Olympic City Cuts Traffic To Clean Up The Air Olympic city cuts traffic to clean up the air, and more news worth an honorable mention.
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Olympic City Cuts Traffic To Clean Up The Air

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Olympic City Cuts Traffic To Clean Up The Air

Olympic City Cuts Traffic To Clean Up The Air

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Hey, thank you for listening to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. Yeah, that's you, Woody, I'm talking to, who works at the Mac Store in Soho. He came up to me, faithful listener, he and his girlfriend. So, good morning, Woody.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Good morning, Woody.


STEWART: And girlfriend! They listen online at npr.org/bryantpark. Time for something that I've missed. I've missed my stroll. I've missed my wandering. I've missed my sashaying through the day's headlines. Well, they're not really the headlines. They're more like the backlines.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: It's The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: And I am not alone.


STEWART: Matt Martinez, nice to see you.

MARTINEZ: Oh, good to see you, Alison. And I like your top. It's very nice.

STEWART: Thank you. Nicole Miller.

MARTINEZ: Very nice.

MCKINNEY: Is that good radio to just say I like your top?


(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: Hello, Olympics. Goodbye, cars. That's our first story in The Ramble. There're some new traffic restrictions that went into place in Beijing today to, you know, clean up pollution - to stop pollution, basically...

MCKINNEY: Because - do you know why? Because athletes need to breathe.

MARTINEZ: Yes, yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: As opposed to regular people.

MARTINEZ: Very, very important. There are 3.3 million cars in Beijing alone, and the regulations that began say that today drivers with even-number plates have to take public transportation, and employees - employers have also been asked to stagger work schedules. And public institutions are opening an hour later than normal, and they say that all of these traffic-calming measures could still not work because unpredictable winds during the Olympics could blow pollution into Beijing from other provinces. And the lack of wind, common, very common, in August, could cause a buildup of local pollution.

STEWART: Wait, so the wind's a problem, and no wind's a problem?

MARTINEZ: Yes. It's basically a big problem.

STEWART: It's a no wind-wind?

MCKINNEY: Wah, wah.

MARTINEZ: But there is more - there's more to this story. Two new subway lines and an airport-rail link were opened over the weekend in Beijing. The projected number of passengers on the three routes is expected to reach 1.1 million daily during the Olympics next month. It's just amazing measures they're going through to make sure that the pollution is cut down in Beijing.

MCKINNEY: And do you think any of these solutions would last past the Olympics or...

MARTINEZ: Probably not.


MARTINEZ: Probably not.

STEWART: I'll be watching on my couch in some air conditioning in New York City. You know, there's going to be a big shakeup in late-night TV starting next year. Conan O'Brien is going to take over for Jay Leno, and Jay Leno is going...

MCKINNEY: Somewhere?

STEWART: ABC? We don't know. Now, who's going to replace Conan O'Brien? There was a big battle for this between - would it be Carson Daly? Would it BJ Novak? Turns out, it's going to be Jimmy Fallon...


STEWART: Of "Saturday Night Live" and not-too-many good movies' fame.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: So, they're going to, you know, do something that's kind of smart. Lorne Michaels of "SNL," he's going to launch an online edition of the Jimmy Fallon version of "Late Night." They are going to be little 10 minute sort of warm-up shows so that Jimmy Fallon can kind of find his groove, find his sea legs. You remember the early episodes of "Conan"? Unwatchable!

MARTINEZ: Yeah. They were really bad.


STEWART: They were really, really bad.

MCKINNEY: He was so nervous.

STEWART: Exactly. So, they're going to do it on the web, for 10 minutes. They're going to do it at 12:30 at night, like, when the show will actually be on, and Lorne says this will be a time for Jimmy to express more freedom and...

MCKINNEY: So, wait, like, a show on the Internet?




STEWART: Getting a following before going to the television.

MCKINNEY: That's a great idea.

MARTINEZ: Is it going to be live? Is it going to be streamed live?


MARTINEZ: Yeah? Live at 12:30?

STEWART: Maybe, I believe that's the way it's going to go.



MARTINEZ: It's doomed.


MCKINNEY: What a good idea.

MARTINEZ: Yeah. It's doomed.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Lorne Michaels, he doesn't know what he's doing, ever, right? OK.

MCKINNEY: All right. So, I have a story. I love these kind of stories. It's about, you know, treasure in your trash. So, this is a story in New York. A 20,000-dollar pair of diamond earrings were lost in the garbage.


MCKINNEY: It was a Staten Island Jeweler, lost them. They went to a landfill and sorted through a smelly heap of garbage and found them.


MCKINNEY: They were in a jar of cleaning solution. A worker at the jewelry store had accidentally thrown the earrings away.

STEWART: That's amazing. That's a great story.

MCKINNEY: I mean, that poor worker. So, they went - they went to the Fresh Kills Landfill. I don't know how this stuff went to Fresh Kills. I thought Fresh Kills had been closed a long time ago. So, I don't know if these had been in the garbage that long, or for some reason, they got trucked to Fresh Kills. I don't know, but anyway, they had to dig through the trash, but they found their earrings, and that never happens.

STEWART: But 20,000-dollar earrings, I mean, you could probably spot those from space. Those things must be huge.

MCKINNEY: Can I tell you something, though? My husband lost his wedding ring once in the Delaware River.

MARTINEZ: Oh, my God.

MCKINNEY: And he was like, oh, God, I lost my wedding ring! What are we going to do? And I was like, I'll help you find it. I looked down, and I found it. It was like, I just found it. It was a miracle.

STEWART: Maybe there's some...



MCKINNEY: Maybe they should have hired me. I need a job.

MARTINEZ: Well, was it on the banks of the Delaware? Or was it...

MCKINNEY: No. No. It was in the water. It was in the water.

STEWART: Tricia has super powers. You didn't know about that?

MCKINNEY: I was like, we're never going to find it, don't worry, honey, don't worry. Oh, look, right there, and I picked it up.

STEWART: It's magic.

MCKINNEY: Now, he has to stay married to me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: There might be other reasons he'd like to that, too.

MCKINNEY: I don't think so.

STEWART: Cassie?

MCKINNEY: Move on.

STEWART: I don't know.

MCKINNEY: I'm like, no.

STEWART: Hey, the "World Series? Buy now, pray later." An optimistic Cubs fan, he is going to lock up postseason tickets, but they might not ever exist. Any Cubs fan, apparently, there's this place called firstdibz - with a Z...


MCKINNEY: Dot-com.

STEWART: Firstdibz. It's a Chicago-based company formally known as Ticket Reserve. You can purchase or reserve tickets from a seller, a season-ticket holder, or someone who has guaranteed access to postseason tickets, but obviously, Cubs not in the World Series yet...


STEWART: Or not likely to be, I'm sorry.


STEWART: I'm sorry.

MCKINNEY: So, you spend the money now.

STEWART: Spend the money now...

MARTINEZ: In hopes...

MCKINNEY: You cross your fingers.

STEWART: But you don't get the money back.


STEWART: That's the issue.


STEWART: If they fail to reach the World Series, you don't get your money back, and First Dibz gets a 17-percent charge.

MCKINNEY: But I can see two possible unhappy endings for this. So, if you are a Cubs season-ticket holder...


MCKINNEY: And you don't believe in your Cubs...

STEWART: So, you sell the tickets.

MCKINNEY: And you give away the right to buy your tickets...


MCKINNEY: And then they get to the World Series, how bad will you feel?

STEWART: Pretty bad.


STEWART: Pretty bad.

MCKINNEY: Pretty bad.

STEWART: So, are we just saying that it's a bad idea? Is that what we've decided?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: I don't know. It's a pretty good idea for somebody. Somebody's making money.

STEWART: Those are the stories that are in The Ramble. If you'd like further information, go to our website, we'll link on through, at npr.org/bryantpark. Thanks, you guys.

MCKINNEY: You're welcome.

MARTINEZ: You're welcome.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

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