February 25, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, Texas’ power grid failed after a historic snowstorm and cold snap overwhelmed the state. As millions struggled without electricity or heat, those who had power potentially faced exorbitant electric bills because of changes Texas made to its utility system more than 20 years ago. Back then, much of the state switched from using regulated utilities to a deregulated market where customers could choose from a variety of power providers. As a result, nearly 60 percent Continue reading

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February 23, 2021

In February 2020 during a regular season NBA game, Lebron James performed a two-handed windmill slam dunk that he afterwards said was a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. A clip of James’ dunk placed side-by-side with a nearly identical one of Bryant’s from 2001 quickly went viral and can be easily found from multiple sources on YouTube. Then again, you could also do what social media entrepreneur Jack Settleman did in January: pay $47,500 for a clip of the Continue reading

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February 19, 2021

The recent frenzy surrounding GameStop stock caught even the most careful market observers by surprise as shares in the struggling retailer skyrocketed to unbelievable levels only to fall again soon after. This video looks at how regulators at the SEC are looking into the matter and the possible consequences that could fall on companies like Reddit and Robinhood. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the SEC investigating the recent stock market volatility surrounding GameStop and other companies?
  2. Do you think federal regulators Continue reading
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February 11, 2021

As last year came to a close and news about Covid-19 vaccinations became more optimistic, companies across the country hoped that a quick vaccine rollout would allow them to reopen offices as early as spring 2021. That rapid rollout still has not come to pass, though, causing many businesses to push back their office-reopening plans until September at the earliest. In the meantime, millions of employees will continue to work remotely until the pandemic is finally under control.

For example, Continue reading

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February 4, 2021

With vaccines from major pharmaceutical companies becoming more widely available every day, it is imperative that as many people as possible get vaccinated in order to finally contain the pandemic. Grocery store employees have been especially vulnerable to the virus over the last year, with at least 28,000 workers being exposed to a positive case of Covid-19. That’s why grocery chains like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Dollar General are paying their employees to get vaccinated when they are able to. Continue reading

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February 2, 2021

Last week, GameStop stock shot through the roof as users on forums like Reddit bought up shares in droves after some hedge funds shorted the stock by as much as 240 percent. This video takes a look at how both professional and at-home options traders upended expectations for many market observers. 

Questions:

  1. Why did GameStop’s stock price skyrocket last week?
  2. Do you think stock trading apps like RobinHood should have restricted users from buying shares in GameStop? Why or why not?
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January 12, 2021

According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December 2020 as businesses across the country continue to struggle during the pandemic. While restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard since winter weather has shut down outdoor dining, states have also laid off thousands of teachers and other public workers. All told, 9.8 million fewer Americans are working now than at this time last year.

And as long as the pandemic persists, it will be difficult Continue reading

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January 5, 2021

More than one third of American households have a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest that can be activated by thousands of different voice commands. But in order to hear what we say, these devices also need to listen. This video looks at what big tech companies do with recorded smart speaker commands and how customers can opt out of sharing their data. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Amazon collect recordings of voice commands made by customers to Continue reading
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December 16, 2020

This video looks at how pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna will distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in the coming months. 

Questions:

  1. Who will receive first priority for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine?
  2. What sort of logistical issues are pharmaceutical companies expected to face while distributing the vaccine?
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December 1, 2020

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, retailers are hoping that they can attract lots of Christmas customers to offset the losses of an especially hard year. In normal circumstances, stores would roll out the red carpet for Santa Claus and his elves to set up shop and learn about exactly what kids wanted to see under their trees. But due to the pandemic, this year mall Santas will be following extra precautions that could take away from the Continue reading

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