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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March 23, 2016

According to economists and government officials, the Great Recession officially ended in the middle of 2009. If you ask an average American, however, you’ll likely hear a different answer. 64 percent of people surveyed last year in a Fox News poll said they believed the U.S. economy was still in a recession. A poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal the year before came up with similar results. And now thanks to an in-depth study by the Continue reading

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Thanks to advancements in technology and medicine, Americans today have longer life expectancies than ever before. A study conducted by the Society of Actuaries estimates that the average 65-year-old man will live to 86.6 years while women can expect to stay around until they’re nearly 89. Both of these numbers have increased by more than two years since data was last collected more than a decade and a half ago. And while this is certainly good news for humanity as Continue reading

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April 30, 2015

In an earlier newsletter, we included a story about how Lego built its mighty block empire on a strong foundation of licensed products. The Danish company continues to make a variety of sets with characters from popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter, accounting for a third of Lego’s sales. As the toy company became more dominant in the last year, however, it started to focus more on promoting its own brand rather than others’. The 2014 The Lego Continue reading

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February 2, 2015

From the first colonists to the heyday of Ellis Island, the U.S. has largely been built upon the backs of people who were not born here. But the economic impact of immigrants is more than just a matter of history. Even today, immigrants are the entrepreneurial engines that power the nation. From 1996 to 2011, the business startup rate for immigrants grew by more than 50 percent. In contrast, the number of companies started by U.S.-born citizens dropped by 10 Continue reading

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January 16, 2015

In 2007 the American birth rate was clipping along at a steady pace. With an average of 69.3 infants being born for every 1,000 fertile-age women, U.S. citizens were making enough babies to keep the population stable. Then the economy took a nosedive the next year and the birth rate quickly followed suit. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, as of 2013 Americans were making only 62.5 babies per 1,000 potential mothers, an amount that falls well below Continue reading

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January 11, 2015

For decades the brand name Timberland has been synonymous with rugged outdoor footwear. At least, that’s how some people see the iconic boot company. If you’re a hip hop fan, you may associate “Timbs” with the dozens of rappers who have name-dropped the brand over the years. And if you happen to be Italian, you’re more likely to wear Timberland boots for a fashionable stroll about town, not a long hike in the woods.

All these overlapping interpretations of Timberland’s Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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September 10, 2014

Walmart became the largest retail chain in the U.S. by offering customers the same low prices every day. As it expanded globally, however, the company found out that not every culture responds to this pricing strategy. For instance, Walmart has had a hard time winning over Brazilian consumers despite opening 550 stores in nearly 200 cities. That’s because most people in the large South American nation are happy to hunt for the best deals at a variety of stores rather Continue reading

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August 30, 2014

In the Internet age, people don’t need to leave their homes in order to access near limitless choices of entertainment. Although convenient for consumers, this cultural shift has sent attendance at many theaters and symphonies across the country on a downward spiral. But it’s not just highbrow pursuits that have seen a drop in public interest. In fact, circuses are in such a dire state that industry insiders fear their decline will lead to a nationwide decline in the number Continue reading

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