June 29, 2017

Christiaan-ColenOn Tuesday Roman Klimenko headed into his Kiev accounting office for work just like he does every day. A few hours after he opened his tax preparation software, however, something went horribly wrong. “The screen became red,” said Klimenko. “A warning appeared, and everything on the hard drive was scrambled.” In a matter of moments he lost all of his filings from last year.

This same situation played out across tens of thousands of Ukrainian computers in that same instant. Continue reading

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June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

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virus-attackLast Friday hackers launched a massive cyberattack that targeted hundreds of thousands of users and organizations in more than 150 countries. Using a “ransomware” virus called WannaCry, the malware infected computer systems by locking users out of their files and demanding money to set them free. Regardless of whether the user paid up or not, though, the virus was easily able to spread to other computers linked within the same network. Eventually one lucky researcher discovered a “kill switch” in Continue reading

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For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.

Questions:

 

  1. What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
  2. How have labor Continue reading
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April 14, 2017

This week United Airlines angered millions when a video surfaced of a man being brutally dragged off of an overbooked flight. People not only felt horrified at the violence of the incident, but they also questioned why the company needed to overbook flights in the first place. As this video shows, though, the answer is not so easy.

Questions:

 

  1. Should airlines be allowed to overbook flights?
  2. What risks do airlines face if they do not overbook a flight?
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April 7, 2017

instagram-businessBy the end of the year, the photo sharing app Instagram expects to earn $3 billion from ad sales. That’s a huge jump from the $60 million the social network made in 2015. In that time, Instagram has collected more than 600 million users, a number bested only by its parent company Facebook. About 8 million of these accounts belong to companies who use the platform primarily for promotion.

Soon, though, some brands will be able to develop closer relationships Continue reading

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March 29, 2017

ChantelMcGeeFrom factory floors to Wall Street financial firms, robotic labor is becoming an increasingly important part of production for many companies. And according to the head of Yum Brands, fast food could be the next industry to adopt automation on a wide scale. This week CEO Greg Creed said that robots could start replacing humans at Yum-owned chains like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell by the mid-2020s.

Other fast food companies have already begun to experiment with automation. Wendy’s, for Continue reading

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March 16, 2017

CostasParisFor centuries, ships used wind-catching sails to travel all over the world. Then the steam engine arrived during the industrial age and changed maritime transportation forever. Of course, the massive engines in today’s vessels rely on petroleum for power, presenting a number of potential problems. Along with environmental issues, big tankers also cost a fortune to fuel. For instance, the Danish shipping firm Maersk Group spends $2.1 billion per year on fuel costs.

To reduce this enormous expense, the company Continue reading

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March 14, 2017

While identifying colors might seem like a simple preschool task to some, it’s a serious job at the Pantone color factory. This company creates color guides that act sort of like dictionaries for artists and designers. In order to create consistent colors every time, Pantone depends on eagle-eyed employees to check for flaws. Along with these dedicated staffers, this video also shows some of the machines used by Pantone to create such vivid hues.

Questions:

 

  1. Why does Pantone require Continue reading
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March 7, 2017

LisaNottinghamIn recent years, many companies have sought to create work environments that place a heavy emphasis on collaboration. With flattened hierarchies and open door policies, these workplaces give employees easy access to managers and other top performers. The system is meant to improve office efficiency by allowing staffers to receive unique advice that makes their jobs easier.

But while regular employees can have their workloads lightened, managers quickly become overwhelmed by overly collaborative workplaces. After all, executives who spend much Continue reading

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