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FROM THIS EPISODE

Oil prices hit a six-year low today, falling below $44 a barrel. We take a look at what that means for oil industry workers in Kern County, and also how the same dynamic is playing out around the world. Then, in our weekly web roundup, the founder of a website that allowed customers to mail glitter to their enemies now claims it was all a hoax. But was it really? Next, we hear from the filmmaker behind the new documentary 3½ Minutes, about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida by a white man - and the trial that followed. And finally, USC raised $700 million last year, putting it behind only Harvard and Stanford in fundraising. What do universities do with all that cash?

Banner Image Credit: Hamish Reid

Producers:
Andrew Walsh
Christian Bordal
Matt Holzman
Jolie Myers
Anna Scott

A Look at The Other Side of the Pump in Kern County 9 MIN, 12 SEC

Oil prices hit a six-year low today, falling below $44 a barrel. That’s great news for L.A. drivers; all over town, gas is less than $3 a gallon. But tumbling prices have devastated California’s oil towns. Kern County, which produces most of the state’s crude oil, declared a state of fiscal emergency this week because of an estimated $61 million in lost tax revenue from oil properties. We talk to two people who’ve been personally affected - both laid-off rig consultants - about that it’s like and what they’ll do next.

Guests:
Craig Anderson, oil drilling consultant
Ed Mullen, oil drilling consultant

A Worldwide View of Low Oil Prices 10 MIN, 44 SEC

It’s not just California that’s feeling the effects of cheap oil. Thousands of contract workers in the oil industry have been laid off around the world. This week, oil giant BP announced that it will freeze pay for 84,000 workers, and governments in places like Venezuela, Nigeria and Russia - which are dependent on oil - are running out of money. We take a look at how low oil prices are playing out around the globe.

Guests:
Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics (@PIIE_com)

The Glitter Hoax and Other Web News 7 MIN, 19 SEC

A young Australian man had an idea for a business like no other: He’d mail your enemies a “glitter bomb,” an envelope full of annoying glitter that would get everywhere and ruin the recipient’s day. The business was an immediate success, thanks to the coverage in media outlets like Time, Huffington Post and Fast Company. He became so overwhelmed with orders that he couldn’t keep up, and he put his website up for sale for $85,000 after just one day in business. Now he says the whole thing was a hoax he played on the media. Was it really? That and more in our weekly web roundup.

Guests:
Meredith Haggerty, TL;DR (@manymanywords)

'3 ½ Minutes' 12 MIN, 14 SEC

On November 23, 2012, four suburban black teenagers pulled into a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida to get a pack of gum. Minutes later, one of them - a 17-year-old named Jordan Davis - was dead, shot to death by a middle-aged white man. He’d gotten into an altercation with Jordan after asking the boys to turn down their music. At the heart of the legal case was Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Did Michael Dunn, the man with the gun, have reason to fear for his life? We hear from the filmmaker, who just premiered his movie at the Sundance Film Festival.

Guests:
Marc Silver, director, '3 1/2 Minutes' (@marcsilverMS)

The University Fundraising Race 8 MIN, 19 SEC

USC raised more than $700 million in 2014 according to a new report out this week. That puts the school behind only Harvard and Stanford when it comes to raising money. Harvard, in fact, had a record-setting year - they added more than $1 billion to their already fat endowment in 2014, and passed Stanford in fundraising for the first time since 2004. But what do colleges do with all that cash? And what about all the schools that don’t have the same base as the Harvards, Stanfords and USCs?

Guests:
Lauren Streib, Bloomberg (@lostreib)

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