December 14, 2017

For many Americans the holiday season is the perfect time to relax and watch some TV as another long year draws to a close. Of course, one of the most popular genres among viewers in December are Christmas movies, such as Netflix’s recent hit A Christmas Prince. Along with its seasonal appeal, the movie also seems to have a “so bad it’s good” quality that many have found irresistible. In fact, social media users have been buzzing about it Continue reading

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December 12, 2017

While many people dream of owning a big house with lots of room to move, others aren’t looking to take up too much space. Luckily for these modest home seekers, so-called “tiny houses” have become increasingly popular in recent years. Approximately 10,000 Americans currently live in these affordable and environmentally sustainable abodes that eliminate unneeded space. What’s more, at least 50 companies have popped up in the U.S. that construct tiny houses in all sorts of styles. But even with Continue reading

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December 8, 2017

Over the last few months, we’ve posted a couple of stories about Bitcoin’s enormous gains in 2017. First we marveled at how the cryptocurrency’s value had risen to $4,000 in August after starting the year at just $985. By November, a single Bitcoin became worth more than $7,200. Since then the cryptocurrency has climbed even higher while also experiencing some major fluctuations. Last night, for instance, Bitcoin’s value reached a record high of $17,153 before eventually falling to around Continue reading

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December 5, 2017

Over the last few years, bike-sharing programs have become commonplace in most of the world’s major cities. In New York, for instance, more than 10,000 Citibikes are available for visitors to ride at any time of day. All they need to do is find a docking station, pay a small fee to unlock a bike, and then return it to another kiosk whenever they’re finished. But some other cities aren’t nearly as orderly with their bike-sharing programs. In Wuhan, a Continue reading

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December 1, 2017

During the upcoming holiday season, analysts estimate shoppers will spend more than $100 billion online. The majority of these purchases will likely be made on Amazon, which has attracted millions of loyal customers over the years through perks like free two-day shipping. But while undoubtedly convenient, quick shipping is far from environmentally sustainable. This video outlines the problem while also offering a few potential solutions.

Questions:

  1. How does Amazon’s free two-day shipping program cause more trucks to end up on Continue reading
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November 30, 2017

Although many retailers enjoyed a sales boost during Thanksgiving Weekend, no other company can rival Amazon’s stellar start to the holiday season. The e-commerce outlet brought in 45 percent of all online purchases on Thanksgiving along with nearly 55 percent of Black Friday’s total Internet transactions. Plus, Amazon announced that Cyber Monday was the company’s biggest sales day ever, boasting that customers had purchased “hundreds of millions of products” throughout the weekend.

Along with putting Amazon’s huge influence with customers Continue reading

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November 28, 2017

Last week we took a look at how analysts were lowering their expectations for Black Friday, which is traditionally the country’s biggest annual shopping event. While retailers managed to generate about $5 billion in sales on the day, this year’s take was decidedly lower than in years past. In some cases store traffic was non-existent, leading at least one newscaster to vent their frustrations about the poor turnout on air. But while some brick-and-mortar stores stayed empty, Continue reading

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November 3, 2017

When we took a look at Bitcoin in August, the cryptocurrency had just reached a record value of more than $4,000. Since then it has only continued to grow in worth, topping out $7,200 this week. Many experts now say that Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies could be the future of money, even though most consumers have no clue how they work. This longform video tries to remedy that problem by comparing Bitcoin with the stone ring currency system used Continue reading

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October 13, 2017

This light and breezy video takes you to Mcity, a tiny town that serves as the test track for the University of Michigan’s autonomous vehicle research program. Engineers observe closely as self-driving cars learn how to avoid pedestrians and navigate through obstacles in a realistic setting.

Questions:

  1. What is the benefit of testing products like autonomous vehicles in controlled but realistic settings?
  2. Do you think self-driving cars will become a common sight on the road within a few years?
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October 12, 2017

jurgen-appeloWhile Amazon has been an online retail powerhouse for years now, in 2017 the company showed the business world what a truly dominant force it could be. Along with buying Whole Foods during the summer, Amazon’s name came up constantly as the media discussed how the online outlet had upended the traditional retail industry. But despite all the talk about Amazon’s growing supremacy, the company still can’t compete in one of retail’s most lucrative sectors: fashion.

That’s not to Continue reading

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