Numlock News: September 26, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Pokémon Go is still in great shape — while it did make $400 million in less than two months in that heady summer of 2016 after launch, it’s sustained a reliable user base since. All told, since its launch in 2016, players of Pokémon Go have spent an estimated $2 billion through in-app purchases. Still, it’s not “Gotta Buy ‘Em All,” it’s “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” and now there’s one more Pokémon in the mix with the introduction of the 808th pocket monster, Meltan. This is huge for many people, including me: cards on the table, the amount of brain cells zealously claimed by "stuff I learned about Pokémon one time” has systematically replaced other, more important information like “essential phone numbers” and “the street plan of my home town” and “what airline gate I am supposed to be at right now” and “what was once a pretty fluent understanding of Spanish.”

Stefanie Fogel, Variety

A Woman’s Place Is In The House

The number of women major party nominees in 2018 has dwarfed all previous years. There are 235 women nominated to run for the House (183 Democrats and 52 Republicans), 22 nominated for Senate (15 Democrats and seven Republicans), 16 nominated for Governor (12 Democrats and four Republicans) and 3,365 nominated in state legislature races (2,380 Democrats and 985 Republicans). Still, we’re far from parity: if women House candidates won all the races they are favored to win and all the races currently seen as toss-ups, women would go from 1 in 5 members of the House to 1 in 4 members of the House.

Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR


Waterbeds, which I’ve just learned is a product synonymous with weird ‘80s sex, are attempting to mount a comeback. In the mid-1980s, the Waterbed Manufacturers Association reported $2 billion in annual sales. Now, not so much. Adjusting for inflation, waterbed prices have remained surprisingly steady since 1975, with standard models ranging from $2,000 to $3,300. Products that were once “The Pleasure Pit” and “Pleasure Island” have been renamed “Firm” and “Pure” in an bid to get the twentysomething-sleeping-on-a-futon crowd to swipe right on waterbeds.

Jennifer Kay, The Associated Press

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There are 2.17 million lacrosse participants in the United States, up 35 percent from 2012. Compare that growth to the 23 percent decline seen in tackle football. Lacrosse players are also pretty wealthy as consumers: 57 percent of them have a household income over $75,000. That big pile of facts is essentially the argument behind a new six-team Premier Lacrosse League, because, of course, the name would be fratty and preppy as hell. This new effort distinguishes itself from the existing Major League Lacrosse as it intends to make the players full-time rather than part-time employees, and will operate on a tour-based model rather than a city-based model. Congratulations to all the people I know named Blake.

Scott Soshnick, Bloomberg

Happy Marriages

You’re welcome, America: thanks to millennials the U.S. divorce rate has fallen 18 percent from 2008 to 2016. Boomers have continued to divorce at an unusually high rate: the divorce rate doubled for people aged 55 to 64 and tripled for Americans 65 and up from 1990 to 2015. But for the youths, people are getting married older and fewer people are tying the knot, with many deciding not to get married at all, thus foreclosing the very possibility of a divorce. I mean, if systemic forces conspiring to loot the wealth of an entire generation have made us too broke to afford a wedding, we’re definitely too broke to afford a divorce.

Ben Steverman, Bloomberg


Manufacturers already eyeing the exits from China due to rising wages are now looking harder at southeast Asian nations due to new tariffs. China has unparalleled infrastructure in the region, which makes it a logistically efficient place to do business: in the past three decades, China’s built 2.9 million miles of highways and has 13 of the largest 50 ports in the world. But average wages are up a third in recent years and the average Chinese factory worker makes five times as much as the minimum wage for a Cambodian garment worker, about $10,000 a year.

Alexandra Stevenson, The New York Times

Floridian Cycling Deaths

By a long shot, Florida is the deadliest place to ride a bicycle. From 2007 to 2016, there were 6.2 bicyclist deaths for every 100,000 people in Florida, far higher than the nearest runners-up: Louisiana (3.9 deaths per 100,000), Arizona (3.5 deaths per 100,000) and South Carolina (3.2 deaths per 100,000). Breaking that out by metro areas, Florida’s cities are the most dangerous for cyclists of the 50 largest metro areas in America, with the top four deadliest metros for cyclists coming in as Tampa/St. Petersburg (7.0 bicyclist deaths per 100,000 people), Jacksonville (6.0 deaths per 100,000), Orlando (5.8 deaths per 100,000) and Miami (5.4 deaths per 100,000), with Sacramento, California coming in as the worst non-Floridian city with 4.8 cyclist deaths per 100,000.

Scott Calvert and Max Rust, The Wall Street Journal

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