February 14, 2017

For decades U.S. automakers designed boxy cars that looked slick but lacked any aerodynamic abilities. Then the Ford Taurus came around and changed America’s roads forever. This video chronicles how rising gas prices and European influences caused this gradual switch from rectangular to round vehicles.

Questions:

 

  1. Why did curvy car designs take so long to catch on in the U.S. market?
  2. How did the Ford Taurus change the American auto industry?

 

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February 10, 2017

PivisoOver the years video games have grown from a niche entertainment platform into a dominant commercial and cultural force. And while plenty of casual players drive this thriving industry, a new class of professional gamers has also emerged on the Internet and in “eSports” leagues. During these competitions, dedicated players face off against each other in front of thousands of cheering fans, just like at regular sporting events.

Like video games themselves, eSports were once thought to hold limited appeal Continue reading

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February 9, 2017

C_osettIn this digitally driven age, personal privacy is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Along with social networks and websites that track users, many electronic devices also pay close attention to their owners’ personal habits. And in at least one recent case, sometimes people don’t even know they’re being watched by their possessions.

That’s why the Federal Trade Commission recently slapped the television maker Vizio with a $2.2 million fine. According to investigators, the company installed software that allowed Continue reading

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February 7, 2017

USDepartmentOfAgricultureUnlike last year’s dominating display by Denver, Super Bowl LI provided viewers with plenty of drama as Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a historic comeback victory. And like the big game, there were winners and losers on the ad front as well. According to USA Today’s annual Ad Meter poll, the top rated spot of the evening belonged to Kia’s “Hero’s Journey.” In the clip, Melissa McCarthy tries her best to save the planet only to Continue reading

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January 27, 2017

CrosaOver this past Christmas season, consumers purchased so many Echo speakers from Amazon that the online retailer ran out by December 20. Of course, the Echo is more than just an ordinary sound system: the hands-free device is powered by Alexa, Amazon’s artificial intelligence software. All a user has to do is say “Alexa” and they’ve got their speaker’s attention. Once the device hears this “wake word,” it can be commanded to play music or even order groceries from Amazon. Continue reading

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January 26, 2017

DaveSTo people familiar with sunny Silicon Valley, Finland may seem like a questionable tech hub. But thanks to the telecommunications giant Nokia, for years the snowy Scandinavian nation served as one of the central destinations in Europe for tech workers. Once Nokia began to collapse, however, the fortunes of many Finnish engineers declined as well.

These formerly prominent staffers then signed up for unemployment benefits in the hopes that the tech industry would turn around. When jobs largely failed to Continue reading

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January 24, 2017

QuinnDombrowskiIn the years since the economic crisis of 2008, wealth inequality has been an increasingly alarming problem both for scholars and regular people. Last year, the development charity Oxfam estimated that 62 billionaires owned just as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the globe. This month, however, the agency had worse news: a group of just eight men are worth a combined $426 billion, equivalent to the wealth held by 3.6 billion people.

Along with foreign billionaires like Continue reading

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January 20, 2017

Ensuring clean water for everyone on the planet is one of the major environmental challenges facing future generations. In this video, a Chilean engineer demonstrates his invention that draws vapor from the air and turns it into drinkable water. If he succeeds in making the machine smaller and cheaper, it could provide an immense benefit to communities that lack access to clean water.

Questions:

  1. Why does Hector Pino need to continue refining his product?
  2. Once fully developed, should Pino form Continue reading
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January 12, 2017

JhaymesisphotographyAs the fast-paced world of social media continues to dominate culture, many have worried that traditional forms of media won’t be able to compete. After all, why pick up a book when you can just read text messages and tweets? Although dedicated readers might find that question shocking, it’s precisely what thousands of people are doing with Hooked, a new app that sends out stories to users in bursts of texts.

Currently the top grossing book app in the iOS Continue reading

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December 9, 2016

MattDempseyWhile a major entertainment conglomerate like Disney has many sources of income, the iconic brand earns the bulk of its revenue from TV networks like ESPN and ABC. This year these channels have brought in nearly $24 billion, exceeding the company’s theme park earnings by 40 percent. But this enormous payout doesn’t tell the whole story about Disney’s TV holdings. For the past few years, subscriptions to its premium channels have dropped significantly, leading to a similar dip in the Continue reading

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