Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Ukraine factories equip Russian military despite support for rebels (Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Ukraine factories are still shipping weapons to Russia. The government in Kiev has passed new laws which enable it to stop this practice. But workers in the factories strongly object to the lost work at a time when the country is into a deep recession brought on by the nine months of internal conflict waged by insurgents sympathetic to Russia. Whether actions to reduce shipping arms to Russia can be implemented without weakening support for the government further is quite problematic.
- Why Advertisers Can't Wait to Get Their Hands on Your Selfies (Todd Wasserman, Mashable) The pictures we take include a lot of brand identification which is a gold mine for acquisition research and for marketing.
While others are in the early stages of exploring the technology, two-year-old Ditto is now analyzing photos on behalf of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Cadillac and Coca-Cola. By parsing photos, Chobani was able to determine that many consumers were putting their yogurt containers in car cup-holders and engaging in some dashboard dining. Designer handbag maker Vera Bradley was also able to determine that its products were often given as a rite of passage, frequently to girls hitting their 16th birthday. Such ethnographic research is just one way that photo-based data might be valuable to marketers, Rose says. Other applications include competitive intelligence (how many people are posting photos of our product vs. the competition?) and tailored audience targeting.
- Gold Demand Down – What’s To Come? (Barry Norman, FX Empire) Asian jewelry is a major source of demand for gold and 2014 is running behind the boom year of 2013. But sales this year are higher than 2012 so the rising demand trend is still intact.
- The hotel of the future? Despite the robots, it's mostly the same (Jessica Hullinger, Fortune) Robots are making inroads in the hospitality industry. They are awkward as of yet but can they be denied in the future?
- The Gyroscopes in Your Phone Could Let Apps Eavesdrop on Conversations (Andy Greenberg, Wired) A presentation next week at the Usenix security conference will reveal a way that your cell phone could be used as an elementary (crude) microphone to pick up parts of your conversation and transmit it to anyone with the necessary app within the same room or similarly nearby.
- Silent Darien: The gap in the world's longest road (Carolyn McCarthy, BBC) The Pan-American Highway stretches more than 27,000 miles from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska on the Arctic Ocean to the southern tip of South America on the Cape of Good Hope. Except for a gap of less than 100 miles in Panama, south of the Panama Canal, adjacent to the border with Colombia, that is. Read this fascinating story of the Darien National Park and why it may be a good idea if the gap remains in the world's longest highway forever.
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