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 22, 2021

Earlier this week, we looked at how pandemic lockdowns led to increased consumer demand as well as supply chain problems that are delaying deliveries around the world. Large-scale disruptions such as the Suez Canal blockage and the traffic jam at the Port of Los Angeles have resulted in wide-ranging financial damage to all sorts of small operators who cannot get their hands on vital merchandise. For instance, one restaurant in Oklahoma must pay $200 for a case of gloves that 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 23, 2021

In February 2020 during a regular season NBA game, Lebron James performed a two-handed windmill slam dunk that he afterwards said was a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. A clip of James’ dunk placed side-by-side with a nearly identical one of Bryant’s from 2001 quickly went viral and can be easily found from multiple sources on YouTube. Then again, you could also do what social media entrepreneur Jack Settleman did in January: pay $47,500 for a clip of the Continue reading

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January 19, 2021

The food service industry has been hit especially hard during the pandemic as restaurants and bars try to stay afloat with fewer customers. But while the struggles of the nation’s eateries have received a lot of attention, catering companies have suffered just as much behind the scenes. With restrictions in place that keep gatherings small, not many people need caterers to provide food for their weddings or office parties. As a result, catering companies across the country are laying off Continue reading

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January 14, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, auto companies anticipated a drop in car sales that indeed lasted throughout spring and summer of 2020. As a result, manufacturers cut back on orders of expensive items like microchips while demand remained low. By the end of the year, though, auto sales bounced back quicker than expected, which sent car companies scrambling for supplies. But try as they might, none of the major firms could seem to secure the microchips they needed for Continue reading

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December 16, 2020

This video looks at how pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna will distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in the coming months. 

Questions:

  1. Who will receive first priority for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine?
  2. What sort of logistical issues are pharmaceutical companies expected to face while distributing the vaccine?
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December 10, 2020

The e-commerce site Etsy was founded in 2005 as a place where crafty, independent creators could sell their wares online to consumers. In 2015 the company went public and greatly expanded its product offerings to include items from larger brands. The following years saw Etsy struggle with its brand identity as it cycled through different leadership and organizational structures. Then came 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused countless businesses to struggle or outright close in the last few Continue reading

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October 6, 2020

October is usually the month that Halloween store owners look forward to all year round. Adult customers often spend well over $100 on costumes and accessories as they prepare for parties or haunted pub crawls. But with many of these social events now canceled due to the pandemic, Halloween stores are struggling to make up this essential source of revenue. At Lorenzo Caltagirone’s Virginia costume shop, for instance, sales are down 80 percent. “I’ve never been this worried before,” said Continue reading

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