The Washington Post/Getty ImagesHere’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.
• Curious about how much this government shutdown is costing the economy? $300 million a day, says economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight. Of course, that only covers the lost work and services of the 800,000 federal workers directly hit by furloughs. The ripple effect is harder to calculate. But, the longer this goes on, the bigger the ripples. (On the plus side, as IHS’s Paul Edelstein, notes, $300 million a day is only “a couple of thousandths of a percent of the total GDP.”)
• It’s one of the little things that makes air travelers crazy: Being told to turn off their cell phones before takeoffs and landings. Because seriously, how is your cell phone signal going to affect the operations of a $50 million Boeing 737? Answer: It’s not. An FAA panel has recommended that passengers be allowed to use smartphones during takeoffs and landings. (But, of course, there is a catch.)
• When you hear the word “wiretapping,” you probably think undercover cops, criminal gangs, or shady spies. But there are other ways to wiretap: Google is being accused of illegally wiretapping us every day as it goes about its business, gathering data about Internet users and trying to show us ads it thinks we’ll like.
• This may come as a surprise to many of our social-media savvy readers, but there’s a pitfall facing Twitter’s IPO. While most Americans know what Twitter is, far fewer people than you think are actually using it, or have any idea why they should.
• Cigarette smokers, your era is officially passing. Hyundai is becoming the first major automaker to kill the cigarette lighter jack, replacing it with a more universally useful USB power point. The change will start with the vehicles it sells in Korea, and likely expand to its entire global line next.
• You’ve heard people say it: “I’d sell my soul for a _______ .” But how much is your soul really worth? Our friends over at Business Insider have done the math.
• And finally: Each year when the holidays roll around, businesses look for clever ways to capitalize. Here’s one probably goes a bit past clever and into the realm of “What were they thinking?” The sultans of scented wax over at Yankee Candle have come up with a new Thanksgiving Dinner line of candles with such classics as Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and — of course — Turkey and Stuffing. According to Zap Rowsdower at Jezebel, the results are pretty fowl.