Numlock News: July 13, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Queen Bees

A new study finds that queen bees lead more sexually epic lives than previously believed. Most genetic research indicated that the worker bees in a single hive were descended from around 12 different males. Turns out that there are far more Prince Philips than originally understood, as the new study sampling larvae rather than workers indicated that there are about 50 apian royal consorts in a given hive. The males, called drones for reasons that will quickly become obvious, die immediately after mating, turning inside out. I’m beginning to think that when I learned about the birds and the bees I was given some wrong information.

Holly Richardson, ABC

Cloned Mobile Games

Voodoo is a casual gaming company that rose to become the No. 1 publisher on the App Store. It’s got more than 150 million monthly active users and generated 300 million downloads in 2017. That figure is projected to rise to 1 billion downloads this year. Still, many independent publishers think Voodoo’s development process — which involves hunting for new game mechanic ideas that can be cloned into a Voodoo product — is shady and exploitative. A game mechanic can’t be copyrighted or patented, which is generally good: imagine if no game besides “Donkey Kong” could involve jumping, or “Call of Duty” was the only shooter or “Mario Party” had the exclusive right to B.S. rewards for bad players at the end.

Jessica Conditt, Engadget


Netflix’s strategy of making lots and lots of television in the hope that one percent of it isn’t a disappointment has paid off, as for the first time in 18 years HBO did not receive the most Emmy award nominations. Netflix racked up 112 Emmy nominations to HBO’s 108. Netflix made over 70 new series during the eligibility period, lots of which were terrible, while HBO cranked out about 20. In the best news of the day, Megan Amram’s “An Emmy For Megan” scored two nominations, moving the project’s eponymous goal slightly more within reach.

Willa Paskin, Slate

Big City Coyotes

Researchers estimate that there are between 30 and 40 coyotes that live in New York City, with a domain ranging from LaGuardia Airport to golf courses in The Bronx to even Central Park. A new project fastened tracking devices to three Bronx coyotes to seek to understand the main question on researchers’ minds, which I suppose is, “What the hell?” Having seen the photos, I can confirm these are indeed coyotes and not, as I originally assumed, simply rats of an enormous size that onlookers mistook as coyotes.

Lisa L. Colangelo, AM New York

U.S. Traffic Fatalities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated there were 37,461 traffic fatalities in 2016, which was 5.6 percent higher than in 2015. The deputy administrator announced that the agency will continue with its hands-off approach to the regulation of autonomous vehicles. The time for futzing with the regulations of self-driving cars is still in the future, and for now the agency will remain focused on more pressing concerns like drunk driving and seat-belt usage.

Ryan Beene, Bloomberg

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Exclamation Marks

A survey found distinct differences in how people perceive exclamation marks in emails. The email “Good Morning! I hope you have received the project. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!” was perceived as “very professional” by 49 percent of male respondents when the email came from a woman. When that same email came from a man, it was rated as “very professional” only by 36 percent of men.



A survey of eight nations in Western Europe found all but Italy said that membership in the European Unions was good for their country’s economy, with a median of 66 percent agreeing it was a good thing. Most nations saw robust agreement with the idea the E.U. was good for them, with high marks in Germany (76 percent), Denmark (76 percent), the Netherlands (72 percent), Spain (69 percent), Sweden (63 percent), France (55 percent) and even the Brexiting U.K. (62 percent). Italians, wouldn’t you know it, had trouble agreeing on a topic, as 48 percent think the E.U.’s been rough on them economically and 46 percent said it’s been a good thing.

Katie Simmons, Laura Silver, Courtney Johnson, Kyle Taylor and Richard Wike, Pew Research Center

Luxury Cars

If you’re willing to flaunt export rules and tick off a bunch of car dealers, there’s solid money to be made in being a straw buyer of vehicles for export to China. A new Land Rover that would start at $88,345 in the United States would start at 1,518,000 yuan ($240,000) after heavy tariffs and steeper prices for luxury cars in China. If the glamorous life of “guy who buys a car with other people’s money and eventually gets banned from buying cars” appeals to you, a straw buyer can reportedly make $500 to $7,000 in commissions per car.

Travis Simpkins, Car and Driver

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In last week’s exclusive Sunday edition, I talked to Kate Hagan about the real story behind the death of the video store. This week: Amanda Shendruk and I talk about American stores not carrying jeans for the median American woman.

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