Make Me Smart
Last Episode : November 29, 2023 8:10pm
Last Scanned : 4.1 hours ago
Episodes currently hosted on IPFS.
Is GM feeling iffy about EVs?
General Motors is planning higher-octane cash returns for investors in an attempt to restore confidence in its main gig — making vehicles that are not electric. We’ll get into what this could signal for the broader EV industry. And, many of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulatory powers are on the line in a current Supreme Court case. We’ll examine what the case has to do with conservative justices’ disdain for the administrative state. Plus, a National Spelling Bee champion’s secret to success. Here’s everything we talked about today: “GM Plans $10 Billion Stock Buyback in Bid to Assuage Investors” from The Wall Street Journal “Supreme Court’s conservatives voice concerns about SEC’s in-house enforcement” from The Hill “Supreme Court to consider multi-pronged constitutional attack on SEC” from SCOTUSblog “Major OxyContin case headlines December session” from SCOTUSblog Opinion | “I won the National Spelling Bee. This is what it takes to master spelling.” from The Washington Post If you’ve got a question, comment or submission for a state drink, send them our way. We’re at 508-UB-SMART or email [email protected].
Expires in 31 hours
The circular economy and closing our resource loop
Americans consume a lot of stuff and in turn produce a lot of waste. The average American generated 46 pounds of just e-waste in 2019. But what if there was a way to design an economy that’s less wasteful and more environmentally friendly? On the show today, Callie Babbitt, professor of sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology, breaks down the circular economy, its role in fighting climate change and the challenges that lie ahead in public policy and manufacturing if we hope to achieve circularity. We’ll also hear from a listener with a smart hack for airport pickups during the holidays, and our beloved intern answers the Make Me Smart question. Here’s everything we talked about: “The right-to-repair movement is just getting started” from The Verge “What is a Circular Economy?” from the Environmental Protection Agency “Our prosperity is in peril unless we shift from a wasteful world to a ‘circular economy'” from The Conversation “World’s Oldest Sealed Terrarium by David Latimer” from Nature of Home “Investors See Interest-Rate Cuts Coming Soon, Recession or Not” from The Wall Street Journal “17 top-selling items for Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023” from About Amazon It’s Giving Tuesday! Let’s unlock $100,000 for Marketplace today.
Expires in 4 hours
Who wants to work in Congress anymore?
This month, at least 12 members of Congress have announced they won’t seek reelection at the end of their terms. We’ll get into the record number of retirements and why the job might not be worth the trouble. Then, we’ll discuss how OpenAI’s leadership turmoil might be a turning point for the artificial intelligence industry. Plus, a St. Louis football team’s failed attempt to become a Thanksgiving game day staple. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Larry Summers Is OpenAI’s Surprise Pick to Mend Fences” from The Wall Street Journal “The Old-School Artillery Shell Is Becoming High Tech” from The Wall Street Journal “Frustrated lawmakers run for the exits: ‘DC is broken'” from The Hill “2 more House lawmakers announce exits, marking retirement record” from Politico “Before Dallas ruled Thanksgiving, the NFL tried St. Louis” from The Washington Post “Identifying fake news will now be a school requirement in California” from KTLA If you’ve got a question, comment or submission for a state drink, send them our way. We’re at 508-UB-SMART or email [email protected].
The origins of America’s consumer-driven economy
The holiday shopping season kicks off this week with Black Friday, and American shoppers are expected to spend a record amount, particularly in online sales. Consumer spending keeps the U.S. economy humming, making up 70% of the country’s gross domestic product. But it wasn’t always this way. On the show today, Cornell economic historian Louis Hyman gives us a history lesson on how the American economy became dependent on the consumer, why that change has created serious environmental consequences, and whether there are alternatives to the consumer-driven economy we know today. Plus, what it all has to do with the Salem witch trials. Then, a federal appeals court decision could significantly weaken the Voting Rights Act. We’ll get into the economic implications of the ruling and how it could play out in the Supreme Court. Plus: Oh, how the mighty crypto kings fall. Later, we’ll hear listener suggestions for signature state cocktails. And food journalist Francis Lam was wrong about what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Ringing in the holiday shopping season with low consumer sentiment” from Marketplace “A Brief History of Consumer Culture” from The MIT Press Reader “Frank Trentmann: How Humans Became ‘Consumers'” from The Atlantic “U.S. Economy Grew a Strong 4.9%, Driven by Consumer Spree That May Not Last” from The Wall Street Journal “Appeals court strikes down key tool used to enforce Voting Rights Act” from CNN Politics “Federal appeals court ruling threatens enforcement of the Voting Rights Act” from Politico “Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Agrees to Step Down, Plead Guilty” from The Wall Street Journal “What Was Eaten at the First Thanksgiving?” from History We want to hear your answer to the Make Me Smart question. You can reach us at makemes[email protected] or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.
The rise of stay-or-pay hiring
In this tight labor market, a growing number of companies are trying to discourage workers from quitting by charging them. Stay or pay clauses are becoming a thing in more workplaces. We’ll talk about who really bears the cost of calling it quits. Plus, how Federal Reserve economists are taking a page from journalists. And Snoop Dogg, the master marketer! Here’s everything we talked about: “Federal Reserve Seeks Anecdotes Over Economic Data for Uncertain Outlook” from Bloomberg “The Stay-or-Pay Clause That Demands You Pay to Quit Your Job” from The New York Times “Snoop explains going smokeless – and it’s not what you thought” from CNN “Thanksgiving Travel: No One Should Pick You Up at the Airport” from The Wall Street Journal If you’ve got a question, comment or submission for a state drink, send them our way. We’re at 508-UB-SMART or email makemesmart@marketplace
Grief and work in the time of war
Since Oct. 7, Palestinian and Jewish Americans have been navigating work while enduring anxiety and heartache as the Israel-Hamas War plays out. We’ll discuss the pressure to perform professionally as the conflict continues. And there’s some hopeful climate news out of Portugal: The country ran on 100% renewable energy for six days. Plus, we’re settling the debate on the least-liked Thanksgiving side dish in a round of Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about: “If Gaza were in your city, how much would be destroyed? | Israel-Palestine conflict News” from Al Jazeera “Palestinian Americans on working while grieving: ‘How many days off do you take when Gaza’s bombed daily?’” from The Guardian “Portugal just ran on 100% renewables for six days in a row” from Canary Media “Sam Altman fired as CEO of OpenAI” from The Verge “As streaming services search for ad revenue, expect more political ads — and minimal regulation” from Marketplace “Meta allows Facebook and Instagram ads saying 2020 election was rigged” from The Guardian “Have dating apps lost their spark?” from Marketplace “Martha Stewart Says She’s Canceled Her Thanksgiving Dinner: ‘Turkeyed Out!'” from People “The 3 Most-Hated Thanksgiving Side Dishes In America” from Huffpost Got a question for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at [email protected].
The governing work that remains to be done
It’s been a wild week on Capitol Hill. GOP Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Teamsters union President Sean O’Brien almost came to blows in a Senate hearing. And Republicans averted a government shutdown, but only to push the deadline to next year. We’ll dig into the historically low congressional productivity amid a growing mountain of work. And we’ll hear President Joe Biden’s remarks about meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Plus, a look at YouTube’s AI musical experiment. Here’s everything we talked about: “GOP senator challenges Teamsters president to fight during hearing” from The Hill “Did Biden and China’s Xi hit a reset? Not quite, but they agreed on a few things” from NPR “Take heart, it looks like China could send new pandas to the US” from The Associated Press “Government shutdown: Senate passes temporary plan before Thanksgiving” from USA Today “An early look our AI Music experiment” from YouTube Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.
What would a Starlink IPO mean for Elon Musk’s geopolitical clout?
Elon Musk today disputed claims that an initial public offering is in the works for his satellite business Starlink, an offshoot of SpaceX. But hypothetically speaking, would more eyes on Starlink following an IPO change the way Elon Musk operates on the global stage? And, an influential liberal super PAC is ditching TV ads. We’ll get into what that tells us about political campaigning in the modern age. Plus, let the holiday party invites start flowing! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Elon Musk denies report of potential Starlink IPO in 2024” from Reuters “SpaceX Gets FAA Approval for Do-Over Starship Launch” from Bloomberg “Liberal Super PAC Is Turning Its Focus Entirely Digital” from The New York Times “More Americans are getting news on TikTok, in contrast with most other social media sites” from Pew Research Center “The case for inviting everyone to everything” from Vox “A Guide to the James Webb Telescope’s View of the Universe” from The New York Times “A Supernova ‘Destroyed’ Some of Earth’s Ozone for a Few Minutes in 2022” from The New York Times Got a question for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at [email protected].
The moral conundrum of carbon credits
Many of the world’s largest companies are setting net-zero climate goals, and they’re using carbon credits to get there. That means they can keep producing carbon emissions as long as they pay for emissions to be reduced elsewhere. But do carbon credits actually incentivize companies to reduce their emissions? On the show today, Pedro Martins Barata, associate vice president for carbon markets at the Environmental Defense Fund, explains what carbon credits are and the ethical concerns with companies relying on them to meet net-zero emissions goals. Plus, what future regulation of carbon markets could look like. Then, we’ll unpack the good and bad news in the latest U.S. climate assessment. And, some industries are compensating for widespread staffing shortages by requiring employees to work excessive overtime. Later, we’ll hear about how some farmers are combating climate change. And, this week’s answer to the Make Me Smart question was inspired by a listener. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Fossil-fuel company net zero plans ‘largely meaningless,’ report says” from Reuters “Carbon credit speculators could lose billions as offsets deemed ‘worthless’” from The Guardian “The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere” from ProPublica “Analysis: How some of the world’s largest companies rely on carbon offsets to ‘reach net-zero’” from Carbon Brief “Action needed to make carbon offsets from forest conservation work for climate change mitigation” from Science “Carbon offsets: What are they and do they work?” from CNN Business “36-hour shifts, 80-hour weeks: Workers are being burned out by overtime” from NBC News “US climate assessment lays out growing threats, opportunities as temperatures rise” from Reuters “Farm fields don’t just feed us. They store carbon. But a big question is how much” from AP News We want to hear your answer to the Make Me Smart question. You can reach us at makemes[email protected] or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.
Has the movie business reached peak superhero?
Marvel Studios’ latest movie, “The Marvels,” had the franchise’s worst opening weekend. We’ll dig into whether superhero movies are a thing of the past and if theaters can get by without them. Then, another government shutdown may be around the corner. This time it could interfere with Thanksgiving travel plans. Plus, news you can use about online payment apps, and what would be your state’s signature cocktail? Here’s everything we talked about: “‘The Marvels’ Disappoints at Box Office, Showcasing Disney’s Studio Challenge” from The Wall Street Journal “Payments app Zelle begins refunds for imposter scams after Washington pressure” from Reuters “Thanksgiving shutdown sets up nightmare scenario for travels” from The Hill “Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Falls to a Five-Year Low” from The New York Times “Wisconsin snubs bourbon by elevating the brandy old fashioned to state cocktail status” from AP News A Michelada recipe from The Los Angeles Times If you’ve got a question, comment or submission for a state drink, send them our way. We’re at 508-UB-SMART or email [email protected]
Polarization, partisanship and threats to democracy
We’re discussing some heavy topics today, including threats to democracy from Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, and traditional Republicans bowing out of reelection as the party heads further to the right. Then, we’ll reflect on how we should honor our veterans. Later, we’ll weigh in on an Elon Musk biopic and a global Starbuck expansion in a game of Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about: “Trump suggests he or another Republican president could use Justice Department to indict opponents” from CBS News “Moody’s cuts U.S. outlook to negative, citing deficits and political polarization” from CNBC “Manchin, Romney Introduce Bipartisan Fiscal Stability Act” from Senate.gov “Soft saving trends reshape Gen Z, millennials’ personal finance goals” from CNBC “Hot desking gains popularity among employers” from Marketplace “Why is Starbucks opening more stores?” from Marketplace “Elon Musk Biopic Enters Development at A24 Under Darren Aronofsky” from Rolling Stone “Why isn’t there an Amazon for real estate?” from Marketplace Got a question for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at [email protected].
Actors and studios strike a (tentative) deal
After 118 days, the SAG-AFTRA strike appears to have come to an end, marking a historic win for actors. We’ll hear from the union’s president, Fran Drescher, about her delight with the new deal. Also, what Fed chief Jay Powell’s recurring message on interest rates says about economic belief versus reality. Plus, it’s the beginning of the end for panda diplomacy, as D.C. bids farewell to its cuddly friends. Here’s everything we talked about: “Powell Closes The F—— Door On Early Rate Cut Hopes: Stocks, Bonds Tumble While Dollar Rallies” from Business Insider “Treasury’s Yellen calls Republican effort to cut IRS funding for Israel ‘damaging and irresponsible'” from AP News “Why did Speaker Mike Johnson disclose zero assets?” from Marketplace “As Pandas Leave National Zoo, Is Panda Diplomacy Over?” from The New York Times Video: “SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher reacts to historic actors’ agreement” from CNN “SAG-AFTRA Approves Deal to End Historic Strike” from Variety Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.