Numlock News: September 14, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Have a great weekend!


iHeartMedia, the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, is buying podcast company Stuff Media for $55 million. Stuff Media makes over 25 shows, such as How Stuff Works and — with 5.3 million monthly listeners — is the fifth largest podcasting company according to Podtrac. About 73 million Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month, so this is at the very least a hedge and at the very most a bet on the medium from the traditional audio company.

Anne Steele and Benjamin Mullin, The Wall Street Journal


What would it actually cost to manufacture the iPhone in the United States? Estimates show that — ignoring the enormous costs of relocating specialized technological supply chains across an ocean — making the product in the U.S. would only cost about $30 to $40 more per phone, and only about $100 more per phone if every part was made in the U.S., which given Apple’s 64 percent profit margin is not all that much, all things considered. Now realistically, that logistical shift would be bananas. But lost in the weeds here is that China, where the phones are manufactured, only makes an estimated $8.46 per iPhone made out of the $240 factory cost, which can be misleading when investigating trade surpluses and deficits.

Emily Stewart, Vox

This Sunday’s special edition is a conversation with Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight. Neil is the best and it’ll help you get through every sports watercooler conversation for the rest of the fall. Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible!

Political Perception

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but some people in the U.S. strongly disagree about politics these days. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to rate the Democratic Party as very liberal, and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to rate the Republican Party as very conservative. A full 55 percent of Republicans consider the Democratic Party as very liberal on an 11 point scale, while 35 percent of Democrats rated the Republican Party as very conservative on the same scale.

Pew Research Center

Facebook Ads

A survey found 60 percent of small business owners felt that advertising on Facebook was ineffective, and a new lawsuit brought by an investing website alleges that Facebook is actually misleading advertisers about the efficacy of their offerings. Facebook made $13 billion from ads last quarter, but the new suit claims that while the social network purports 89 percent accuracy when reaching target audiences, Investor Village found the rate to be closer to 60 percent. I mean, I am shocked, just shocked to learn that people don’t trust claims made by Facebook.

Jasmine Garsd, NPR

Third Party

Bad news, Whigs: while 68 percent of Americans say the two major parties don’t adequately represent the American people and desire a third party — a 20-year high — new research underscores why that pent-up demand doesn’t coalesce around an actual third party. Namely, of those who crave a third party, 18 want one to the left of the Democrats, 23 percent want one to the right of the Republicans, and 37 percent want it somewhere in the nebulous center, and good luck getting a coalition out of that spread.

Lee Drutman, William A. Galston and Tod Lindberg, Voter Study Group

Towed Cars

Lincoln Towing Service — the bane of the Chicago motorist — has had its commercial vehicle relocators license revoked. From July 2015 to March 2016, of 9,470 vehicles towed by Lincoln at least 800 were unauthorized. Their reportedly exorbitant rates and frightful reputation literally inspired a folk song called “Lincoln Park Pirates.”

Douglas Belkin, The Wall Street Journal

Clinical Trials

A new study found that 49 percent of clinical trials in the European Union since 2004 did not report their results following the conclusion of the trial. This is bad for patients, as failure to report results — good or bad — obscures information that doctors and regulators may really need to know to improve patient outcomes. There are 104 entities that have at least 50 trials in the works, and only 11 of those major sponsors had a 100 percent compliance rate.

Jane C. Hu, Quartz


A new study finds men speak far more than women on earnings calls. The average earnings call has 14 people contributing, with the average makeup being three male corporate representatives, one female corporate representative, six male analysts, two female analysts, and two participants where the gender wasn’t determined. In 2018, women made up 11.1 percent of call participants and accounted for 8.7 percent of talk time.

Felice Maranz and Rebecca Greenfield, Bloomberg

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