Numlock News: September 11, 2018

By Walt Hickey

College Degrees

Bloomberg looked at the ten most valuable college degrees, which include STEM staples like actuarial science (average income $108,658), nuclear engineering ($108,591) and applied mathematics ($105,678). It also includes zoology, which has an average income of $111,888 and an unemployment rate of 1.4 percent, and somehow never comes up in these conversations about awesome career fields demanding investment. Did I miss the pitch session about how I could have robust career learning about animals for hundreds of thousands of dollars? I didn’t have to spend dozens of nights chipping away at differential equations to score a good gig, I apparently had this option of researching animals for money?

Riley Griffin, Bloomberg


There are 114,554 people awaiting an organ transplant in the U.S., 94,980 of whom are waiting for a kidney. Thanks to a paired kidney donation algorithm, an individual can donate a kidney that does not match with the person they would like it to go to, but as a result of their donation a cascade of subsequent donations help their loved one get a matching kidney. In 2018, the percentage of living donations that come from paired donors is on the rise, above 12 percent, compared to effectively nil in the ‘90s and just about 4 percent in 2008.

Corinne Purtill, Quartz


A decade on from the financial crisis, it’s worth taking a second to kick the tires on the ol’ global banking system just to make sure it doesn’t go down like that again. And while there’s still more to be done, banks have lower reliance on short-term funding that helped exacerbate the crisis. Looking at the total liabilities of JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, only 24 percent of their liabilities are short term debt and trading liabilities, a figure that was 44 percent in 2007. Deposits make up a robust 47 percent, compared to just 29 percent in 2007.

Yalman Onaran, Bloomberg


Anxiety affects 18.1 percent of Americans every year and about a third of people over the course of their lifetime. In 2017, the American College Health Association reported 61 percent of undergraduates felt “overwhelming anxiety,” up from half in 2011. This has caused a steady market for crap that will chill us out and let people get through their dang day, such as fidget spinners and toys, as well as weighted blankets that purport to improve sleep.

Rebecca Jennings, Vox

Go East, Millennial Human

California — long a destination of people trying to find somewhere to make it on their own — is now seeing an exodus of people who can’t afford to live there or start families there. Coastal California metropolises are affordable for roughly 15 percent of residents, down from 30 percent in 2000. In Los Angeles and the Bay Area, a monthly mortgage takes 40 percent of income compared to 15 percent nationally. About 28 percent of the people leaving are aged 35 to 44, and another third are aged 26 to 34 or 45 to 54. Older Californians are content, while 74 percent of millennials are considering leaving. If only there was some way to build more houses, but god forbid literally anything threaten the precious price of housing.

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox, The Orange County Register

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Hurricane Florence

With Hurricane Florence poised to make landfall somewhere between Charleston and Norfolk, early estimates are coming out from the insurance business about the potential damage that may result from the powerful storm. The insurance business now estimates about $15 billion to $20 billion in covered losses, while the whole storm is estimated to wreak $27 billion in damages.

Brian K Sullivan, Bloomberg and Ivan Levingston, Bloomberg


Sacramento and Los Angeles’ policies of requiring the tracking of ammunition sales has led to a number of arrests in the state since their introductions in 2008. From 2016 to 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Gang and Narcotics Division arrested over 200 felons thanks to the logs, and next year ammo dealers throughout the entire state will have to maintain logs of all sales.

Ian Urbina, The New York Times

In this week’s Sunday special, Sunday special, I spoke to Morning Consult’s Joanna Piacenza, whose work has appeared in Numlock multiple times and will continue to be a staple because she is rad. Most recently, she did a study about how people’s understanding of news changes depending on who publishes it, an immensely clever survey design that gets at a fairly fundamental set of divides in the U.S. right now. Check it out!

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