Sarah Gonzalez

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Every day, Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, loses value, so people there are trying to trade it for U.S. dollars. Turns out, that's a really dangerous thing to do. Here's Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast.

Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, is like an unwrapped chocolate bar these days. The minute it touches your hand it starts to melt. To disappear. So Venezuelans have been trying to trade their money for anything at all: Toilet paper, bags of sugar, and, if they can manage it, U.S. dollars.

A few years ago, an entire beach in a remote area of Jamaica vanished. Thieves dug up hundreds of tons of sand and hauled it away in dump trucks in the middle of the night. The sand--white, powdery, Caribbean sand--was worth about a million dollars.

It was an early sign that the world was facing a growing problem. Sand is a key ingredient in all kinds of things. It's in concrete, in glass, in your cell phone. But there isn't enough sand in the world for everyone, and we're starting to run out. So people are stealing it, smuggling it, and getting killed over it.

A few years ago, Don McPherson was wearing a pair of tinted glasses on a frisbee field. Don had designed them to protect the eyes of surgeons. Then his friend borrowed them, and saw something he'd never seen before. The color orange.

Don's friend was colorblind. And that moment led Don to figure out something that had stumped the medical world for centuries: How to help the colorblind see the rainbow.

Today on the show: Accidental inventions. Also, Planet Money's Kenny Malone discovers fuchsia.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Twenty three years ago, the United States and just about every country in the world decided that they were going to create a common set of rules about trade. Rule one: If anyone broke these rules, everyone would immediately report to a lake in Switzerland—home of the World Trade Organization.

Today on the show, we ask the big questions: Should the WTO be able to veto a decision made by the elected representatives of the American people? Does it have enough power to stop a trade war? And the biggest question of all... Is mint even a flavor?

There's a long-held debate in education. " 'Do you fix education to cure poverty or do you cure poverty to cure education?' And I think that's a false dichotomy," says the superintendent of Camden schools in New Jersey, Paymon Rouhanifard. "You have to address both."

That can be expensive.

In 1997, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state's school funding formula was leaving behind poor students. It ordered millions of dollars in additional funding to 31 of the then-poorest districts.