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Small Talk

Small talk: ski masks with beards, taxis of the future

Marketplace Staff Nov 19, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: This final note on a Friday afternoon, a chance to escape the heavy-duty news of the week and touch on what didn’t quite make the headlines. Courtesy of Brendan Francis Newnam, Rico Gagliano and the rest of the Marketplace staff.

Brendan Newnam: Dalasie Michaelis, web developer for Marketplace. What story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Dalasie Michaelis: Well these six poker buddies in Texas wanted to start a company, and they threw out a bunch of ideas. The one they decided to go with was ski masks with beards.

Newnam: Wait, what are they?

Michaelis: They’re basically ski masks with beards attached to them. So you look like Santa Claus or ZZ Top or Saddam Hussein post-capture.

Newnam: And how’s the business doing?

Michaelis: It’s doing really well. They sold out their first production run of 10,000 and they’re producing more.

Newnam: I didn’t realize there were so many kidnappers and robbers who wanted to stand out and have a little style.

Rico Gagliano: George Judson, managing editor, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

George Judson: I’m going to be talking about vending machines that can see you coming.

Gagliano: From where?

Judson: Well in Japan, they’ve come up with a vending machine that has facial recognition: It can see who you are, what kind of person you are and then it recommends what drink you should have.

Gagliano: So if you look like a drunk, it’ll tell you to have a beer?

Judson: Exactly.

Gagliano: Does it have a different voice depending on what it thinks you are? Like if you’re an old person with a hearing aid, is it like, “PRUNE JUICE!”

Newnam: Nancy Farghalli, editor at Marketplace, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Nancy Farghalli: New York City is going to be running a contest to find its taxi of the future. And they pick three finalists and one of the finalists is from Turkey.

Newnam: I didn’t realize Turkey made cars.

Farghalli: They do, and the coolest thing about this taxi? It has a sunroof, so you can look up and see the skyline.

Newnam: That sounds nice, but for a future cab, I just want it to have a functioning air conditioner, I want it not cost a lot of money and I want it to avoid traffic. Do they have some way of doing that?

Farghalli: It’s called the subway.

Ryssdal: If you like that, there’s plenty more where it came from: a podcast Rico and Brendan do called Dinner Party Download.

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