Numlock News: May 17, 2019 • SNL, THC, Eggs
By Walt Hickey
Liking Numlock? Forward today’s email to a friend you think may enjoy it and might subscribe.
Kylie Jenner submitted an application to the United States Patent and Trademarks Office last week to sell items under the brand Kylie Baby, which means that the Kardashian cosmetics and fashion empire has eyes set on the lucrative world of merchandise for infants. Despite slipping birth rates in the U.S., globally speaking that’s still a fine business to be in: the expectation is for the global market for baby products to grow 5.5 percent annually to hit $16.78 billion by 2025. Scoff all you want, but Jenner may very well make a profit by having another kid, which basically no other human in America can claim.
Facebook may not have suffered any significant economic, legal or financial consequences whatsoever for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but reports from ex-recruiters seem to show that the coders of tomorrow are logging off. In the 2017-2018 school year, the acceptance rate for full-time positions offered by Facebook to recent grads was 85 percent. As of December, former Facebook recruiters put that number between 35 percent and 55 percent. Facebook disputes the figures, but it’s not exactly the first time youth abandoned the social network.
By 2025 the plastic packaging market is projected to be worth $365 billion, and the reason it’s held that “the future is in plastics” is because of aggressive and bare-knuckle lobbying efforts on the part of the plastics industry to stymie legislative attempts to curb litter since the late 1980s. The world creates 300 million tons of plastic waste every year, however proactive legislatures friendly with the industry — such as those in about a dozen states — pass laws prevent municipalities or cities from regulating single-use plastic at the risk of losing all state funding.
There were an estimated 26 million Americans who were marijuana users in 2017, and the stuff they were smoking was some truly powerful bud. Science has finally confirmed what we as a society all know, what Americans on the pot consumption spectrum that extends from James Comey to Snoop all realize, the The Great Dowd Discovery of 2014, and that is that weed got strong. The potency of weed increased from approximately 4 percent THC in 1995 to 12 percent in 2014 to 17.1 percent in 2017.
A new study has found that over the course of the 44 seasons of SNL, 627 of the 894 hosts have been men and 797 were white, meaning that male hosts outnumbered women by a 40-point margin and 89 percent of them have been white. The last few years have been a bit better when it comes to featuring hosts of color — in the 43rd season, 8 of 21 hosts were people of color — but the last time a season had gender parity among hosts was in 2004. The last time a season had good quality among sketches remains an open question.
Eggs, which perpetually existing in a quantum state of being both good for you, but also bad for you, have a legion of competition from plant-based competitors. Egg’s essential role in nutrition — literally the thing that holds basically all food together — mean developing a replacement is an attractive prospect. Just Inc., the top contender making plant-based eggs, announced it’s sold the equivalent of 6.3 million chicken eggs since rolling out a liquid egg substitute last year. That’s great, and we’re all super proud of them. Quick context: egg production in the U.S. was 8.5 billion eggs. Oh, that number is in February alone. For a $7 billion business, eggs are tough to break into the hard way: one company taking a more bottom-up approach has successfully recreated 3 egg proteins, of which there are 80.
It’s not just you: employer-sponsored health insurance is indeed getting worse. Deductibles — the out-of-pocket amount a person has to pay before insurance kicks in — averaged $533 for a single person in 2009, but have since risen to $1,350 in 2018. By comparing that to the health spending of average people, the Kaiser Family Foundation can calculate the day of the year by which the average health spending for an American meets their employer coverage’s deductible. In 2006, that day was Feb. 28. This year, it’s May 19, so have a great Saturday everybody and don’t forget, you can’t roll over that FSA spending into next year because even “good” health insurance in America is a hellscape.
Game of Thrones may conclude this weekend, but it’s left a pretty permanent mark on Northern Ireland, where some 75 percent of the series was filmed on either sound stages or natural locations. The show pumped more than $250 million into the local economy and also established a beachhead for a burgeoning film business. More than 13,000 people have been cast as extras, which is particularly wild since just shy of 1 percent of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Northern Ireland have been in Game of Thrones, and the tourism boom that followed pumped at least $64 million into the economy in 2018 alone.
This past weekend’s Sunday special was a wonderful talk with Derek Thompson of The Atlantic’s podcast Crazy/Genius. I really love Derek’s work, you should check out the podcast here.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
Thank you so much for subscribing! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at email@example.com.
Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: Crazy/Genius · Scrubbers · Saving the World · Summer Movies · No One Man Should Have All That Power · Film Incentives · Stadiums & Casinos · Late Night · 65 is the new 50 · Scooternomics · Gene Therapy · SESTA/FOSTA · CAPTCHA · New Zealand · Good To Go · California Football · Personality Testing · China’s Corruption Crackdown · Yosemite