March 15, 2018

Last year, we looked at how Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy after struggling for more than a decade with increasing competition and crushing debt. And while its future didn’t seem particularly bright at the time, the retailer at least had a plan in place to stay afloat in the short term. Along with taking out a massive loan to buy stock for the Christmas season, the company also claimed it had no plans to close any stores.

This relatively Continue reading

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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 6, 2018

Last year, hackers targeted the credit reporting firm Equifax in one of the biggest data breaches in history. While the company initially estimated the cyberattack had affected 143 million consumers, it increased that number by 2.5 million a month later. Then last week Equifax announced a further 2.4 million people had been harmed by the hack, placing the grand total somewhere in the neighborhood of 148 million. Unlike the vast majority of consumers who had their social security information leaked, 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 23, 2018

If you’ve ever thought that you check your smartphone too much, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, the 2.5 billion people around the globe who currently own smartphones likely share the same problem as you. That’s because tech companies design their products to be as attention-grabbing as possible. Along with detailing the ways that smartphones and apps can monopolize your focus, this video also demonstrates a few techniques to limit your phone use.

Questions:

  1. Is it ethical for tech companies 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 13, 2018

In 1912 Leon Leonwood Bean sold his first 100 pairs of boots to local hunters, promising that the footwear would “give perfect satisfaction in every way.” Soon enough, though, 90 customers brought their boots back after the bottoms became separated from the tops. While Bean nearly went bankrupt providing refunds, he knew that he had to stick to his word in order to regain his customers’ trust. As a result, people continued to support his business, which eventually grew from Continue reading

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February 8, 2018

Earlier this week we looked at how audiences responded both positively and negatively to this year’s lineup of Super Bowl ads. While a number of funny spots seemed to go over well with the public, a Dodge Ram ad prominently featuring a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decidedly did not. After the commercial aired, thousands took to social media to condemn the company for stealing the words of such an admired humanitarian. Of course, these critics soon Continue reading

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