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Small talk: Japan, tanning, computer

Dinner Party Download

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bob Moon: This final note on the way out today to catch us up on the things that didn't make the headlines, courtesy of Brendan Newnam and the rest of the Marketplace staff.


Brendan Newnam: Ben Adair, editorial director for sustainability at Marketplace. What's your story this weekend?

Ben Adair: A city in northeastern Japan called Issei sake, I think it's called, has come out with a brilliant new effort to fight climate change. They've banned beards.

Newnam: How is this supposed to prevent climate change/

Adair: Apparently, it's part of a whole campaign they have there called "Cool Biz." They're trying to get companies to run their air conditioning less. And now, because beards make people so hot, no more beards.

Newnam: Wait, does this mean the North Pole's melting because of Santa Claus?

Newnam: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter for Marketplace. What's your story?

Stacey Vanek-Smith: A tanning tax is going into effect on July 1.

Newnam: Once again, New Jersey's going to carry an inordinate amount of this nation's tax load.

Vanek-Smith: I know. Well, apparently, tanning booths are as bad for you as smoking, and they think this can bring in more than $2.5 billion.

Newnam: I heard they tried this in England and it brought in no revenue at all.

Newnam: Nihar Patel, fill-in producer for Marketplace. What's your story this weekend?

Nihar Patel: I love this one: IBM has designed a super computer and they're calling it "Watson," and they hope it'll be able to compete and win on "Jeopardy" this fall.

Newnam: So my response comes in the form of a question: Why are the greatest minds of our generation spending time figuring out how to compete on "Jeopardy?"

Patel: Correct! The funny thing about this is is what happens when Watson goes insane, gets every question wrong and starts trying to shave off Alex Trebek's mustache?

Moon: There's more like that on The Dinner Party Download. That's the podcast Brendan does with co-host Rico Gagliano. Rico, by the way, will be back on the Dinner Party circuit after his honeymoon.

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