Numlock News: May 23, 2019 • Thrones, The View, Rogue Apps
By Walt Hickey
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Reception to the Game of Thrones finale was way more fire than ice, an actual survey found. Normally we have to sift through the slush pile of social media or check numerical scores on online rating sites, which are so lousy with bots they make Westworld look like Westeros. But a new survey by Morning Consult got to the heart of the matter: Of 2,201 adults, 314 watched the finale. Of those fans, 26 percent liked the finale a lot and 37 percent liked it some, while 24 percent didn’t really like it and 10 percent didn’t like it at all. On average, fans gave it a 6.45 out of 10, which might leave a little bit to be desired but certainly aren’t “banish the showrunners to The Wall” numbers
Enjoy The View
ABC’s The View has supplanted Des Moines union halls as the must-attend campaign stop for the phalanx of people pursuing the Democratic nomination for the presidency. The political math is pretty simple on that one: 72 percent of the show’s audience is female, and despite the best attempts of Meghan McCain the viewers are 65 percent Democrats and 12.6 percent Republicans. Also, it’s presumably really neat to meet EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg, so I don’t blame them for crashing The View on a rotating basis.
Baseball has gotten weird — the ball is in play less than ever, teams are employing a legion of relievers (3.3 per game this year!) and the batting average is lower than ever — and the reason why comes down to the speedy fastballs. The velocity of a fastball has risen from 89 miles per hour in 2002 to 92.9 miles per hour this season. Once a manageable rarity, hundred mile per hour pitches are practically common: there were 196 pitches thrown at 100 miles per hour or higher in 2008, and last year there were 1,320. Less game time per pitcher means more oomph per throw, which means faster balls, which means fewer hits.
Scammers are always trying to crack new ways into target’s phones, and the latest innovation is rogue mobile applications. These attacks can take different forms: sometimes they’re apps that look legit or do basic tasks like download videos from streaming services but actually secretly subscribe downloaders to paid services, or sometimes they’re knock off games that simple steal user data. Fraud attacks from rogue mobile apps are up over 300 percent according to a new report — 41,313 incidents in 2019’s first quarter compared to 10,390 the previous quarter — and now constitute half of attacks detected in the period.
Harvard sets patterns for how other universities handle instruction, and its introduction to economics (“Ec 10”) is no different. A rival course, one that focuses on real-world applications of economics rather than the more esoteric demand-curve plotting in Ec 10, has sprung up. While the original traditional intro course is more popular — 461 undergrads vs. 363 in the applied one — a slight shift at Harvard can ripple across academia. The wild stat is just how much money mere textbook selection can move around: Greg Mankiw’s introduction to economics was released in 1998 and served as the first-course book in Ec 10 and dozens of other universities. That’s earned him about $42 million in royalties since, and I don’t have to be an economist to conclude dang.
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It’s no secret that workspaces keep temperatures fairly low, particularly for women. A new study looked into this observation, and the actual conclusion it draws about temperature’s impact on performance is startling. Different people were asked to take a mathematical and verbal exam at different temperatures, and then scored to see how well they did. A 1 degree Celsius increase in the room’s temperature was linked to about a 2 percent increase in the number of math questions women correctly answered and 1 percent increase on a verbal test. Men performed better at cooler temperatures, but their decrease in performance wasn’t as significant as women’s gains when the thermostat was moved up a bit.
Kroger announced that by 2025 it will phase out the use of plastic bags in its grocery store locations. Right now Kroger — the second largest grocer in America, with 2,779 stores in 35 states — orders about 6 billion bags per year. While many places made news by deciding to phase out plastic straws, a serious shift to move away from plastic grocery bags (a particularly stubborn type of litter) would be a massive improvement.
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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