August 28, 2018

A few years ago, many tech industry analysts predicted that the Amazon Echo would soon dominate the growing smart speaker market. After all, the voice-activated device accounted for more than 75 percent of market share as the company moved “tens of millions” of Echo products in 2017 alone. Consumers were also becoming more familiar with Alexa, the virtual assistant designed to answer questions and perform simple tasks like turning the lights on and off. Given these factors plus Amazon’s ever Continue reading

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August 24, 2018

By now it’s no secret that big tech companies routinely collect tons of data about their users’ online habits. And as Facebook’s recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica showed, sometimes they sell that information to outside parties without first telling users about it. As a result, people must always be careful about sharing too much information online. According to a new study conducted by a Vanderbilt University professor, however, even the most cautious users probably can’t escape the all-seeing power of Continue reading

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August 23, 2018

For more than a century, Coca-Cola’s immense branding power has centered on its signature soft drink. But with many of today’s consumers switching from sugary sodas to healthier options, the company can no longer rely on its namesake beverage like it once did. So in order to keep up with changing tastes, last year Coca-Cola launched more than 500 new drink brands across the globe. “There are products out there in the world that perhaps we wouldn’t have tried a Continue reading

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August 16, 2018

If you live in a large or mid-sized city, you’ve probably noticed a lot of brightly colored bicycles popping up on sidewalks throughout town. Whether they’re green bikes from Lime or Ofo’s yellow models, these two-wheeled vehicles are available to rent for as little as $1 per ride. Bike-share companies claim that this business model provides cities with a wealth of transportation options that both tourists and locals alike can easily access. For communities that have been absolutely flooded with Continue reading

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August 14, 2018

In June, the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer paid $63 billion to acquire Monsanto, one of the biggest names in agricultural technology. The idea behind the deal was to merge Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s dominance in genetically modified crops to create the world’s largest seed and agrochemical company. Along with these valuable assets, however, Bayer also acquired a lot of legal baggage. Over the years, Monsanto has faced thousands of lawsuits from consumer and environmental advocates who claim that the Continue reading

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August 9, 2018

Last year, Apple sold more than 280 million iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers to customers around the world. And judging by the tech giant’s ever climbing stock price, the sales tally for 2018 appears to be going strong as well. In fact, last week the price of an Apple share climbed above $207. Besides being good news for investors, reaching this milestone meant that Apple became the first publicly traded company to achieve a market capitalization above $1 trillion.

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July 31, 2018

Although people sometimes use “vanilla” as a byword for “boring,” the complicated global industry that surrounds this flavor is far from dull. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, which has the perfect climate for vanilla orchids. These plants only bloom one day a year and must be pollinated by hand, followed by another 9 months of waiting for the fruit to mature into pods. Then comes another weeks-long process of curing the plants using steam, Continue reading

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July 27, 2018

From smartphones to electric vehicles, many of today’s most innovative products depend on lithium-ion batteries to function. That’s why every year the tech industry upgrades these portable power sources to hold more and more charge. While this allows them to create better products (at least in theory), it also leads companies to discard a lot of technically obsolete batteries that can still collect energy. For instance, the lithium-ion units that power cars and buses can be used for Continue reading

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July 24, 2018

Last week, we took a look at the “robocallers” who use fake caller ID information to trick Americans into picking up their phones. Although they are undoubtedly annoying, these automated messages are far less dangerous than the human scammers who directly target vulnerable consumers. For instance, an older person might receive a threatening call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The scammer will then tell their victim to send an immediate payment or else risk Continue reading

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July 17, 2018

Amazon’s Prime Day has a bit of a misleading name: the e-commerce site’s annual offering of deals actually lasts 36 hours, starting yesterday afternoon and going until midnight tonight. One matter that isn’t up for debate, however, is the promotion’s ability to bring in a lot of money. Analysts expect that this year’s Prime Day will generate about $3.4 billion in sales for Amazon, which would beat 2017’s total by more than $1 billion. But despite this upcoming windfall, so Continue reading

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