Numlock News: April 5, 2019 • Endgame, Sunblock, Higher Ed
By Walt Hickey
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In a finding that has freaked out America, a new study published in PLOS One reports that 5 to 10 percent of skin cancers occur on the eyelid, with their research indicating that people totally forget to put sunscreen there. Of 84 participants asked to lather up for science, on average people missed 20 percent of the region. When explicitly lathering up with sunscreen rather than SPF moisturizer, they still missed 14 percent of the area. As a fair-skinned vain Irish-American, I basically feel like I left the stove on in my apartment for 28 years. A previous study found three in four forgot to put sunscreen on their medial canthus, which is what science calls that interior corner of the eye that’s really, really hard to draw.
A U.K. study of 140,000 women found that Scotland’s HPV vaccination program has been a remarkable success, nearly wiping out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women. The vaccine, when studied, led to a 90 percent cut in pre-cancerous cells, and I know this may shock those accustomed to the American degree of vaccine adoption, but the uptake of the vaccine in Scotland is something like 90 percent, high enough to effectively end the disease and avert the 99.7 percent of cervical cancers that are caused by the infection.
Avengers: Endgame is forecasted to pull in something between $200 million and $260 million based on early tracking. Endgame, for those out of the loop, is effectively a Disney-orchestrated DDOS attack against movie ticket retailers, who have enjoyed a week-long traffic tsunami as a result of tickets becoming available. Endgame is the story of Hawkeye, played by Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner, as he seeks to do what a coalition of heroes failed to do and take down an all-powerful force for evil. Hawkeye has faced other difficult challenges before, such as people with better weaponry than arrows, but to beat Thanos Clint Barton will have to assemble a group of friends and lead them to victory and presumably Phase 4.
One of the big winners of the latest trends in college are “online program managers,” companies with names like HotChalk and iDesign and 2U that sell the pickaxes of the online college gold rush. They basically run the online programs on behalf of the prestigious colleges — you know their names — and for their efforts take typically 60 percent of the tuition. By 2020, it’s estimated that the market for OPMs will be worth $8 billion. Still, all that money is not going towards course quality: according to investment material for 2U, 14.6 percent of costs went towards instruction, while 19.2 percent went to marketing and sales, 23.7 went to operations, 21.6 percent went to university profit and 21 percent went to 2U profit.
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On Thursday morning, Canopy Growth Corp. was worth $58 (Canadian dollars) per share. Canopy was, way back in the day, the first-ever marijuana company to begin trading on the public market, with shares closing on day one at $2.59 (Canadian). Had you sold at the $76.91 high last October, you not only would have enjoyed a 2,869 percent return, but also revealed yourself as Biff Tannen.
Insulin is a necessary ingredient of avoiding an agonizing death, so naturally in the U.S., companies are making a fortune off of selling it. In reaction to a public that is not entirely sure that’s an honest way to make a living, some insulin providers are reducing costs from “usurious” to merely “misery.” The average out of pocket cost for insulin for patients with Express Scripts or Cigna coverage is $41.50 per month, but for those with high deductible plans it’s $81 on average. In the high deductible plans where insulin is (absurdly) not considered preventative care, it’s $100 per month. That leads to people cutting back on insulin, a morally revolting health outcome in the richest country on earth. On average, Express Scripts patients use 10 months of insulin per year, but on high-deductible plans patients only use 9.4 months.
I regret to inform you that the advertising business has discovered neuroscience, and not only is there work being done specifically on how promotions can specifically measure impact on the human mind, but moreover the ad companies are getting wise on how to use those techniques to optimize. For instance, recent neurological research conducted on behalf of Sauron — wait, sorry, the Mobile Marketing Association, my bad — found that it takes just 0.4 seconds for people to recognize brands and begin cognitively processing ads. Anyway, just a heads up that the future of ads is the marketer’s knowing scientifically the optimal way to worm into your head. You know the old Latin saying about subliminal marketing, though: K’colmun ot ebircsbus!
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