Big Picture: Modern’s historic 75-year run carries on

Let’s talk about creative uses for pallets for a minute.

Google the phrase, and you’ll find ideas ranging from coffee tables to planters and patio swings. All very creative. You may even have one at your home.

But none are nearly as creative as the original use for pallets—moving unit loads from one location to another. Today, we take that for granted. But that certainly wasn’t the case in the mid-1940s.

In 1945, the U.S. Navy was still in the early stages of loading palletized cargo on its ships. The new Ford assembly plant in Buffalo was one of the first built around the idea of palletized unit handling. Two years later, unit load handling at the plant accounted for only a third of all incoming materials. That number continued to rise over time.

In between those two milestones in pallets, a new magazine, The Palletizer, was launched in Boston.

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Work-from-home boom is a bust for big office furniture makers

Christel Deskins

By Timothy Aeppel

(Reuters) – America’s biggest office furniture manufacturers got the rug pulled out from under them by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For decades, producers like Herman Miller Inc and Steelcase Inc focused on selling through their own dealers to companies that bought ergonomic chairs and desks by the truckload and employed teams of designers and technicians to deliver and install them. None of them were prepared for a flood of orders for a single adjustable desk from stay-at-home workers suddenly trying to figure out how to conduct Zoom meetings from spare bedrooms.

Early in the pandemic in late April, 52% of employed Americans said they were always working from home to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus, while another 18% reported sometimes working from home, according to a survey by Gallup. A later survey found half said they’d like to continue doing this permanently–including 27% who cited both a

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How Republicans plan to counter Democrats’ big week

Christel Deskins

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and his allies are hoping to use the Democratic National Convention to advance their monthslong efforts to frame Joe Biden as a captive of the party’s far-left wing — a message that has so far this year failed to gain traction.

As the president travels to at least four battleground states over the course of the convention, the campaign will have a war room of rapid response staffers ready to seize on comments by convention speakers around defunding police departments, eliminating private insurance and ending the fossil fuel industry, issues they say could turn off independent voters, particularly suburban women, in November.

With Trump trailing in every major public poll over the last month, including in key swing states, the campaign has been struggling to land a punch against Biden that can cut into his lead. Perhaps its most enduring messaging push has been an

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The algorithms that make big decisions about your life

Christel Deskins

student protesting
student protesting

Thousands of students in England are angry about the controversial use of an algorithm to determine this year’s GCSE and A-level results.

They were unable to sit exams because of lockdown, so the algorithm used data about schools’ results in previous years to determine grades.

It meant about 40% of this year’s A-level results came out lower than predicted, which has a huge impact on what students are able to do next. GCSE results are due out on Thursday.

There are many examples of algorithms making big decisions about our lives, without us necessarily knowing how or when they do it.

Here’s a look at some of them.

Social media

In many ways, social-media platforms are simply giant algorithms.

Phone with Facebook logo in pocket
Phone with Facebook logo in pocket

At their heart, they work out what you’re interested in and then give you more of it – using as many data points

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Big-Box Chains to Make Big Gains, Off-Price Could Fall Victim to COVID-19

Christel Deskins

It’s a big earnings week for retail.

Four of the country’s largest nationwide chains — big-boxes Walmart and Target, department store Kohl’s and off-pricer TJX — are set to report second-quarter financial results over the course of the next few days. (Alibaba and Foot Locker also report earnings on Thursday and Friday, respectively.)

More from Footwear News

The numbers come at a precarious time for the retail sector, whose challenges amid shifting consumer habits and the rise of e-commerce have been compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Government-imposed lockdowns and COVID-19 fears have already significantly impacted both top and bottom lines in the first quarter, albeit in different ways: For Walmart and Target, panicked shoppers drove a surge in sales of essential goods, while physical-first companies like Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and Marshalls took a huge hit as store traffic dwindled and, in most cases, completely halted for weeks.

As we

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Why Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Represents a Big Piracy Risk Around the World

Christel Deskins

Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic “Tenet” is charting a new course for blockbusters during the pandemic by opening in foreign territories before it lands in the U.S.

However, many of the factors that make “Tenet” the milestone film in the cinema industry’s post-coronavirus road to recovery are simultaneously elements that expose it to piracy. That runs the risk that a thriller that thrives on keeping its twists under wraps will have its secrets exposed before domestic audiences have a chance to watch it.

More from Variety

“In some ways ‘Tenet’ is a perfect storm for piracy, in that it has raised expectations, both about the film itself and the cinema experience,” one anti-piracy veteran said, speaking to Variety on condition of anonymity. “Also, it has limited availability and suffers from a staggered release.”

The film’s uneven worldwide release pattern — launching in some international territories on Aug. 26 before coming to

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After Big Ten postponement, Ohio State QB Justin Fields creates online petition to advocate for a fall season

Christel Deskins

Justin Fields has resorted to creating an internet petition to advocate to play football this fall.

The Ohio State quarterback created a petition on directed to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and school presidents and athletic directors in the conference under the #WeWantToPlay hashtag. The Big Ten was the first Power Five conference to postpone football to the spring of 2021 when it made the abrupt decision on Tuesday.

“We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season,” Fields’ petition states. “Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penalty or repercussion.

“Why is this important?


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Trying to Make It Big Online? Getting Signed Isn’t Everything

Christel Deskins

Tianna Singer, a TIkTok influencer, in Los Angeles, Aug. 12, 2020. (Rozette Rago/The New York Times)
Tianna Singer, a TIkTok influencer, in Los Angeles, Aug. 12, 2020. (Rozette Rago/The New York Times)

This spring, Marcus Olin moved into a sprawling mansion in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles with seven other TikTok creators. His bedroom overlooked downtown Los Angeles, and waking up to the view every morning felt like a dream.

“I was like, ‘Man, that’s my city,’” Olin, 21, said. “I felt like I owned it.”

The Kids Next Door, as Olin and his housemates are known, is one of many influencer collab houses that have formed in Los Angeles over the last year. Several of them have leases that are signed or co-signed by talent management companies.

In the case of the Kids Next Door house, that leaseholder was Ariadna Jacob, the founder and chief executive of a talent management firm called Influences.

The deal was this: Jacob agreed to pay about half

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Millions set to see ‘big savings’ as price cap lowered

Christel Deskins

Energy bills will fall by around £84 in October for millions after the energy regulator lowered the price cap because of cheaper gas wholesale prices.

Ofgem has cut the default price cap to £1,042, its lowest level since the cap was introduced in January 2019.

The pre-payment meter cap will fall by £95 to £1,070.

Ofgem said the changes would mean “big savings” for around 11 million households on default tariffs and four million on prepayment meters.

The regulator said the reduction was due to a sharp decrease in wholesale gas prices since the cap was last updated in February.

But it warned that the cap was likely to rise in April as wholesale prices have started to recover since hitting 20-year lows in the spring.

“Millions of households, many of whom face financial hardship due to the Covid-19 crisis, will see big savings on their energy bills this winter

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Questions being raised after Kodak’s stock has a big moment

Christel Deskins

Eastman Kodak’s potentially lucrative deal to help the U.S. government make more generic drugs domestically is threatening to turn into a regulatory headache for the fallen photography giant.

Kodak’s depressed stock price surged last week before the company announced its plans to work with the President Donald Trump’s administration in exchange for a $765 million loan. That prompted Sen. Elizabeth Warren to send a Monday letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether insider trading laws have been broken.

The SEC is now in the early stages of a probe, according to a report published Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The SEC declined to comment on the report.

Kodak said Tuesday that the Rochester, New York, company intends to cooperate with any potential inquiries, without saying whether it has been contacted by the SEC.

The company’s stock soared

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