You’ve heard about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but how are they different from a digital dollar? On this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a digital dollar as the Federal Reserve ponders making its own digital currency. Plus, we’ll explain the economics behind robocalls and vaccine mandates. And we get an email from a listener and her cats who want to know what’s up with pet food shortages.
Here’s everything we talked about today:
- “What exactly is a digital dollar, and how would it work?” from Popular Science
- “China’s digital yuan is a warning to the world” from Wired
- “Tired of robocalls? The FCC is stillllll trying to stop them” from “Marketplace Tech”
- “THE ANNOYANCE ENGINE: Spam robocalls became profitable scams by exploiting the phone system, but you can stop them” from Business Insider
- “Fact check: Workers fired for refusing a vaccine are unlikely to qualify for unemployment” from USA Today
- “Half of unvaccinated workers say they’d rather quit than get a shot – but real-world data suggest few are following through” from The Conversation
- The Pet Food Institute on the pet food supply challenges
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Flere episoder fra "Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly"
What you need to know about the Facebook Papers
16:32The whistleblower-driven “Facebook Files” investigation at The Wall Street Journal has expanded to include a whole consortium of journalists and a flood of reporting. Oh, and it’s called “The Facebook Papers” now. We’ll talk about the high-level stuff and the company’s response at today’s blockbuster earnings call. Later on, we’ll talk about a disappointing update to the family leave proposal from the White House and hear a spooky song from a listener. Here’s everything we talked about today: A handy Google doc with all the “Facebook Papers” stories (h/t Katie Harbath) “Four revelations from the Facebook Papers” from the Financial Times “Zuckerberg slams recent negative press before painting rosy, futuristic vision for Facebook” from CNBC “How Frances Haugen Became a Power Player in the Facebook Leaks” from The New York Times “Taxing Billionaires to Pay for Biden’s Agenda: What to Know About the Democrats’ Plan” from The Wall Street Journal “How 4 Weeks of US Paid Leave Would Compare With the Rest of the World” from The New York Times “Hertz Orders 100,000 Tesla Model 3 Cars for Rental Fleet, TSLA Stock Surges” from Bloomberg Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.
The Alec Baldwin on-set shooting is a labor story
25:50We’ve been gripped today by the tragic accident on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Star Alec Baldwin’s prop gun discharged while shooting Thursday, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding Joel Souza, the film’s director. The investigation is ongoing, but the reporting that’s come out of the New Mexico set so far indicates this is a much more complicated story about labor unions and workplace safety. We’ll talk about it today, plus Facebook’s rebranding and the merits of closed captioning. And, of course, we’ll play our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Haugen claims backed by new Facebook whistleblower filing with SEC” from The Washington Post “Donald Trump Does a SPAC Deal” from Bloomberg “Trump SPAC skyrockets as much as 1,657% since deal was announced” from CNN, plus this thread “Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ camera crew walked off the set in protest before the fatal shooting” from the Los Angeles Times “Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun in Fatal Shooting on Set Was Safe, Officials Say” from The New York Times And our Half Full/Half Empty topics: bitcoin ETF, the Earthshot prize, PayPal acquiring Pinterest, Facebook’s new name and AMC adding closed captioning Read the transcript here.
The climate crisis is the only story because it touches everything
19:38We’re talking about twin reports from the federal government today, focused on the risks climate change poses to the American economy and global security. It’s, uh, not good. We’ll talk about what’s in each, why the White House wants that information out now and the Joe Manchin of it all. Plus, Big Tech earnings, Jerome Powell’s next moves and a little WeWork news on this grab bag of a Hollowed-Out Shell Thursday. Here’s everything we talked about on the show today: “Report: Climate change is an “emerging threat” to U.S. economic stability” from Axios “White House, intelligence agencies, Pentagon issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security” from The Washington Post “Apple’s ad business sees windfall; is accused of breaking its own privacy rules” from 9to5 Mac “Snap plummets 22% after missing on revenue expectations” from CNBC “Facebook stock drops after company warns Apple’s privacy changes to have bigger Q3 impact” from TechCrunch “Facebook plans to change company name to focus on the metaverse” from The Verge “Fed cracks down on trading by top officials in wake of scandal” from Politico “Scoop: “How about zero?” Manchin, Sanders get heated behind closed doors” from Axios “Adam Neumann hosts booze-soaked party as WeWork stock soars in debut” from The New York Post “Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to play Australian Open: minister” from Reuters Read the transcript here. Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.
All Hands on Deck!
13:57When President Joe Biden announced last week that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, it left one of our listeners asking why the port wasn’t doing that already. We answer that, and ponder future supply chain relief. Plus, we answer some additional questions about the Great Resignation, Zoom’s carbon footprint and banana pants! Here’s everything we talked about on the show today: “Pay or delay: Importers caught in shipping backup face limited options” from “Marketplace” “Biden announces Port of LA will be open 24 hours a day in effort to ease cargo backlog” from CBSLA “COVID pandemic is not the supply chain’s only problem” from The Washington Post “Trucking industry not confident in Biden’s 24/7 port plan” from the Commercial Carrier Journal “The Great Resignation Is Accelerating” from The Atlantic “The Great Resignation goes global” from the Washington Post “How to reduce the environmental impact of your next virtual meeting” from MIT News “Are Zoom video calls destroying the planet?” from Sustainablog Read the transcript here. Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance
24:55Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have to wait days for your paycheck to be processed by the bank. Or getting a loan without having to go through a bank loan officer. That’s finance, decentralized. Fans of decentralized finance believe DeFi has the potential to make our current financial system more efficient, accessible and affordable by getting rid of intermediaries like banks, brokers and exchanges. “The goal of DeFi is to make financial services more democratic,” says Linda Jeng, a visiting scholar of financial technology and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law. “That means more open access. Anyone should be able to use it. It’s about empowering the customer. So users get to decide the rules of the game.” There’s a lot of hype around DeFi. It’s gone from $1 billion industry in 2018 to $90 billion in 2021. But there’s not a lot of regulation. On the show today, we’ll talk about the risks and rewards of decentralized finance. In the newsfix, we’ll stay on the DeFi theme and discuss a new Securities and Exchange Commission report on the GameStop brouhaha and explain why coal-fired power is on the rise in America. Plus, a “Make Me Smart” listener weighs in on the difference between sailing and yachting. When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the business behind Halloween candy and haunted houses. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Crypto Banking and Decentralized Finance, Explained” from The New York Times “Crypto’s ‘DeFi’ Projects Aren’t Immune to Regulation, SEC’s Gensler Says” from The Wall Street Journal “Coal-fired power is on the rise in America for the first time since 2014” from CNN “Behind the Energy Crisis: Fossil Fuel Investment Drops, and Renewables Aren’t Ready” from The Wall Street Journal “Explainer: Why did the SEC release a report on GameStop?” from Reuters “Joe Manchin’s ‘blind trust’ is an utter farce | Will Bunch Newsletter” from The Philadelphia Inquirer “Algorithms are often biased. What if tech firms were held responsible?” from “Marketplace Tech” Read the transcript here.
U.S. climate goals on the line
17:19Here’s a sign that we need action on climate change. Water levels in one of the world’s most iconic lakes, Lake Tahoe, have plummeted. That’s not good. Federal climate legislation could help, but basically the entire GOP and Democrat Joe Manchin are opposed. We’ll discuss what means for our climate priorities at home and abroad. Plus, the superrich are getting richer, and a poetic Make Me Smile moment. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Joe Manchin reportedly opposes key Biden climate program” from NPR “Lake Tahoe waters plummet due to drought and climate change” from the Los Angeles Times “The myth of the climate moderate: Joe Manchin isn’t a centrist” from Vox “Video Message of the Holy Father on the occasion of the Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements (EMMP) (16 October 2021) | Francis” from the Vatican “Zillow Pauses Homebuying as Tech-Powered Flipping Hits Snag” from Yahoo “Jerome Powell Sold More Than a Million Dollars of Stock as the Market Was Tanking” from The American Prospect “Top 1% of U.S. Earners Now Hold More Wealth Than All of the Middle Class” from Bloomberg “Netflix Estimates ‘Squid Game’ Will Be Worth Almost $900 Billion” from Bloomberg Monday’s listener-submitted Make Me Smile Read the transcript here. What’s making you smile these days? Let us know. Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
Work just ain’t cutting it anymore
25:43This week, Apple and Netflix fired employees who also happened to be involved in speaking out against their respective employers. What does this all mean for how we think about work? We’ll discuss it. Plus, it turns out Americans want smaller government and we end the week with a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Opinion | Americans want smaller government, Gallup has found. Democrats should heed the message and revise their agenda.” from The Washington Post “Rising Rents Stoke Inflation Data, a Concern for Washington” from The New York Times “Column: Imagine what else lurks in those 650,000 emails” from The Associated Press “Netflix just fired the organizer of the trans employee walkout” from The Verge “Apple just fired a leader of the #AppleToo movement” from The Verge “More buildings being converted to apartments than ever before” from Marketplace “You do want fries with that: Wendy’s and Google bet on drive-thru AI” from Marketplace “Best Buy makes bigger push into home healthcare with acquisition of Current Health” from Seeking Alpha “McDonald’s launching Beyond Meat’s “McPlant” burger in 8 US cities” from Forbes “Social media users turn traditional Christmas tress into spooky Halloween centerpieces” from The Daily Mail Read the transcript here. Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
The fight over the debt limit: round two
16:51We’re barely getting out of one fight over the debt ceiling and we’re already looking down the road to the next one. Will the GOP come around before the December deadline? We’ll discuss why this game of chicken might not end well. Plus, China says RIP to LinkedIn, and Nokia is dropping a new brick phone! Here’s everything we talked about today: “White House banking on another McConnell retreat over the debt ceiling” from Politico Grey Horse newsletter on the mental and emotional effects of social media “Microsoft Folds LinkedIn Social-Media Service in China” from The Wall Street Journal “Lawmakers pressure secretary of state to act on “crisis” posed by “Havana syndrome” as cases mount” from CBS News “Nokia releasing new version of 6310 phone — and it still has Snake!” from The Daily Mail “How space researchers knew that 90-year-old William Shatner didn’t have to worry about his age” from CNN Read the transcript here. If you or someone you care for is in distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Why do we even have a debt ceiling?
18:36The House of Representatives might’ve voted on a short-term spending solution on the debt ceiling, but one of our listeners is still wondering where the debt limit came from and why it’s a thing. We’ll get into the history, which goes back to World War I. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about retirement, carbon capture and the landscape services industry. Here’s everything we talked about today: “U.S. House votes for short-term debt ceiling fix, averting default” from Reuters The 1954 article on the history of the debt limit from The Monkey Cage blog “Carbon capture technology has been around for decades — here’s why it hasn’t taken off” from CNBC “How Elon Musk will award $100 million in carbon capture contest” from NBC News Some stats on the landscape industry Read the transcript here. Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
Batteries are “the glue of the clean-energy economy”
34:11We’ve gone from lead-acid batteries in our cars to the lithium-ion batteries that power our phones and devices in a relatively short amount of time. The next generation of batteries will need to be big enough to power homes, cities and our electrical grid because experts believe that’ll be key to our transition away from fossil fuels. “Batteries have really been called the glue of the clean-energy economy because … the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine … and so we need to have not only enough storage for the few minutes or the few hours between uses, but we need to be able to provide that super-high-reliability storage for hours, days, weeks and seasons,” said Dan Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and adviser for innovative energy solutions at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Our current go-to battery technology is lithium ion. But there are so many other technologies coming online that will become the core of our clean energy economy. On today’s show: one of the most hopeful climate-related deep dives we’ve had in a while. We’ll talk with Kammen about some of the latest battery technology and what it’s going to take to make it cheaper, greener and accessible to all. Side note: Molly Wood is doing a whole podcast on lithium batteries called “How We Survive.” Don’t forget to subscribe! In the news fix, we get hard numbers on how climate change is affecting people all over the world and explain the latest fight over vaccine mandates in Texas. Plus, a listener gives us a firsthand account of the oil spill off the coast of Southern California, and an answer to the Make Me Smart question that will get you thinking about your toothbrush. When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the global supply chain mess, a new form of advertising in the NBA, and the cult success of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here. Here’s everything we talked about today: “World’s largest energy storage system completes Phase II in Moss Landing” from The Monterey Herald “The Battery Boom Will Draw $620 In Investment by 2040” from Bloomberg “Renewable energy: getting to 100% requires cheap energy storage. But how cheap?” from Vox “At least 85 percent of the world’s population has been affected by human-induced climate change, new study shows” from The Washington Post “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans any COVID-19 vaccine mandates — including for private employers” from The Texas Tribune Read the transcript here.