April 19, 2018

Last week, a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two African-American men who were waiting for a friend to arrive. Their subsequent arrest was caught on video and quickly went viral as thousands of social media users directed their outrage towards the coffee chain. Starbucks then took the drastic step of announcing that it would close all stores on May 29th for racial sensitivity training. Along with showing clips of the offending video, this short report also Continue reading

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April 17, 2018

Earlier this month, the music streaming service Spotify went public on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation worth approximately $30 billion. And while that is certainly an enormous amount of money, it pales in comparison to the $93 billion that the Japanese telecom giant Softbank privately raised last year to create a technology investment fund. In the past, major IPOs such as Spotify’s tended to be the most dependable way for up-and-coming companies to receive a major infusion Continue reading

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April 13, 2018

Way back in 2014, we looked at how changing tastes had led to declining interest in the art and business of clowning. Unfortunately for these red-nosed entertainers, matters haven’t improved much in the following years. In fact, 2017 may have marked an all-time low for American clowns. Not only did the Ringling Bros. circus shut down after nearly a century and a half in operation, but also McDonald’s ended its regional Ronald McDonald program. Without the work that these Continue reading

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April 12, 2018

The concept of working from home has been a controversial issue among some employers for years. On the one hand, proponents claim that remote working can reduce costs while improving morale among staff. For its critics, though, the idea of working from home brings to mind images of employees who would rather lounge on a couch than do their job.

But according to a new study from Stanford, the former group’s assessment is likely the more accurate one. It all Continue reading

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April 6, 2018

Industrial robots were once so dangerous that factory employees could not work in the same room as them due to safety concerns. This video shows just how far technology has come since those early years, with today’s soft-handed robots able to pick up delicate items like fruit or plush toys.

Questions:

  1. Why have items like apples traditionally been difficult for robots to handle? How does modern “soft-robotics” address this problem?
  2. Do you think robots could eventually displace much of the Continue reading
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April 5, 2018

With its rolling mountains and vibrant fall foliage, Vermont ranks as one of America’s most beautiful states. But while these sights attract thousands of visitors every year, they’re apparently not enough to convince some residents to remain in Vermont for the long term. In fact, the state’s labor force is smaller today than it was before the last recession. Young people have largely led this exodus, causing Vermont’s median age to become the second-highest in the nation. Combined with a Continue reading

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April 3, 2018

With their fuzzy frames and quizzical expressions, alpacas might be one of the world’s goofiest looking animals. Of course, these llama-like creatures have much more to offer than just their funny faces. Alpaca fleece ranks as one of the finest textile materials available, similar to sheep’s wool only warmer and without any prickliness. In the 1990s these key qualities fueled a boom in alpaca fleece production that also encouraged many Americans to purchase their own animals for breeding. Once called Continue reading

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March 30, 2018

As anyone who’s ever worked in retail knows, dealing with unpredictable work hours can be a frustrating experience. At the Gap, for instance, schedules must be posted 10 days in advance but can change quickly if the staff must prepare for big events like sales promotions or visits from executives. Even during standard operating times this system is far from perfect, with employees uncertain if they’ll work the same shifts from one week to the next. “I don’t count on Continue reading

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March 29, 2018

The runaway success of Netflix has proved to many media companies that the future of entertainment lies with streaming content. After all, why pay around $75 a month for cable when you can instantly access thousands of titles on Netflix for a fraction of the cost? This thinking has led to the creation of dozens of streaming services, ranging from big players like Hulu and YouTube TV to more specialized operations like the apps for Food Network or the WWE. Continue reading

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March 27, 2018

Nobody ever plans on running late, especially when they’re headed for work. But even the most punctual employee can occasionally be tardy thanks to a faulty alarm clock or unexpected traffic. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey of human resource officers and regular staffers found that 25 percent of workers show up late at least once a month. 51 percent of these tardy employees blamed traffic for their delays, followed by oversleeping (31 percent) and bad weather (28 percent).

Along Continue reading

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