Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and a guest make today make sense. Along with our supersmart listeners, we break down happenings in tech, the economy and culture. Every Tuesday we bring on a guest to dive deeper into one important topic. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.
Texas deep freeze Part 2?
Temperatures in Texas are tumbling this week, and occasional host Andy Uhler is getting flashbacks from last year’s deep freeze. We’ll talk about what Texas has and hasn’t done to prevent another disaster. Plus, we’re feeling a little hollowed out after we learned what some college students think the average American earns. To lighten the mood, we jump on the Worldle bandwagon!
Here is everything we talked about today:
“The Texas Electric Grid Failure Was a Warm-up” from TexasMonthly
“Cold Sends Texas Natural Gas Supplies Plunging for Second Time This Month” from Bloomberg
“A professor said her students think Americans make six figures on average. That’s a long way off.” from The Washington Post
“Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time” from the Association for Psychological Science
“The Misperception of Racial Economic Inequality” also from the Association for Psychological Science
“Absurdle is like Wordle but it fights back” from PC Gamer
“M&M characters redesigned for a “more dynamic, progressive world,” Mars announces” from CBS News
Don’t forget, our newsletter drops every Friday. Sign up at Marketplace.org/newsletters.
What’s so great about 5G?
AT&T and Verizon rolled out their expanded 5G services today. One listener wonders: What’s 5G anyway, and why do we need it? We’ll explain why it’s been a long time coming. Plus, our fill-in hosts answer more listener questions about wage theft, the Great Resignation and the climate implications of wood stoves versus electric space heaters.
Here’s everything we talked about today:
“What is C-band 5G? Verizon and AT&T are flipping on the switch in the US” from CNN
ICYMI: Kai explains the issue with 5G and altimeters
“Employers steal billions from workers’ paychecks each year: Survey data show millions of workers are paid less than the minimum wage, at significant cost to taxpayers and state economies” from the Economic Policy Institute
“Fast-Food Workers Describe Harassment, Wage Theft During Pandemic” from Business Insider
“US Labor Agencies Strike Deal to Share Enforcement Information” from Bloomberg Law
“More quit jobs than ever, but most turnover is in low-wage work” from New York Times
“The economy is still in pandemic shock. But some state governments are flush with cash” from The Washington Post
“Cities Tap Federal Relief Aid to Reward Workers With Bonuses” from Bloomberg
Got a question? Send us a voice memo. Or call us at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
How sci-fi can make us smart
On Make Me Smart, we often turn to economists, professors and policy wonks to make us smart about some big topics that need explaining. Today, we’re turning to a different kind of expert, sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson.
His latest book, “Termination Shock,” is about climate change, geoengineering and what happens when a billionaire decides to take matters into his own hands.
“I’m past trying to convince people that climate change is real. What I was more interested in was, for an audience that believes that climate change is real, what are some outcomes that we might see, in the near future, as different people in different countries begin to try to come to grips with that problem, because opinions differ as to what the right approach might be. And whenever you get differing opinions, you’ve got conflict, and whenever you’ve got conflict, you have the potential for a good story,” Stephenson said.
We’ll talk with Stephenson about how he thinks about big, complex issues like climate change and what this genre can teach us about the future and solving problems in the real world. Speaking of the future, Stephenson, who coined the word “metaverse” in 1992, weighs in on all the hullaballoo over the metaverse today.
In the News Fix, what’s behind all the news, or lack thereof, that we’re not getting from Tonga after this weekend’s volcano eruption. Also, you can get your free rapid COVID-19 test now.
Then, a listener drops some facts on the James Webb Space Telescope and what a former Google researcher was really wrong about.
Here’s everything we talked about today:
““Termination Shock,” by Neal Stephenson: An Excerpt” from The New York Times
Neal Stephenson on “Termination Shock,” geoengineering, metaverse from CNBC
“Neal Stephenson Thinks Greed Might Be the Thing That Saves Us” from The New York Times
“Undersea cable fault could cut off Tonga from rest of the world for weeks” from Yahoo Finance
“California surpasses 7 million coronavirus cases” from The Los Angeles Times
U.S. stocks fall sharply as 10-year yield tops 1.80%, Goldman earnings disappoint from MarketWatch
“Mum admits to being mystery Netflix user who’s watched Bee Movie 357 times in a YEAR” from The Sun
Free rapid tests could still take some time
Grab your drinks people. Economics on Tap is back (and we’re starting strong)! In our first Friday show of the new year, our hosts take a look at the anticipated response to a new rule that says private insurers will have to cover the cost of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. With insurers not quite ready to implement the changes, we take a look at what you can do to get those costs covered when the rule goes into effect this weekend. Then, we’ll discuss the impact of a major settlement against the NFL. And as always, we’ll end the show with a another round of our favorite game, Half-Full/Half-Empty!
Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:
“Insurers Say Saturday Is Too Soon to Meet White House Goals on Rapid Tests” from The New York Times
DC mandate will require proof of vaccination at bars, venues, Capital One Arena from The Washington Post
“GOP lawmakers pressure DC to ditch indoor vaccine mandate despite Omicron wave” from Business Insider
“‘We just slew the dragon’: Lawyers analyze St. Louis’ NFL settlement” from St. Louis Today
“How long will it take to get my tax refund?” from The Washington Post
“CES awards honor “femtech” solutions in women’s health” from Marketplace
“Can inflation be a marketing opportunity?” from Marketplace
“Fan sues Giants, Jets for $6 billion demanding both teams leave New Jersey and play home games in New York” from CBS Sports
“Canadian border vaccine mandate might worsen trucker shortage” from Marketplace
“We Have Come Full Circle On Novak Djokovic’s Visa” from Defector
Omicron hits small business
It’s our first Hollowed Out Shell of a Thursday of 2022. Let’s dive in. Today we talk about how small business has fared during this wave of the coronavirus omicron variant. We also discuss the Supreme Court’s response to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers and what it means. Plus, an update on the situation at the Ukraine-Russia border and new charges against some of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters. And some fishy Make Me Smiles. Stay tuned to the end because Kai finally gives us his most played songs of 2021.
Here’s everything we talked about on the show:
“Omicron Hits U.S. Small Firms, With One-Third Posting Sales Drop” from Bloomberg
“Supreme Court blocks Biden Covid vaccine mandate for businesses, allows health-care worker rule” from CNBC
“Supreme Court Blocks Biden’s Virus Mandate for Large Employers” from The New York Times
Massachusetts wastewater COVID update shows levels dropping from NBC Boston
“Russia and the U.S. Face Off Over Ukraine” from The New York Times
“U.S. is ‘fully prepared’ if Russia invades Ukraine, secretary of state says” from NPR
“Oath Keepers leader, 10 others charged with ‘seditious conspiracy’ in Jan. 6 Capitol attack” from NBC News
Is 5G cleared for takeoff?
Verizon and AT&T hoped to expand their 5G networks this week, but safety concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration have pushed that rollout back. We answer a listener question about how real those concerns are. Plus, answers to your questions about bonds, the difference between the Dow and the Nasdaq, and job listings that are hiding some important information!
Here’s everything we talked about today:
Verizon and AT&T will delay 5G C-band upgrades for two more weeks from The Verge
“Airlines are concerned 5G wireless service may affect the ability to land planes” from NPR
“What the bond market can tell us about the pace of economic recovery” from Marketplace
In NYC, employers now have to list salaries on job postings from The Lily
“Why companies don’t post salaries in job adverts” from the BBC
“Transparency Is Key To Removing The Gender Pay Gap” from Forbes
If you have a question you’d like us to answer in a future episode, email us at email@example.com or leave us a voice message at 508-827-6278 or 508-U-B-SMART.
Kai & Molly, hosts of the Make Me Smart Podcast, highlights all news and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!