Toronto Star

Can a speed-listener keep up?


It’s a battle royale of the senses: speed listening vs. listening vs. reading.

To find out how one’s choice of intake affects comprehens­ion, the Star’s Nick Patch, Ryan Porter and Lauren Pelley speed-listened, listened to and read The Martian, respective­ly.

Then they took this five-question quiz (spoiler alert if you haven’t read or seen The Martian).

Here’s how they did:

1. What kind of music did Commander Melissa Lewis take with her to Mars?

a) rock b) country c) disco d) hip-hop e) electronic­a

Answer: C. Everyone aced this, though speed-listener Nick admits to “guessing wildly.”

2. What’s the name of the Mars mission?

a) Apollo 18 b) Mars Lander 2 c) Discovery 7 d) Ares 3 e) Pathfinder 2

Answer: D. Also a three out of three, and the only question Nick was confident in.

3. The daring spacecraft slingshot trajectory proposed by a NASA designer is known as:

a) The Hail Mary Pass b) The Venkat Kapoor Maneuvre c) The Rich Purnell Maneuvre d) The Donald Trump Switchback

Answer: C. Only Lauren, a.k.a. the one who actually read the book with her eyes, knew this.

4. What does stranded astronaut Watney use to help start a fire on Mars?

a) A NASA instructio­n manual b) A crewmate’s crucifix c) A cassette music tape d) A roll of toilet paper

Answer: B. Apparently Ryan was the only one listening—no one else got this.

5. What Earth celebratio­n were the real potatoes Watney finds in the Mars provisions packed by NASA intended for?

a) Easter b) Christmas c) Thanksgivi­ng d) Watney’s birthday Answer: C. Everyone knew this, but Nick admits it was an educated guess. Afterall, what is Thanksgivi­ng without potatoes?

The Verdict

Regular-audio-listener Ryan and reader Lauren both scored four out of five. Meanwhile, we can deduce from Nick’s three out of five score — including a couple of “guesses” — that speed-listening only works if your multiple choice game is super strong.

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