Numlock News: November 6, 2019 • SAT, Ranked Choice, Unlimited Data
By Walt Hickey
AT&T will pay a $60 million settlement to put to rest allegations that the company misled 3.5 million customers by charging them for unlimited plans that did, as a matter of course, contain ample limits. AT&T allegedly throttled internet speeds for customers in 2011 — in some cases by 90 percent— when consumers used as little as two gigabytes of data as part of their unlimited plan, the FTC said. Current customers will get a credit on their bill and former customers will get checks from the company if they had an unlimited plan prior to 2011.
China has long viewed tourism as an economic development tool, and in 2015 tourism sector investment rose 42 percent to surpass a trillion yuan, which the nation’s tourism administration anticipates will double by 2020. And one major beneficiary of this investment? Glass bridges, which are exactly what they sound like. They look rad, they allow tourists to get unprecedented views of gorgeous landscapes or cityscapes, and they’re also soaring deathtraps. Which is a problem, because as of this year there are 2,300 glass bridges across China, and several provinces are closing the bridges until they can deal with a dizzying set of problems. In 2017, many cities and provinces realized that the nation had not yet established construction standards for the bridges, which is not the best.
In 2017, 36 percent of freshmen in college had applied to seven or more schools, which was up from 19 percent in 2007. This has been great for the colleges, as the more people they’re able to reject, the better they look when it comes to their admission rate and the more exclusive they look. That’s a huge perk for the small cost of being manipulative and cruel with the lives of others. There’s another side of that economy, and it comes with colleges now actively advertising to students they know cannot get in, thus ensuring a rising rate. The College Board, which makes the SAT, is more than happy to sell a whole dossier on each student for 47 cents per name. Some schools buy a half-million names per year.
In 2018, fully 39 percent of CEOs who were forced out of the job exited for ethical reasons, which is considerably higher than the 26 percent shown the door for those reasons in 2017, and vastly higher than the 8 percent who faced any consequences for unethical behavior a decade ago. Years ago boards of directors might look the other way at executives’ indiscretions, but given the amplified focus on abuse of power in the corporate world there’s a larger shift toward actively policing C-suite behavior.
New York City will follow the lead of the greatest democratic election on the planet — the Academy Award for Best Picture — and will move to ranked-choice voting following a successful plebiscite. Over 20 other cities and states use the method to elect leaders, but now we know which one of them has the worst subway. With over 85 percent of precincts reporting, the measure passed with a whopping 73 percent of the vote. Congratulations to the now future mayor of New York, the white guy from Green Book.
A Financial Times analysis found distressingly high levels of air pollution on the London Underground, with the air in Tube transit cars up to 18 times as bad as the roadside air in the city based on particulate matter at the PM2.5 level. The roadside average — 12.6 micrograms per cubic meter — is still elevated compared to the WHO-recommended 10 micrograms, but deep below the air on the tracks levels ranged from 40 milligrams to 100 micrograms of PM2.5 particles per cubic meter. The worst stretch on the Central line was between Lancaster Gate and Queensway, but the Northern line saw air with 250 ug/m3 of PM2.5 across the entire line.
The Venezuelan economy now sees an estimated 54 percent of all sales last month conducted in U.S. dollars, according to a new study. In the nation’s second-largest city — roiled by blackouts that turn credit card readers into paperweights — about 86 percent of transactions are in dollars, while in the capital of Caracas about 48.5 percent are. Those with access to bolivars have restrictions on what they can purchase given price controls and inflation.
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