Numlock News: October 16, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Dwayne “The Beloved” Johnson

A new survey looking at how favorable the celebrities in the Forbes 100 list find that actor Dwayne Johnson is the most favorably viewed man in entertainment, with 82 percent of respondents viewing the cinematic tour-de-force and apex cod predator favorably. Among millennials, the most favorably viewed performers are Johnson (85 percent favorable), Jackie Chan (84 percent), Will Smith (83 percent), Adam Sandler (80 percent), Ellen DeGeneres (77 percent) and Pink (73 percent). To put those figures in context, 72 percent of Catholics have a favorable view of the Pope, a favorability all those people are beating among the young.

Morning Consult

Ghost Towns

At least 20 percent of Manhattan real estate is vacant or about to become vacant, according to private surveys of the market. Part of this is because the rent is too damn high: in the highest foot traffic parts of Manhattan, rents rose 89 percent from 2010 to 2014 while retail sales rose only 32 percent. This is how you get entire blocks that once had vibrant retail scenes defaulting to the Chase Bank/Vacant/Vacant/Shop that signed a 35-year lease in ‘87/Vacant/Vape Store/Starbucks retail format this city has now patented.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic


A new survey found that 42 percent of U.S. voters ages 18 to 29 are not at all or not too satisfied with their choice of congressional candidates this coming November compared with 23 percent of voters 65 and up that are likewise dissatisfied. This is a number to remember next time there’s a primary election, and also a more important one to remember when the people who were successfully elected by those satisfied customers make it as difficult as possible for working young people to vote in those primaries.

Pew Research Center

Cool news: the project I was most proud of at FiveThirtyEight (a huge research project about inclusion of women in film) made the Information is Beautiful awards shortlist. Check it out and consider voting for it!

Call Your Agent

Talent agency Endeavor is pulling out of a deal with the Saudi government in the wake of the disappearance and possible murder of a journalist. Saudi Arabia was going to buy a 5 to 10 percent stake for $400 million. As our country always does in times of deep moral struggle or ethical dilemmas, once again a weary nation turns its eyes to Hollywood agents for moral clarity.

Kim Masters and Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter


There’s a brisk trade in passports on the dark web, and one of the most efficient identity theft tools is a photo of a passport with some identifying information. A bona fide authentic passport sells for about $13,500 on average on the dark web, while a physical forgery sells for $1,500. Meanwhile, the sliding scale of passport detail continues: a scan of someone’s passport sells for $15 on average, adding in a selfie or utility bill gets it up to around $60, while even more detail leads to even pricier sales.

Anne Quito, Quartz


As a whole, African countries owe a collective $130 billion to China, money largely used to finance transportation, mining, power and infrastructure projects. But after watching Sri Lanka’s China-funded port get transferred to a Chinese state-owned company in a 99-year lease once it couldn’t repay, some are skeptical of taking the money. Under its former president, Sierra Leone took $224 million in Chinese debt. The nation has now announced the cancellation of a $318 million airport outside its capital funded by Chinese loans.

Jenni Marsh and Ben Westcott, CNN

Mammals People Have Not Yet Had Killed

Since the last ice age, 300 mammalian species have gone extinct and a fourth of the 5,500 remaining mammals are endangered. The evolutionary dent we’ve inflicted on our nearest relatives will take quite some time to buff out: a new study estimates it will take 3 million to 7 million years for mammals to evolve enough new species to replace the ones humans have killed off. For some mild prospective, mammals as a concept have been in the picture about 200 million years, and the last 100,000 years were all it took for an enterprising subset (us) to mess it all up.

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Get Ready For Nine Billion Dollars Worth Of Politics

The latest forecast says that $8.9 billion will be spent on political advertising by election day, with $1.8 billion of that spent on digital media. That 20 percent of spending is way up from the last midterm when 3.3 percent of political advertising ($271 million) went to digital.

Fredreka Schouten, CNN

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Previous Sunday special editions: Fat Bear Week · Weinersmith · Airplane Bathrooms ·  NIMBYs ·  Fall 2018 Sports Analytics ·  The Media  ·  Omega-3  ·  Mattress Troubles  ·  Conspiracy Theorists  ·  Beaches  ·  Bubbles  ·  NYC Trash  ·  Fish Wars  ·  Women’s Jeans  ·  Video Stores

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