July 21, 2021

Over the last month, communities across the Western United States have imposed restrictions on water use as a major drought wreaks havoc on the region. This video looks at how the drop in the supply of surface water has hurt California farmers and why their pain could soon ripple out across the country.

Questions:

  1. How has the drought in the Western U.S. affected farmers in the region? 
  2. Do you think regulators should place restrictions on the use of groundwater Continue reading
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June 22, 2021

Last month, we looked at how the global shortage of microchips has severely restricted production of everything from video game consoles to dog washing stations. This video examines the manufacturing process for these precious components and explains why semiconductor production cannot be easily increased. 

Questions:

  1. Why is it difficult for manufacturers to speed up production on microchips and semiconductors?
  2. What are some possible solutions for increasing global microchip production?
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The Swedish company IKEA is famous across the globe for its meatballs and its wide array of furniture that customers must assemble at home. This video looks at how the retailer encourages sales by creating the “IKEA effect” with its winding floor plan that causes customers to snake through a series of product showrooms. 

Questions:

  1. What sort of strategies does IKEA use to keep costs low?
  2. How does the “IKEA effect” encourage customers to purchase furniture and home goods?
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As the pandemic forced millions of people to stay indoors, virtual worlds like Roblox boomed in popularity with gamers as well as investors. This video looks at how the platform appeals to more than 30 million active monthly users, including independent creators who can earn big bucks by building games within Roblox. 

Questions:

  1. Why did games like Roblox explode in popularity last year?
  2. What sort of challenges does Roblox face as it looks to expand its user base?
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April 29, 2021

The current vaccine rollout that is going strong throughout the country is largely the result of multi-billion dollar deals struck between economic powers like the U.S. and U.K. with pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Moderna. But while bilateral trade agreements across the globe allowed for the largest vaccine rollout in history, this video looks at why these deals are also delaying the vaccination process in struggling countries like Brazil and India.

Questions:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of bilateral Continue reading
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April 20, 2021

On any given day since mid-2020, the Port of Los Angeles has had as many as 30 container ships anchored outside and waiting to eventually dock. This video looks at how the pandemic inspired a boom in online purchases while also causing a shortage of shipping workers, leading to the transportation crisis currently taking place at ports across the world. 

Questions:

  1. How did the pandemic lead to supply chain problems that caused traffic jams at major ports around the Continue reading
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March 19, 2021

Last month, we looked at how NBA Top Shot sells digital basketball cards for thousands of dollars through its online marketplace. Since then, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) like Top Shot cards have skyrocketed in value, with one viral gif selling for $600,000 while a NFT artwork was sold through Christie’s auction house for tens of millions. This video explains how NFTs operate along with their possible drawbacks. 

Questions:

  1. How did some NFTs come to be worth thousands or even millions Continue reading
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February 2, 2021

Last week, GameStop stock shot through the roof as users on forums like Reddit bought up shares in droves after some hedge funds shorted the stock by as much as 240 percent. This video takes a look at how both professional and at-home options traders upended expectations for many market observers. 

Questions:

  1. Why did GameStop’s stock price skyrocket last week?
  2. Do you think stock trading apps like RobinHood should have restricted users from buying shares in GameStop? Why or why not?
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January 22, 2021

Even during the pandemic, the nation’s airports still manage to move tons of cargo across the country every day. This video takes a close look at how Dallas Fort Worth International Airport transports everything from live animals to human remains in this challenging, fast-paced environment. 

Questions:

  1. How has the pandemic changed transportation and cargo procedures at American Airlines?
  2. Do you think cargo-only flights will continue after the pandemic? Why or why not?
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November 19, 2020

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched earlier this month and is expected to be one of the blockbuster products of the holiday season. This video looks at the evolution of the console throughout the years and how it became a central focus of Sony’s business.

Questions:

  1. How did the PlayStation help Sony transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer into a gaming company?
  2. Why did Sony decide to focus closely on the gamer market for future generations of the PlayStation, and how did they accomplish this task?
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