Numlock News: March 4, 2019
By Walt Hickey
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The city of Washington, D.C. is at war with a Wendy’s fast food restaurant. As it stands, Florida Avenue and New York Avenue meet at one of the most dangerous intersections in the district, at a crucial juncture for entering the nation’s capital from the north. There is, inexplicably, a Wendy’s smack dab in the middle of this intersection. The traffic pattern has been adjusted for years to try to make the intersection safer while also accomadating the Wendy’s, a configuration that has been derisively nicknamed “Dave Thomas Circle.” But now city leadership has had it: one ward member wants to set aside funds for an eminent domain move. The property is worth $6,668,370, and was purchased for $2.3 million in 2006.
Green Book saw the largest post-Oscar win bump in the past eight years, grossing an additional $4.7 million over the weekend following its win. That’s the largest haul since the $6.2 million made by The King’s Speech in 2011. The weekend brings the Green Book domestic total to $75.8 million, most of which was made during its award season run: prior to the Golden Globes, Green Book had only hauled in $35 million.
Houses have been getting larger as households have gotten smaller. Right now, the average square footage for an American home is about 2,600 square feet, but the average American family has decreased from 3.67 people in 1948 to 2.55 people in 2012. This means that the square footage per person increased from 507 in 1973 to 971 square feet per person today.
Remember the Canadian cryptocurrency company that saw it lose access to $190 million Canadian dollars ($143 million in U.S. dollars) with the death of its founder? New twist! Five of the six wallets haven’t had any balances since April 2018, and the sixth was mainly used to ferry the money around. The company, Quadriga, closed shop in January but 115,000 customers are still left holding the bag for $260 million (Canadian) in cash and cryptocurrencies. Ernst & Young, which has been investigating the company’s finances on behalf of creditors, has found a few curious user accounts and is continuing with their investigation of the missing crypto.
Facebook, which was caught running a research program involving teenagers in iOS that sought to circumvent App Store consumer protections, has now revealed even more people on the app were minors than originally disclosed. The company, in the wake of the scandal breaking, insisted that less than 5 percent of the people who used the data collection app were teens. They have updated that figure, which now stands at 18 percent of users being teens, which based on my math is not “less than 5 percent.”
The soundtrack to A Star Is Born had a massive week, unexpectedly upending Thank U, Next from the top of the Billboard charts. There were 128,000 equivalent album units sold in the wake of the widely-seen Academy Awards performance and subsequent win for best original song for “Shallow.” That’s up 152 percent over the previous week, when it was still the third best-selling album. Its digital album sales were up 353 percent, up to 50,000 from 11,000. Based on weeks at number one, it’s the best performing soundtrack since Frozen.
There’s a ton of money spent on weddings every year, but no one app or tech company has successfully managed to completely disrupt the industry. About $3 billion is spent on weddings in the U.S. every year, a figure that stands at $72 billion globally. But while only 2 million people get married every year, about 70 million people attend a wedding, which is why Zola — which facilitates gift registries — is seeing more success than other tech-infused industry competitors that are trying to more directly disrupt the space.
West Texas is the site of a massive oil boom, and the effects on a local economy now hosting some extremely well-paid oil workers is massive. Hotel room prices in the fracking area rival New York City prices, and even the barbers are making bank: thanks to price hikes and a $60 fee that allows people to cut the line, barbers can clear $130,000 to $180,000 per year in the busiest areas. Money spent on hotels in the Midland-Odessa metro are up 87.4 percent over last year, the value of building permits is up 37.6 percent, and home sale prices are up 8.9 percent. The median home value in Midland is up 51 percent since January 2013.
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