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Stellar Recap - Vaccine Sweepstakes & No Burpers

Stella Min
Stella Min
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Explorations
Vaccine sweepstakes. California, Oregon, New York, Maryland, and Colorado are giving away cash prizes to several lucky COVID-19 vaccine recipients:
  • Colorado will award $1 million to vaccinated resident each week, starting June 4 to July 7.
  • In Oregon, one lucky vaccinated resident will win $1 million while one vaccinated resident in each of their 36 counties will receive $10,000.
  • Maryland will hold forty daily drawings to give away $40,000 to vaccinated residents with a $400,000 drawing on July 4th.
  • New York residents who received a vaccine at one of their ten mass vaccination sites between May 24 and 28 will receive a scratch-off ticket for a chance at winning the $5 million Mega Multiplier Lottery.
  • California is giving away a total of $116.5 million in cash prizes. Ten vaccinated residents will win $1.5 million on June 15. An additional 30 residents will win $50,000 each. Half will be selected on June 4 and the rest on June 11. Lastly, another 2 million people who begin and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series will automatically be eligible for either a $50 prepaid gift card or a $50 grocery card. (LA Times)
These programs were launched after observing the success of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Vax-a-Million campaign in increasing the vaccination rate among state residents. Given that each program is structured differently, I couldn’t help but wonder which state residents have the highest odds of winning. For programs with staggered drawings, where more and more residents become eligible with each successive drawing, it’s clear that those who are vaccinated sooner rather than later have a higher probability of winning. The devil is often in the details, however. For example, as of the May 23 deadline, 2,758,470 adults were entered into the first drawing in Ohio which is half of the nearly 5.2 million Ohio residents who have received at least one vaccine. To become eligible for Ohio’s drawing, vaccinated residents must register on their website. That means that their total pool of eligible winners may not increase as rapidly as they will in states like Colorado and Maryland, which automatically enter any resident who has received at least one vaccine. As of May 25, when Maryland’s sweepstakes began, over 3.36 million residents received at least 1 dose, which means that the chance of winning $40,000 in the first drawing in Maryland is lower than winning $1 million in Ohio. Colorado residents face a lower probability of winning than both states, given that over 3 million residents have received their first dose as of May 25, which is a week before the deadline for entry (midnight on June 1). However, Colorado residents may have better overall odds since the total population size is estimated to be 5.77 million compared to 11.8 million in Ohio and just under 6.2 million in Maryland. The competition in Colorado may be reduced further given the growing number of complaints among residents who have been unable to verify that their immunization records are in the state’s database. Colorado has also omitted nearly 65,000 veterans from the drawing since their immunization records are held by the VA. Note that around 22% of the population in all three states is under age 18, meaning they are ineligible for the drawing. When it comes to one-time drawings, vaccinated residents in Wheeler County, OR, have perhaps the best chances of winning a cash prize. The total population size of Wheeler is about 1,450. It is the least populated county in Oregon, after Sherman and Gilliam, and surely some Wheeler residents are not eligible for vaccination. Those odds are in stark contrast to those in New York. Vaccination status does not limit the total number of Mega Multiplier Lottery tickets which means that the probability of winning the $5 million prize is closer to the typical chance of winning the lottery jackpot (about 1 in 302.6 million). ABC7 noted that the probability of winning anything is supposedly 1 in 9. As of the end of May, around 54% of the 30.6 million adults in California have been vaccinated, which means the odds of winning are higher than in New York but much lower than any other state that has launched a vaccine sweepstakes.
Good luck to all the residents in these states and thank you for doing your part in keeping others safe by getting vaccinated.
Discoveries
No burpers. I learned that there is a small subset of the population that is unable to burp. This happens when a person’s upper esophageal sphincter (cricopharyngeus muscle) cannot relax enough to release the internal “bubble” of air. As harmless as this may seem, it can result in painful gut problems such as indigestion and severe cramping and bloating. Luckily, there is also a relatively simple solution that involves injecting botox into the cricopharyngeus muscle at the opening of the esophagus.
Stella Island. There is a series of luxury hotels and resorts in Greece, owned by the Stella Hotel Collections. Stella Island, my favorite resort, is only around $375 a night. That’s around a third less than the Ocean Treehouse room at the One&Only resort that I shared last week.
Recap
Self-reflection and the one thing project
  • What’s one of your vacation memories and what makes it so memorable?
  • What’s one thing you look for in a community?
  • Name a time in the past when you felt like you hit rock bottom. What helped you get past this moment?
  • What’s one thing that’s important for strong relationships?
  • What’s one thing you do when you feel stressed and why?
Digital Gems
  • COVID-19 vaccines are sexy. People who state that they are vaccinated on their OkCupid dating profile are 14% more likely to get a match (OkCupid).
  • People are turning to peer-to-peer car sharing platforms like Turo and Getaround to get around the hefty car rental prices (Bloomberg Opinion).
  • The number of people who visited Yellowstone National Park in April increased by 40%, compared to 2019. Visits to Grand Teton National Park increased by 48% and Glacier National Park increased by 50% (AP).
  • Yellowstone National Park has been warming at its most intense rates in at least 1,250 years. The year 2016 was the warmest temperature on record since 770 (Scientific American).
  • Researchers from King’s College London found that posts related to suicide on the sub-Reddit forum SuicideWatch were highest on Mondays between 2am and 5am (KCL). The Monday phenomenon of upticks in suicides is well-documented (Kim et al., 2019) along with Sundays and New Year’s Day (Science). I learned about this pattern when a friend of mine, Kyle Watz, ended their life on NYE in 2005.
  • The viral YouTube video, “Charlie Bit My Finger” was sold as an NFT for $760,000 and the owner plans to remove it from the platform (MarketWatch).
  • Some companies are not hiring in Colorado to avoid revealing how much they pay, which is required by a new law that went into effect in January (CBS4).
  • Researchers from Florida Atlantic University have traced the origins of the colony of monkeys inhabiting South Florida to an escape that occurred at the Dania Chimpanzee Farm in 1948 (AP).
  • Americans are excited to get out this summer. Walmart reported that luggage sales were up 400% and partyware sales were up 50% in April compared to the same time last year. Target apparel sales rose 60% last quarter year-over-year (WSJ).
  • New research suggests that Wisconsin’s wolf populations saved the state $10.9 million in losses by reducing the rate of deer collisions by a quarter. The wolves have also saved lives. Every year, an average of 19,757 Wisconsinites hit a deer, and on average 477 of them are injured and eight die (The Atlantic).
  • Amazon did not have a single executive who was Black, Native American, or multiracial, and employed only one Hispanic or Latino executive in 2016. By 2017, they employed 22 Black executives, 51 Hispanic and Latino executives and 22 multiracial executives. The only thing that changed was their definition of the term in their reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After 2017, Amazon stopped releasing its EEOC reporting (Seattle Times).
  • The CEO of Redfin shared 15 anecdotes and stats that capture the bizarre real estate market in the US (@glennkelman).
  • Students from higher income households tend to submit college admission essays that are thematically abstract (e.g., human nature and sensory experiences), while students from lower income households discuss topics related to personal trauma (The Sassyologist).
  • Scientists created a map of unique microbiomes that exist in subway stations around the world (MetaSUB). The study identified 10,928 viruses and 748 kinds of bacteria that have never been documented before. Most of which are likely not pathogens, or are relatively innocuous (NYT).
  • A new survey found that 15% of Americans believe that the levers of power are controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles, a core belief of QAnon supporters (PRRI).
  • A Twitter user criticized Airbnb for pricey cleaning fees and her tweet went viral, prompting co-founder, Nate Blecharczky to defend their practice. According to AirDNA, cleaning fees for short-term rentals have risen an average of 5.8% in the U.S. since 2019 (MarketWatch).
  • 47% of U.S. homes were on the market for less than a week before going under contract (Zillow).
  • The number of consumers who plan to buy a house within the next 6 months fell to the lowest level since February 2013 (The Sassyologist).
  • AMC stock prices more than doubled this week, pushing its year-to-date gains to 1,150% (Bloomberg).
  • What does it take to get consumers to break their habits and try something new? (The Indicator podcast; 9 min.)
Want to read more content like this? Follow The Sassyologist and browse through my bookmarks.
Wishing you a productive week
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Stella Min
Stella Min @OhhStellar

Stellar Recap is my personal newsletter where I share digest of interesting media that I've come across during the week, along with any personal updates.

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