Friday, June 22, 2018

Fwd: Numlock News: June 22, 2018

This is the writer who used to write "Significant Digits" for the Nate Silver website, "538".  He launched his own weekday newsletter about numbers in the news.  This one strikes me as one of his best "Numlock" issues so far.  It is free if you are interested. Bill
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Walt Hickey <>
Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Subject: Numlock News: June 22, 2018

By Walt Hickey
Due to the switch to the new format, there were some problems with a few links in yesterday's newsletter. Click to read the original stories about "Gotti," smoking, Fox, Puerto Rico and guns. I'm sorry for the transition issues!
Americans appear to be waking up to the fact that it's extremely weird for grown ups to drink milkshakes randomly in the middle of the day, as Starbucks' Frappuccino sales are down 3 percent year-over-year to date. Revenue growth has been slimming over the past three years as people presumably take a long look in the mirror and admit that adding some coffee flavor to a chocolate milk shake does not make it part of a nutritionally balanced breakfast. ​
Sarah Halzack, Bloomberg
Northern Europe has been hit with a carbon dioxide shortage at the worst possible time. Food-grade CO2 has lots of important uses, including extending the shelf life of meat and putting fizzy bubbles in soft drinks. In Europe, 45 percent of the carbon dioxide comes from ammonia plants, with the gas a by-product of fertilizer production. A European heat wave, increased booze consumption for the World Cup and cheap ammonia from outside the E.U causing fertilizer plant downtime have all conspired to bring about an extremely tough supply problem in the European bubble biz. 
Joana Sampson, gasworld
A new survey of Americans found that many groups did not think that the president had respect for people like them. For instance, 81 percent of black respondents said President Trump has not too much or no respect at all for people like them. Other subgroups where majorities believe the president does not have respect for them include women (57 percent), Hispanic people (67 percent), women aged 18 to 49 (62 percent), people aged 18 to 29 (57 percent) men and women age 50 or higher (51 percent), Catholics (53 percent) and black protestants (81 percent). ​
Pew Research Center
Trafficked Turtles
WE GOT HIM: Steven Verren — described by prosecutors as "ringleader of an international syndicate of wildlife smugglers" — has pleaded guilty to smuggling 46 turtles in 2016. Verren's grift was based on the fact that both American and Chinese customers were dissatisfied with their native turtles and wanted turtles from the other nation, which is super illegal. Investigators believe he sold American turtles to Chinese customers and Chinese turtles to Americans. This is his second guilty plea for smuggling turtles after getting nabbed for trafficking the majestic reptiles from exotic South Carolina to buyers in the lawless and troubled region of Florida.​
The Associated Press
Famed New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre has thrown his support behind an Illinois bill that would make it illegal for kids under 12 years old to play tackle football. The iconic Vikings player's support of the Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE could push it over the top. Favre was only formally diagnosed with concussions three or four times in his career but has since estimated that over the course of his time behind center he may have suffered thousands of the head injuries. 
Charean Williams, ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports
Sales Taxes
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states can collect taxes on goods sold online from entities that don't have any physical presence in their state. Gosh, that must have been some distressing news for, say, somebody poised to roll out a membership option for a nation-spanning newsletter operation in just a few weeks. This 5-4 decision — which, full disclosure, might affect me — won't cause too many issues for big sellers, as the top 100 online retailers already pay an estimated 90 percent of the state sales taxes they'd owe. The Government Accountability Office estimated states all told collect 75 percent of the potential taxes from online purchases, and estimated the untaxed portion could total $13 billion per year. ​
Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, and Matthew Townsend, Bloomberg
Handbag Money
Privately-held Chanel Ltd. has for the first time opened up its books in an attempt to quash rumors of a takeover. The French fashion house made $9.6 billion last year, with sales up 11 percent. This is higher than previous estimates, and means Chanel's sales beat Prada ($3.6 billion), Hermes ($6.4 billion), Gucci ($7.2 billion) and are just shy of Louis Vuitton ($10.8 billion). The reveal also upped Bloomberg's estimate of the net worth of owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and makes them the fourth and fifth richest people in France. ​
Robert Williams  and Katya Kazakina, Bloomberg
A Pile of Money That Could Be Spent On Other Stuff If We Had Literally Any Campaign Finance Laws In This Country
Political independent and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he will contribute at least $80 million this coming election. Bloomberg's got a long history of supporting members of each party, and will support both Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates, but his primary goal this cycle is to aid Democrats winning the 23 seats necessary to retake control of the House of Representatives. ​
Dominique Mosbergen, Huffpost
Thanks for bearing with me through one whole month of Numlock News. I really appreciate it. There are more exciting things to come!
If you're enjoying the newsletter, forward it to someone you think may enjoy it too! Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at

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