Targeting ads by location has proven a strong selling point for mobile advertising. Mobile ad exchange Nexage last month reported targeted impressions more than doubled in 2012, driven in part by 30% per month growth in location-powered impressions.
Mobile campaigns leveaging location targeting outperformed non-location based campaigns by a factor of 2X (Click Image To Enlarge)
As a firm that specializes in location-based advertising networks, Verve Mobile is also benefiting from interest in the category. Verve provides mobile ad management and publishing tools for over 3,500 local publishers, NBC-owned TV stations, Hearst Newspapers and the Associated Press. It serves more than 6 billion impressions and reaches 108 million uniques a month.
Who Is Using Location Powered Mobile Advertising - State of the Market - Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report for 2012 - Verve Mobile (Click Image To Enlarge)
In an analysis of more than 2,500 mostly location-based campaigns it ran last year, Verve highlighted some of the key trends and metrics that emerged: Geo-aware ads use real-time location to deliver specific messages based on a user’s proximity to a store or other site.
Restaurants and retail led all advertisers in the use of geo-ware and geo-fenced campaigns - State of the Market - Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report for 2012 - Verve Mobile (Click Image To Enlarge)
Other ads are triggered by geo-fencing around a retail location. Marketers use ads leveraging location data coupled with third-party demographic or transactional data to determine audience “clusters” by geographic area.
Click Image To Enlarge
Targeting by designated marketing areas (DMAs) is still the most common form of location-based advertising in mobile, with 30% of Verve campaigns using this method. Geo-fencing was a close second, with 27% of campaigns adopting this strategy, followed by audience-data targeting, 24%, and geo-aware ads, 14%. Ads delivered by city or zip accounted for the rest.
Performance by location targeting strategy (Click Image To Enlarge)
Overall, Verve says location-based ads had twice the engagement rate of other types of ads.
Restaurants and retailers led the way in geo-aware and geo-fenced advertising, seeking to drive consumers to specific nearby locations. Given that 2012 was an election year, political advertisers ran the highest proportion of campaigns that combined location with other audience data, at 29%.
In terms of performance, geo-aware ads rated highest -- with a 1% click-through rate -- with geo-fenced ads, nearly at 1%, and ads targeted by city, at about 0.9%. Ads using third-party data were found to be the least effective, with click rates of about 0.5%. That’s still well above rates for traditional online banners, but considering that ads with higher levels of data targeting are usually more costly, the results are not impressive.
Premium local inventory drove the highest click-through rates at 1.2%, compared to 0.8% for premium national inventory, and about 0.2% for exchange-based inventory.
Learn more about Verve’s offering, Place InsightsTM the first mobile place-based audience targeting solution purpose-built to help brands reach their optimal audiences based on the characteristics of a user’s location, by clicking HERE.
COMMENTARY: Verve Mobile's "State of the Market - Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report - 2012 Annual Review" report can be viewed here:
AND IF FRIENDS ARE RUNNING LATE, YOU CAN SEND A REQUEST TO FIND OUT WHERE THEY ARE WITHOUT HAVING TO MAKE A PHONE CALL.
We all have GPSs in our pockets, but there’s no good way to share a fundamental piece of information: where we’re at. Google Latitude feels invasive, broadcasting our coordinates all the time. (Your blind date needs to meet you for dinner, not follow you home afterward.) And Foursquare just feels kind of pointless. (Unless you care that I’M EATING SUSHI RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE, AND I DO IT MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE!!)
Click Image To Enlarge
Tehula ($1) is a new iPhone app that can ask where your friends are with the touch of a button. The request is sent via text message, and even if they don’t have the app or even an iPhone, all your friend needs to do is click a link to share their coordinates.
Tehula developer Adrien Friggeri explains.
“The basic premise is that we’ve all been confronted with situations where we are waiting for someone, they run late, and usually what follows is a mix of phone calls to ask them where they are, and them looking for a street sign or struggling with their GPS app while on speaker phone. This is broken.”
Testing the app, I found the experience satisfyingly barebones. Requesting a friend’s location is as simple as snagging their name from your address book. A log screen keeps track of whether or not they’ve texted back, in case you miss the push notification.
Click Image To Enlarge
Their precise location appears through the Google Maps API, allowing you to pinpoint the position easily. (Another great feature I suggested was guessing the address or allowing me to map my path to this location--as of now, this shared location information is merely a zoomable graphic. Interestingly enough, this is planned for the app’s next version release.)
Tehula also addresses user concerns at its core.
Accessibility - It’s smart enough to circumvent a core problem of its own growth, allowing only one side of the conversation to have the app for it to work.
Privacy Protection - And issues of privacy--the most worrisome part of sharing our GPS coordinates--are addressed on the same page from which a new user shares their location. Tehula doesn’t store or sell any of your information.
In fact, the idea is so simple, firing off a URL in a text message to check a phone’s location through its browser, that you’ll wonder why more apps (and even phones!) haven’t built this functionality into their core. Because it’s not such an unreasonable question, is it? Where are you at?
COMMENTARY: I like cute products like this, but they are a one-trick pony that do one thing, and one thing only, very well, will it catch-on sufficiently to make money for the developer? This is not Angry Birds or Instagram, but can it. Are there enough users out there who really need to know where their friends are on-the-fly? Is this a must-have app? I don't think so.
USING ALGORITHMS, A TEAM OF STUDENTS ANALYZED THE CLUSTERS OF PLACES THAT LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE FLOCK TO.
Every city is filled with different neighborhoods, but often, you won’t find these places on any map. They’re word-of-mouth zoning distinctions known only to locals. The boundaries are vague and arbitrary, based as much upon the way people eat and dress as real estate prices and income per capita.
Yet if these areas are distinctive to city culture, is there a way that we could measure them and analyze them--map them--scientifically?
Livehood 1 - New York Metropolitan Market - Character
A team of students (Justin Cranshaw, Raz Schwartz) and professors (Jason I. Hong and Norman Sadeh) from Carnegie Mellon’s Mobile Commerce Lab has done just that. Their research project is called Livehoods, which analyzed 18 million Foursquare check-ins to spot algorithmic relationships between the spots people frequent. The team tells Co.Design.
“Livehoods looks at the geographic distance between venues, but also a form of ‘social distance’ that measures the degree of overlap in the people that check-in to them. For example, if the algorithm notices that the people that visit a local bar are the same people that visit a nearby restaurant, these two places will be more likely to be grouped together.”
As more and more people and places are analyzed, Livehoods clusters this data into what becomes a collection of distinctive neighborhoods--places filled with people who enjoy going to the same restaurants, coffee shops, and music venues. And as calculating as the approach could seem, Livehoods’ scientific basis makes it extremely valuable as a social artifact: It defines local culture without the inherent judgement that comes along with human stereotyping.
Livehood 1 - New York Metropolitan Market - Stats
With this scientific methodology in mind, the Livehoods team cross-checked their own findings of Pittsburgh with 27 resident interviews. What they found--the full results which will be shared in a paper presented this June--was “compelling evidence” neighborhoods as Livehood algorithms had defined them had “real social meaning to people in the city.” In other words, the digital map lined up with many residents’ own mental maps.
All of this said, Livehoods aren’t a perfect snapshot of humanity just yet. The datasets mined for the project are limited by the perspective of Foursquare users. A lot of us don’t use Foursquare (with a strong skew toward older adults, most likely). The team explains.
“Our technique, however, is agnostic to the specific source of the data, so as we get better, less biased sources of data, we should be able to produce more accurate views of the city.”
The young researchers also fear that we may take their boundaries a bit too literally. As much as Livehoods works to clarify invisible distinctions, the team, paradoxically, points out that these distinctions are more subtle than we might expect.
“In reality, neighborhoods tend to blend into one another.”
In which case, may I suggest a simple UI tweak? Maybe Livehoods should be rendered in gradients.
Livehood 40 - San Francisco Bay Area - Character
Livehood 17 - City and County of San Francisco - Stats
COMMENTARY: The type of location-based data visualization that the students at Carnegie Mellon are conducting is not all that new. In a blog post dated October 14, 2010, I commented on a location-based iPhone app from WeePlaces that also uses check-in data compiled from foursquare to create very revealing geodemographic maps of singles hotspots in the Manhattan and adjoining vicinities. However, having been a foursquare user, it is possible check into a merchant without actually being physically there. Users do this all the time to earn points towards foursquare badges. This could give false data about how many people actually frequent a particular merchant or hotspot. A better barometer are comments made by individuals that have actually visited a check-in spot. Having said this, users should always try visiting spots themselves to determine if they are really popular among actual visitors or individuals just checking in.
In Fathom's latest visualization, bigger graphical elements mean fewer people. Wait, what?
In the visual syntax of infographics and maps, bigger equals... well, bigger. Large dots on a map or bars in a chart correspond to a proportionally large quantity of stuff being visualized--like, for instance, the number of people living in a certain geographic area. But its new visualization of world population density called "Dencity,"Fathom turns this basic graphic language on its head. What if bigger dots on a map signified fewer people, sparsely scattered? As it turns out, this counterintuitive approach makes brilliant sense.
Fathom, the information-visualization firm cofounded by Processing inventor Ben Fry, created "Dencity" in response to a somewhat ambivalent milestone: the world's population surpassing 7 billion souls. What does this look like, really? Well, it looks like a #$*&load of people squished into a relatively few urbanized patches of earth, and a whole lot fewer people spread thinly over everywhere else. Density, as the infographic's title rightly implies, is the real story here--not absolute quantity.
Click Image To Enlarge
In that light, Fathom's choice to represent larger quantities (the aforementioned #$*&load of people) with smaller graphical elements (smaller, brighter circles on the map) ingeniously captures the narrative of "what seven billion looks like." In densely populated parts of the world, every person has less space--just like each of those small dots takes up less room. But by being packed tighter, they're also brighter--literally (the light-colored small dots visually jump out of the map, just like glowing cities do in a satellite photograph). The smaller graphics also invite you to zoom in on those dense areas to really get a good look at what's going on. After all, it makes sense to look at human activity in Beijing on a scale of meters, not hundreds of kilometers.
Conversely, huge patches of barely settled land--like Saharan Africa, northern Asia, and the Australian interior--don't need that kind of detail to tell the same story. A zoomed-out perspective of darker-hued, larger dots (signifying the correspondingly less dense population) does just fine. And they recede into the background of Fathom's map, just like the real human presence in those parts of the world does in comparison to denser areas.
This reversed graphic language makes Fathom's map visually rich--the information-carrying graphic elements fill up the entire map, instead of clustering in pockets surrounded by neutral negative space. But it's also narratively richer, as well. Glancing at the entire map at once tells a different story than peering closely at one of those densely packed yellow and orange clusters. No wonder Fathom is selling "Dencity" as a gorgeous poster: This is an infographic you won't get bored of looking at on your wall anytime soon.
China.The largest city in the world is Beijing, with 17.8 million people. China is home to six of the twenty most populous cities in the world, more than any other country.
India and Pakistan. Delhi and Karachi are the second and third most populous cities in the world. The two countries are almost uniformly dense until they hit geographic boundaries such as the Himalayas to the north, or political boundaries such as Afghanistan to the west.
New York City. The East Coast is the most densely populated region of the United States, but New York City is the only American city to rank in the top twenty of the world's most populous cities. It's one of only three in the western hemisphere on the list.
COMMENTARY: India and China are just one gigantic blob of yellow, signifying their massive populations. Very interesting visualization technology to show how things look in a very eye-pening way.
Anthropocene map of India and Asia (Click Image To Enlarge)
Whether it’s building cities, railroads, or even power lines, our interconnected world has a heavy footprint on the rest of the environment. These mind-blowing renderings by the cartographers at Globaïa show the awe-inspiring power of human ingenuity.
We’re a very young species in geological terms. Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Homo sapiens didn’t show up until 2 million years ago. But in our short stint so far—and especially since the industrial revolution—humans have changed the planet’s ecosystem in profound ways. We’ve built sprawling megacities and transportation networks to connect them, altered the composition of the atmosphere and the ocean, and even—gulp—changed the climate.
The Entire World (Click Image To Enlarge)
Some scientists think this epoch of human influence deserves its own geologic name, like the Pliestocene or the Pliocene. In 2000, the Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen proposed calling it the Anthropocene. Next summer, the International Commission on Stratigraphy may make that label official.
U.S and Canada (Click Image to Enlarge)
Japan and China (Click Image To Enlarge)
Meanwhile, Globaïa, an educational organization that aims, among other things, to promote “a better understanding of big history,” recently created a series of stunning maps to help us all wrap our heads around what this era looks like. Globaïa calls the project “A Cartography of the Anthropocene.”
The maps were created by anthropologist Felix Pharand-Deschenes, using data from a variety of government agencies. They tend to focus on our cities and the transportation and communication networks that serve as civilization’s nerve fibers and arteries. Several of them show roads, shipping lines, and airline routes. Others show the world’s energy infrastructure: the transmission cables and underwater pipelines that keep our lights on. (Note how much sparser they are in Africa.)
Western Europe and Euro-Asia (Click Image To Enlarge)
In addition to the maps we’ve featured here, the Globaïa site has many more. The project also includes an alarming collection of charts that illustrate the rapid expansion of human influence by many different measures, from the rise of shrimp farming to the proliferation of McDonald’s restaurants.
Looking at civilization this way is both daunting (how can we ever stop climate change?) and a little awe-inspiring. We humans are not just another species. We’re an incredibly disruptive force, for better or worse.
COMMENTARY: You can tell a lot about how developed a country is by how bright they look from outer space. Poor China and India. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
Courtesy of an article dated November 14, 2011 appearing in Fast Company
According to Alexander Retrov (see video below), the whole Pacific Rim will collapse.There will be catastrophic magnitude 12 to 15 earthquakes. New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, China, Korea, Russia, West coast of America, will disappear under the Pacific Ocean. Here's what the fiery Alexander Retrov says.
"The next allignment between Elenin, Sun and Earth will be Sept 26th 2011. The East coast of Australia will be affected by tidal waves. A cosmic sonic shockwave will blow out our protective Van Allen belts and magnetic fields and will leave the planet totally open to gamma radiation. We will be fried alive like vampires in the sunlight. There will be an electomagnetic pulse that destroys all electronics. Surface temperatures will be 60+ degrees Celsius. There will be 1000km/hr winds. There will be an eclipse that lasts for 3 days. There will be volcanic eruptions everywhere, pyroclastic blasts and acid rain from all the ash. There will be wildfires everywhere..."
I have been following Alexander Retrov's doomsday predictions for several months now, going back to the time Leonid Elenin, an amateur Russian astronomer, discovered comet Elenin or C2010 X1 Elenin on December 10, 2010, in the night sky about 8.8 AU's (astronomical unit) or 1.320 billion kilometers from Earth. One AU is equivalent to the distance between Earth and the Sun, or roughly 150 million kilometers or 93 million miles.
No comet in recent memory has raised so many doomsday predictions, falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies among conspiracy theorists, religiouis zealots, apocolyptics and doomsayers. Some claim that Elenin is on a collision course with Earth and that our government is keeping this a secret so as not to cause widespread panic. Some say that Comet Elenin is actually a brown dwarf star that is headed our way.
Alexander Retrov is the first doomsayer who seems to have connected the dots, and discovered a direct correlation between the recent flurry of mega-earthquakes occurring along the Pacific Rim, commonly referred to as the "Rim of Fire". According to Mr. Retrov, everytime comet Elenin enters into a linear alignment with our Sun and Earth, this has resulted in large magnitude earthquakes in Indonesia, New Zealand, Chile and Japan.
The following video by Mr. Retrov explains the shocking truth about comet Elenin. Mr. Retrov predicts that on or about September 26, 2011, another linear alignment will occur between comet Elenin, the Sun and Earth. The new alignment like the four previous ones, will result in a series of high magnitude earthquakes all along the Pacific Rim.
In a blog post dated August 9, 2011, I asked the question, "Is Comet Elenin on a collision with Earth? Separating fact from fiction." I tried to be objective, but if you have been following my other blog posts, NASA has a long history of not being entirely truthful with the public. In this particular instance, NASA absolutely refutes any possibility that comet Elenin will collide with Earth, claiming that it will come as close as 22 million miles from Earth. The following is the predicted trajectory path for the comet for the period March 30, 2011 through February 13, 2012:
As you can clearly see, comet Elenin's trajectory path will indeed bring it into close proximity to Earth, but there will be no collission. NASA says that comet Elenin is composed mostly of dust and ice, does not have a magnetic field of its own, and is much too small to cause any magnetic force capable of causing earthquakes to occur.
If you watch the above video, Mr. Retrov says that past predictions of an extinction-level event (An extinction-level event or ELE is definied as a mass extinction or biotic crisis capable of a sharp decrease in the diversity and abundance of macroscopic life) or "End Times" to occur in December 2012, is just a cover put up by NASA. Mr. Retrov is steadfast in his prediction that the real extinction level event will occur on September 26, 2011, and that the cause will be comet Elenin.
Adding to the prediction of an extinction-level event is a report by the European Union Times in September 15, 2011, that the U.S. military ordered President Obama and his family to leave the White House on or about September 27, 2011, and take refuge in a huge underground military bunker located under the Denver International Airport.
Jesse Ventura, the former liberal governor of the State of Minnesota, conducted an investigation of a supposed secret underground bunker located beneath the Denver Airport for TRU.TV, and this very interesting video raises even more questions as to why Obama is going there just when comet Elenin is predicted to cause havoc with the Earth.
You may do so as you wish with this information. As for myself, I have no plans to flee to a safer location on Monday, September 26, 2011, in order to avoid the predicted catastrophe caused by comet Elenin, but will probably be watching Monday Night Football or writing my blog. However, if anything nasty should occur, I will cover the "event" and write my final blog update for the public record until my dying breath or the solar flare fries my ass like a vampire.
Nearly 700,000 years ago the Earth's core shifted, changed the magnetic field, and precipitated mass extinctions around the globe. Now worried scientists think it may be happening again.
The Expanding Earth Theory, core mutations, and creeping Doomsday
As the Earth expands, the core mutates
The theory of the expanding Earth has fallen in and out of favor over the years. Currently, most geophysicists discount the idea. They point to a lack of evidence supporting such a thing.
Yet, advocates counter by pointing to deep ocean fissures that continue to split and widen while being "patched" by material upsurging from the planet's mantle. It's evidence, they argue, that the Earth is expanding, blowing up like a balloon, and will eventually explode many millions of years from now.
The shifting, aberrant, unstable core is a symptom of the process and causes geomagnetic field instability.
It's another step along the road towards Doomsday.
According to expanding Earth theorists, the planet will grow bigger and bigger until it bursts.
That day the Earth will cease to exist, continuing in orbit around the sun merely as tumbling chunks of jagged rock and clouds of drifting dust.
Unstable core a symptom of inflation
Asteroid belt...was it once an expanding planet?
Theorists that support the expanding Earth scenario promote the idea that a planet once existed between Mars and Jupiter—a region where only shards of rock remain. Known now as the asteroid belt, they claim that once a giant planet orbited there and expanded until it blew up.
Mars was a moon of that planet and other chunks of what remained either fell into the sun, were catapulted into space, or were captured by the large gas planets becoming additional moons.
Only a fraction of the planet remained in its original orbit. The asteroids are the debris of—and a testament to—the death of a world.
Earth once one-third its current size
The expanding Earthers argue that none of the large dinosaurs could have existed on today's world. Earth's gravity is too high now for the larger dinosaurs to have survived. Their weight and mass was adapted to a planet one-third its current size with a gravity field less than half of today's.
The continents drifted away from each other not by continental drift of the underlying tectonic plates, but because as the Earth inflates the land masses naturally are pushed farther apart.
Once all continents were one supercontinent called Pangea
Paleontologists and geologists scoff at the theory and point to evidence they have amassed discrediting such things.
Core the key to inflation
But the advocates of the expansion theory are persistent. The core and its permutations drive the expanding Earth, they say. And now as the core wobbles and shifts—causing the entire geomagnetic pole to shift—they have redoubled their argumements and their critics have no response.
9.1 Earthquake of Fukushima, Japan March 11, 2011
The core shift affects the deep sea plates—the mega-continent sized plates the land masses sit on. As the core shifts the mantle pressure builds and the plates crack and move generating mega-thrust quakes like the ones that devastated Japan during March 2011.
And as the magnetic field shifts it causes an electromagnetic flux affecting climate.
Its interaction with the sun's electrical field, they claim, will fuel the outbreak of superstorms across the planet from Russia to Australia, from the United States to northern Europe.
And there is evidence of that with the two back-to-back superstorms that pummeled Australia, the giant storms that lashed the UK and Russia and the titanic snowstorms that slammed America during the winter of 2010.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama was hit by a powerful tornado on April 29, 2011
Now during early 2011 more superstorms have whipped across Europe and ferocious storms have pounded the United States. During April 2011 alone more than 600 tornadoes devastated huge regions of Texas and the South up towards the mid-Atlantic states. At one point the storms affected many millions in more than 25 states and caused terrible destruction across 14 of them. Hunfreds of people lost their lives and property damage soared into the billions.
Some scientists see this as only the beginning and predict bigger and more frequent storms.
And all the while the core continues its turbulent shifting. Writhing and spinning out of synch with the rest of the planet...a sphere of molten metal gone mad as the Earth expands...
COMMENTARY: If the Expanding Earth Theory is real, then we are DOOMED!! Some day in the distant future, the Earth will pop like a balloon. Before that happens, there is going to be the biggest fucking earthquakes and volcano eruptions of all time. This is punishment for the way we humans have treated Mother Earth.
As weird as it sounds, the number "11" keeps appearing to me all the time, like in 11:11 or 11-11 or in numbers that are multiples of the number 11, such as the numbers 22, 33, 66. If you take the following recent catastrophe's the number 11 appears.
The Indonesian earthquake that occured on December 26, 2004 caused a huge tsunami that killed 250,000 peoople. If you add the first four numbers in the date: 1+2+2+6, it equals 11.
The Chilean earthquake that occured on February 27, 2008, caused a huge tsunami and a huge amount of damage. If you add the first four numbers in the date; 2+2+7, it equals 11.
There was a New Zealand earthquake that occured on February 22, 2011. The numbers 22 and 11 appear.
The Fukushima, Japan earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. The date is 3-11-11. The number pattern 11-11 appears.
Tuscoloosa, Alabama had a huge tornado that killed 250 and occurred on April 29, 2011. If you add 2 + 9 it equals 11. The number pattern 11-11 appears.
Is the appearance of the number 11 in the above is incidents mere coincidence?
Some religious believers think that all the recent catastrophe's, including the earthquakes that occurred in New Zealand, Indonesia, Chile and Japan, the Fukushima nuclear reactor catastropohe, and the recent tornado's in the South, could be sign of the End Times. What do you think? I dread what might happen on November 11, 2011. That's 11-11-11. By the way, I was born on November 22, that's 11-22. Post a comment if similar number patterns appear to you.
What are the economic trends behind the wave of political unrest currently sweeping the Arab world? And what are the implications of the turmoil for the regional – and indeed global – economy?
This week’s beyondbrics chart (after the break) contains a feast of information about the economies of North Africa and the Middle East – from recent growth levels to shares of world oil production – offering some important, and often surprising, answers to these questions.
The horizontal axis measures the countries’ average annual gross domestic product growth from 2005 to 2010, while the vertical axis plots their contribution to world oil production in 2009 (as a percentage of total production). The size of a country’s bubble is proportionate to the size of its GDP in 2010, and the colour corresponds to its rate of inflation in 2010 (the darker the colour, the higher the rate).
A striking trend is that the two countries suffering from the worst unrest in recent weeks – Tunisia and Egypt – experienced rapid price rises last year. Inflation hit 4.5 per cent in Tunisia and an astronomical 11.7 per cent in Egypt, the highest level in the region.
It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that the countries believed to be most likely to next face political protests have also seen high levels of inflation. In Algeria, Jordan and Lebanon prices rose by 5 percentage points or more in 2010. Worryingly, in politically fragile Yemen inflation hit 9.8 per cent.
Surprisingly, the crisis-wracked countries have also seen strong growth in recent years. As shown by the chart, the Egyptian economy expanded an average 6.2 per cent per year over the past five years, one of the highest rates in the region. Tunisia grew at a more modest but still respectable 4.7 per cent.
According to Dina Ahmad, FX strategist at BNP Paribas in London, this underlines the fact that the latest protests are not only driven by economic concerns:
Inflation and high unemployment clearly contributed to the outbreak of the turmoil, but they were only catalysts. The protests are about political repression, and people are demanding regime change. This is why strong growth hasn’t prevented them. In some cases, it has actually fuelled the economic trends – such as inflation – that sparked them.
Whatever the causes of the unrest, though, its economic impact on North Africa and the Middle East is likely to be significant. Disruption to the Egyptian economy could be particularly damaging. With a nominal GDP of $217bn in 2010 (as represented by the sizeable bubble in the chart), it is the third biggest in the region.
As well as being a vital source of energy, textiles and metals for Arab countries, Egypt is an important market for their exports, absorbing some $4.1bn of goods and services from the region in the first half of 2010.
Among Egypt’s trade partners, however, it may be European countries that suffer the most. The European Union is the biggest source of Egyptian imports, running a trade surplus of almost $7.5bn with the country in 2009.
Mercifully for the EU and the rest of the world, Egypt is not a major exporter of oil. As the chart shows, the country accounts for a mere 0.8 per cent of global oil production. Not that this has stopped oil prices soaring to more than $100 per barrel in reaction to the protests.
“The spike in oil prices is not the result of a supply shock, but mainly due to Egypt’s control over the strategically important Suez canal, through which much of the Middle East’s oil reaches Europe,” says Ahmad. “Fear of contagion to the major oil producers in the region has also pushed prices up.”
Oil importers across the world will be especially nervous about the prospect of the contagion reaching Saudi Arabia. Accounting for 11.7 per cent of global production, as shown by the chart, the country is the world’s biggest oil producer. Given the monarchy’s seemingly limitless ability to buy off malcontents, however, most believe that the probability of turmoil breaking out is slim.
But even in the more plausible scenario that trouble spreads to one of the region’s other large producers – such as Kuwait, which accounts for 3.4 per cent of global production – international oil prices could become crippingly high.
COMMENTARY: Any expansion of the turmoil and revolution we recently saw in Egypt into neighboring Middle Eastern countries, especially oil producing countries, could have profound effects on global economies of the world and set back any hope of a recovery in the economies of developed nations like the U.S., Japan and Western Europe. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, just look at the production of oil in the Middle East:
The super-volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming has been rising at a record rate since 2004
It would explode with a force a thousand times more powerful than the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980.
Spewing lava far into the sky, a cloud of plant-killing ash would fan out and dump a layer 10ft deep up to 1,000 miles away.
Two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights and forcing millions to leave their homes.
This is the nightmare that scientists are predicting could happen if the world’s largest super-volcano erupts for the first time in 600,000 years, as it could do in the near future.
Yellowstone National Park’s caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption.
They said that the super-volcano underneath the Wyoming park has been rising at a record rate since 2004 - its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years alone, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.
But hampered by a lack of data they have stopped short of an all-out warning and they are unable to put a date on when the next disaster might take place.
When the eruption finally happens it will dwarf the effect of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which erupted in April last year, causing travel chaos around the world.
The University of Utah's Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone's volcanism told National Geographic: ‘It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high.
‘At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption.’
But he added: ‘Once we saw the magma was at a depth of ten kilometres, we weren't so concerned.
‘If it had been at depths of two or three kilometre we'd have been a lot more concerned.’
Robert B. Smith, professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, who has led a recent study into the volcano, added: ‘Our best evidence is that the crustal magma chamber is filling with molten rock.
‘But we have no idea how long this process goes on before there either is an eruption or the inflow of molten rock stops and the caldera deflates again’.
The Yellowstone Caldera is one of nature’s most awesome creations and sits atop North America’s largest volcanic field.
Its name means ‘cooking pot’ or ‘cauldron’ and it is formed when land collapses following a volcanic explosion.
In Yellowstone, some 400 miles beneath the Earth’s surface is a magma ‘hotspot’ which rises to 30 miles underground before spreading out over an area of 300 miles across.
Atop this, but still beneath the surface, sits the slumbering volcano.
Scientists monitoring it believe that a swelling magma reservoir six miles underground may be causing the recent uplifts.
They have also been keeping an eye on a ‘pancake-shaped blob’ of molten rock he size of Los Angeles which was pressed into the volcano some time ago.
But due the extreme conditions it has been hard to work out what exactly is going on down below, leading researchers unable to say with certainty what will happen - or when.
Since the most recent blast 640,000 years ago there have been around 30 smaller eruptions, the most recent of which was 70,000 years ago.
They filled the caldera with ash and lava and made the flat landscape that draws thousands of tourists to Yellowstone National Park every year.
‘Clearly some deep source of magma feeds Yellowstone, and since Yellowstone has erupted in the recent geological past, we know that there is magma at shallower depths too,’ said Dan Dzurisin, a Yellowstone expert with the U.S. Geological Survey at Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington State.
‘There has to be magma in the crust, or we wouldn't have all the hydrothermal activity that we have.
‘There is so much heat coming out of Yellowstone right now that if it wasn't being reheated by magma, the whole system would have gone stone cold since the time of the last eruption 70,000 years ago.’
COMMENTARY: Let's hope that the Yellowstone National Park caldera super volcano does not erupt anytime soon. The very thought of ash ten feet thick is scary.
An Australian documentary about the mysterious underwater pyramid complex off the coast of Okinawa is the best one I've ever seen.
It covers not just the geological and archeological features but the cultural ones, as well, with locals telling of legends about underwater cities and a palace belonging to the "Sea God."
The underwater structures also show a striking resemblance to a surviving ancient Okinawan castle above thewater, which includes large spaces carved out of bedrock.
The underwater complex stretches for kilometers with a central pyramid, which Professor Masayaki Kimura is 100% certain could not have been formed by natural, geological processes. He estimates that it is 10,000 years old; twice the age of the Giza complex in Egypt.
The Japanese structure is thought to have sunk beneath the waves as the sea level rose, during the end of the last Ice Age.
Another video about the Yonaguni underwater pyramids is available HERE.
If true, this would constitute a major re-write of human history.
COMMENTARY: Those underwater Japanese pyramids look man-made to me. There is no explainable way how those structures could've been created naturally. If they are in fact 10,000 years old, then they predate the Egyptian pyramids. Japan lies at the edge of the so-called "Ring of Fire" where most of the volcanoes and earthquake fault lines intersect. It is quite possible that in ancient times, something catastrophic occurred that caused the land to drop below the ocean. I find this sort of finding very interesting. The hell with Apple, Facebook and Groupon. I want to know about these damn pyramids.