By Walt Hickey
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Miami Beach is under siege by a legion of revelers, and the city’s plan to deal with the crowds is under pressure. A $1.1 million security plan may end up costing the city $1.5 million with new measures proposed this week, namely more officers patrolling the beach to seize booze and drugs. With even more reinforcements from other departments, there will be 371 officers working this weekend, among the busiest of the season. Still, it’s not all the fault of the visitors: of 97 people arrested this past weekend, over half were from the tri-county area and only 11 identified as college students, proving once again that no frat boy, no spring breaker, no club kid gets drunker on alcoholic slushies than Florida Man.
There were 580,900 puppies and dogs voluntarily registered in 2018 with the American Kennel Club, and of those 88,175 were Labrador Retrievers, cementing their adorable stranglehold atop the most popular dog in America list for the 28th consecutive year. Following labs were German Shepards, Golden Retrievers, French Bulldogs and Bulldogs. The French Bulldog was one of the really fascinating stories of popularity, jumping from 83rd place 25 years ago to fourth place for the past two years.
The results are in and the Super Bowl broadcast led to 94 complaints being lodged with the Federal Communications Commission. Of those, 58 FCC complaints specifically took issue with Adam Levine and Maroon 5’s halftime show performance, while trailers for Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark and Us led to a dozen-ish apiece. Still, there’s something inherently patriotic about reading each and every one of your fellow countrymen’s complaints regarding Adam Levine’s nipples, and a welcome reminder that yes, this country was started by Puritans, and less has changed than we’d like.
When the San Andreas fault line inevitably causes a large earthquake, the damages will be significant. A U.S. Geological Survey model that tries to find the impact of a quake that moves along the southern 200 miles of the fault line found that L.A. would experience shaking for an estimated 50 seconds, a fearsome time compared to the 7 seconds the $40 billion in damage Northridge earthquake inflicted in 1994. The simulations found an estimated 1,500 buildings in L.A. would collapse and 300,000 were severely damaged, mainly the buildings constructed prior to the latest advancements in earthquake-resistant architecture and were never retrofitted. Why is that? Building codes require developers to construct buildings that won’t kill people in an earthquake, but don’t go so far as to require those buildings be usable afterwards.
Already, the shift to electric vehicles is making a slight difference in oil demand. It’s not electric cars accounting for most of the gains though, but rather electric buses. Given their size and round-the-clock use, China’s switch to electric buses is major, and by the end of the year, worldwide use of electric buses will displace 270,000 barrels a day of diesel demand. For every 1,000 electric buses on the road, about 500 barrels of diesel are displaced daily, compared to just 15 barrels displaced for every thousand personal electric vehicles.
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Americans spend 44 percent of their total minutes available in a day interacting with media, a 10.5 hour-per-day media diet that’s pretty much flat year-over-year. The average American spends almost two hours a day listening to the radio and over four hours per day watching live or time-shifted television. While the overall amount of time spent interacting with media is flat, some areas in particular are gaining: year over year, we’re spending 17 minutes more on apps or the web on smartphones and interaction with internet-connected devices overall is up 8 minutes compared to last year.
A proposal in the Texas Senate would shut down red light cameras across the Lone Star State, arguing that the robotickets violate constitutional rights and are really annoying. While previous bills have floundered, this one’s actually got the backing of the governor. While the cameras are annoying, arguably unconstitutional and pricey for violaters — since they were installed in Ft. Worth, the city’s brought in $80 million from overly ambitious drivers — they do have serious safety impacts. Since the cameras went up, accident rates in those areas are down 59 percent in Ft. Worth and 83 percent of people who got a ticket haven’t had a second one.
Amazon’s operating a pretty fascinating ad business, booking $10.1 billion in ad revenue last year with 50 percent growth forecasted for this year. Retailers are shelling out lots of money to ensure premium placement on the Amazon page and in its search results. Analysts think that this modern take on supermarkets giving the best locations in the store to brands that play ball will be huge for Amazon, hitting $16 billion in operating earnings by 2021. However, Amazon’s also taking a new step in blocking ads for products that don’t actually make Amazon money, like products sold by vendors that actually result in a loss.
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