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 9, 2017

This week a group of investigative journalists released an enormous cache of leaked documents called the Paradise Papers. Like last year’s Panama Papers incident, these records detail the offshore financial activities of some of the world’s richest people and companies. But while 2016’s leak focused mainly on the tax avoidance strategies of foreign entities, the Paradise Papers are full of names that will be familiar to Americans. The video below provides a quick overview of this complex story. Tomorrow, we’ll 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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September 1, 2017

Along with being one of the most groundbreaking trade pacts in history, the North American Free Trade Agreement is also considerably controversial. NAFTA has especially faced criticism recently, leading representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet and discuss the future of the deal. This video looks at how NAFTA currently impacts supply chains in North America and how changes to the agreement could affect commerce.

Questions:

  1. What do American opponents of NAFTA want to change about the deal? Continue reading
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August 18, 2017

Instead of waiting in traffic, what if you could hop in a helicopter and commute to work in a matter of minutes? For a brief period in the 1970s people could do just that on New York Airways, a helicopter shuttle service that ferried folks around the city for as little as $5. Although a tragic accident quickly put an end to the industry, this video shows how advancements in technology could possibly allow helicopter shuttle companies to make a Continue reading

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August 4, 2017

Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, banks have been required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand relative to their assets. Legislators put the rule in place so that institutions would have enough money in their vaults to bail themselves out in the event of another credit crisis. This video explains the concept of bank capital and why these regulations have caused some frustration in the finance industry.

Questions:

  1. Why are banks required to keep Continue reading
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July 21, 2017

When starting a new business, many entrepreneurs opt to enter an established industry so they can know what to expect. At the same time, however, these markets are packed with fierce competitors who must vie with one another for their piece of the pie. The most fortunate entrepreneurs avoid cutthroat industries and create new markets based on previously unknown consumer demands. The video below looks at how this “blue ocean strategy” can ensure long-term dominance for innovative companies.

Questions:

  1. Can Continue reading
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June 23, 2017

When the economy was on the verge of collapse due to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to zero in an effort to get money moving around again. The economy is not in such dire straits now, of course, so the Fed has once again returned to raising rates gradually. This video quickly reviews how the Fed works and demonstrates the ways that the central bank affects the nation’s money supply.  

Questions:

  1. What are the Continue reading
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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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