Numlock News: October 1, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Facebook Hack

Facebook has disclosed a hack in which the accounts of more than 50 million users were compromised. This could have considerable financial consequences for Facebook, an advertising and data mining company that also allows users to connect over its social network. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the lead privacy regulator for the company in Europe, and as a result of the new GDPR law the company could face a fine. The maximum value of the fine for failing to safeguard user data is either €20 million or 4 percent of a firm’s global annual revenue which in Facebook’s case is about $1.63 billion. Facebook told the DPC about the breach within a 72 hour window of discovery.

Sam Schechner, The Wall Street Journal

California Drinking

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have permitted 9 California cities to become appealing to out-of-towners. Specifically, it would have allowed alcohol sales to continue until 4 a.m., the standard in modern civilized regions like New York City. Currently, bars, nightclubs and restaurants must stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m., and SB 905 would have allowed those establishments to extend last call to a normal hour over five years.

Sam Lefebvre, KQED

Communist China

Police officers in China detained about 50 activists in late August — 14 of whom still remain in custody or under house arrest — who were advocating for labor unions at nearby factories, staging protests demanding worker protections and arguing against inequality and materialism in Chinese society. The activists are a group that China’s Communist Party officials did not particularly anticipate: dedicated socialists, Maoists and Marxists who are critiquing the government and society from the left.

Javier C. Hernández, The New York Times

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A study of 62 men and women who averaged 170 milligrams of caffeine per day found that the more caffeine a person consumed in a given week, the higher their tolerance for pain was. This was clearly a small study, but does go a long way to demonstrating that I’m just one more cup of espresso away from becoming invincible.

Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times

Wannabe North Macedonians

Greece has stymied Macedonian attempts to enter the E.U. and NATO over the nation’s name, which Greeks take umbrage at given a dispute over which region can claim the legacy of Alexander the Great’s empire of Macedon. For most Macedonians, this is too stupid to deal with, and thus 91.3 percent voted in favor of changing the country’s name to North Macedonia, which would pave the way to bloc membership. Only a third of the electorate actually voted — 93 percent of polling stations counted — but advocates are pushing Parliament to side with the majority on this one.

Sally Mairs and Saska Cvetkovska, AFP News

History Viewers

At any given time on Thursday, about 20 percent of U.S. households were tuned into a Senate hearing involving Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony alleging attempted sexual assault from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Between 10 a.m. and 6:45 p.m, viewership of cable news was two to three times higher than normal. Given that 20 percent figure is the average at any given time on Thursday, the number who watched some part of the proceedings is likely to be quite higher, especially factoring those who watched digitally.

Brian Stelter, CNN


Non-profit philanthropies manage a massive amount of money — about $850 billion in assets — but a new analysis of the financial performance of those investments show that many non-profits are making below-market returns due to a reliance on high-cost financial advisers. Looking at a subset of the roughly 40,000 foundations with endowments north of $1 million, the median foundation pulled in a 7.7 percent annual return over a five-year period, significantly lower than the 9.04 percent annual return that low-cost passive global index funds returned in the same period. There’s a significant spread: a quarter of the foundations had a return above 9.3 percent, and a quarter of the foundations made less than 6.3 percent return.

Marc Gunther, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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