January 9, 2020

In recent years, many Silicon Valley tech firms have pledged to make sustainability a top priority. But as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft develop environmentally friendly operations, oil companies are also using their technology to extract more petrochemicals from the earth. The video below takes an in-depth look at the history of oil extraction and how modern tech companies are risking their reputations by getting involved with the fossil fuel industry. 

Questions:

  1. How does machine learning help tech companies become Continue reading
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December 12, 2019

Although only 6 percent of the U.S. identifies as vegan, animal-free foods like meatless burgers and veggie-based snacks have exploded in popularity recently. This video looks at why the animal alternative market could grow into a $140 billion industry as consumers include more vegan foods in their diets. 

Questions:

  1. Why are more American consumers starting to supplement their regular diets with vegan foods?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic meat like the Impossible Burger?
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November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
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October 24, 2019

This in-depth video explains how stock buybacks work and why they have possibly contributed to rising income inequality over the years. Along with providing a detailed history of this controversial practice, the video also takes a close look at the closing of GM’s factory in Lordstown, Ohio. 

Questions:

  1. Do you think lawmakers should pass regulations against corporate stock buybacks? Why or why not?
  2. How did the closing of GM’s Lordstown factory affect the community as a whole?
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From music and movies to everyday items like clothes and toilet paper, today’s consumers can order all sorts of products through monthly subscription services. But as more companies adopt this sales strategy, it’s possible that consumers could get tired of subscriptions once all the monthly fees start stacking up. This video looks at why these services have become so widespread and offers advice for consumers who feel they’ve taken on too many subscriptions.

Questions:

  1. Why are more companies starting to Continue reading
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Whether you realize it or not, companies and organizations across the country are employing facial recognition technology for all sorts of purposes. The video below looks at the various uses for this controversial new tech and why many people are wary about its quick expansion into everyday life.

Questions:

  1. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of using facial recognition technology in everyday life?
  2. Do you think Microsoft and Amazon should sign the Safe Face Pledge? Why or why not?
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Although some brick and mortar retailers are managing to thrive in the age of e-commerce, many others haven’t been able to compete against rivals like Amazon. This includes a good portion of America’s once mighty malls that now either struggle to keep tenants or have shuttered completely. In an ironic twist, however, abandoned malls are currently being purchased by Amazon and other companies to serve as product distribution centers. This video details why the location and size of Continue reading

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April 26, 2019

In 2018 Americans received as many as 48 billion unwanted robocalls from telemarketers and scammers. Although legislators have tried to put a stop to these irritating interruptions, completely stamping out unwanted or fraudulent robocalls appears to be a nearly impossible task. This video shows how the power of the Internet as well as regulatory loopholes allow robocallers to operate without much interference.

Questions:

  1. Why is it often difficult for regulators to collect penalties issued against robocall companies?
  2. Why can’t regulators Continue reading
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April 11, 2019

Although Americans have become enthusiastic recyclers in recent years, many people still have trouble telling the difference between what’s recyclable and what isn’t. In fact, approximately 25 percent of the material that U.S. citizens toss in their recycling bins can’t actually be recycled. This video takes a look at the possible causes of this trend and provides viewers with some simple waste-sorting advice: “when in doubt, throw it out.”

Questions:

  1. How does single-stream recycling contribute to the high rate of Continue reading
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