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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August 19, 2022

Since 1994, Rap Snacks has sold chips, popcorn, and even instant noodles featuring hip hop stars like Snoop Dogg, Migos, and Lil Baby on the packaging. The most recent addition to this lineup of talent is Nicki Minaj, who launched her “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” potato chips earlier this summer. While Rap Snacks hoped this high-profile partnership would make a big splash on social media, the brand instead attracted the attention of an entirely different audience: the notoriously litigious toy company Continue reading

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August 3, 2022

Last year, the movie studio Warner Bros. announced that it was working on a slate of films created specifically for the streaming service HBO Max. Among these titles was Batgirl, whose budget ballooned to more than $90 million after completing most of the film. But rather than release this star-studded adaptation of a DC Comics character, Warner said yesterday that the movie would never stream online nor would it ever appear in theaters. 

Along with ditching Batgirl, Continue reading

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July 29, 2022

Consumer confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive as prices climb higher due to rising inflation, potentially indicating that the U.S. is on the road to a recession. This video looks at how the government collects data on consumer confidence while also examining the ways that low economic expectations can further fuel inflation.

Questions:

  1. Why does the government collect data on consumer confidence? What sort of questions do they ask participants?
  2. How can declining consumer confidence potentially drive inflation even higher?
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July 27, 2022

Each year, media companies spend tens of billions of dollars for the rights to broadcast sporting events from professional leagues like the NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball. In fact, by 2024 Disney, Comcast, Paramount, and Fox are expected to spend a combined total of $24.2 billion on broadcast rights for sports, almost double what they paid ten years ago. That is, unless tech conglomerates like Apple and Google splash even more cash in an effort to expand into this Continue reading

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June 15, 2022

In recent years, fashion brands and retailers like H&M, Nike, Amazon and Target have responded to consumer calls for environmental sustainability by following an influential material rating system called the Higg Index. Introduced in 2011 by a group of companies led by Walmart and Patagonia, this metric is intended to help businesses shrink their environmental footprints by eliminating toxic chemicals and cutting down on water usage during production. According to critics, however, the Higg Index strongly recommends the use of Continue reading

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In January 1990, McDonald’s made history when the company opened its first location in Moscow, creating a symbol of unity between the U.S. and Russia after decades of tension. “In the history of McDonald’s, it was one of our proudest and most exciting milestones,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “After nearly half a century of Cold War animosity, the image of the Golden Arches shining above Pushkin Square heralded for many, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, the beginning of Continue reading

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The Covid-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on people’s mental health. The World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent during 2020. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of Americans have recently reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Some patients struggle to book appointments with therapists, however, either because their insurance doesn’t cover their specific needs or because demand for mental health services has skyrocketed. 

“Since Covid, Continue reading

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