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Not Trending: A new academic gender gap, Kentucky bike caves

When we only pay attention to the things that are trending in our social networks, we may be missing some compelling stories. Carlos Watson, CEO of website Ozy, joins Gwen Ifill to share a few overlooked items, including a survey on how teenage girls are outperforming boys in school, how Indian Americans can influence the conversation on immigration reform, plus underground caves for bikers.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The end of the week is a good time for catching up on some weekend reading.

    Gwen Ifill recorded this look.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now it's time for us to look at topics on the Web that are of interest, but aren't getting that much attention, or what we call Not Trending.

    Our guide is Carlos Watson, the founder of the Web site OZY.

    Big story I saw on your Web site first which is I found interesting from "The Economist." It's about reverse gap — the reverse gender gap, which is to say that teenage girls globally are doing better than boys.

  • CARLOS WATSON, CEO, OZY:

    Big surprise.

    So the OECD, think tank based in Paris, looked at 64 countries and found out, whereas once upon time we worried that girls weren't getting enough attention, making enough progress, particularly in K-12, now they're outstripping boys, sometimes in really big and dramatic fashion, not only here in the U.S., but abroad as well.

    They have come even in math, but when it comes to the social sciences, unfortunately — and frankly some of the people say unfortunately — it's no longer even close.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Is it about rich countries, poor countries? Does it matter?

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    It's a real mix, primarily rich countries in this survey.

    But even when you look at places that are, if you will, on the margin, Indonesia, Turkey, places that have got solid economies, but are not First World well-developed economies, you're even seeing the gaps there as well.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And it doesn't necessarily mean that there's been that gap into success in life or to high-ranking positions.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    It's so interesting.

    So, it has not traveled all the way through yet. No, it has traveled through college graduation. In many cases, you're seeing women exceeding the number of men graduating by some 50 percent. So it's not small and incremental. But when it comes to pay, as you know, as I know, as my three sisters know, unfortunately, in many cases, women are still making 75 cents on the dollar when equally qualified with men.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Another story that I spied that I thought was interesting that you don't hear that much about, which is the immigration debate.

    We talk about the immigration debate a lot on this program and in this country, but it's almost always about the role of Latinos in the immigration debate. But what you have discovered is that it's actually Indian Americans who are driving lot of this conversation now.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Hidden muscle.

    So, Indian Americans, who were only some 400,000 immigrants in 1980, now almost three million, but more than that are playing some high-profile roles. So, a couple of governors — you think about Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal, who is looking at a run for president. You think about the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, a whole wide range of people.

    And the argument is that they could play a role as we go into 2016 in shifting and broadening that conversation a little bit. Some four out of five of Indian Americans are very in favor of immigration reform.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But they're only 3 percent of the electorate, so are they driving outcomes really at this point?

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    So, not the vote as much, but maybe the money and maybe helping people think about, if you will, some of the value, or at least giving them a different lens to think about the value in terms of the contribution of new companies, of different kinds of workers, of making sure that people who come here and get university degrees, but then take those skills back home don't always do so.

    By the way, when you think of Indian Americans, you assume that all of those are documented workers, but not always. Also, there are a some quarter-of-a-million undocumented Indian Americans who are part of the story, too, and if we have a broader conversation about that, they would be a part of that, too.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Interesting.

    OK, here's the fun story of the week.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Fun story.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The bike caves which exist, that I knew nothing of, underground biking trails. Huge.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Crazy.

    So, in Louisville, underneath the Louisville Zoo, no less, in a former mine, where in the 1930s people used to mine for limestone and other kinds of things, now people are coming to ride bikes, kind of extreme bike riding. So you know those BMX folks who — I know you're watching ESPN all the time with me.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Of course.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Of course you are.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Why would you doubt me?

    (LAUGHTER)

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Why would I ever doubt you?

    Popping wheelies and doing all the good stuff. Well, now folks are going to do that. They're paying $15, $20, $25, very inventive, kind of a little crazy, but it's underground, enough room for a couple hundred people at a time. And already, this place call Mega Cavern has had some 5,000 people coming from Alabama, Texas, Oregon, all sorts of states.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now, there's one in Washington State as well. And what my question is, why would you go all the way to Kentucky just to ride underground? What is the advantage?

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    So, all right, so they say a couple things.

    One, they say is that the temperature is great. Right? It's kind of cool down there. Second, they say that you can do it all day long, so even when the weather is bad, even when it's snowy out. And, third, remember, all sorts of people these days are looking for kind of little unusual places to travel. And this is a place. You know, Kentucky is not somewhere everybody goes, except for the Kentucky Derby and maybe this time around March Madness, basketball season, so a new reason to come to Kentucky.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    So, you come to Kentucky, you see a game, you can see a horse race, then you ride underground.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Yes.

    The other funny thing about this, because I didn't think about this, they have got four million square feet. Not only are people riding bikes underground, but they're doing something called zip-lining there as well, so lots of unusual stuff happening when you and I are watching the trending stuff.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    I love America. We always come up with something I hadn't thought of before.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    We do.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Carlos Watson with OZY, thank you very much.

  • CARLOS WATSON:

    Always good to be with you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    I want to see Gwen pop some of those wheelies.

    And you can watch more of her conversation with Carlos, where they discuss the new OZY Genius Awards. That's at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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