Los Angeles is in its second week of trying to contain the Thomas fire that has spread through two counties. Millions of acres have burned across the U.S. this year, and one fire killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in California wine country in October. What role is technology playing in preventing harm from wildfires? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Brandon Collins, a research scientist at UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach, about fire prevention technology – and its limits.
Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality rules. Those regulations were created under the Obama administration, and prevent internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from favoring certain content over others. The current FCC says companies should be able to do what they like, as long as they are transparent about it. This is controversial, and the public comment system on the FCC’s proposed rules was overtaken by spam and fake accounts. Democrats, consumer groups, and even a few Republicans have called for the vote to be postponed. But FCC chairman Ajit Pai is leading this charge—and plans to go ahead.
The FCC is poised to overturn net neutrality this week. Part of that conversation is about competition – what if an internet provider becomes too expensive or provides poor service? San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston are promising municipal broadband as an alternative. What would that look like and how much would it cost? On this episode of Marketplace Tech, Molly Wood talks with Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable community development.
Bitcoin’s price soared to more than $15,000 last week. And as of yesterday afternoon, investors can trade bitcoin futures on a major public market — the Chicago Board Options Exchange. What’s behind the cryptocurrency’s incredible rise? And what will happen when it falls? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kevin Werbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School about the sensational rise of bitcoin and what could happen when the bubble bursts.
Building a better battery is hard and takes lots of funding. President Donald Trump has proposed major budget cuts to research on advanced energy technology. And taking away that funding could give other countries a competitive edge to create a better battery first. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kristin Persson, who works on developing new battery technology in a lab that is funded by the Department of Energy, about the countries that could leap ahead in the race to develop a better battery.
Battery technology is hard. We need batteries that last longer, charge faster and take up less space. And that’s important when it comes to not just our devices, but also renewable energy, electric cars and electrical grids. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kristin Persson, an engineer who works in a lab funded by the Department of Energy, about why lithium-ion batteries can’t get much better and what the next battery looks like.