Numlock News: June 1, 2018


It's getting pretty expensive to apologize for your standard corporate P.R. disaster, as Wells Fargo, Uber and Facebook can attest. In yesteryear, penance for a firm may have involved a full-page apology letter in a few national newspapers or filming a contrite Brit begging for forgiveness in a polluted Louisiana harbor. Now it's a massive multi-platform push that reportedly can be 20 times as expensive as similar apology tours were in 2000. Wells Fargo has spent an estimated $21.5 million on television apology ads since May 5.
Suzanne Vranica, The Wall Street Journal

Subway Restaurants store owners are ticked off at the company over a customer loyalty program that the franchisees claim is costing them$2,600 per year. On average, one of Subway's 25,908 U.S. locations generates about $417,000 in sales every year. That's a slimmer margin than rivals like McDonalds, where the average store has $2.68 million in sales. 
Leslie Patton, Bloomberg


A fun thing about Earth is that regardless of the weather on the surface, dig deep enough and it's a pleasant 60-ish degrees year round. Pump your house's heat through the depths below and you'll cheap cooling come summer and cheap heating come winter. This week Dandelion Energy, a former Alphabet subsidiary, announced it's rolling out its geothermal heat pump product far and wide. There's a huge efficiency bonus, as every 1 unit of electricity to run the geothermal pump generates 3 to 5 units of heating or cooling. Dandelion got the price of the pump installation — around $100,000 several years ago — down to $20,000 paid out over 20 years, and customers can potentially save hundreds of dollars in heating costs annually by switching. 
Akshat Rahi, Quartz

As teens go, so goes the nation: a new study found that only 51 percent of U.S. teenagers say they use Facebook, which makes sense because their whole families are on the site and — I think we can all concede — for teens, that is a mortifying setting to socialize in. The youths are far more comfortable using YouTube (85 percent), Instagram (72 percent) and Snapchat (69 percent). Only 3 percent of teens said they used Twitter more than any other platform, which gives me fundamental hope that the cycle of addiction can be broken.
Monica Anderson and Jinjing Jiang, Pew Research Center 

As of May 29, 26.4 percent of the continental United States is in a moderate drought or worse, a slight improvement from the 29 percent in April. That area is home to 44.8 million Americans. 
Drought.gov via NOAA


A new report from the Cleveland Fed cautions that by decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. without addressing the demand problem, policymakers may be pushing opioid users toward illicit narcotics. There were 72 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Americans in 2006, which rose to 81 prescriptions per 100 people in 2010, only to drop to 67 prescriptions per 100 people in 2016. Those figures are even more severe in the states most affected by the opioid epidemic; for most of 2006 to 2016, both West Virginia and Kentucky had more than one opioid prescription for each resident.
Kyle Fee, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland