Numlock News: November 8, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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The Exact Cost Of A Vicious Racial Epithet

Papa John’s, a year-one business school case study that also sells pizza, lost $13 million during the third quarter of this year, down from a $21.8 million profit in the same quarter of last year. Just so you don’t have to check your financial reporting calendars, the third quarter was the one that happened after their CEO, Papa John, said the worst possible word a white person can possibly say on a conference call. It cost the company $3.6 million to remove John Schnatter’s image from literally every one of their stores. The store also spent $9.9 million in financial assistance to its extremely ticked off franchise owners and plans to spend $25 million to $35 million in the fourth quarter on more financial aid, marketing in an attempt to dig itself out of this one and legal fees.

Sarah Whitten, CNBC

Show Me Once

A survey of U.S. adults who use YouTube found that large percentages credit the platform with introducing them to videos that actually improve their lives. Sure, 28 percent said that it’s very important when it comes to “just passing the time,” but 51 percent said that it’s very important in figuring out how to do things they haven’t done before. Maybe that’s watching a mechanic show how to change a tire, or how to make a new recipe from a cook, or learning from a professional makeup artist how to stall for eight minutes, apply makeup, and plug your second channel. Or more commonly, it’s learning about Fortnite by watching an emotionally maladjusted 25-year-old play Fortnite, then learning how to give a sincere apology one week later when that same 25-year-old regrets the use of a recent homophobic slur.

Aaron Smith, Skye Toor and Patrick Van Kessel, Pew Research Center

Shark Repellent

A team of scientists investigated the actual efficacy of five shark repellents and came up severely wanting. They ran 297 trials with 44 great whites interacting with bait 1,413 times. Four of the products — electronic wearable Rpela, two Sharkbanz products and Chillax surf wax, the last of whom allegedly smells bad to sharks and the rest which purport to overwhelm shark electroreceptors — had little or no measurable effect on great white shark behavior. The last of them, an electroreceptor device called the Freedom+ Surf, did score the best. Usage meant that the percentage of the time that sharks took the bait fell from 96 percent to 40 percent, which is way too damn high for my preference. I still stand by my preferred shark repellent, living several miles from the ocean.

Munyaradzi Makoni, Hakai Magazine

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Selfie-Related Art Disasters

I love museums, but I am also clumsy and vain, so this hits close to home: an estimated $1.5 million worth of art in museums has been damaged by individuals taking selfies in the past four years. The latest incident involves damage to two works in Russia’s International Arts Center — one sold at $22,500, another worth $400,000 to $600,000 — by four young visitors who damaged the art while attempting to take a photograph. But other disastrous interactions between art and auto-admirers in the past four years includes a statue of Hercules, a statue of Dom Sebastian, an installation called Hypercanine, and a statue of a drunken satyr called The Drunken Satyr. It’s time I came out and admit that this has all been an elaborate performance art piece about the tenuous relationship between mankind’s established canon and the inherently self-reflective experience of consuming art and, thus being inspired to create it. Anyway I bet Christie’s and Sotheby’s would not hesitate for one second if you tried to auction the selfie that broke The Drunken Satyr as an independent work.

Emma Specter, Garage

Medicaid for More

One side effect of Tuesday’s elections is that about 500,000 low-income American will gain health insurance. That’s because several states that have not yet expanded Medicaid either elected governors likely to expand Medicaid (as in Kansas and Maine) or straight-up passed ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid. Kansas and Maine have 134,756 and 136,423 potential enrollees, while ballot initiatives that passed in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska mean a respective 92,439, 134,756 and 97,937 potential enrollees could get insured.

Sarah Kliff, Vox


Lobster fishing is booming in Maine, just in time for one of its largest markets to stop buying lobsters because of an extremely well-planned trade war. States south of New England landed 2.5 million pounds of lobsters in 2016. New England, excluding Maine, bagged 26.1 million pounds. Maine? Maine hauled in 132.5 million pounds of lobster in 2016, a catch worth $540.3 million. A year later, total U.S. exports of live lobster to China was worth $128.5 million. But now? Due to a 25 percent tariff, orders are crashing as China buys its crustaceans from Canada.

Shawn Donnan, Bloomberg


Co-working space WeWork will begin rationing booze after a recent email to its New York City customers outlining that beer taps will be controlled with key cards and users are limited to 4 twelve-ounce beers per person per day. Moreover, the teetotalers will lock the taps from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. On one hand, this policy could be read as additional supervision, but realistically it’s probably closer to a cost-control measure, just like that banning of meat policy implemented earlier this year. Still, I think all laws deserve to be named after the person that necessitated them, so I do hope this becomes known as the “Derek From The 33rd Street Location Drinking Policy.”

Alison Griswold, Oversharing

Correction: The original version of the WeDrink section incorrectly stated that taps would be locked from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

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