Numlock News: July 6, 2018
By Walt Hickey
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The number of country clubs has been declining steadily, and the industry holds Millennials to blame rather than their arbitrary and expensive exclusionary policies or history of sexism and racism or fundamental connection to a dying sport or a philosophy that is antithetical to democratic principals or extreme pricing or deliberate snooty affectations or any of the myriad problems of their own making. In the 1990s there were 5,000 full-service golf and country clubs, which fell to 4,100 in 2010 and now fewer than 4,000. It’s like every protagonist of every eighties comedy just had to wait for today to claim victory. Listen, if I wanted to pay lots of money for access to athletic resources I don’t use and a bar I would do exactly what I currently do and have a gym membership I don’t use and go to bars.
Sun Protection Factor
As it stands, the FDA hasn’t approved a new sunscreen ingredient since 1999 and Europe and Asia are miles ahead of us when it comes to sun protection offerings. This has opened up a market for supplements targeted at Americans full of antioxidants and other specious stuff claiming to improve sun protection. The downside you don’t hear about is clinical studies of the supplements — which contain Polypodium leucotomos extract from a South American plant — only give weak protection, a bleak SPF 3 compared to the SPF 30 recommended for use by the American Academy of Dermatology. Sorry to be the bearer of that bummer, but you can always just order a bunch of sunscreen from Japan every year like I do.
Ford F-series sales hit 79,204 pickup trucks sold in the month of June, the highest monthly reading for June since 2001. Looking at the first half of the year, it's been a banner year for the F-series, with just over 451,000 pickups through June. That means it's the second-highest total since 1996, behind only 2000. Sales of the brand through June bottomed out at about 180,000 in 2009 and have been climbing back to highs since.
Fyre Festival Damages
Two people who attended the Fyre Festival — a catastrophically mismanaged music festival that turned out to be a way to exile Instagram influencers to an unprepared island for thousands of dollars — won their lawsuit against organizer Billy McFarland. The pair asked for a $25,000 minimum in their initial filing, but was awarded $1.5 million each in compensatory damages plus $1 million in punitive damages. That’s like “the judge is an Instagram influencer” levels of siding with the plaintiffs, so I think we may have found @fuckjerry’s day job.
Federal Student Aid
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is set to roll back Obama-era protections for students indebted to for-profit colleges. Most for-profit college revenue is derived from federal sources like Pell Grants and other student aid, and the type of institution is linked to a majority of federal fraud claims. The previous administration's protections reduced the amount of federal dollars going to for-profit institutions. In 2010, the schools consumed $32 billion in federal student aid, which is 25 percent of total federal college aid. By 2017, that dropped to $16.6 billion, or 13.7 percent. Rollbacks could lead to that figure rising again.
Native Americans Running For Congress
Indian Country Today editor Mark Trahant says that it appears the 2018 cycle will see as many as 10 Native Americans on the congressional ballot this fall, twice as many as in 2016. Oklahoma will see a race between a Democrat and Republican Native American, and this year the six Native Americans running in lieutenant governor races is more than the number who ran for all statewide races two years ago.
A cryptocurrency security firm that monitors digital currency stolen from exchanges estimated that in the first half of the year alone over $760 million worth of the cryptographically-secured digital currency was stolen, which is more than three times the $266 million pilfered in all of 2017. That must come as terrible news for the owners of the several currencies that are worth literally anything and meh news for the owners of the legions of crypto that are worth jack.
Media and Tech IPOs
An analysis of 1,300 tech, media and telecom IPOs found that while 81.3 percent rose on day one of hitting markets, a slim majority of them — 49.2 percent — rose in value over the course of the year. For stockholders who are forced to wait longer than 6 months to sell their shares, the situation isn’t particularly great; 60 percent of the companies saw shares decline between 6 months out from the IPO and a year out.
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