Numlock News: November 1, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Happy November!

Paw Patrol

Paw Patrol, a children’s television show about six nice doggies who try to make their neighborhood a better place, is an international retail juggernaut that pulled in a cool $1.05 billion in retail sales last year. After five seasons, the show has made a total of $7 billion in global sales with the largest share of the pot coming from merch sales to kids under the age of 15. It beat out Star Wars, Frozen, the NFL and Mickey Mouse. Its creator is the same guy who came up with Bob the Builder, which itself generated $10 billion in total revenue. I bet he rides around on a yacht and tells the other zillionaires he made his fortune in construction and government K-9 contractors.

Gerry Smith, Bloomberg

Youth Hockey in Canada

Controversy is roiling after a novice hockey game between the Kitchener Jr. Rangers Red and the Cambridge Hawks Red on Oct. 20, when the former team beat the latter with a score of 41-0, scoring more than one goal per minute. On one hand, it may be difficult to convey the nuances of easing up to eight-year-old boys in a frenzy, but on the other hand this is literally how people decide to become super villains and someone should have put a stop to the madness.

Josh Brown, Waterloo Region Record

Electrons Necessary To Get To Florida

If you were to drive a gasoline-powered car — say, a Chevrolet Impala — 1,000 miles from New York City to Daytona Beach, Florida, it would need about 40 gallons of gasoline and produce 350 kilograms of carbon dioxide. With an electric car, that arithmetic changes, but nonetheless the carbon footprint of the trip comes out in the black. Recharging the car with electricity derived from a coal plant, the trip would require 130 kilograms of coal, which would produce 310 kilograms of carbon dioxide — still a savings. In another alternative, the trip would require the electricity generated from 2,500 cubic feet of natural gas, better still with 170 kilograms of carbon dioxide produced. Wind and solar would both produce no additional carbon. The electricity needed for the drive could be produced by one 80-meter tall wind turbine every 33 minutes or every 3.2 minutes with a large-scale solar array.

Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg

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A new poll found 47 percent of Americans reported believing in ghosts and 15 percent reported seeing a ghost at one point or another. Women, young people, those who frequently pray, non-voters and the politically unaffiliated were more likely than their counterparts to believe in ghosts, as were Catholics and those who had a high school degree or less. I was surprised this figure was so high, but then I remembered that a solid percentage of the content currently on The Learning Channel, The History Channel and The Discovery Channel is ghost-related, so you get what you pay for.

The Economist


A survey of 3,758 Americans found that the most stressed generation is the millennials, who rated their stress an average of 5.7 on a scale of 10. But the same survey offered a distressing look at the generation younger than the millennial cohort, so-called “Gen Z” because demographers are kooks and uncreative charlatans. All told 75 percent of those 15 to 21 year old respondents said that mass shootings are a significant source of stress and 72 percent said that school shootings were a significant source of stress. Meanwhile, 74 percent of older adults reported “excellent or very good mental health,” so I’m glad those guys are having so much fun.

Brian Resnick, Vox

The Opposite of Progress Is

Turns out the people who work for Congress have trouble estimating how Americans actually feel about policy. A new paper looked at the actual polled levels of support for various policy proposals and then asked congressional staffers what they believed the support for those policies was. In many cases — raising the minimum wage to $12, supporting an infrastructure spending package, regulating carbon as a pollutant and supporting background checks for gun sales — staffers massively underestimated the actual levels of support. In that last case, Democratic staffers guessed support was 11 percentage points lower than it actually was and GOP staffers underestimated support by 49 percentage points.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Matto Mildenberger and Leah C. Stokes, The New York Times


There’s been a ton of misreporting around a stat from a new WWF report that looked at population estimates for 16,700 populations of 4,000 species between 1970 and 2014. That’s about 6.4 percent of the 63,000 species of vertebrates we think exist. Those individual populations changed between 1970 and 2014, and the average change was a decline of 60 percent. You may have seen it said that 60 percent of vertebrate species were gone or 60 percent of the vertebrate population was gone, but that’s a misread of what the report says. Still, it’s pretty rough these samples of vertebrates have dropped so much.

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

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