Numlock News: April 1, 2019 • SVU, Bottled Water, Dumbo

By Walt Hickey

Public service announcement: It’s April Fool’s Day, the worst day of the year for people who work in or consume news. All these have been vetted for credibility but be careful out there!

Bottled Water

Poland Spring sold about $400 million in bottled water in 2007, and have ranged from $300 million to $900 million annually over the past 11 years, with at least 13 million consumers buying Poland Spring. We know this because Nestlé Waters is being sued over allegations that its offerings do not actually count as spring water, but instead as just groundwater. The suit further claims the Poland Spring in Maine ran dry 50 years ago. All of this points to Nestlé Waters’ disputes or claims being false. On one hand, it’s for the best that companies are required to be up front about the origin of their products, but on the other hand wait until these guys hear about Irish Spring.

Matt Stevens, The New York Times

Algorithmic Jackpot

The most-shared story on Facebook so far this year is a 119-word news brief posted to the US 105 FM New County radio station’s page. The post — “Suspected Human Trafficker, Child Predator May Be in Our Area.” — for whatever reason checked every box of the Facebook algorithm, which then accelerated the local crime brief to 800,000 shares on the platform, which is twice as high as any other English-language content of 2019. The gist of the story is that a person was wanted for crimes in the Waco area. Facebook’s algorithm — possibly based on its local flavor, origin from a trusted site, and cascading comments — for some ridiculous reason considered this story to be the single most consequential news event of the nascent year, despite the fact the dude was hauled in over a month ago, just a few days after the post.

Will Oremus, Slate


Sunday was a dark day for entertainment writers, who all had to can their “Dumbo Soars” headlines because the film did merely okay. The live-action remake by Tim Burton made about $45 million at the domestic box office, which was enough to win the weekend, but also a bit under the $50 million anticipated for the film. Jordan Peele’s Us made $33.6 million in its second weekend, a drop consistent with most horror films, and now has notched $174.5 million globally on a $20 million budget.

Frank Pallotta, CNN Business


In a gut-wrenching blow to the sport, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced it will fold on May 1, just a week after the Calgary Inferno won a league championship seen by 175,000 fans in Toronto. The league only began paying its players in the 2017-18 season from a $3.7 million budget, with a maximum player salary of $10,000. The league’s operated since 2007, and had four teams in Canada, one in the U.S. and one in China. There remains the National Women’s Hockey League in primarily the U.S. — there were reports of merger attempts, or an NHL partnership — but this seriously jeopardizes women’s hockey in North America.

Satchel Price, Chicago Sun Times, The Canadian Presse

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Dedicated Detectives of the Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: SVU has been renewed for a record 21st season, which will put the show behind only The Simpsons as the longest-running show of all time. For its 20th season, SVU was tied with Law & Order and Gunsmoke for second longest running show. Moreover, as Mariska Hargitay will be sticking around, her character Lt. Olivia Benson will become the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series.

Will Thorne, Variety


This year continues the trend of rough times for the retail industry. In January and February, 41,201 people lost their jobs in the retail sector, a 92 percent spike in layoffs compared to the same time period last year. The layoffs are affecting all areas of the industry: JCPenney announced it will be closing a further 18 stores, the same month Lifeway Christian Bookstores announced it will be closing all 170 of its brick-and-mortar locations.

Michael Cappetta, NBC News


Women in Japan face barriers in the work place, but key progress has been made. In 1989, 57.3 percent of women aged 25 to 29 were part of the workforce, a figure which has since risen to 80.9 percent, and among women aged 30 to 34, the percentage has jumped from 49.6 percent to 74.6 percent. Still, women earn less than men: in 2017, women made 73.4 percent of men’s pay, which is higher than it was in 1989 (60.2 percent) but quite low. One area where women still see limited opportunities is in politics, where they hold just 13 percent of local assembly seats.

Isabel Reynolds and Emi Nobuhiro, Bloomberg

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Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: 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

2018 Sunday Editions: 2018  ·  Game of Thrones  ·  Signal Problems · CTE and Football · Facebook · Shark Repellent · Movies · Voting Rights · Goats · Invitation Only · Fat Bear Week · Weinersmith · Airplane Bathrooms ·  NIMBYs ·  Fall 2018 Sports Analytics ·  The Media  ·  Omega-3  ·  Mattress Troubles  ·  Conspiracy Theorists  ·  Beaches  ·  Bubbles  ·  NYC Trash  ·  Fish Wars  ·  Women’s Jeans  ·  Video Stores