At the beginning of the year, we looked at how an explosion in demand for consumer electronics led to a shortage of microchips across the globe. This semiconductor shortfall has continued in the intervening months and its impact has spread across numerous industries. Along with preventing carmakers from installing vital microchips in vehicles, the shortage has also hindered production of iPads, farming equipment, and even dog grooming machines. 

“This particular problem affects all aspects of manufacturing, from little people Continue reading

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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 27, 2021

Last year, the onset of the pandemic devastated air travel as lockdown orders kept planes on the ground all over the world. After numerous airlines nearly collapsed as a result, the federal government provided the industry with three bailouts amounting to tens of billions of dollars in relief. This allowed airlines to keep many of their employees on the payroll while they waited to see if travel would recover. And now with ticket sales on the rise once again, analysts 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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April 13, 2021

Spring is in full swing with seasonal showers leading to blooming flowers and growing lawns across the country. But with these idyllic scenes come unpleasant sounds as roaring leaf blowers and rumbling lawnmowers tear through American neighborhoods. Along with raising an almighty racket, these gas-powered machines also emit more pollutants than most cars and trucks. According to California’s Air Resource Board, a commercial leaf blower operating for one hour emits as many contaminants as a Toyota Camery driving for 1,100 Continue reading

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April 8, 2021

Movie theaters across the country closed for months last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then struggled to recover once other businesses began to reopen. After Tenet disappointed at the box office during the summer, other would-be blockbusters like Wonder Woman: 1984 and Raya and the Last Dragon were simultaneously released in theaters and on streaming services. This radical change in distribution made industry observers and uneasy theater owners wonder if moviegoers would continue to remain at home as Continue reading

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March 30, 2021

Last week, one of the world’s most important commercial waterways shut down as a 200,000-ton vessel became lodged in the Suez Canal. After the enormous ship could not be removed immediately, experts started to worry that Ever Given would remain stuck for weeks and wreak billions of dollars in economic havoc. Then yesterday, the container ship was finally dislodged from the canal with the help of high-powered tugboats and an unusually high tide brought on by a full moon.

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March 25, 2021

On an average day, at least 10 percent of global trade passes through Egypt’s Suez Canal aboard more than 50 ships. That hasn’t been the case since Tuesday, however, when a 200,000-ton container ship ran aground and became lodged in the narrow canal. Although tugboats and earthmovers have attempted to remove the enormous obstruction, so far their efforts have failed as trade on this vital waterway has come to a halt. 

“I have never seen a container vessel this Continue reading

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March 11, 2021

One year ago, the World Health Organization designated the coronavirus as a pandemic. Soon after that announcement, life in the U.S. changed utterly as offices, airlines, and professional sports leagues all came to a halt. And while the U.S. economy is beginning to recover as the vaccine rollout gains momentum, the coronavirus pandemic has had a seismic impact upon America and the rest of the world that will be felt for years to come.

More than 118 million cases of Continue reading

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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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