Numlock News: April 26, 2019 • Black Market, Poison Sausages, Swag

By Walt Hickey

Have a wonderful weekend!

Black Market Colonoscopy

Police are trying to locate three thieves who took $450,000 worth of colonoscopes from a hospital in the Philly suburbs. The burglers are innovators according to the local police department, as they have never seen such a crime before and honestly have no idea where they will find someone to fence them to as local pawn shops have been notified regarding the medical equipment. The prevailing theory is that they’ll end up on the black market, which I try not to judge but if you’re getting your colonoscopies done by a black market doctor you goofed somewhere in the tapestry of life.

David Chang and Keith Jones, NBC 10 Philadelphia

Aerial Real Estate

As airplanes have crammed more and more seats in and redefined the meaning of coach class — the kind of seat that a decade ago passed for “coach” would now have a half-dozen qualifiers in front of it, like a Premium Bonus Economy Plus Leg Room seat, or whatever marketing came up with. So now it’s tough to keep track of what you’re actually getting for your money. That’s why a new analysis breaking down the cost per square inch of space is so clarifying: on the average domestic flight, coach customers pay $432 for a round trip in a 540 square inch seat for 80 cents per square inch. In first class, tripling that price gets you 45 percent more space for about $1.75 per square inch for a round-trip.

Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal

Metro

Sure, they may lack in Alicia Keys or Miley Cyrus songs extolling their virtues, but the 21 U.S. metropolitan areas with between 2.5 million and 9 million people are staging a formidable comeback while the biggies — New York, Los Angeles, that one in the middle with the sausage and the “pizza” — are losing people. Those 21 metros make up 28.3 percent of the population and account for 48.1 percent of the population growth from 2017 to 2018. There are advantages: the average commute in New York, L.A. and Chicago was 32.6 minutes, way higher than the 28.8 minutes in those cities sized 2.5 million to 9 million. America is predominately urban, with 56.2 percent living in the 53 metros with 1 million people or more, up from 54.6 percent in 2010, when there were just 51 such metros.

Justin Fox, Bloomberg

Pharma

A new NPR/Ipsos survey found that 57 percent of Americans think that the pharmaceutical companies that fuel and profit from the opioid epidemic should be held accountable for the worsening of the situation. Over 70 percent said that the drug companies should be made to pay for the costs of addiction treatment as well as covering the cost of naloxone, the drug which can be used to revive people who have overdosed. Soon we will find which is more powerful, a robust bipartisan national coalition with overwhelming support or a couple of lobbyists. Historically, the score stands at “robust bipartisan national coalition” two points to “couple of lobbyists” 3,289 points.

Brian Mann, NCPR

Lethal Sausages

Australia is known around the world for being full of the deadliest animals natural selection has to offer — a venomous, poisonous and marsupial menagerie that is somehow still not deadly enough to surpass the fatal energies of cats. Australian cats kill an estimated 377 million birds and 649 million reptiles every year, and constitute a serious threat to biodiversity in Australia, which led the Australian government to declare in 2015 they would attempt to kill 2 million feral cats by 2020 in order to stabilize the threat to the rich diversity of inhabitants that populated the nation before the cats arrived. In the first 12 months, 211,560 cats were killed. Aiding the war effort are sausages comprised of kangaroo meat, chicken fat, herbs and spices and also poison that would kill cats but not native species. They dump such sausages from planes at the rate of about a half-million per month over thousands of hectares of land.

Jessica Camille Aguirre, The New York Times

Swag

Last night was the first night of the NFL draft, an event where 32 NFL teams select 32 players in the first round out of a pool of hundreds of possible players. Today, you can buy a jersey for your favorite team of that rookie, and that’s in many ways thanks to the machinations of Fanatics, an Amazon-proof company that has spent the past several years scoring deals to serve as the official online store of the MLB, NHL, NBA, NASCAR and dozens of teams. The company is valued at $4.5 billion, and expects to generate $2.6 billion in revenue this year. Part of that is their ability to monitor social trends — a player having a great game or a trade resonating among fans — and use that data to basically stop the presses and begin to rapidly print any team and any player on to jerseys at warehouses around the country.

Mike Murphy, Quartz

Disaster

In 2017 alone, hurricanes, wildfires and extreme weather affected a full 8 percent of the U.S. population, with 25 million people in some way impacted by natural disasters. A recent study found that merely four U.S. counties were not significantly damaged by such an incident between 1999 and 2013. Still, the way federal assistance is distributed following such tragedies disproportionately favors richer areas, with regions hit by natural disasters seeing widening inequality in the years following a disaster.

Rachel Leven, Center for Public Integrity

Last week’s paid subscriber special was a top-to-bottom preview of this summer at the box office with CNN’s Frank Pallotta. We talked about this coming box office weekend with Avengers: Endgame, how The Lion King is going to define the summer, and how Detective Pikachu may surprise you. Frank can be found of Twitter.

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Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: 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

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