250 episodes

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood 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.

Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly American Public Media

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood 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.

    Bring on the at-home rapid COVID tests

    Bring on the at-home rapid COVID tests

    The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to making rapid at-home COVID-19 tests easily available and inexpensive. And we’re going to need to get better at it as omicron variant concerns increase and we see more indoor gatherings. Then we’ll look at the staffing shortages many schools have faced and what that’s meant for those who’ve stayed. And it’s Friday, so we’ll wrap up with a round of everyone’s favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty!



    Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:




    “Where are the rapid at-home antigen covid-19 tests in the US?” from Quartz
    “Covid Rapid At-Home Tests: How Accurate Are They and Other Questions Answered” from The New York Times
    “New York Reports Five Omicron Cases” from The New York Times
    “Staff shortages mean schools lack teachers, aides, custodians, bus drivers” from The Washington Post
    “Omicron may throw wrench in companies’ plans to return to office” from Reuters
    “What’s at stake in the historic MLB lockout” from “Marketplace Morning Report”
    “Tesla unveils electric Cyberquad ATV for kids” from Fast Company
    “Your Spotify Wrapped Is Embarrassing, and I Want to See It” from The Cut



    Support economic news and information for ALL by making a year-end donation today at Marketplace.org/givesmart. And thank you for your generosity.

    • 21 min
    Let’s talk about ‘share of stomach’

    Let’s talk about ‘share of stomach’

    Almost two years into COVID-19, there are some parts of the pandemic that don’t seem to be going away. Yes, variants. But also the way we spend our money. We’ll talk about why grocery stores are still capturing the majority share of stomach and what that means in the days of omicron. Plus, a successful spacewalk, and we nerd out over today’s date.

    Here’s everything we talked about:


    “President Biden Announces New Actions to Protect Americans Against the Delta and Omicron Variants as We Battle COVID-19 this Winter” from the White House
    “Covid vaccines: WTO chief very concerned about unequal distribution” from CNBC
    “Kroger lifts profit, sales forecast on sustained grocery demand” from Reuters
    “NASA astronauts conduct spacewalk postponed due to debris risk” from CNN
    Kimberly’s space junk series Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 
    “Today’s date is rare: it reads the same forward, backward and upside down”  from the Detroit Free Press

    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.

     

     

    • 14 min
    What’s the deal with stadium naming rights?

    What’s the deal with stadium naming rights?

    Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be renamed Crypto.com Arena this month. The news made quite a splash for the cryptocurrency exchange. And it left one listener wondering how naming rights work. We look at the history of these deals and how they happen. Plus, we answer your questions about the cost of switching from gas to electric appliances, why people want to abolish the Federal Reserve and if the two-week notice is really necessary.



    And finally, we’ll take some time at the end to say farewell our friend and co-host, Molly Wood.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “To Decarbonize Households, America Needs Incentives for Electric Appliances” from the Center for American Progress
    “There’s a battle over your gas stove, climate change and health” from NPR
    “Naming rights: Balancing art and science” from Sports Business Journal
    “Staples Center to become Crypto.com Arena in reported $700 million naming rights deal” from ESPN
    “The Changing Landscape Of Stadium Naming Rights Deals” from Forbes
    “Is giving two weeks notice outdated?” from Marketplace
    “The great resignation: Millions of Americans tell their bosses ‘I quit'” from Morning Brew



    Join Marketplace’s mission to make everyone smarter about the economy. Make your year-end gift today!

    • 18 min
    Ethereum 101

    Ethereum 101

    It’s time to talk about bitcoin’s digital cousin: ethereum. This is a type of blockchain operating system that allows you to trade the cryptocurrency called ether. But it does much more, including things called smart contracts that are changing the way people do business.



    “What it really does is allows for the possibility that the middleman gets eliminated from the equation … if you have a good idea in blockchain and in ethereum, you can kind of go directly to users or investors to raise the money you want to start your business,” said Matt Leising, co-founder of DeCential Media, which covers the world of crypto, decentralized finance and the blockchain.



    On the show today, we’ll get a lesson in how ethereum works, the advantages and disadvantages and why supporters believe it’s not going away. So regulators should catch up quick!



    In the News Fix, we’ll hear positive news about boosters for teens and hear a warning about how omicron may mess with inflation. Plus, regulators are cracking down on Facebook, but they’re not the ones you’re thinking about.



    Then, listeners say farewell to Molly and a bananas answer to the Make Me Smart question.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “Understanding Ethereum, Bitcoin’s Virtual Cousin” from The New York Times
    “For Rules in Technology, the Challenge is to Balance Code and Law” from The New York Times
    “Powell Lays Groundwork for Faster End to Stimulus as Inflation Outlook Worsens” from The Wall Street Journal
    “Covid News: Pfizer to Seek Approval for Boosters for 16- and 17-Year-Olds” from The New York Times
    “Facebook Parent Told to Sell Giphy by U.K. Regulator” from The Wall Street Journal
    Audio: “Make Me Smart” listeners write a special song for Molly (visit our show page to listen)



    Finally, it’s Giving Tuesday. Give now to help us reach $100,000 in donations and unlock another $100,000 from the Investors Challenge Fund. To donate, go to Marketplace.org/givesmart. And thank you for your generosity.

    • 37 min
    OMG omicron

    OMG omicron

    Over the holiday break, epidemiologists around the world did a simultaneous face palm after news about a new COVID-19 “variant of concern.” We’ll catch you up on the omicron variant and what it might mean for the global economy. Plus, Jack Dorsey is out as CEO at Twitter and Amazon workers in Alabama get ready to vote (again.)

    Here’s everything we talked about today:


    “Doctor: Many South Africans Ill in Surge Have Mild Symptoms” from the Associated Press
    “Jack Dorsey Steps Down as Twitter CEO, Replaced by CTO Parag Agrawal” from Bloomberg
    “Three Things Twitter’s New CEO Should Do to Spark a Turnaround” from Bloomberg
    “NLRB calls new election at Amazon warehouse” from The Washington Post 
    VIDEO: “This Christmas We’re Screwed,” Mariah Carey parody
    Thread: San Francisco bus operator rates scene from “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
     And if you’re looking for our banana pants sweatshirt, check it out here 

    Read the transcript here.

    Giving Tuesday challenge: Give now to help us reach $100,000 in donations and unlock another $100,000 from the Investors Challenge Fund. https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

    • 16 min
    The Fed, explained

    The Fed, explained

    By now, you’ve probably heard that Jerome Powell has been nominated to serve another four years as chair of the Federal Reserve, our nation’s central bank. As we talked about on the show Monday, the decision boiled down to a political calculus. But what does the Fed do anyway? And why do we need it?



    “The main reason why the Fed itself was created was because in the lead-up to 1913, which is when it was created, there were a bunch of bank runs. It was sort of every bank for itself back then, where banks would issue their own money. There wasn’t a central source of money printing. And so, if one bank maybe ran into trouble, people would run and pull their money out,” said Victoria Guida, who covers the Federal Reserve for Politico.



    So basically, the Fed is supposed to be there when things go wrong to maintain the health of our economy. But the Fed does a lot of other things, like control borrowing costs and regulate banks.



    On the show today, Guida explains the evolution of the Fed and how it touches the life of every person in this economy and may be making wealth inequality worse.



    In the News Fix, we stick with the theme of the day and highlight a story about why presidents shouldn’t mess with the independence of the central bank. Also, inflation is coming to a dollar store near you.



    Later, we’ll hear from a listener who is changing up his holiday shopping habits this year and talk Thanksgiving turducken-inspired cocktails!



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “Biden renames Powell to lead Fed, risking the left’s wrath” Guida’s latest in Politico
    “Did the Federal Reserve make economic inequality worse?” from Marketplace
    “Turkish lira in historic 15% crash after Erdogan stokes fire sale” from Reuters
    “Dollar Tree hikes prices 25%. Most items will cost $1.25” from CNN

    Read the transcript here.



    We will be off the rest of the week for the holiday break. We are so grateful for our listeners and wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

    • 32 min

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