October 21, 2022

Earlier this week, we posted a video about a seemingly unremarkable highway corridor in Arizona that turned into a haven for enormous warehouses. Logistics hubs like these are becoming increasingly common around the U.S., from Southern California’s warehouse epicenter in the Inland Empire to multi-million square-foot facilities in Ohio and New York. Satellite images collected over the last 20 years show how warehouses have transformed acres of wide-open space into concentrated networks of huge buildings swarming with workers. In fact, Continue reading

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April 8, 2022

The e-commerce giant Amazon is the second largest private employer in the U.S., with more than 1 million employees working in fulfillment centers and corporate offices around the country. For years, labor activists have sought to unionize this enormous workforce, but past efforts largely failed to gain traction. That may be starting to change, however, if recent developments at New York’s largest Amazon warehouse are any indication. 

Last week, staff at the JFK8 facility on Staten Island voted 2,654 Continue reading

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December 2, 2021

In years past, the day after Thanksgiving marked a singular bonanza of sales as retailers held literal “door-buster” events that attracted crowds of determined customers desperate for deals. The rise of e-commerce gradually changed the holiday sales game, however, with companies now largely opting to spread sales throughout the season rather than concentrating on one day or weekend. As a result, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales slowed down for the first time in history while overall retail Continue reading

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January 5, 2021

More than one third of American households have a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest that can be activated by thousands of different voice commands. But in order to hear what we say, these devices also need to listen. This video looks at what big tech companies do with recorded smart speaker commands and how customers can opt out of sharing their data. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Amazon collect recordings of voice commands made by customers to Continue reading
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April 16, 2020

With thousands of stores closed around the country, U.S. retailers saw sales plunge by 8.7 percent in March. That represents the worst monthly decline on record as millions of consumers stopped visiting restaurants, bars, and shopping malls due to stay-at-home orders for coronavirus containment. While sales of cars, furniture, and electronics all experienced double digit drops, spending at clothing stores plummeted by more than 50 percent. Manufacturing capacity and oil production also fell to their lowest rates since the end Continue reading

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March 19, 2020

With millions of people across the country staying home and practicing social distancing, it’s no surprise that many are doing their shopping online through Amazon. As a result, the e-commerce giant has seen demand for household items and medical supplies increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks. In order to ensure that no essential products go out of stock, this week Amazon announced that its U.S. and European warehouses will now only hold “vital supplies.” This includes baby products, Continue reading

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January 23, 2020

In 1933 Nathan Glickberg opened a fruit and vegetable stand in Manhattan before eventually moving into a nearby storefront. His grandson Howie expanded the store in the 1970s, adding more groceries and specialty items as well as a new name: Fairway. In the years since, the store became a staple for many New Yorkers drawn by Fairway’s low prices and wide selection of quality products. Then in the early 2000s a private equity firm bought a controlling stake in the Continue reading

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January 9, 2020

In recent years, many Silicon Valley tech firms have pledged to make sustainability a top priority. But as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft develop environmentally friendly operations, oil companies are also using their technology to extract more petrochemicals from the earth. The video below takes an in-depth look at the history of oil extraction and how modern tech companies are risking their reputations by getting involved with the fossil fuel industry. 

Questions:

  1. How does machine learning help tech companies become Continue reading
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December 3, 2019

Analysts at Adobe estimate that consumers spent more than $29 billion online last week between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Although brick-and-mortar sales rose slightly as well, e-commerce sales surged to record highs as consumers increasingly turned to online retailers for their holiday shopping needs. In fact, experts predict that companies like Amazon earned as much as $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday alone. 

But while Amazon enjoyed another successful start to the festive season in the U.S., the e-commerce giant Continue reading

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October 22, 2019

The last couple of years have not been kind to brick-and-mortar retailers: since 2017 more than 50 companies have gone bankrupt and 21,000 locations have closed across the country. Instead of heading out to stores, many modern consumers now depend on Amazon for their shopping needs. Along with providing convenience, the e-commerce giant also offers everyday low prices as well as major sales events like Prime Day. In response, many traditional retailers have started offering deep discounts in an effort Continue reading

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