Numlock News: September 27, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover

In 1960, Penguin Books was prosecuted for obscenity for publishing DH Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, in a landmark trial — end result, not guilty — presided over by Sir Lawrence Byrne. Byrne’s own paperback copy of the novel sold in December 1993 at auction for £4,370, then the highest-ever price for a paperback sold at auction. That very copy is going back up for sale, and is expected to fetch £10,000 to £15,000. It's the perfect gift for that friend who loves romance novels, or free speech milestones, or the one who shamelessly measures their erotica collection by the acre.

Alison Flood, The Guardian

Student Loan Non-Forgiveness

This seems like it could be extremely bad: in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, Americans get their federal education debt discharged after spending 10 years in government or at a nonprofit. This was designed to promote public service among educated individuals who otherwise would need to work in a high paying occupation to pay off debt. Here’s the issue: of the 28,913 applications reviews, only 289 were approved and only 96 people actually had their loans discharged. Over 739,000 people, as of last September, submitted paperwork to have their jobs certified as qualified under the program. If that 1 percent success rate holds, hundreds of thousands of people will be holding on to an obscene amount of debt they had been made to believe would be eliminated due to their 10 years of public service.

Jordan Weissmann, Slate

Just What Cities Need: Bees

New research shows that urban bee colonies tend to have healthier lives than country bee colonies. In both cases, the colony populations peaked at around weeks three to five, but the urban bees ended up producing far more bees — peaking at over 50 bees in the colony in weeks four and five — than the agricultural bees — peaking at just over 20 bees in week three, down to about 15 by week four. Industrialized farming practices, insecticides and pollutants make for harder and shorter lives for bees in rural areas, while here in the cities we have maraschino cherry factories hiding pot farms that bees can raid and narc on.

Daniel Wolf, Quartz

Nicotine

A study from a Stanford University pediatrics professor found that 23 percent of high schoolers thought e-cigarettes were not a tobacco product, which is sort of like thinking that paper is not a tree product or gasoline is not a crude oil product. Another study has showed that 63 percent of teens and young adults who used Juul electronic cigarettes were unaware that the product always contained nicotine, which, oh boy, they are so screwed. Like I stopped smoking cigarettes, and yes it was annoying, but at least I knew what I was up against.

Dana G Smith, Medium

Acceptance Rate

Applying to college — the process by which we force emotionally volatile minors under an inordinate amount of stress to submit themselves to the judgement of an anonymous and mercurial bureaucracy for the right to make a financially catastrophic commitment as a teenager — somehow got worse since we did that. The overall acceptance rate to a top 50 college in 2006 was 35.9 percent, which has since declined to 22.6 percent. So the kids attending your alma mater right now almost certainly had it rougher than you. The exception, however, is literally me and all of my friends: William & Mary was one of only 2 schools (the other being Syracuse) in the cohort where the acceptance rate ticked up slightly between 2006 and 2018.

Priceonomics

It’s Too Cold To Go Out And Murder Someone

More people are shot on hot days than cold days. The average number of shooting victims on a cold day (less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit) is typically lower than the average number of shooting victims on hot (85 degrees and up) days. Since 2015 in Philly, the average cold day had 2.6 shooting victims and the average hot day had 4.4. From 2014 to 2016, hot Detroit day (3.5 victims) is worse than a chilly one (2 victims). In Chicago, a pleasant day (50 to 85 degrees) since 2014 saw 10.2 shooting victims; cold days saw 6.3 shooting victims, and hot days had an average 13.0 victims.

Jeff Asher, The Upshot

Telltale Games

Video game company Telltale sacked approximately 250 employees on Friday and the remaining skeleton crew of 25 will be fired as it winds down operations. Laid off individuals are getting health benefits only through the end of the month and receive no severance, because when it comes to “classiness when it comes to treatment of human resources” the game development industry is somewhere between the illegal organ harvesting business and SPECTRE. Telltale is now the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging it violated labor laws by not providing advanced written notice of the layoff.

Samit Sarkar, Polygon

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