Numlock News: April 3, 2019 • GameSpot, Fast Food, Wind

By Walt Hickey

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Fast food jobs have grown twice as fast as jobs overall, but as teenagers desert the field — studying for exams that define maximum academic potential is often viewed as a better use of time than flipping burgers— and foreign-born employees deal with aggressive enforcement from the government, restaurants are hard up to fill positions. 2017’s turnover rate reached 133 percent, meaning that positions had to be filled more than once. This has led to an estimated 800,000 unfilled positions in quick service, and is motivating companies to invest further in tech to work around the labor situation.

Rob Carpenter, QSR Magazine

Rumors

It’s not just the United States where hucksters who sow mistrust in medicine have led to disease outbreaks. 1,044 people reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in provinces in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 978 testing positive for Ebola, and rumors are not helping contain the disease. A survey of 961 adults in the North Kivu province found more than 25 percent believed rumors that Ebola — a very real disease that causes an agonizing death where the victim bleeds out of every orifice — doesn’t exist. Even further, 33 percent said that the outbreak was fabricated by authorities so they could benefit financially, while 36 percent disagreed, but only because they thought it was fabricated by authorities to destabilize the region. One in five surveyed believed all three statements, because I guess anti-vax groups have been setting up franchises.

Morgan Winsor, ABC News, and Patrick Vinck, Phuong N Pham, Kenedy K Bindu, Juliet Bedford, and Eric J Nilles, The Lancet

Best I Can Get You Is Like $9 For The Used GameSpot Share

It’s never been easier to download video games, as not only do the major consoles and gaming services make it easy to purchase digital copies of games, but new services from the likes of Apple and Google handle all the transactions with ease. This, naturally, means GameStop is pretty screwed, a message conveyed to shareholders fairly directly on Tuesday when the company said it forecasts sales will decline by as much as 10 percent this year. The good news is if you bought stock new from GameSpot for $30 in 2016, it still has a trade-in value of like $9! The company sees a way out of the pickle in esports, and purchased the naming rights to a training facility in Dallas, but it’s going to be rough going for the foreseeable future.

Rob Golum and Christopher Palmeri, Bloomberg

NWHL

Despite being only Wednesday, it’s still been a challenging week for women’s hockey in North America with Monday’s announcement that the Canadian Women’s Hockey League will fold. On Tuesday, the National Women’s Hockey League — it’s U.S. counterpart — announced it will try to expand to Canadian markets previously served by the CWHL, and that the NHL will increase its support of the women’s league from $50,000 to a reported $100,000. For prospective, the minimum salary in the NHL is $650,000, and the entire NWHL has spent $2.5 million on player salaries in its first four years combined.

Mike Murphy, The Ice Garden

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Headcount

Next year’s census will be the biggest ever, which tends to be the case given the population inevitably grows larger every decade. Still, this coming year’s census will be a major investment, costing $15.6 billion, up from (inflation adjusted) $12.3 billion spent on the 2010 census and well over the $9.4 billion spent in 2000. Lots of the census spending is really money spent chasing people down who forgot to fill out the census. The 2020 Census will spend $1.43 per U.S. resident on marketing, with a particular focus on digital and social media spending. That’s up from $1.22 in 2010. 

Ted Mellnick and Reuben Fischer-Baum, The Washington Post

Breezy

Germany generates 40 percent of its electricity from renewable, with the rest coming from the typical cocktail of coal, natural gas and nuclear. The country’s goal is to get renewables up to 80 percent, and to get there it’ll go through northernmost state Schleswig-Holstein and its wind resources. The region’s onshore wind turbines produced 11.3 million kilowatt-hours of power in 2017, with a further 6.9 million kilowatt-hours coming from the region’s offshore power. That’s enough power to supply 5.2 million homes. Some don’t love the terrestrial turbines, considering them unsightly, and want them to go offshore. With even more of Germany’s Energiewende — the process by which it transitions to predominantly green energy — to come, Schleswig-Holstein will become increasingly critical to nailing the transition. 

Paul Hockenos, Hakai Magazine

Lobbyists On Notice

Royal Dutch Shell did something unprecedented on Tuesday, and while it’s just an opening salvo there’s reason to believe it could change the way the energy industry interacts with Washington. Shell indicated to 19 different groups how much they’ve diverged on four climate topics. In nine cases, Shell flagged serious differences, but didn’t extricate themselves entirely. In the case of one — the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers — Shell said it’s bailing out at the earliest opportunity. This will have two effects: first, the oil and gas lobby could be nudged by its financial benefactors to become more of an “energy” lobby, and second, other petroleum companies could be forced by shareholders to publish similar reports.  

Liam Denning, Bloomberg


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