Numlock News: January 10, 2019

By Walt Hickey

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School Milk

The end of Obama-era nutritional rules for food served in schools is poised to be good news for the dairy biz. All flavored milk in schools had to be skim beginning in 2012, which led to reduced consumption. According to a governmental marketing group, children were responsible for the largest share of milk’s volume drop from 2011 to 2015. Federally subsidized school meals account for 7.6 percent of total fluid milk sales, two-thirds of which are flavored, and 2 to 17-year-olds account for 40 percent of fluid milk consumption.

Peter Robison and Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg

Per cent of Canadians

A survey found that Canadians largely think the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei executive arrested on allegations of fraud related to Iran sanctions, is primarily a justice issue. While 56 percent think the arrest — which has strained Ottawa-Beijing relations — is justice related, 29 percent think it was politically and economically motivated. Overall, 53 percent consider Beijing a national security threat to Canada while 83 percent have a negative view of China’s one party government.

Robert Fife, The Globe and Mail


The alcoholic spirits market grew 2.1 percent in 2018 in terms of dollar growth in bars and restaurants, and grew 2.8 percent in off-premise purchases according to Nielsen. The big winner was tequila, where sales volume grew 7.1 percent in bars and restaurants. I want to apologize to the number of people reading this who are desperately trying to forget the taste of tequila right now whose morning I’ve inadvertently ruined. Here comes a nice chaser:


I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This

Yet another '“fatberg” — a congealed mass of hardened fat, oil, and baby wipes that is clogging a sewer — has emerged in southwest England. It’s 64-meters long and will take about eight weeks to dismantle. It’s not even close to the size of a 250-meter beast found in the sewers of east London, but the stinking mass of grease and non-degrading wipes that refuses to brexit from the system is still an enormous issue. It’s the most newsworthy hunk of English crap with an unseemly production history we’ve been forced to deal with since Bohemian Rhapsody won a Golden Globe on Sunday.

The Associated Press

IP Address, In The Physical Sense of the Word

It’s possible to figure out an internet user’s general location based on their IP address, but it really needs to be said that the word “general” is doing a whole lot of work in that sentence. Namely, sometimes a geolookup of an IP address just offers a broad location. If all I can ascertain is that a location is in America, an IP location database may just say the IP is in a random location in Kansas. That’s an issue when the exact location is someone’s house. It’s a bigger issue when everyone who had an iPhone stolen recently thinks it’s in that house. And while U.S. military tech fuels those maps, it doesn’t just affect a lovely Kansas family: John S. and his mother Ann’s house in Pretoria, South Africa was the 104th most popular location on the IP address database MaxMind with a million IP addresses pointing there, which meant accidental raids and angry lost iPhone users abounded.

Kashmir Hill, Gizmodo


So let’s say hypothetically you get drinks and at the end of the night you have to Venmo a friend a reasonable amount, maybe $200, to make good on your unconscionable behavior. How’s that happen anyway? Plaid, the company that orchestrates the connection between a bank account and an app — be it Betterment, Coinbase, Robinhood or Venmo — is a hot commodity. Plaid raised $250 million last month, most of which will go towards buying up Quovo, a New York-based rival. Secure transmissions of banking data online was previously dominated by Yodlee, founded ahead of the pre-Dot Com bubble. But while that firm sells anonymized data, Plaid and Quovo don’t. As the main entity selling pickaxes in a digital finance gold rush, Plaid’s now worth $2.65 billion.

Julie Verhage, Gillian Tan, and Selina Wang, Bloomberg

Passing Through

You’ve possibly heard of Elwood, Illinois — population 2,200 — but probably only if a package was late and you were wondering why the hell it was in some warehouse in the Midwest when you thought it was just coming from Philly. The city has emerged as a subtle crux on which the warehouse-and-delivery-based American retail economy rests. It started with warehouses connected to the BNSF railroad, then the Intermodal was bought by Warren Buffett lock, stock and barrel, then a subsequent Union Pacific copycat was built and eventually and a pair of Wal-Mart warehouses followed. Today the area sees 25,000 tractor trailers per day pass through. In 2015, $623 billion of freight traversed Will County alone, about 3.5 percent of the U.S. GDP. But the warehouses haven’t brought the promised prosperity: the town is $30 million in debt because they don’t collect taxes from the facilities, but still have to maintain the potholes their trucks cause.

Alexander Sammon, The New Republic

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Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: 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