Numlock News: July 30, 2019 • Used Cars, Landlocked Ships, Water Trains
By Walt Hickey
As more and more companies roll out their own streaming services, what was once an intimidating and expensive bundle has now fragmented into a suite of intimidating and collective individual streaming networks. Consumers are not exactly prepped for the bills that will come: a Morning Consult survey found that consumers were willing to pay between $17 and $27 total for all their streaming services, with the optimal price of $21. In reality, that’s enough for only like three such services. By comparison, cable subscribers fork over an order or magnitude more, with 34 percent paying between $51 and $100, 28 percent paying $101 to $150 and 29 percent paying even more. The average amount consumers said they pay for streaming is $38.85 per month, compared to a median of $25.
Iran seized a British-flagged ship owned by a Swedish company with a 23-person crew from India, Latvia, Russia and the Philippines, because ocean law is weird. Every marine ship has to be registered with a country, but it’s easy and cheap to switch registrations, and as a result you get situations like these where the flag on the mast has very little to do with the ship it’s on. Indeed, 40 percent of the global fleet is registered to either Panama, Liberia or the Marshall Islands, a trio of countries that in fact own only 169 ships. Take another example, Mongolia, whose flag flies on 265 vessels with a massive 664 million tons of cargo capacity. For those rusty on their geography, Mongolia is landlocked and has no ports. Six nations also are home to more than half of mariners, with China (15 percent), the Philippines (13 percent), Indonesia (9 percent), Russia (6 percent), India (5 percent) and Ukraine (4 percent) providing most shipping crews.
The market for used cars is enormous, and poised to grow even larger globally speaking. In 2018, there were 17.3 million new vehicles sold in the U.S., compared to a whopping 40.2 million used cars. That gap is forecasted to expand in the U.S., but it’s the brisk international trade that’s worth a look. The U.S. exported less than 800,000 used cars last year, but Japan exported 1 million used cars and other wealthy countries like Canada and Korea exported oodles too. China sold 28 million new cars in 2018 and 14 million used cars, but with 300 million vehicles registered in China it’s an inevitability that eventually that will flip.
There are 10 million people in Chennai, India, and they’re quite low on water. It’s hit the point where the government is spending $96 million to ship 50 tank cars with 660,000 gallons of water by train over 134 miles to ensure the city doesn’t die. Every night it rolls in just after midnight, and the water is decanted from the ex-cooking oil tankers into the city water system then driven out to people in town.
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The British Sleep Council reported that the number of British couples who sleep separately every night is on the rise, increasing from 8 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2017. The percentage who reported sleeping separately from their partners only sometimes rose from 22 percent to 24 percent. Though research on the matter is slimmer than one would hope, what is clear from existing studies is that there’s no link between sleeping apart and a bad relationship.
The recession left a literal dent in the chart showing the percentage of home buyers aged between 18 and 44 in a given year. In 2010, 6 percent of home buyers were aged 18 to 24, 36 percent were 25 to 34 and 21 percent were 35 to 44. In 2018, buyers aged 18 to 44 represented a minority of buyers, only 48 percent, which is worse than in the bowels of the recession. Could it be that home prices cannot spiral ever upward indefinitely due to the simple observation that a seller needs a buyer, and all those buyers can’t afford homes because a recession decorticated their earning capacity while the ruling generation balked at their plight? No, of course not, it must be all the avocado toast.
Humans have convinced themselves that they’re the apex predator on this particular planet, but the reality is that mosquitoes have survived despite urgent plots to destroy them and are incredibly effective at ending human lives. There are 100 trillion of the blood sucking parasites, a flying hoard that also efficiently distributes blood boiling parasites and pathogens that kill 700,000 people annually. Indeed, there have been roughly 108 billion humans to ever walk the earth, and the estimate stands that mosquitoes were in the end responsible for the death of nearly half of them.
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