Small talk: Pesticides, robots, Japanese

On the air radio microphone

TEXT OF STORY

TESS VIGELAND:
Every other Friday at the end of the program we take a break from the big economic news of the week. We send Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam out to ask the Marketplace staff what they'd really like to talk about. News that might have escaped your notice. Something you might like to talk about at a dinner party.


Brendan Newnam: George Judson, managing editor of Marketplace, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

George Judson: Well there's a letter writing campaign protesting the White House vegetable garden.

Newnam: From like the meat industry?

Judson: It's from the Crop Life Assocation, that would be your pesticide industry. Because the White House garden is organic and it doesn't use pesticides.

Newnam: Where does this end? So is the TV industry going to write letters, because she reads to her children?

Judson: Now that you mention it, I think they might want to.

Newnam: The lap band industry will get upset, because she exercises?

Judson: Well as the association says, what message does this send?

Rico Gagliano: New York bureau chief Amy Scott, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Amy Scott: Well as if farmers don't have it hard enough as it is, now they're going to be replaced by robots.

Gagliano: For real?

Scott: For real. This week, New Scientist reports the military has developed technology that allows robots to do things like spray chemicals on trees.

Gagliano: Does that seem frightening to you?

Scott: Maybe a little bit.

Gagliano: I mean, did we learn nothing from the film "2001"?

Scott: Right, "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave."

Gagliano: "I'm afraid these strawberries are mine, Dave."

Scott: "I'm afraid you have to pay me more than $5 an hour, Dave, to pick your crops."

Newnam: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter at Marketplace, what are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Japan is actually using comedians to train some of its bureaucrats.

Newnam: Oh man.

Vanek-Smith: It's hoping that that'll make them better managers.

Newnam: Government employees who think they're funny. This could be a complete disaster.

Vanek-Smith: Yeah. Knock knock, who's there? Audit.

Newnam: Or you go to DMV and there's a brick wall behind the guy on the stool with a glass of water on it. "Bi-weekly street clean-up, what's up with that?"

Vigeland: That's just a taste of Rico and Brendan's podcast. It's called The Dinner Party Download.

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