Category Archives: Society

Business: ‘LEGO – A $38 Billion Toy Empire’ (Video)

The LEGO brick may not look like much but it is the cornerstone of the $38.5 billion Danish company. Today, LEGO’s blockbuster portfolio includes collaborations with The Beatles, Star Wars, and Frozen, a mega-hit movie franchise and 8 LEGOland theme parks. A toy that was once thought of for little boys is seeing its largest growth coming from girls and adults. But in the early 2000s, the company made several missteps and came extremely close to declaring bankruptcy. Here’s how LEGO reclaimed its status as one of the most successful toy companies in the world.

Analysis: Overpopulation – Are Environmental Issues Caused By It? (Video)

Around 390,000 new humans are born every day. So, on a planet with dwindling resources and an increasing strain on natural systems… is curbing our booming population the key to solving our environmental woes?

In 2018, just North America and China were responsible for almost half of the world’s CO2 emissions. These are also the countries with the highest concentrations of the world’s wealthiest people. Their populations are living longer and having fewer babies, so their population growth is actually slowing down. By contrast, the poorest half of the world—where most global population growth is currently concentrated — produces only 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

These populations typically lack the technology and wealth that result in high energy expenditure, increased industrialization, and pollution. So, in climate change projections that take these imbalances into account, it’s been shown that redistributing wealth—so, reducing both extreme wealth and extreme poverty—has as much impact on carbon emissions as reducing overall population would.

Even in projected scenarios where a reduction in population does make a difference in emissions, it’s not enough of a difference to affect projected temperature rise. No amount of population reduction would achieve the reduction in emissions necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius in our near future.

Technology Podcast: Covid “Growth”, Magnetic Tape & Herbal Remedies

Covid-19 has catalysed scientific advancement and boosted technological optimism. Could innovation be the answer to decades of slowing growth in Western countries? Also, why magnetic tape still reigns supreme in “cold” data storage. And how effective are traditional herbal remedies at treating tropical diseases?

Delivery-Only Dining: ‘How Covid Accelerated Rise Of Ghost Kitchens’

Ghost kitchens are kitchens designed for delivery-only businesses, without dine-in areas or customer facing storefronts. The pandemic has ravaged dine-in eateries, and companies that have focused on delivery could come out on top if the current trends continue. Watch the full video to see why ghost kitchens are taking over the restaurant industry.

Here are some of the top Ghost Kitchens:

Kitchen United

With a $10 million dollar investment from Google Ventures, Kitchen United has been one of the leanest (and fastest-growing) startups in the space. Founder Jim Collins has turned down hundreds of millions of investment dollars to focus on growing more organically. Currently, Kitchen United plans on conquering the global restaurant space — with 5,000 kitchens planned in the next four years.

All in all, Kitchen United offers a turn-key, light-capital model, delivering a complete, code-safe kitchen replete with appliances and cooking implements. All that’s left to do is to…cook.

CloudKitchens

The fastest-growing and most investor-friendly ghost kitchen startup, CloudKitchens, has already taken in over $400 million from investors. $150 million interestingly invested by its founder (former Uber superstar) Travis Kalanick. Like Kitchen United, CloudKitchens offers fully-equipped kitchens (branded as “smart kitchens”) for the delivery-only model. Honestly, you can’t ignore a project that Travis is a part of.

DoorDash Kitchens

Another not-so-surprising entry into the ghost kitchen space is DoorDash, which has already premiered locations in San Francisco and Redwood City. Currently, DoorDash’s model is focused on catering to high-delivery areas for established brands like Chic-Fil-A, but we’re sure they have plans in the works for new locations, as well.

For the time being, DoorDash Kitchens is still in the experimentation phase, with only a few locations. And, like others on this list, it provides everything a restauranteur would need for a single monthly fee.

UberEats

For the moment, we’ll set aside the possible conflicts associated with Uber’s ex co-founder Travis Kalanick — who’s also operating CloudKitchens. We’re sure that bridge will need crossing at some point if Uber expands its operations. For the time being, the ridesharing company has been keeping a low profile in the ghost kitchen space. To date, it has been testing ghost kitchens in a few markets, though it remains curiously reluctant to share the delicious details pertaining to its Paris operations.

Virtual Kitchen Co.

Another new entry is Virtual Kitchen Co. — which already operates several successful ghost kitchens. They plan to open 15 more kitchens over the next few years, driven by $15 million dollar Series A.  Again, Virtual Kitchen Co. offers a similar pricing structure: Restaurants can pay a monthly fee for everything.

The one small difference here is that Virtual Kitchen Co. seems to be targeting existing restaurants that want to enter the delivery space.

Anaylysis: China Tests New ‘Digital Currency’ That Replaces Cash (WSJ Video)

China is testing a digital yuan, aiming to accelerate the replacement of cash and increase state control in a society where digital payments via Wechat Pay and Alipay are already the norm. Here’s what Beijing’s new system looks like—and how it would work. Photo credit: Florence Lo/Reuters

Urban Design: ‘One-Minute City’ Pursued In Sweden

…Sweden is pursuing a hyperlocal variation, on a national scale. A plan piloted by Swedish national innovation body Vinnova and design think tank ArkDes focuses attention on what Dan Hill, Vinnova’s director of strategic design, calls the “one-minute city.”

A vision for a decentralized urban area that allows residents to meet their daily needs within a quarter-hour walk or bike from their homes, the concept has been pursued as a means of cutting greenhouse emissions and boosting livability in a host of global cities — especially Paris, where Mayor Anne Hidalgo has embraced the model as a blueprint for the French capital’s post-Covid recovery

Read Master Plan

Called Street Moves, the initiative allows local communities to become co-architects of their own streets’ layouts. Via workshops and consultations, residents can control how much street space is used for parking, or for other public uses. It’s already rolled out experimentally at four sites in Stockholm, with three more cities about to join up. The ultimate goal is hugely ambitious: a rethink and makeover of every street in the country over this decade, so that “every street in Sweden is healthy, sustainable and vibrant by 2030,” according to Street Moves’ own materials.

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Self-Storage: ‘Growth Of A $22 Billion Industry’

Americans collectively have more than five billion items sitting at home that they no longer use, according to a 2019 survey by online marketplace Mercari. One-click shopping and the globalization of overseas manufacturing has made it easier than ever for consumers to acquire goods. According to the Self Storage Association, an industry trade group, more than 10% of households in the U.S. rented a self-storage unit in 2020, 18% more than in 2005. The self-storage industry has continued to outperform during the pandemic, with several companies reporting strong occupancy and healthy demand, according to the research site Yardi Matrix. But with headwinds threatening the economy will self-storage companies like Public Storage and Extra Space Storage be able to maintain their momentum? And what will new disruptors like Neighbor and Clutter mean for the future of the industry?

Analysis: The Shrinking U.S. Population (CNBC Video)

The US is facing an aging population, falling birth rate and economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These issues will have huge implications on the size of the workforce and the consumer base. Watch the video to find out why America could be confronting an underpopulation problem and what business leaders and policymakers can do about it.

Aging: ’80-Year Olds On Happiness In 2021′ (Video)

Does your grandparent hold the secret to a happier New Year? Because Americans over 80 years old report feeling happier than any other age group, we asked them to share their wisdom as 2021 begins during a time of challenge and uncertainty. These elders include cannabis comedian Tommy Chong, a psychologist, a transgender burlesque performer, and a 90-year-old nudist who lets it all hang out. Self-Evident: A PBS American Portrait Miniseries seeks to answer the question: what does it really mean to be an American today? Join our hosts — Dr. Ali Mattu, a licensed therapist and clinical psychologist and YouTuber behind “The Psych Show,” as well as Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., historian and the writer/creator of PBS’s “The Origin of Everything” — as they explore the lives of real Americans, living during this unprecedented moment in time.