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Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 12:45pm
Next week, we're talking about legacies on the show. We want to hear your stories of financial legacies: what's your legacy? How will you be remebered? Maybe you have a legacy without an heir, maybe you're building something for your future....
We want to know. Tell us about the economic legacies in your life.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 12:14pm
In a hotel in suburban Baltimore, kids file into a conference room wearing Army-issued white lab coats and safety goggles. The middle schoolers are among the finalists in the U.S. Army’s annual eCYBERMISSION STEM fair—20 teams selected from more than 7,000 around the country for their problem-solving projects.
Before the big competition, they break into small groups for some training.
“We’re actually going to have you guys do some inventing,” instructor Ralph Tillinghast tells his group, passing out packs of colored clay. He asks the kids to spend a few minutes designing a product to make their daily lives better. Twelve-year-old Kaleb Ruthardt gets to work sculpting a tiny robot.
“At our school, we aren't allowed to carry around backpacks, so we have to carry about five or six binders,” he says. “My ideas is to make a binder carrier.”
Kaleb is from a small town in West Texas, near Lubbock. School officials are not concerned about what kids might keep in their backpacks, he says.
“The teachers have tripped on the backpacks before, because our classrooms are kind of small,” Kaleb explains.
Asked if the teachers might also trip over a robot, he pauses.
“Well, maybe we could leave it outside,” he says. “I don't know.”
He’s still working it out, and that’s part of the innovation process. The workshop is designed to teach kids how to take an idea, test it, patent it and bring it to market.
Yes, these are 12- and 13-year-olds.
“There's no royalties to the Army,” Tillinghast says. “It’s really to help them, just inspire them to know they can take their idea and bring it to the world.”
Tilllinghast directs the Collaboration Innovation Lab at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center — where the guns and bullets are designed. The Army has a big stake in inspiring the next generation of innovators, he says. The competition is one of several Army initiatives to promote science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education.
“We can only hire U.S. citizens, so we need a pool in America of students who are competent in the STEM areas,” Tillinghast says.
To inspire those students, he shows them how to make a prototype using a 3-D printer and how to write a pitch sheet.
Shri Chander’s son Rushil is part of team from the Dallas area that developed an app to help first responders communicate in emergencies. She says it’s no wonder kids are motivated by the idea of commercial success.
“I think it’s all around them,” she says. “What they are watching on the news is ‘Oh, here’s a 12-year-old who showed up at the Apple developer conference because his app was rated No. 1 in the app store.’”
Chander herself is a scientist who now works on projects like the internet-connected car at AT&T.
“Pure science is sometimes so abstract that it's hard for 12-, 13-year-olds to kind of visualize it in their head,” she says. Apps and products they can touch and play with, Chander says, “that, I think, to them I think is more concrete.”
Several of the teams are already on their way to marketing their ideas.
Conglomerates DuPont and 3M have expressed interest in a more comfortable hazmat suit one team developed. Another team has filed a provisional patent application for its device to prevent drowsy driving. Kaleb Ruthardt’s group from West Texas designed a system for reclaiming wastewater from the fracking process. A Texas business has asked to check it out.
“It feels amazing, but we're doing this mostly for the environment,” says 11-year-old team member Dwayne Scott.
And for the thrill of making it to the finals, says his mom, Sharon Scott, who advised the team. They ended up beating out the hazmat suit to take home the top sixth-grade prize: $5,000 in savings bonds for each kid on the team.
“The importance was the idea, she says. “Bringing it to market, that's just the gravy.”
Thursday, July 2, 2015 7:00am
It would appear people are dropping out of the American labor force in spite of new jobs created. More on that. Plus, as the U.S. announces plans to open a full embassy in Cuba, we look at the American rice industry, which is poised to benefit from more normalized relations, and ask how they’re preparing for changes ahead between the two countries. And with the Greek economy nearly immobilized by its debt, and Puerto Rico close to default, does the U.S. have lessons to learn from these situations? Marketplace's senior economics correspondent Chris Farrell weighs in.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 6:00am
In the midst of the current Greek financial crisis, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have pointed to Bitcoin as the panacea for the country's financial woes. The price of the cryptocurrency has steadily risen as the Greek financial crisis has intensified. However, the question remains: can digital money give Greece an out? Spoiler alert: no.
Nathaniel Popper, author of the book, "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires trying to Reinvent Money," maintains Bitcoin will not save Greece because “at this point, I think Greek citizens are locked into their own system and the bad decisions people have made. I don't think there is an easy way out.”
In theory, Bitcoin seems like just that. However, the logistics of buying bitcoin requires you to move money from your bank account to the bank account of a Bitcoin service. Not so easy when Greeks are unable to withdraw money from the ATM. Sure, you can buy bitcoins from someone in a café with cash from under your bed, but to pull a country out of a financial crisis? Unlikely.
Popper points to Argentina as an example where some “real experimentation is going on” with Bitcoin, but he reminds us that the Bitcoin story “is a very young technology. It’s not ready for the prime time. It’s like expecting to run Netflix on the Internet of 1995.”
As Popper explains it, Bitcoin hopefuls may be expecting too much from the cryptocurrency: “Throughout the Bitcoin story, it's been offered as a utopian solution. But these utopian solutions always need to find some way to get from the current system to the utopian future.”
Ideas anyone? We’re still buffering our 1995 dial-up Netflix.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 6:00am
At 31, Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest female, self-made, multibillionaire in America, according to Forbes. The company Holmes created, Theranos, developed a home blood-testing kit that could challenge the business model of medical labs.
This spring, she was invited by the White House to be a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, where she’ll focus on attracting women to science, tech, engineering and math fields, as well as improving global public health.
Click the media player above to hear Elizabeth Holmes in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.