By Walt Hickey
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Fun fact: in the United States, regardless of the nation of their birth every single generation at every level of government consumes more benefits than they contribute in taxes, with one single exception according to the Fed: first generation immigrants, who contributed more federally than they received in benefits in the year. That includes dependents. First generation immigrants to the U.S. contributed $963 more than they received in federal benefits while a person whose grandparents immigrated ran a net deficit of $4,364.
In 2016, the average pay-TV subscriber paid $231 per year to lease their set-top box from a cable service provider. But how much do those boxes actually cost the cable companies? The companies are keeping their traps shut, but according to Wall Street analysts covering the company that sells the basic boxes, they sell for about $150 each. The more sophisticated boxes sell for $250. That means your cable company — sorry, for the Netflix generation reading this: a “cable company” is the firm who installs your internet and gets real pushy about “subscribing” to some sort of pricey television package — makes back their investment in a year. Collectively, Americans spend $20 billion on cable boxes per year.
A new Australian report claims that foreign universities are driving research and development for the People’s Liberation Army. China sent 2,500 military scientists, researchers and engineers abroad in the past 10 years, particularly to the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The report found the number of peer-reviewed papers jointly published by Chinese and Western co-authors was up from 95 in 2007 to 734 in 2017.
Facebook, a California-based emotional distillery, has attempted to make political advertisements more transparent by requiring buyers to indicate who paid for them. This has been an unrelenting failure, as demonstrated by a Vice News investigation wherein they were able to buy fake ads on behalf of all 100 sitting U.S. Senators with literally no problems whatsoever. They also succeeded in running ads posing as Mike Pence, Tom Perez and the Islamic State. Only the fake ads attempting to pose as Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg were denied. The company said none of those should have ever been approved. Yet, here we are a week ahead of an election and they took the money without asking questions.
The entire notion of what “middle class” means is generally determined by only one side of the ledger, namely the amount of money that somebody makes. A majority of Americans — 52 percent — live in middle class households, according to the Pew Research Center. But that fails to encapsulate rising costs of living in the very areas where jobs are most available, and a new study says that 62 percent of jobs fall short of middle class after factoring in both wages and cost of living.
The ozone layer is being depleted by carbon tetrachloride, a chemical that is both an industrial by-product and was also used in dry cleaning, fire extinguishing and refrigeration. I say “was,” because in 2010 everyone got together and decided it was so exceedingly good at wiping out the ozone layer that we would never use it again, as a species. But since then, roughly 40,000 tons of the junk has been emitted into the atmosphere. A new study in Geophysical Research Letters finds that nearly half of those emissions can be traced to industrialized areas in eastern China, with a possible new source of the emissions coming from Shangdong province since 2012.
Multiple high schools have been offered between $10,000 to $20,000 in funding from electronic cigarette maker Juul to run a vaping curriculum taught by Juul consultants. The curriculum — according to an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health — did not emphasize the harm of flavored pods full of nicotine liquid and recommended combating e-cigarette use with “mindfulness techniques,” as apparently quitting nicotine addition with “fairy dust” and “magic wishes” are Quitting Juul 101 techniques.
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