the amazing songs that she put out throughout the entire thing.

JOY DOLO: Oh, thank you so much, Laalitya.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, Kasha, it's time for a rainforest rebuttal. Time to stand tall. You've got 30 seconds to topple Joy's testimony. And your time starts now.

KASHA PATEL: I do not even know where to begin with that terrible point that you pointed out. Let me just plant a couple of ideas in your head. First off, you talked about how they're an underwater pharmacy. Well rainforests actually provide about 25% of all Western medicine. So yeah, you guys have medicine, but we have more. On that same line, you talked about 25% of all marine animals near the coral reefs. Well, rainforests have more animals and plant species. We're home to about 50%.

MOLLY BLOOM: And time! Time flies when you have a lot of points to make. Now Kasha, it's your turn to wow us with your declaration for rainforests. Take it away.

KASHA PATEL: All right. Are you ready to learn why Team Rainforest is the best?


KASHA PATEL: And why, if we didn't have rainforests, we would be in deep doo doo.


KASHA PATEL: That's right. Rainforests are a key source of food and medicine. A climate change superhero battling global warming, and they keep our weather in check.


KASHA PATEL: But first, what exactly is a rainforest? Well, instead of me telling you this, why don't we ask one of its most obvious inhabitants, a tree.

TREE: It's a tree-t to meet you.

KASHA PATEL: So tree, tell us about the rainforest. And we got time. Bust a rhyme.

TREE: All right, here comes.


(SINGING) Here's some input for your human brain. We're a tall dense jungle with a lot of rain. We live on every continent except Antarctica. And it breaks those penguins' heart-icas. Rainforests only cover 2% of Earth. But animals and plants, there is no dirt. Jaguars, pumas, gorillas, and sloths. Parrots, toucans, butterflies, and moths. Dolphins, manatees, and cute little otters. [INAUDIBLE], barracudas, and piranhas in the water.

KASHA PATEL: Sorry to cut you off, tree. But we can't go through all three million species. That's going to take a long time.

TREE: Fine. You can listen to the entire song on my album, Throwing Shade on Coral Reefs.

KASHA PATEL: Thanks, tree. Rainforests only cover 2% of Earth, but they're home to more than half of all plant and animal species on the planet. How can so many different animals and plants live there? Well, because they got food. Tropical plants thrive in rainforests' hot, humid weather and bright sunlight. Animals come to eat the plants, and other animals come to eat those animals. It's like a Costco grocery store with unlimited free samples.

VOICE ON PA: Clean up on aisle four next to the monkeys. Again.

KASHA PATEL: And they're like a grocery store for us humans, too. Because a lot of our food comes from the rainforest. Let's take a shopping trip.

GROCERY CLERK: Welcome to the Rainforest Grocery Store. Near the entrance, you will find one of our most popular items-- chocolate! In aisle one is our rainforest fruit section. The freshest pineapple, bananas, mangoes, and the ever popular avocado.

TREE: I love me some avocado toast.

GROCERY CLERK: At the back of the store is the Rainforest Pharmacy. Our pharmacy features quinine, which is extracted from the bark of a tree in the Amazon and is used to help treat malaria. Pink periwinkle flowers found in the rainforests of Madagascar help treat certain types of cancers.

TREE: Take that, cancer.

GROCERY CLERK: And don't forget about tires from your car, waterproof clothing, and balloons. All of which are made from the sap of rainforest rubber trees.

TREE: I'll take a balloon with a side of chocolate.

KASHA PATEL: We know all about these rainforest treasures thanks to the Native people who live there for thousands of years. They lived off the land by hunting, farming, fishing, gathering fruits and nuts, and even finding medical uses for the plants. The quinine medicine mentioned earlier was actually discovered by the Quechua, an Indigenous tribe that still lives in Peru and Bolivia. The pink periwinkle was used for centuries by Indigenous tribes before pharmaceutical companies started selling it.

The rainforests also help our climate by absorbing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, and spitting out oxygen. In one year, rainforests absorbed the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 2 million cars. Oceans also absorb carbon dioxide. But this extra carbon dioxide leads to killing the corals. But for trees, the carbon dioxide is food.

TREE: Do not fear. I can be a climate change hero. Let me eat it. Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom.

KASHA PATEL: Unlike coral reefs, rainforests also affect the weather. Plants and trees release water into the atmosphere via a process called transpiration. Because there are so many plants in a rainforest, all that released water can form rain clouds. In the Amazon rainforest, these clouds can bring rain to areas locally in Brazil, but also pretty far away, like Mexico, Texas, and the US Midwest. And this rain, near or far, is important for farming. So if we suddenly had less trees in the Amazon rainforest, that could mean less rain, water, and crop production. And we might even see more frequent drought.

So to sum it up, we really need those plants in the rainforest.

TREE: I make it rain.

KASHA PATEL: We can see why rainforests are so important to life on Earth. They provide food, medicine, and regulate our climate and weather. And they combine all of that with beautiful landscapes and amazing animals.

TREE: I don't want to get all sappy, but this declaration made me really happy.

MOLLY BLOOM: A tree-mendous declaration from Kasha there. Laalitya, what stood out to you in Kasha's argument for rainforests?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: I really liked how she definitely hit a lot of the points that Joy also mentioned but in her own way as to why rainforests were better. Also, the tree was a nice touch.

MOLLY BLOOM: I didn't know trees could wrap so well. OK, Joy, it's time for your rebuttal.

JOY DOLO: All right.

MOLLY BLOOM: Can you outshine and outsmart Kasha's argument? You're going to have 30 seconds. And your time starts now.

JOY DOLO: OK, first of all, there were children cheering in the beginning. Where did those children come from, Kasha? Where did you get those children? Also, like you said Molly, trees can't talk, let alone rap. Antarctica does not rhyme with heart-ica. Hot, humid weather is right. Who wants to vacation with hot, humid weather?

The rainforest has all kinds of mango and chocolate and pineapple. That sounds like diabetes. Animals eating other animals, that's a massacre that's happening in the forest that's you're OK with. Balloons from rubber trees. What kind of balloons? Balloons come with clowns, and clowns are terrifying. Hence the rainforest is a terrifying place.


MOLLY BLOOM: This is a heated debate. Both sides singing, rapping. We're loving it. Laalitya, it's time to award your first two points. Remember, you get to decide what makes an argument awesome. Did one side impress you with cool facts? Did one side make you laugh? Did you like their rhymes, their melodies? It's up to you.

So you're going to give one point for whoever had the best declaration of greatness and one point for whoever had the best rebuttal. Have you made your decision?



MOLLY BLOOM: All right, it's time for a quick break. We're going to take a dip near a reef or stroll amongst the trees.

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Or just keep doing whatever you're doing. Either way, we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.

INTERVIEWER 3: You're watching State of Debate, home to rage in rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Hello, debate friends. Taylor Lincoln here. And it's a bird-- no, it's a plane. No, it's a dapper debater with a tweed suit and a winning smile. Todd Douglas.

TODD DOUGLAS: Guilty on all counts. And speaking of guilty, we caught someone guilty of doing a debate crime-- making a logical fallacy.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: These are arguments with criminally bad logic that weaken the point you're trying to make.

TODD DOUGLAS: In this case, it's the strawman fallacy. That's when you create a weak or distorted version of your opponent's point and then attack that instead.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Oof. It should be illegal. Just listen.

CANDIDATE: And if I'm elected mayor, I'll spend even more money on schools.


Instead of spending half the city's budget on my own birthday party, like our current mayor does.

OPPONENT: Whoa, you're against birthday parties? How can you be against birthday parties?

CANDIDATE: That's not what I said.

OPPONENT: What's next, outlawing cake? Or clowns? Or fun?


CANDIDATE: No! I just think the budget should be used for schools, not parties.

OPPONENT: Re-elect me, and I'll never ban parties. In fact, I'll use the budget to throw myself an even bigger party next year.


TODD DOUGLAS: Wow, what a whopper of a strawman right there.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Yeah. Her point was about how the city spends its money, not about banning birthday parties.

TODD DOUGLAS: You know what's always a party?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Talking smack about logical fallacies with your bestie?

TODD DOUGLAS: You know it let's do again soon on--

TAYLOR AND TODD: State of Debate.



AUDIO TRACK: Best. Boom. Smash. Smash. Boom. Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Smash Boom Best. I'm your host Molly Bloom.

LAALITYA ACHARYA: And I'm your judge, Laalitya.

MOLLY BLOOM: One of my favorite things about this show is all of the amazing debate ideas we get from listeners like you. Check out this awesome debate suggestion from Nyssa in Brookline, Massachusetts.

NYSSA: My debate idea is apples versus bananas.

MOLLY BLOOM: What an appealing idea. I apple-solutely can't wait to hear who she thinks will win.

LAALITYA ACHARYA: We'll check back with Nyssa at the end of this episode to find out.

MOLLY BLOOM: And now it's back to today's debate, coral reefs versus rainforests. It's time for round two, the--

AUDIO TRACK: Micro Round.


MOLLY BLOOM: Today's Micro Round challenge is spa day. We're tired out and ready to relax. Joy and Kasha, walk us through a spa inspired by your side and tell us why your spot is the best place to get some TLC. Joy went first last time, so Kasha, you're up.

KASHA PATEL: Looking for the perfect spa day? Come and enjoy the soothing sounds of the rainforest.


No, sorry, the other soothing sounds.


Yes, those soothing sounds. Here in the Amazon rainforest, we have at least four different spa experiences for you to enjoy. For the most sunlight, rain, and strong breezes, visit the emergent layer in our treetops.

AUDIO TRACK: Emergent layer.

KASHA PATEL: Hang your hammock in the canopies and relax 200 feet above ground. For lunch, hop 30 feet below to the canopy layer and grab some fruit, where 70% of rainforest fruits grow.

AUDIO TRACK: Canopy layer.

KASHA PATEL: After finishing your fruity feast, swing down another 40 feet to the understory, where you'll find a beautiful botanical garden.

AUDIO TRACK: Understory layer.

KASHA PATEL: These plants use their fragrant smells and good looks to attract animals and insects for pollination. Look carefully, and you'll also find animals in camouflage, like jaguars, frogs, lizards, and snakes. Don't worry, though. These animals won't attack unless provoked.

AUDIO TRACK: That anaconda don't want none.

KASHA PATEL: Make your final stop the rainforest floor.

AUDIO TRACK: Rainforest floor.

KASHA PATEL: This layer receives the least amount of sunlight, so you may not see many plants. But you will see some big animals. Say hello to a gorilla or take a ride on an elephant on your way out of the rainforest.

AUDIO TRACK: Please do not do either of those things.

KASHA PATEL: We hope you enjoyed your soothing spa day at the Amazon rainforest.


I said soothing. How many times do I have to remind you?



MOLLY BLOOM: A mostly relaxing visit to the rainforest spa. Joy, let's hear what you have in store for us.

JOY DOLO: 'Sup. Have you spent the entire day in a rainforest? Do you feel warm and sweaty and unfulfilled? Well set sail for Coral Dreams Brightness For The Rest Of Your Days Spa. Feel drenched from all the days of rain? We shell help you. With a reef that provides protection against anything. Even foul weather.

Hey, are you feeling discombobulated in your job, your marriage, your life choices? Coral reefs are here to build you up, snorkel with sea turtles, and rediscover fun, joy, love. Just ask these people, man.

SUBJECT: Coral reefs have me sing all the colors of my future.

SUBJECT: My kids were so excited by all the exotic sea life, they included me in their TikTok with a--

(SINGING) baby shark.


Love that song. Thanks, Coral Dreams Brightness for the Rest Of Your Days Spa.

JOY DOLO: And it never hurts to talk to a resident. Just ask the sea cow about spa life.

SEA COW: Yeah, I live here.

JOY DOLO: Whoa. Gnarly wave, man. Watch out for that wave. So many waves here.

AUDIO TRACK: Warning. If you experience hives, sadness, oversaturation, or longing for something more in your life, you may be experiencing signs of overrainforestation. Please contact your local rainforest of the sea, AKA coral reef specialist, immediately.

JOY DOLO: After that, I questioned my acting skills.


KASHA PATEL: I was going to say, is your spa at a rave or something? That was some pumping music.

MOLLY BLOOM: Laalitya, what stood out to you about our debaters' Micro Rounds? Anything in particular from either spa?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: I think both of them made some really good points on both sides. I don't want to reveal exactly who I gave my point to, but yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Laalitya, have you awarded your point?



MOLLY BLOOM: Awesome. Then it's time for our third round. The super stealthy--


AUDIO TRACK: Sneak Attack.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our sneak attack today is by any other name. Kasha and Joy, we want you to imagine a world where the words "rainforest" and "coral reef" don't exist. And it's your job to come up with three alternative names for your side. For example, if I were defending maple trees, I might come up with the names, "sugar sauce supplier," "a pancake's best friend," and "sweet forest mama." Make sense?

JOY DOLO: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. We're going to give you a few minutes to brainstorm. So while you work, let's listen to some soothing hold music.


(SINGING) Rainforest, lush and green. Sloths and moss, a steamy dream. So many trees to keep our air clean. Coral reefs, [? make a line. ?] Hard shells with polyps inside. Let's dive in and swim through paradise.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, we're going to go back and forth taking turns hearing your three alternate names. Joy, let's hear your first alternate name for coral reefs.

JOY DOLO: Photosynthesis pretty glowy flowy rock fish house.


MOLLY BLOOM: I can see it. Kasha, let's hear your first alternative name for rainforests.

KASHA PATEL: All right. Colorful canopies.

MOLLY BLOOM: Lovely. All right, Joy, let's hear your second alternative name for coral reefs.

JOY DOLO: Exoskeleton schmexoskeleton-- community of living fish party central.


MOLLY BLOOM: Kasha, let's hear your second alternative name for rainforests.

KASHA PATEL: All right. Well, you all know that I'm a world famous critically acclaimed rapper, so--


Mine is called adventure quencher.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is a good rhyme, adventure quencher. Joy, let's hear your final alternative name for coral reefs.

JOY DOLO: All right, final alternative name is Laalitya's favorite place as a kid.

LAALITYA ACHARYA: That's a good one.

JOY DOLO: I think everybody would be like, oh yeah, I'm going to get on a plane and go to Laalitya's favorite place as a kid. Everybody will know exactly what you're talking about.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hundred percent. OK, Kasha, let's hear your third answer.

KASHA PATEL: This one's more serious. This one also has, I guess you could say, a slant rhyme. Earth's nurse. Because we get a lot of our medicine from there. It helps us combat climate change. And one really important thing, as Laalitya was talking about, water access. It helps regulate the water cycle by controlling weather. So if we actually don't have our rainforest, then we do have less water for agricultural needs, which is a problem because that creates less water that we can have and ingest in our bodies.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very nice. All right. Laalitya, it is time to award a point. For the Sneak Attack around, think about what names stood out to you. Which ones do you want to add to the dictionary? The criteria for judging this round is completely up to you. Once you've decided who has won this round, please give that team a point. But don't tell us who is getting it.

Have you chosen a winner for this round?



MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Then it's time for our very last round.


AUDIO TRACK: The Final Six.

MOLLY BLOOM: Kasha, you're up. You've got just six words to make a final impression on Laalitya. Let's hear 'em.

KASHA PATEL: Source for food, medicine, and weather.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very nice. Joy, you're up. Give us your last six words for coral reefs.

JOY DOLO: Coral reefs-- rainforest of the sea.


KASHA PATEL: So you admit that rainforests are--

JOY DOLO: Of the sea. Of the sea.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh gosh, this is a tough debate. It has been heated. It has been passionate. But it makes sense, because these two ecosystems are so important to our planet. It's time to award that final point, Laalitya, and crown one of these excellent environments the Smash Boom Best. So Laalitya, have you awarded your final point.



MOLLY BLOOM: All right. So now it's time to tally up those points. Drum roll, please. Today's winner is--

LAALITYA ACHARYA: The rainforest.

KASHA PATEL: Woo! Yeah! Woo! I was so nervous. Oh my gosh.


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, Laalitya, was there a deciding moment in this debate? One moment that you're like, oh, rainforests, how can we beat that?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: I think it was the six words. Because Joy basically implied that coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. And I think that was that turning moment.

MOLLY BLOOM: Was it close?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: It was close. It was two to three for points, so.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. So it was that final round put it over the edge.


KASHA PATEL: Joy, I really appreciated your debate. I learned so much about coral reefs. And I will say that our arguments were pretty well matched in terms of points and presentation. So you were a joy to debate against.

JOY DOLO: I like that. I like that. I especially love learning about all the different kinds of foods that you get from the rainforest, because I love fruit and chocolate and all of that. And so I'll Kasha on the flip side.


MOLLY BLOOM: And there were a lot of good puns today, so we're all happy.

KASHA PATEL: So many puns.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well that's it for today's debate battle. Laalitya crowned rainforest the Smash Boom Best, but what about you?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Head to and vote to tell us who you think won.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On and APM Studios.

JOY DOLO: It's produced by Rosie DuPont, Sanden Totten, Ruby Guthrie, and Molly Bloom.

KASHA PATEL: We had engineering help from Veronica Rodriguez.

JOY DOLO: And we had production help from Christina Lopez, Marc Sanchez, and Menaka Wilhelm.

MOLLY BLOOM: Rosie DuPont is the voice of our whole music, and our announcer is Marley Foyworker-Otto. We want to give a special thanks to Austin Kross, Taylor Kaufman, Lindsey DuPont, Frank DuPont, Ciara MacMillan, and the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Kasha, is there anyone you want to thank today?

KASHA PATEL: Oh my, so many people. I actually knew quite a bit about rainforests and coral reefs before this debate. And I'm just so impressed with all the scientists who do all the work there. And then also, Laalitya, you are going to do great things. I'm so excited to hear about your research. I'm so excited to hear about all the amazing things that you're going to do. So good luck and kick butt.

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Thank you so much.

MOLLY BLOOM: And how about you, Joy? Any special shout outs today.

JOY DOLO: I want to thank postdoctoral scholar and oceanographer Isaiah Bolden at Vanderbilt University for taking the time to talk with us about coral reefs.

MOLLY BLOOM: And Laalitya, do you want to give any special thanks today?

LAALITYA ACHARYA: Huge thank you to the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which is how I actually got this opportunity, of course. And all the amazing scientists who continue to do their work to help our environments and everything else about our world.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very wonderful. And before we go, let's hear who Nyssa thinks should win in apples versus bananas debate.

NYSSA: I think apples win because one, they are red. Two, they last longer. Three, you can go apple picking with your family. But you can't go banana picking with your family. Bye-bye!

MOLLY BLOOM: Do you have an idea for a knockdown drag out debate? Head to and tell us about it. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.

JOY DOLO: Later!


(SINGING) Ooh, you're the Smash Boom Best. Ooh, pushing through the test. Ooh, you're the Smash Boom Best. Ooh, better than the rest. You're the Smash Boom Best. You're the Smash Boom Best.

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