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
    • 4.6 • 4.7K Ratings

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.

    DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance

    DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance

    Imagine 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”

    • 24 min
    U.S. climate goals on the line

    U.S. climate goals on the line

    Here’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).

    • 17 min
    Work just ain’t cutting it anymore

    Work just ain’t cutting it anymore

    This 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).

    • 25 min
    The fight over the debt limit: round two

    The fight over the debt limit: round two

    We’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.

     

    • 16 min
    Why do we even have a debt ceiling?

    Why do we even have a debt ceiling?

    The 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).

    • 18 min
    Batteries are “the glue of the clean-energy economy”

    Batteries are “the glue of the clean-energy economy”

    We’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.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
4.7K Ratings

4.7K Ratings

LJDreamz ,

One of the very few podcasts of which I listen to every episode

Simply hits r the sweet spot every time.

msn_learn_it_all ,

Mad Love for Kai and Molly

This is part of our daily routine. I appreciate the candor and the insights from these two exceptionally talented and hard working journalists. An incredibly worthwhile investment of my time. Thanks, Kai & Molly, for making us smart. Mad, mad love, respect, and thanks to you and the entire MMS crew.

maggiem79 ,

Learn something every episode

I dont always agree with them but I always get something out of the shows. Love the casual banter and unfiltered commentary!

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