Copyright Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

News Factoids for Second Quarter 2016

According to the Washington Post, over 40 percent of the money raised by 'dark money' political groups by the end of February came from just fifty mega-donors and their relatives.

In April, Microsoft released a machine-learning chatbot named Tay, which took less that 24 hours to mirror prejudice and xenophobia and racism from online trolls who gleefully abused Tay's A.I. programming; Microsoft yanked Tay offline 'for adjustments'.

The Ku Klux Klan has between 5,000 and 8,000 members in at least 160 chapters in 41 states. — per Southern Poverty Law Center

More than 90% of Americans spend 15-18 hours per month on Facebook (i.e. two full work days). Americans spend more time on Facebook than on every other social network combined.

Only four airline giants control 80% of domestic seats: American, Delta, Southwest, and United. The airline industry hauled off $33 BILLION in profits in 2015, nearly 90% over the prior year.

The national Sports Authority chain is closing all 460 stores. Locally, my brand-new town of Rio Communities has no large businesses, unless you count Dollar General and the three gas stations. Neighbor city Belen has many vacant lots and vacant stores on Main Street, it would be a ghost town if not for the railroad. Just north is supposedly-thriving Los Lunas, except the big Staples store closed in February with no sign of a new tenant, and the big Hastings Entertainment store put up banners in May that the store is closing - the employees are in shock. As I told them, 'welcome to the Republican economy'.

Wealthy individuals and corrupt politicians have stashed an estimated $76 TRILLION dollars in offshore tax havens, which is about 8% of the world's wealth. — per economist Gabriel Zucman
{That figure is just a bit larger than one year's nominal Gross Domestic Product for the entire world.)

Just five corporations earned 70% of the $300B in revenue generated by all internet companies over the past year. Amazon and Alphabet (Google) took in a combined 57%; the others are Facebook, eBay, and Q.V.C. owner Liberty Interactive. — per U.S.A. Today (Nov 2015)

2014 statistics for consumption of crude oil in the U.S.A.: 47% for gasoline; 22% for fuel oil (diesel, heating, ships); 13% for liquified petroleum gases (chemicals); 8% for jet fuel; 4% for still gas; 2% for asphalt and road oil; 1% for naphtha (rubber, plastics); and 3% other (lubricants, solvents, kerosene, waxes).

Between 1882 and 2012, Oklahoma experienced 230 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher (level at which noticeable by humans); in first quarter 2016 alone, Oklahoma experienced 287 such earthquakes. — from U.S.G.S. report in April 2016

May was the 13th straight month of record-breaking heat. The month's global average of 60.17°F was 1.57 degrees above the XXth Century average. — Popular Science Magazine

The prior coral-bleaching event in 1997-98 wiped out 16% of the world's coral reefs; the present coral-bleaching event is likely to be worse, based on the current record-setting El Nino.

Every day 89 Americans die from gun-related violence. New Mexico, with some of the most lax gun safety laws in the country, has a gun death rate 40% higher than the national average.

Last year, mass shootings accounted for just two percent of American gun deaths. — New Yorker Magazine

244 people on the Terrorist Watch List applied to buy firearms in 2015; after a background check, 91% of them were approved.

Copyright 2016 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved