Apple Banned Bonded Servitude, But We Aren't Sure About Its Rivals

Apple recently, finally banned bonded servitude in its supply factories, which means those factories can't mistreat workers by withholding paychecks and passports until they pay off the cost it took to hire them. But hold the applause. Because they are not the only company that has forced people to work for… » 2/19/15 11:00am 2/19/15 11:00am

How Asteroid Mining Could Pay for Our First Space Colony

Many of us dream of living on other planets, but are two things we'll need before it can actually happen: money and raw materials. Now some companies say they have a solution to this problem. They'll mine asteroids for valuable metal ores, and for basic resources like water that we'll need once we're far from Earth. » 2/17/15 1:00pm 2/17/15 1:00pm

Brazil Is Keeping Its Promise to Avoid the U.S. Internet

Brazil was not bluffing last year, when it said that it wanted to disconnect from the United States-controlled internet due to the NSA's obscenely invasive surveillance tactics. The country is about to stretch a cable from the northern city of Fortaleza all the way to Portugal, and they've vowed not to use a single… » 10/30/14 11:30am 10/30/14 11:30am

How Much a Bottle of Whiskey Costs in Every State

It is Friday, which means it is an excellent day for a whiskey drink. Inspired by The Awl's quest to catalog the cost of cigarettes in every state, we decided to hunt down the price of a bottle of liquor in every state so you can know exactly how much more or less that stiff pour is costing you than neighboring… » 10/24/14 4:00pm 10/24/14 4:00pm

Questions for the 90s: Should Robots Pay Taxes? Can Africa Be Saved?

The March-April 1986 issue of The Futurist magazine looked at the far off, futuristic decade of the 1990s. In an article titled "Issues for the 1990s," Edith Weiner and Arnold Brown examined what they saw as the emerging concerns of the world. Well, the world as seen from 1980s America. » 10/10/14 4:53pm 10/10/14 4:53pm

A single clothing company consumes 1% of the world's cotton

The largest companies consume a shockingly huge amount of the world's natural resources. Ikea, for instance, uses 17.8 million cubic yards of wood a year. When it comes to cotton, there's VF Corp., a relatively unknown corporation that owns some of the best-known clothing brands in the world. » 8/28/14 7:15pm 8/28/14 7:15pm

Swag, Vapes, and Econ: My Day at the North American Bitcoin Conference

Bitcoin may have emerged from a shadowy corner of the internet, but soon, it'll have its own government affairs office in Washington. According to the crypto-currency's biggest advocates, who assembled at the second North American Bitcoin Conference this weekend in Chicago, Bitcoin is all grown up. In reality, it's… » 7/21/14 2:08pm 7/21/14 2:08pm

Super-Specific Artisanal Goods Might Be Bad for the Economy

You'd think a renewed focus on handmade products would be good for a country's economy. That's not the sentiment in Australia, where a new report is claiming that handcrafted industries which require more employee hours, like bread baking and winemaking, are to blame for the country's sagging productivity. » 5/04/14 3:00pm 5/04/14 3:00pm

Single Vending Machine Replaces Last Shop in English Town

So clever, so depressing: the English town of Clifton, having dwindled in economic strength over the years, has responded to the loss of its last place to shop with a giant vending machine. The so-called Speedy Shop—really, an over-sized, building-shaped machine standing alone in a dreary parking lot—is meant to help… » 4/10/14 3:20pm 4/10/14 3:20pm