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 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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August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we looked at how the nationwide shortage of baby formula was poised to continue for months after Abbott Nutrition shut down a Michigan plant in February. An inspector from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a leaking roof in the facility, pools of water on the floor, and cracks in production equipment used to produce the brand Similac. FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf described the conditions as “egregiously unsanitary” while acknowledging that the federal agency should Continue reading

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August 24, 2022

exasperated woman working at computerLike other social networks, TikTok users share almost everything about their lives on the app, from their favorite music and TV shows to their anxieties about work. In fact, talk about the latter has increased significantly in recent weeks as videos about “quiet quitting” generate millions of views among young professionals. The phrase is meant to convey the opposite idea of “hustle culture,” another popular work-related topic on TikTok that encourages people to devote themselves entirely to their careers. Quiet Continue reading

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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 17, 2022

Most people who rent rooms or houses from Airbnb use their short term rentals as home-base for a vacation or business trip, nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary. Occasionally, though, the company must deal with customers who host unauthorized gatherings, potentially leading to noise complaints and safety issues. In fact, numerous incidents of violence have occurred at Airbnb parties that got out of control, leading the company to institute a new set of policies to prevent these illicit Continue reading

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August 12, 2022

Thousands of workers at Amazon warehouses and Starbucks stores across the country have voted to unionize in recent months, potentially reversing decades of declining union membership in the U.S. This video takes a close look at the history of unions in postwar America, examining the reasons why service industries largely stayed unorganized and how that could change in the coming years. 

Questions:

  1. Why did union membership start to decline in the 1970s and 1980s?
  2. Do you think U.S. legislators 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 22, 2022

The U.S. dollar is the world’s most important currency, serving as one side of 90 percent of all foreign exchange transactions. Before the pandemic, the U.S. dollar accounted for $6 trillion in daily activity as everyone from tourists to multinational corporations depended on this customarily stable currency. After the turmoil of the last few years, however, the dependable dollar has skyrocketed in value to its highest level in 20 years. 

The value of the dollar has jumped 10 percent Continue reading

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