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The economics of colonizing Mars

Oct 24, 2017

As we get closer to life on Mars, we have to start thinking about what its economy would look like and how that might affect the rest of us here on Earth. There are plenty of creatives who have already been doing lots of brainstorming about this. Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is one. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with him about what colonizing the red planet might look like and how — or even if — that would be profitable. An edited transcript of their conversation follows.

It's been a busy few days on the tax-and-budget front in Washington, D.C. Late last week, the Senate passed a budget resolution for fiscal year 2018 that allows for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years. Republican leaders in the House want to vote on it this week. It's a blueprint for spending, taxes and revenue that uses "budget reconciliation,” which will let Senate Republicans pass a tax bill without any Democrats. Republicans want to pass their tax cuts before the holiday recess in December to notch a legislative win and get ahead of the midterm elections.

Amid the debate over whether the Spanish region of Catalonia should be allowed to gain its independence, a heavy metal band from the Washington, DC, area has found an unlikely new audience: Catalans.

In early October, Catalan leaders held a referendum on whether the region should separate from Spain. The Spanish government called the vote illegal. National police cracked down hard, shooting rubber bullets and using batons to beat back people trying to vote. Nearly 900 people were injured.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

People all over the world have responded to the Harvey Weinstein scandal with a mix of shock and dismay. 

Not so in Russia.

Foreign Policy's Moscow correspondent, Amie Ferris-Rotman, writes that people there have responded with a "mixture of incredulity and bemusement."

Max Whittaker/Reuters

More than 80 wildfires have raged across northern California this year, killing 42 people and causing nearly $1 billion in damage.

Fire crews from all across the country are deployed to help during peak wildfire season each year.

Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The controversy surrounding four fallen US soldiers in Niger shows no signs of winding down. 

Neither does the debate about retired Marine Gen. John Kelly's remarks in the aftermath of the tragedy. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did little to quell the row Friday, when she admonished CBS reporter Chip Reid, telling him, "If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something that's highly inappropriate."

The Health Risks That Follow A Wildfire

Oct 23, 2017

What Happens When Your Unconscious Mind Is In Charge

Oct 23, 2017

Science Goes To The Movies: Blade Runner 2049

Oct 23, 2017

10/23/2017: Harassers' perfectly legal hiding spot

Oct 23, 2017

We explore how nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements isolate victims and protect the reputations of alleged harassers and their companies. Plus, updates on Congress' frantic race toward tax reform, why corn is still king (hint: ethanol lobbyists have been doing their jobs) and the backbone of modern finance: collateralized loan obligation. As it nears its end, we recap one of the most destructive fire seasons in recent history — 9 million acres burned nationwide and $2 billion was spent on firefighting alone.

As wine growers assess the damage from the Northern California wildfires, marijuana farms are also counting their losses. But unlike other businesses, they have little reprieve.

“We’ve lost millions of dollars of product for sure,” said Ned Fussell, CEO of CannaCraft. “And we have no insurance.”

Even though California will begin issuing licenses for commercial cannabis starting in January, farmers like Fussell do not qualify for crop insurance, because growing marijuana is still against federal law.

In the wake of the financial crisis, we all learned a lot of fear-inducing acronyms, like CDOs – collateralized debt obligations – which helped trigger the housing meltdown. So news that volumes of a similar sounding investment - CLO or collateralized loan obligations - had hit $247 billion in first nine months of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal, may not be welcome to many. But while these are similarly structured to their infamous counterparts, CLOs are said to be less risky.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

10/23/2017: Hasbro goes Hollywood

Oct 23, 2017

(Markets Edition) On today's show, we're recapping the latest 401(k) controversy. Reports said Republicans were thinking about reducing the annual contributions you can make to this retirement account, but Trump has refuted this on Twitter. Afterwards, we'll discuss Tesla's plans to build a factory in China and then check out Hasbro's plans to start its own movie studio. Plus: We visit Oxford to talk with residents who say they're feeling overwhelmed by the number of tourists visiting the region.