Numlock News: October 17, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Good morning!

Undead Kleptocrats

French police have detained a Ukrainian who forged his own death certificates to evade authorities and abscond with a small fortune to France. French officers recovered 4.6 million euros worth of property. That property includes a vintage Rolls Royce, three Dali artworks, jewelry, and, oh yeah, also the 12th-century castle he was living in. The suspect is unnamed, but Ukraine simultaneously sought extradition of Dmytro Malynovskyi from France, a man who prosecutors say stole 12 million euros from a private company and sent it to offshore accounts. Separately, Swiss authorities froze 2 million in accounts belonging to a prominent Ukrainian.

Jake Rudnitsky, Daryna Krasnolutska, and Gaspard Sebag, Bloomberg

Canadian Cannabis

Marijuana is legal in Canada today, but yet to come is a complicated dance with commercialization and advertising. First off, the federal government plans to pardon those with simple marijuana possession convictions once legalization goes into effect. But what next? As it stands, Canada’s 2018 budget allocated $82 million over five years for health education, which includes the risks of marijuana and operating heavy machinery under its influence. Meanwhile, the legislation forbids marijuana brands from “mass advertising, sponsorship, contests, endorsements and promotions that associate cannabis with attractive lifestyles.” Will this have an effect? Let’s be real, weed dealers have successfully sold pot for decades without maintaining anything approaching an attractive lifestyle, so I’m sure they’ll manage.

Bruce Campion-Smith, The Star and Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen


Following their earnings yesterday, we have additional details about what Netflix is planning to do in the deserts of New Mexico. The company has committed to $600 million in direct spending in New Mexico by the end of 2023, and a further $400 million in direct or indirect spending between then and 2028. Those commitments helped the platform score favorable terms on its purchase of ABQ Studios, a film production facility in Albuquerque. It cost $91 million to build the lot in 2007, and Netflix will buy and improve it for about $30 million ($14.5 million of which came from the state and city). Netflix also gets a tax credit of up to 30 percent, so if you’re pitching a script to the company I would strongly advise you to make it a western.

Todd Spangler, Variety

For Love Of The Other Games

Adults aged 18 to 21 are nearly as likely to say that Major League Soccer is their favorite sport — 12 percent — as they are to say that Major League Baseball is, 15 percent. The favorite league of the young is the NFL (37 percent of 18 to 21 year olds, 43 percent of all adults) followed by the youth-skewing NBA (28 percent of 18 to 21 year olds, 17 percent of adults). Hockey remains steadily niche, with 9 percent of both groups preferring the game most. This is wild, because the 18 to 21 year old sports preferences directly correspond to my ranking of the “Air Bud” franchise, namely Air Bud: Golden Receiver is better than Air Bud which beats Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch and Air Bud: World Pup.

Cameron Easley, Morning Consult


An analysis of the gender composition of 22 of the world’s top orchestras found that of 2,438 full-time musicians, 1,677 were men, or 69 percent. Interestingly, there’s considerable sex-segregation based on instruments. Only 1 of the 103 trumpet players were women, and no female trombonists or tuba players. Only the harp — 94 percent women — skewed that far the other way, and only two other instruments, flutes and violins, were majority women. Historically, women were discouraged from playing horns and heavy string instruments, a bias that has trickled down to this day.

Oliver Staley and Amanda Shendruk, Quartz

Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.

Cord Cutting

By the end of this year, the number of U.S. households that will have stopped subscribing to pay television is projected to hit 33 million. This has sent traditional broadcasters scrambling to roll out the streaming services many (66 percent of Americans pay for one) have come to prefer. Now Warner-Media — the entertainment entity that succeeded Time Warner following its acquisition by AT&T — will have a streaming service of its own by the end of next year that may become the home for Looney Tunes, DC superhero stuff, Harry Potter and the television series Friends, which is now on Netflix. At a certain point, you’re just rebuilding the Pay TV bundle.

Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter


Geriatricians are the doctors you end up seeing when literally everything else has failed to kill you. Last year there were 7,279 certified geriatricians — that is, doctors who specialize in the maladies of the elderly — and numbers are rising, only very slowly. Meanwhile, new medical research and technologies means people are getting better at not dying and demand for geriatricians will rise a projected 45 percent by 2025. It’s tough to pay off student loans when almost all of a doctor’s patients are on Medicare, but new efforts from medical schools are pushing for more generalized knowledge of the field.

Paula Span, The New York Times

This past weekend, paid subscribers got a chance to read even more about Fat Bear Week in the Sunday special edition, check it out if you haven’t yet. And if you’re still on the fence, two Sundays ago I had an outstanding conversation with the great Zach Weinersmith, an interview that free subscribers will get a sneak peek at soon.

Thank you so much for subscribing! If you're enjoying the newsletter, forward it to someone you think may enjoy it too! 

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

Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at