March 9, 2018

With a userbase of more than 2 billion people, Facebook drives an astonishing amount of Internet traffic every day. So how exactly does the social network manage to succeed without collapsing under the weight of all that data? Like other tech giants, Facebook depends on enormous data centers packed with computer servers to keep the constant stream of information flowing. In fact, these “hyperscale” structures are just as important to the tech industry as factories or mines are to manufacturers. Continue reading

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March 8, 2018

Last year the shipping industry transported more than $4 trillion worth of goods all over the world on huge container vessels. Although these mighty boats are now the backbone of global supply chains, shipping wasn’t always so efficient. This video takes a look at how these metal behemoths revolutionized an ancient industry and the ways they continue to innovate today.

Questions:

  1. How did large container vessels revolutionize the shipping industry?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using large container Continue reading
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March 1, 2018

Levi Strauss started selling blue jeans more than 100 years ago to miners and farmers who appreciated how long the pants could last under tough conditions. And while today’s consumers love the distressed look that denim achieves with a lot of wear, they don’t exactly want to toil in a mine in order to scuff up their jeans properly. Instead, over the years Levi’s has done all the fraying, fading and ripping themselves in a time-consuming process. Besides taking about Continue reading

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February 27, 2018

Last week, we took a look at the logistical nightmare that caused hundreds of British KFCs to close due to a lack of chicken. And while the company seems to have solved this issue for now, another strange supply chain problem is frustrating consumers halfway around the world. This time, however, the product in question is a bit more essential to daily life than fried chicken.

Over the weekend in Taiwan, panicked shoppers rushed to stores so they could purchase Continue reading

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February 22, 2018

From keeping lodges toasty to powering chair lifts that must frequently scale mountains, ski resorts go through enormous amounts of energy during the winter months. Along with taking a toll on the environment, this heavy dependence on power can also be quite expensive. That’s why many ski resorts throughout the country are setting up their own utility systems to produce energy efficiently and sustainably.

Colorado’s Aspen Skiing Company, for instance, generates 24 million kilowatt hours of energy per year to Continue reading

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February 20, 2018

The world is home to billions upon billions of chickens, which would seem like more than enough birds to stock an average KFC restaurant. This weekend, however, hundreds of the chain’s locations in the U.K. closed after failing to receive their usual shipments of chicken. “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex,” said the company in a Continue reading

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January 19, 2018

Along with his animated colleagues Mickey and Jerry, Chuck E. Cheese is one of the most famous mice in American entertainment. Since 1977 he has served as the mascot for his namesake pizza chain where generations of employees have put on costumes and played the iconic rodent for children’s birthday parties. Of course, the outfit’s design has changed significantly since the company launched as “Pizza Time Theatre” more than forty years ago. But while the suit may be different, the Continue reading

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January 12, 2018

There are few things better than having dinner delivered directly to you, especially during these chilly winter days. But even the most basic takeout orders can have a significant environmental impact due to the plastic containers and utensils provided by many restaurants. This video shows the unsustainable packaging methods used by some eateries while also offering suggestions on how they can change their ways for the better.

Questions:

  1. How can restaurants benefit by reducing the materials they include in takeout Continue reading
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January 9, 2018

In the complicated world of global shipping, companies have traditionally relied on large cargo ships to ferry goods from overseas producers to domestic distributors. Recently, though, these enormous vessels just haven’t been quick enough for firms who need to send products to customers within a matter of days. These time-crunched companies often turn to air carriers that can move products faster but often with added costs. Along with simply being more expensive than cargo ships, increased demand also caused air Continue reading

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January 2, 2018

For many traditional retailers, 2017 was not a good year. Along with the more than 20 chains that filed for bankruptcy, established brands like Sears and J.C. Penney also announced that they’d be closing hundreds of locations. Unfortunately, the outlook doesn’t look much better for 2018. As Amazon continues to disrupt the industry by dominating e-commerce, experts predict that more bankruptcies and store closings could be on the way. “I think the early part of next year will be Continue reading

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