Numlock News: June 29, 2018

By Walt Hickey
I’m announcing full details on Monday, but I moved Numlock News to Substack because I’m introducing a premium subscription that’ll keep this ad-free forever and reward subscribers with exciting and frequently suggested perks.
If you’re curious, go ahead and take an early look.


The Department of Agriculture reported that the United States stockpile of cheese has reached 1.39 billion pounds. That is the largest-ever in the 100 years since the fateful day in 1917 when the boldest civil servant in the history of agriculture pitched his boss on letting them count all the cheese in America. Trade tensions may complicate that stockpile; cheese exports were at 341,000 metric tons of cheese last year, if that drops due to artificial tariff squabbles that could be a huge problem for America's cheesemakers and mongers.

Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post

When Everyone Is A Size 16 No One Is

An analysis of denim jeans sizing in brick-and-mortar retail stores shows just how ridiculous sizing is in the women's clothing business. Depending on the brand, a woman with a 31-inch waist would be anywhere from a size 8 to a size 16. The question of "what is a size 4" has six inches of wiggle room depending on the store, ranging from a 23.5 inch waist to a 29.5 inch waist. Fellas, call me crazy, but I'm beginning to suspect that perhaps the clothing business isn't really doing a great job of promoting ease of access or self-esteem in women and, bear with me here, may actually be a frustrating experience for women of every single size.

Amanda Shendruk, Quartzy

Drug Money

Amazon has signaled it intends to move into the pharmacy business with a $1 billion acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy. The move seriously rattled drug stores: CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., and Rite Aid Corp. all saw their stocks fall, with the three stores losing a combined $11 billion in market value. It's not just the drug stores that lost value either — combined, CVS, Walgreens, UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, Express Scripts, Humana, MetLife and Centene saw their aggregate market value drop $23.5 billion in the first hours of trading. All because of one $1 billion acquisition! We're approaching the point where Jeff Bezos can buy a lawnmower and wipe out half of John Deere's value.

Sharon Terlep and Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal and Alison Griswold, Quartz

Escapes From Reality

The U.S. theme park market is booming, with an estimated size of $22.6 billion in 2017 projected to rise to $27.2 billion in 2021. Attendance is up — 390 million in 2017 compared to 343 million in 2011 — and a lot of that is thanks to young people. While parents are obviously a target for theme parks, Millennials without kids were roughly just as likely to be interested in going to a theme park in the next 12 months (75 percent) as Millennials with kids (78 percent), according to a new survey.

Joanna Piacenza, Morning Consult

Betting Against The House

The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a former software engineering manager at Equifax of insider trading. The SEC alleges that Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu received non-public information when creating the website rolled out for users affected by the company's enormous data breach. Bonthu spent $2,100 on options on Equifax stock on September 1, a bet that the stock's price would fall. Authorities allege he made over $75,000 selling those options.

Allison Prang, The Wall Street Journal

More Like Pushing It Notifications

American skepticism of the intentions of social media companies is on the rise, with majorities of both Democrats and Republicans saying they think social media platforms censor political views. All told 72 percent of Americans think it is somewhat or very likely social media sites block objectionable political views. Overall, people thought technology products benefited their lives, but 65 percent agreed with the statement that companies fail to anticipate how their products and services will impact society.

Aaron Smith, Pew Research Center

Non-Pedestrian Street Fights

A survey of Canadians by the Angus Reid Institute found enormous age disparities when it came to the perceived conflict between cyclists and drivers. Looking at respondents ages 18 to 34, 53 percent blamed drivers for the conflict and 47 percent blamed cyclists. Looking at those ages 55 and up, a mere 25 percent blamed drivers and 75 percent blamed cyclists. Only 6 percent of the 55-and-up set ride a bicycle at least once per week, while one in six Millennials ride a bike weekly.

Shachi Kur and Ian Holliday, Angus Reid Institute via Matt Elliott

Targeted Reduction In Emissions

New York City wants to cut emissions, but not all buildings are made equal. Mayor de Blasio's plan would cut 7 percent of the city's climate pollution, while another bill winding through the City Council would reduce emissions by 13 percent. In New York, 2 percent of the buildings produce 50 percent of the emissions, which makes lots of sense because a few buildings are very big while most buildings are comparatively small. However, looking at energy use per square foot, we see that luxury buildings are emitting disproportionately more carbon than the rest of us.

Alexander C. Kaufman, HuffPost

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