Numlock News: April 17, 2023 • Vampires, Bullfighters, Mavericks
By Walt Hickey
The Dallas Mavericks have been fined $750,000 for insufficiently playing the sport of basketball, specifically an incident on April 7 where the team lost to the Chicago Bulls. On that day, the team elected to rest several key players and limit the time spent playing for several others. As a result of the loss, they now have the 10th-best odds in the draft lottery, and the league is effectively saying they tanked the game. It wouldn’t be the first time, either, as owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 in 2018 for saying the Macs were tanking.
As expected, The Super Mario Bros. Movie won the weekend, with ticket sales declining just 41 percent to a robust $87 million, bringing its global cume to $678 million. What’s interesting is in the runners up, where the Nic Cage horror comedy Renfield missed expectations that it would land in second place and instead nabbed just fourth place with $7.7 million. Instead, Russell Crowe thriller The Pope’s Exorcist came in second with $9.1 million, followed by John Wick: Chapter 4 with $7.9 million in third, bringing its worldwide gross to $349 million and now making it the biggest film in the franchise.
Toronto Pearson Airport charges 58 cents a minute (USD) for parking fees at the airport, up from 55 cents per minute last year. For most cases, this is just an incidental cost of operating an aircraft, but in one very specific case an aircraft — a massive Antonov An-124 cargo plane with a wingspan of 240 feet — has racked up $330,000 in parking fees since it’s been grounded since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Canada restricted the air space following the invasion, and the Volga-Dnepr plane can’t so much as get permission for its mechanics to service the plane, which is one of 26 in existence.
Germany has shut down the last of its nuclear power plants, for some reason, with six reactors shut down since the end of 2021. Those six reactors produced more zero-carbon electricity than all of the solar panels in Germany combined, and last year produced more than all of the wind and solar in Denmark. Wholesale energy prices are up in Germany significantly compared to the baseline, hovering at 135 euros per megawatt-hour as of the start of the year. It’s prompted protests not just among Germans, as the loss of all that carbon-free energy will be felt across the continent. The positive news for nuclear advocates is that five of the six reactors can be restored to full operation without any major effort or modifications, and the sixth is still reversible.
Global revenue from music downloads are down 43.75 percent over the past five years as the broad market moves to streaming, but one company in particular — Beatport, which specifically caters to DJs — is seeing big success and growth in the space. Over that same period, digital download sales are up 35 percent at Beatport, which claims to have sold 25,519,770 song downloads last year alone, good for 12 percent of all globally downloaded tracks. They focus on selling high-quality downloads to DJs for use in live sets.
A new study published in JAMA Network Open has linked the mere presence of Black primary care physicians in a county to longer lifespans for Black people within that county. The researchers analyzed data from over 3,000 counties, specifically the differences of the 1,618 counties that had at least one Black primary care physician across the three years examined. They found that every 10 percent increase in Black primary care physicians in a county was linked to a roughly one-month increase in life expectancy, and a 10 percent increase was also associated with a 1.2 percent decrease in the disparity in mortality between Black and white individuals.
Just under 2 percent of Spaniards attended a bullfight during the 2021–22 season, as a prominent diversion has declined into a rare niche. The topic is divisive in Spain, as large groups who argue that the practice is tantamount to animal torture contend with those who argue it’s an important cultural symbol of Spain, particularly in the southern and central parts of the country. The remaining fans are die-hard, and have made inroads among the youth, as teenagers aged 15 to 19 were the largest group of attendees of bullfights last season. Indeed, government attempts to ban the practice have often had the direct opposite affect among the standard crowd of rebellious youths, who are then drawn to the banned thing more than they would have been if it was just a bunch of stodgy old bullfighters pushing it.
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