The Data Examiner 02/26/2023

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It’s An Exciting Time For Board Games

It’s an exciting time for board games. Over 3K new ones debut annually, per online forum BoardGameGeek, with the global market estimated between $11B and $13.4B. The space has seen a boom in recent years. Even before the pandemic, interest in venues like board game cafes was rising. And through it, sales jumped as people looked for ways to connect at home, per WSJ. While the old classics still sell, smaller game-makers are having a moment, often leveraging TikTok to market their creations. Wingspan, a gorgeous game about bird-watching, was a bestseller on Amazon in 2022.

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The High Cost Of Snow & Ice Removal

In the winter of 1979, a powerful Chicago political dynasty began to collapse. Michael A. Bilandic, a cog in Richard J. Daley’s political machine, lost the mayoral election in a stunning upset. But there was a simple reason for the defeat: Bilandic didn’t clear the snow quickly enough. After a forecast for a couple inches, a blizzard hit Chicago that January. Buses and trains didn’t run for days, residents couldn’t find anywhere to park their cars, and plows took forever to reach neighborhoods – unless you were lucky enough to live on the same block as Bilandic. The lesson? Don’t take snow lightly. Beyond closures and clogged roads, it can come with steep financial costs. According to a study from the Federal Highway Administration, the nation’s tab for snow and ice removal can be upwards of $4B per year.

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Canada’s Sweet Stuff

In 2022, Canada yielded the most syrup on record, dating all the way back to 1924. Producers made 17.4M gallons of the sticky stuff, a 53% jump from 2021, when warmer-than-ideal spring temperatures meant a shorter maple season. In 2020, the industry’s second-most prosperous year, the gross value of that year’s 14.3M-gallon yield was $413M. To meet demand, with Canada responsible for 75% of the world’s maple syrup production, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers tapped into its strategic reserve. The warehouse, north of Montreal, holds up to 94K barrels of maple syrup, or ~5.1M gallons – almost enough to fill eight Olympic-size pools.

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Audit Rates Of Individual Tax Returns

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Populations Ages 65 And Older

The Data Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** Today is Ball Point Pen Day and I will not be celebrating. I effing hate ball point pens. It’s one of the few things I’m really picky about. I mean, a crappy pen that dries out in two days and ends up in landfill forever? Pass. —- April Davila

** In short, I think that without a pandemic, and an ensuing year-plus when a good deal of our interactions were virtual, America would not have entered an extended racial reckoning. It wasn’t that Black Americans were, two years ago, at some unique tipping point, nor was it that white Americans opened in an unprecedented way to hearing out Black America’s concerns from the sheer goodness of their hearts. —- John McWhorter

** There are three [things] that are happening in the U.S. right now: First, the creation of enormous amounts of debt and the printing of a lot of money. This results in inflation, which takes buying power away from people. Second, internal conflicts. Political conflict between the left and the right, the haves and the have-nots, and people with different values. And third, a great power conflict on a global stage. In 1945, the U.S. had 80% of the world’s gold, and we [accounted for] 50% of the world’s economy. And we had a monopoly on military power. And now that gap has narrowed. —- Ray Dalio is the founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world, one of the 100 richest people on Earth, and a best-selling author

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The Data Examiner – Facts:

** Lowe’s successfully tested a mechanism to track and lock items with low-cost radio frequency identification chips such that power tools and other equipment will not function if they are stolen. Thefts executed by packs of robbers have garnered public attention during the crime wave of the past three years, with some retailers and convenience chains spending millions on new security measures or closing locations in dangerous cities.

** Trader Joe’s 14th annual survey crowned Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Tortilla Chips as its top product. Previous repeated winners – lookin’ at you, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – were omitted from voting.

** Impossible Foods is reportedly planning to lay off 20% of its ~700 staff just weeks after reporting record sales in 2022.

** Ford is ramping up production and cutting the prices of its electric Mustang Mach-E, following price cuts by Tesla. Meanwhile, UK-based EV startup Arrival is laying off 50% of its staff.

** ChatGPT is apparently great at writing real estate listings. Plus, it can calculate mortgage payments.

The Data Examiner – Readers Have Spoken:


We asked Examiner readers in all 50 of the United States and in 26 foreign countries for their thoughts. The Data Examiner readers have spoken.

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How Does A Pet Get Rich?

Like any of us, through hard work or wealthy parents. 1. Appearances: Humans and pets alike appear at fan conventions. This year’s CatCon featured meet-and-greets with “Adventure Cat Leo,” among others. 2. Merchandise: The late Grumpy Cat’s worth is unknown, but it’s estimated she brought in up to $100M through appearances and merch. 3. Sponsored social posts: Loni Edwards, founder of The Dog Agency, told Vox that pets with 100K+ followers can net a few hundred bucks per post, but those with millions can score $15K per post. 4. Inheritance: Gunther VI’s wealth is supposedly via a trust left to his ancestor, Gunther III. However, when Gunther VI sold a mansion, it was but a “brilliant stunt” by Italy’s Gunther Corporation, per Forbes. In fact, the entire thing may be a hoax … but some celebs, including Oprah Winfrey and late designer Karl Lagerfeld, have placed hefty sums in trusts to ensure their pets will be cared for after their deaths.



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The Data Examiner – Reader Comment:
by Alan Ascher

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