Numlock News: July 26, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Additional Acres of Hawaii

When New York wants to add acreage, usually we just dump garbage off the coast of Manhattan until land forms. Hawaii does things slightly differently. Since 1983, the volcano Kilauea’s vent Puu Oo has added 443 acres of land by dumping lava into the sea. In the past 82 days, the fissures in Leilani Estates added at least 760 acres of new land. The eruption rate is far more intense now than it has been historically, an estimated 50 to 150 cubic meters of lava flow per second compared to the sustained 3 to 4 cubic meters of lava flow from the 35-year-old vent.

Austin Westfall, Hawaii News Now

Traffic Made Worse By Ride-sharing

A new study says that services like Uber and Lyft actually make traffic worse in major cities as consumers use their services rather than opting for mass transit options. Services like UberX and Lyft, the study argues, put 2.8 new vehicle miles on the road for every 1 mile of personal driving they replace. Carpool options are only slightly better, putting 2.6 new vehicle-miles for every personal vehicle-mile lost. Both Lyft and Uber dispute the analysis.

Matthew Flamm, Crain’s New York

Marijuana Varieties

For reasons that should probably be obvious, federal authorities are not applying consumer protections to the marijuana industry. A new study from the University of Northern Colorado bought several samples of 30 different labeled strains of legal cannabis from dispensaries to check to see if that Ghost OG they thought they were buying was in fact the bona fide breed. Perhaps someone in the supply chain is hitting the employee discount a little too hard, because out of the 30 strains, only 4 strains proved to be genetically consistent.

Matt Simon, Wired

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Jersey Tax Credits Flipped For A Quick Buck

New Jersey has doled out some $595 million in state tax credits since 2011, but the companies they grant them to are actually selling them way more often than they’re using them. Here’s how the hustle works: if I get a $2.2 million tax credit from New Jersey, but don’t owe enough in taxes to use it all, I’ll sell the credits at a discount — on average, 91 cents on the dollar — to a company that owes Jersey a bunch of money. A full 78 percent of those $595 million in tax credits were sold in this fashion.

Kate King, The Wall Street Journal

Kavanaugh Sentiment

A Quinnipiac poll found that a plurality of Americans — 41 percent — say the U.S. Senate should not confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, compared to 40 percent who say they should. It’s rare for a court nominee to be politically underwater at this point in the process. Men support confirmation 50 percent to 35 percent, while women oppose it 46 percent to 32 percent.


Facebook Revenue

Facebook stock took a bath yesterday when the company announced revenue that missed analyst estimates. Revenue grew 42 percent to $13.2 billion in the quarter, shy of the $13.3 billion analysts anticipated. What’s more, the company said it expects revenue growth to decline moving forward. Essentially, its daily active users — 1.47 billion people in June — have to an extent maxed out.

Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

Beijing Bookstores

The city of Beijing is cranking up its annual subsidy to bookstores up to 50 million yuan ($7.4 million) which is three times as high as it’s been in the past two years. The city — which funds the bookstores to ensure that residents can access brick-and-mortar spaces for literature — wants to add 16 large bookstores and 200 smaller ones by 2020.

Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz

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