February 2, 2024

Large hot air balloons can cost as much as $160,000, requiring huge amounts of high quality materials and lots of time. This video focuses on the Spanish company Ultramagic Balloons, which employs large sewing teams as well as engineers to produce flawless balloon-based aircraft. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Ultramagic Balloons prioritize quality control throughout its production process? 
  2. What are some factors that contribute to the high costs of hot air balloons?
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January 12, 2024

Last week, passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight endured a disaster that every traveler fears as a door blew wide open while the plane was 16,000 feet in the air. Fortunately, pilots performed an emergency landing that ultimately kept the number of injuries low. Once the plane reached the ground, however, airline regulators demanded an explanation of how this incident could occur. Then they found out the make and model of the faulty plane: the Boeing 737 Max 9, a Continue reading

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January 10, 2024

After enduring years of rising prices, consumers finally began to see some relief at the register as inflation cooled down toward the end of 2023. The recent global increase in prices was due in no small part to supply chain problems that stemmed from the pandemic, causing shipping costs to spike as transport times slowed to a crawl. It also didn’t help when an enormous container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal in 2021, which blocked trade on the Continue reading

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November 17, 2023

With nearly 2,000 stores across the U.S., more than 75 percent of Americans live within ten miles of a Target. These brick and mortar locations have become surprisingly valuable assets for the company’s e-commerce business, with more than 95 percent of online orders originating from Target stores. This video goes into detail about the retailer’s logistical operations, including the local sortation centers Target is investing in to keep up with increasing demand. 

Questions:

  1. How does Target utilize nearly 2,000 Continue reading
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November 15, 2023

After travel rates plummeted during the pandemic, Americans have been steadily hitting the road and boarding planes every year since. Thanksgiving is usually the busiest time for travel, and 2023 will be no different. From the Wednesday before Turkey Day to the end of the weekend, AAA estimates that there will be more than 55.4 million people traveling in the U.S. The vast majority will travel by car, with 49 million Americans expected to head out on the highway next Continue reading

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November 1, 2023

For six weeks, members of the United Auto Workers have been on strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, parent company of the car brands Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. Demanding significant wage increases and improved job security, the union employed a bold strategy of slowly expanding its labor action to more plants as time progressed. After starting at three factories owned by each of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, the UAW gradually added more locations to the strike, confounding management and Continue reading

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October 11, 2023

Since the United Auto Workers (UAW) began striking against the Big Three car companies in September, the union has expanded its action to two more plants as workers continue to fight for better contracts. This video explains one of their central concerns: the expansion of automakers into the electric vehicle (EV) market. While members of the union are worried about their wages in an EV-driven future, American car companies fear that increased labor costs could make them uncompetitive with foreign Continue reading

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September 28, 2023

In the early days of air travel, carriers provided passengers with luxurious amounts of legroom. As the video below explains, however, today’s planes have far more seats with far less space between them, potentially resulting in uncomfortable experiences for tall travelers. 

Questions:

  1. Why do modern airlines “unbundle” the costs of travel by charging additional fees for luggage and seat selection? 
  2. Do you think government regulators should require air carriers to provide passengers with “comfortable” amounts of legroom? Why or why not?
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September 15, 2023

While South Korean car makers Kia and Hynudai face legal action from seven American cities, domestic auto companies also have their fair share of problems on the horizon. For weeks, Detroit’s Big Three–Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (owner of Chrysler)–have been deadlocked in negotiations with the United Automobile Workers (UAW). Representing more than 150,000 workers across the industry, the union has demanded a 36 percent raise over four years, pointing to rising inflation and big corporate profits. Carmakers, meanwhile, Continue reading

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September 13, 2023

On the massively popular app TikTok, searching for the trending topic “Kia boys” will result in hundreds of videos of people joyriding in cars. These aren’t overly enthusiastic owners, however: these users take advantage of the South Korean automaker’s lax security standards to steal vehicles for fun and Internet clout. For example, one video shows a gloved hand easily starting a car using just a screwdriver and a USB cable while a computerized voice repeats the phrase “this is why Continue reading

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