Sallie Krawcheck answers our Make Me Smart question. Krawcheck is the founder and CEO of Ellevest, an investment platform for women. Previously she was the chief financial officer and ran wealth management at Citigroup. Also, she ran Merrill Lynch after it was purchased by Bank of America.
Molly spins a yarn about the protest economy. And a listener makes us smart on what you're really supposed to do if you meet a bear. Hint: Don't run.
We do the numbers every day around here. But on this week's "Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly," we got a listener questionabout the numbers, specifically, data created and distributed by the federal government.
President Donald Trump repeatedly slammed government economic data throughout the campaign, and voters followed. A fourth of people we surveyed last fall and nearly half of Trump supporters said they didn't trust the numbers.
That attitude, combined with the administration's skepticism and at times outright denial of climate science, has inspired a loosely organized but broad coalition of volunteers dedicated to preserving government data.
Groups of coders and scientists have been gathering around the country to scrape the websites for NASA, the Department of Energy, White House and others, then upload data sets and other documents to repositories like the Internet Archive and DataRefuge. PBS Newshour notes that no data have disappeared completely, but changes to government websites have made numbers harder to find. During one of the first UCLA hackathons on Inauguration Day, developers were getting to work just as all mentions of climate change disappeared from WhiteHouse.gov. The White House's data portal has since been cleared out as well. Here's NewsHour's piece on an event at New York University earlier this month:
The grassroots Environmental Data and Governance Initiative has planned more events around the country in the coming weeks. The Initiative has published materials and guides to organizing more "data rescue" events. Two other developers have created a web app that lets anyone see what data needs to be harvested and contribute from home.
That's just for the easy jobs though, scrapes that simply require developers to download spreadsheets or capture webpages. Other government sites require a little more elbow grease.
"All these systems were written piecemeal over the course of 30 years. There’s no coherent philosophy to providing data on these websites," tech exec and volunteer Daniel Roesler, told Wired this week. Some coders have to get creative:
One coder who goes by Tek ran into a wall trying to download multi-satellite precipitation data from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Starting in August, access to Goddard Earth Science Data required a login. But with a bit of totally legal digging around the site (DataRefuge prohibits outright hacking), Tek found a buried link to the old FTP server. He clicked and started downloading. By the end of the day he had data for all of 2016 and some of 2015. It would take at least another 24 hours to finish.
The New York Times reported this week that these "data rescue" missions are just one facet of a new, more politically active scientific community. Energized by Trump's climate policy, and specifically his appointment of prolific Environmental Protection Agency-resister Scott Pruitt to head that agency, researchers are organizing marches and even weighing runs at elected office.
Like our guests on the show this week, many scientists behind these efforts draw a distinction between the numbers and narratives you draw out of them. But you need to make the numbers accessible first.
"I'm a great believer in science," Myron Ebell, who lead the EPA transition but quit before the inauguration, told the Times. "But I'm not a great believer in politicized science."
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MAKE ME SMART WITH KAI AND MOLLY
Because none of us is as smart as all of us. Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly is a podcast about the economy, technology and culture. Hosts Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood use their expertise to connect the dots on the topics they know best, and get help from listeners and experts about the ones they want to know better.
Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy – radio or television, commercial or public broadcasting – in the country. Kai speaks regularly with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, start-up entrepreneurs, small business owners, and everyday participants in the American and global economies. He first came to Marketplace in 2001 as the host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he covered the economic aftermath of the September 11th attacks, the collapse of Enron, and the slow buildup to the housing crash, the financial crisis, and the Great Recession. Before his career in broadcasting, Kai served in the United States Navy and the United States Foreign Service.
Molly Wood is a host and senior tech correspondent for Marketplace. Molly’s experience covering technology spans all media – print, online and broadcast. Before officially joining Marketplace in 2015, she was a tech columnist at The New York Times, and a frequent contributor to Marketplace Tech. Previously, she launched the CNET podcast Buzz Out Loud, which was one of the early successes in podcasting and which fans still celebrate today. In the web video space, she created and executive produced a broadcast-quality tech show: “Always On with Molly Wood.” The ambitious series ultimately shot episodes all over the world. Molly is based in the Bay Area so that she can contribute her passion and knowledge of all things tech for Marketplace.