August 10, 2016

For the last few months Americans have been confronted with a peculiar dilemma at the cash register: to swipe or not to swipe? That is the question as shoppers and businesses across the country struggle to adapt to the credit card industry’s transition to chip technology. While 75 percent of cards are currently chip-enabled, only one-quarter of American merchants have the equipment to read them. The frustration continues even after upgrading as customers endure long waits for payments to Continue reading

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August 9, 2016

As the U.S. craft beer market has grown over the years, breweries that were once seen as upstarts to larger rivals are now becoming established institutions themselves. But while this is great news for many thirsty Americans, the beer boom has not been as kind to local water supplies. In this video, Bloomberg takes a look at how California’s Half Moon Brewing Company is experimenting with a sustainable system that uses Continue reading

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August 5, 2016

In today’s digital world it can be difficult for photographers and trademark holders to control the use of their pictures. To combat copyright infringement, licensing companies like Getty Images keep a close eye on where their photos are posted. For instance, using a Getty-owned image on your blog without permission will likely result in a cease-and-desist letter from company representatives. That’s what happened to photographer Carol M. Highsmith when she received an email informing her that an image on her Continue reading

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July 29, 2016

While the U.S. corporate tax rate looks tough on paper, this brief video demonstrates how large companies can use legal loopholes to drastically decrease what they owe to Uncle Sam.

Questions:

1. Should companies be able to exploit legal loopholes to lower their tax rate?

2. Would corporations be more likely to leave the U.S. if the government enforced stricter corporate tax standards? 

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July 12, 2016

One of the first phrases children are taught to say is “thank you.” This simple expression of gratitude then sticks with us throughout life, acting as the appropriate response to a range of situations both simple and serious. In the eyes of Citigroup, however, “thank you” is more than just a common reply. Since 2004 the banking giant has operated a rewards program called “ThankYou” that allows customers to earn points from their purchases. As a result, the company trademarked Continue reading

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Two years ago Led Zeppelin made headlines after the band got hit with a lawsuit concerning their most iconic song. According to the complaint, songwriters Robert Plant and Jimmy Page stole the opening guitar riff to “Stairway to Heaven” from a short instrumental called “Taurus” by the American psychedelic band Spirit. While Led Zeppelin’s members denied any wrongdoing, cultural commenters pointed to the band’s history of plagiarism and previous legal battles. What’s more, the lawsuit appeared just months before another Continue reading

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June 24, 2016

Last night voters in the United Kingdom elected to part ways with the European Union. While the full consequences of this historic decision will not be known for a long time, this video explains the immediate impact of the “Brexit” and how the situation could play out in the coming months.

 

Questions:

  1. Did UK voters make the correct decision? 
  1. What are the benefits and drawbacks of membership in an economic community like the European Union?
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June 14, 2016

The rapid rise of Asian manufacturing has transformed nations like China and India into economic powerhouses as well as environmental nightmares. World health experts estimate that millions of people have died due to excessive air pollution in these two countries. So far government officials have done little to relieve their increasingly stifled citizens, leading many to turn to a variety of consumer products for help. Along with pollution masks and air purifiers, a growing number of people are also purchasing Continue reading

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For the millions of Americans who struggle with debt, paying back the money they owe can become a life-consuming ordeal. These overstretched individuals either take years to settle with creditors or end up defaulting entirely. Since most lenders want to avoid the latter option, they sometimes opt to sell off delinquent debt to a third party for pennies on the dollar. For instance, a bank might sell off $100,000 of debt to another institution for just $1,000. While the lender Continue reading

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For more than a century millions of visitors have marveled at the staggering beauty contained in America’s national parks. According to the writer Wallace Stegner, “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Still, even these sublime sanctuaries face the same kind of bureaucratic headaches that afflict other government agencies. In fact, years of flat funding have left the National Park Service with an $11 Continue reading

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