Numlock News: February 25, 2019

By Walt Hickey

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That Sweet Sweet Podcast Money

Industry revenue for the entire American podcast biz is teeny tiny compared to its more mature radio siblings, but doubled between 2016 and 2017 to $313 million in revenue. While 73 million Americans listen to podcasts and there are 600,000 podcasts in the Apple podcast library, the median audience for a podcast is only 130 people. As a result, finding a way to monetize that volume has been a challenge, but whoever pulls it off will make it big.

Gerry Smith, Bloomberg

Passing Notes Is Hard

The Albany County School District will open up an isolated school for a single student this coming fall. The student — entering kindergarten — will attend Cozy Hollow School, alone. With roads impassable over the course of the winter, and Wyoming law requiring on-site education, opening up the isolated school is the only way to navigate education, particularly for young students who don’t work well with live-streamed classes. This is the second one-student school in the Albany County School District. Both schools cost $150,000 combined to operate.

The Associated Press

This Seems Bad?

Delinquent student loans hit $166 billion in the fourth quarter, but that rate underestimates the effective delinquency rate by about half, so we’re looking at something like $333 billion in student loan debt that has not been serviced in at least three months.

Alexandre Tanzi, Bloomberg

Star Maps

An analysis of three Hollywood star maps — those kitschy souvenirs in L.A. that purport to direct fans to the noteworthy homes of the rich and famous — found that they aren’t actually accurate. The Hollywood Reporter analyzed the addresses indicated for 93 stars and found that 51 have conflicting addresses assigned to each name. So I regret to inform you that, yes, you will need more than $5 to obtain the home address of Nicolas Cage, apparently.

Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter

Less Defeated

The longest and most gut-wrenching streak in professional sports is over! The Shanghai Dragons of the Overwatch League lost every single game of their first season, finishing 0-40. They then proceeded to drop the first two games of this season, continuing the depressing trend. But Friday, the Dragons pulled off the biggest upset of the year in a weekend that also included the Oscars by beating the Boston Uprising to snap the 42-game losing streak. Seriously, the video is unbridled joy.

Tyler Erzberger, ESPN

Brain Drain

An analysis of 841 scientists who became new parents over a three-year period found that 43 percent of women who became parents left full-time science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related employment, compared to just 23 percent of men in the same sectors who became parents. Compared to the control group of scientists who didn’t have kids, 16 percent of men and 24 percent of women left STEM or the workforce. This seems to indicate that a key to the wide gender gap in science is that the field doesn’t take steps to accommodate parents, particularly mothers.

Holly Else, Nature

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5G

Wireless service is about to get a little more gas in the tank, and the results are pretty incredible. As carriers roll out the new generation of networks, 5G, over the coming months, download speeds will get an upgrade. On 3G, it takes 7 minutes to download an hour-long Spotify playlist. On 4G, it takes 20 seconds. On 5G, it takes 0.6 seconds. The 3 gigabyte Fortnite for iOS app would take 29 hours to download on a 3G network, 14 minutes to download on 4G, and a mere 24 seconds on 5G. Given that this is a product originating from a telecommunications company, I can’t wait until I hear the catch!

Elliot Bentley and Sarah Krouse, The Wall Street Journal

Tobacco Sales Are Profitable

Juul forecasts $3.4 billion in revenue in 2019, which would be triple its 2018 revenue, proving once again that amoral people can make a fortune selling addictive poison that adds nothing of value to the lives of consumers besides the vague odor of industrially approximated strawberry. Juul made $1.3 billion in revenue last year.

Olivia Zaleski and Ellen Huet, Bloomberg


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Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: CAPTCHA ·  New Zealand ·  Good To Go ·  California Football ·  Personality Testing ·  China’s Corruption Crackdown ·  Yosemite

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