March 22, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the hyperscale data centers that Facebook relies on to handle its userbase of more than 2 billion accounts. With so much information swirling around these enormous structures, it’s easy to assume that any data you provide to the social network will fade away in an ever-increasing crowd. But not only can Facebook access much of the data it collects, the company also routinely shares this information with scholars and researchers. Users consent 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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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 20, 2018

The world is home to billions upon billions of chickens, which would seem like more than enough birds to stock an average KFC restaurant. This weekend, however, hundreds of the chain’s locations in the U.K. closed after failing to receive their usual shipments of chicken. “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex,” said the company in a Continue reading

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February 2, 2018

When we last looked at Bitcoin in December, the cryptocurrency’s price had skyrocketed to about $16,500 after starting the year at just $985. At its peak a couple of weeks later, a single Bitcoin became worth a whopping $19,511. The ever-increasing success of the cryptocurrency and others like it convinced some investors that the future of money was taking shape before their eyes. Many remained wary of Bitcoin’s boom, however, fearing that the bottom could fall out at any time. Continue reading

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January 9, 2018

In the complicated world of global shipping, companies have traditionally relied on large cargo ships to ferry goods from overseas producers to domestic distributors. Recently, though, these enormous vessels just haven’t been quick enough for firms who need to send products to customers within a matter of days. These time-crunched companies often turn to air carriers that can move products faster but often with added costs. Along with simply being more expensive than cargo ships, increased demand also caused air Continue reading

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December 5, 2017

Over the last few years, bike-sharing programs have become commonplace in most of the world’s major cities. In New York, for instance, more than 10,000 Citibikes are available for visitors to ride at any time of day. All they need to do is find a docking station, pay a small fee to unlock a bike, and then return it to another kiosk whenever they’re finished. But some other cities aren’t nearly as orderly with their bike-sharing programs. In Wuhan, a Continue reading

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November 17, 2017

Since Uber’s founding in 2009, the ride-hailing service has relied on tens of thousands of drivers that it considers to be independent contractors. Although this policy has been controversial from the start, executives claim it is a vital component of the company’s historic growth rate. After all, the money that Uber saves from paying employment benefits allows it to charge lower fares. That explanation simply isn’t good enough for many critics, however, who claim the company is depriving drivers of Continue reading

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November 16, 2017

For decades Black Friday has served as the country’s symbolic start to the holiday shopping season. Each year local news teams honor the event by turning their cameras onto the post-Thanksgiving crowds who gather in front of stores and wait patiently for the doors to swing open. Once inside, some deal-seeking shoppers frantically seek out products before anyone else can get to them, occasionally leading to arguments or even fights.

Of course, this perspective on Black Friday may be more Continue reading

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November 10, 2017

Even before the release of the Paradise Papers this week, Apple has faced plenty of criticism over the years for exploiting foreign loopholes to avoid paying taxes. The most prominent example of this occurred in 2013 during a Congressional inquiry of CEO Tim Cook. A Senate committee brought in the executive for questioning after they discovered Apple had hidden billions in taxable income through a series of “ghost companies” in Ireland. Cook admitted nothing, however, telling legislators, “We don’t depend Continue reading

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