October 14, 2022

Last month, Hurricane Ian devastated communities across the state of Florida, leading to more than 100 deaths and billions of dollars in damage. According to the catastrophe modeling firm RMS, privately insured losses are expected to reach as high as $67 million, making Ian second only to Hurricane Katrina in terms of economic destruction. Unlike previous storms like Katrina and Hurricane Andrew, however, today’s scientists blame climate change for the increasing regularity of severe weather events. That means experts see Continue reading

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October 12, 2022

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six out of 10 Americans suffer from chronic lifestyle-related diseases that often stem from obesity and poor diet. These illnesses are the nation’s leading drivers of death and disability, as well as the central cause behind the $4.1 trillion in annual health-care costs paid by Americans. Obesity rates climbed during the pandemic, especially among children, with studies showing that 45.7 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds are now considered overweight. Given Continue reading

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October 5, 2022

The global sneaker market has grown into a massive $72 billion industry where collectors often accumulate hundreds of pairs of limited-edition shoes from giants like Nike and Adidas. Some lines go on to command huge prices on the resale market, such as a collaboration between Nike and ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s called Chunky Dunky. Originally sold for $100, these shoes now sell for as much as $1,000. High price tags like these don’t just attract the attention of Continue reading

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September 30, 2022

For decades, conservationists have warned drink companies about the dangers of plastic ring packaging commonly used for six-packs of cans. Once these rings find their way into the ocean, they turn into a lethal danger for birds, turtles, and other marine life who can become ensnared in the plastic. In fact, the World Wildlife Federation estimates that plastic products like these kill as many as 100,000 marine animals annually. Drink rings also contribute to the growing global problem of ocean Continue reading

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September 28, 2022

In recent months, CEOs at leading corporations have been talking a lot about “elasticity” with their shareholders. As Americans contend with rising prices due to inflation, companies are concerned with just how elastic their pricing practices can be. This video examines the concept of elasticity and the role it plays in determining how companies price products. 

Questions:

  1. What is price elasticity, and how is it affected by inflation?
  2. What are some ways that companies like Procter & Gamble try Continue reading
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September 23, 2022

When Airbnb launched in 2008, the short-term rental company marketed itself as an easy alternative to hotels that had supposedly become too restrictive for the modern traveler. 14 years after its founding, however, many guests are heading back to hotels because of extensive cleaning requirements from Airbnb hosts. For example, teacher Christina Marie recently booked a short-term rental house on Lake Tahoe with her family of six. She spent the last day of her vacation cleaning and ensuring that her Continue reading

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September 20, 2022

Over the years, Instagram has attracted hundreds of millions of daily users by providing a platform for people to share pictures and videos of their family and friends. Starting in 2020, though, the social network launched Instagram Reels, a short-video feature made to rival TikTok. Although Instagram’s parent company Meta has staked much of its future on Reels, internal company documents show that the feature is not very popular with users both large and small. 

For example, Instagram users Continue reading

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September 9, 2022

Every month, more than one billion people use Google Maps to find their way around the world. The video below looks at the history of this revolutionary app since its launch 17 years ago as well as the ethical issues that come with gathering location data from millions of unknowing users.

Questions:

  1. How do businesses use Google Maps as a promotional tool?
  2. Do you think Google’s system of “differential privacy” provides enough protection for users’ location data? Why or why not?
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September 7, 2022

Last week, California’s legislature passed a bill that will bring sweeping changes to fast food chains operating in the state. After being signed into law by the governor on Monday, the new legislation effectively sets a minimum wage for the industry while also establishing new safety and anti-discrimination requirements. California will create a 10-person council composed of restaurant workers and employer representatives along with two state officials, who will all review pay and safety standards across the state’s restaurant industry. Continue reading

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September 2, 2022

Last year, the Danish building-block company Lego earned more than 7 billion euros in sales, making it far and away the top toymaker in the world. Once on the brink of bankruptcy in the early 2000s, Lego turned things around when it focused exclusively on construction bricks along with licensed sets based on popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter. Now the company’s dominance extends even into the offices of the world’s biggest corporations as part of team-building exercises Continue reading

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