Numlock News: April 28, 2022 • Blades, Predatory Crabs, Atom Smasher
By Walt Hickey
While You Were Burning Coal, I Studied The Blade
Last year, 12,000 wind turbine blades were scrapped around the world, and the number is expected to be at least 28,000 per year by 2030. The good news is many of the blades are being replaced before the end of their 20- to 30-year usable life only in order to get increasingly efficient blades on turbines, but still that’s a lot of waste that can add up. Instead of just landfilling them, though, the old fiberglass blades can be sent to cement factories, where they can be burned in kilns to make clinker for cement. Burning the blades has an emissions reduction of 27 percent compared to landfilling the blades and burning coal instead, but it is a bit more expensive as it’s about 20 percent to 30 percent pricier to get them to a cement plant than it is to dump them in a landfill, though as cement makers are pressured to cut carbon it could get cheaper.
A new study sought to determine the overall abundance of predatory crabs throughout history by comparing the number of chips on the shells of black turban snails, which live a terrifying existence of constantly being hunted by voracious crabs. The scars on those shells detailing pitched combat against a crab can endure through the fossil record, and can be compared to the scars of modern-day snails. And these snails today have it easy: The study found that these modern, coddled snails have a rate of scarring 10 percent to 15 percent lower than their ancestors in the Pleistocene, which was 120,000 to 80,000 years ago. Yes, back in my day we lived in constant fear of onslaughts of crabs attacking us at all times, and gosh darn-it we liked it, slithering uphill both ways to school. Why, today’s snails get a participation trophy merely for enduring an attack from one hoard of giant, snail-crazed crab, it’s ridiculous. Now I’m even hearing that they just want to abolish the giant crab attacks that annihilated entire generations of snails with a stroke of the pen. Unbelievable.
Love And Thunder
The new trailer for the forthcoming Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder prominently features “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, placement which shot the track to No. 9 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs charts within the week. Last week, the song had 4.7 million streams, up 8 percent over the previous week, and 1,600 downloads, a pop of 181 percent. It’s yet another opportunity for the Marvel movies to juice the sales of a classic rock act, like how Iron Man pumped up AC/DC music, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” got a boost from Thor: Ragnarok, or the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy literally rejuvenating sales for a dozen artists and introducing a new generation to the simple pleasures of chanting “ooga-chaka” with the boys.
Statistics Canada is releasing the findings from the country’s 2021 census, which made it the first country in the world to ask a core census question about gender identity and report the numbers of people who identify as transgender and nonbinary. Australia, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all asked voluntary questions, this month Scotland will ask a voluntary question about that, and New Zealand is preparing two questions similar to how Canada approached it. All told, of the 30.5 million Canadians over the age of 15 who were counted, 100,815 identified as transgender or nonbinary, or 0.33 percent of the total population. Specifically, 59,460 Canadians identified as transgender and 41,355 as nonbinary.
The Large Hadron Collider is up and running after downtime when a suite of improvements and upgrades to the particle collider were installed, including an improved booster and a new and improved proton beam source called Linac4, which replaces the Linac2 accelerator which had been in use since the 1970s. As a result, the scientists are able to increase the injection energy of the ions pumped into the rings, with Linac4 offering a 43 percent improvement over Linac2. The instrument firing up again is no small feat: When the LHC is running, it consumes about 800 gigawatt-hours of energy per year, which is half the demand of the city of Geneva. Charmingly, it gets its power from France, which gets most of its power from nuclear plants, so the atoms smashing in Switzerland are in fact generally powered by atoms splitting in France.
Moneys Not Where Their Mouth Is
Activist shareholder groups at six of the largest investment banks in the United States have put forward resolutions that would have the banks back up their purported climate commitments with actual policies that would extricate them from financing the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Well, three banks had their shareholder votes on Monday, and the measures were overwhelmingly voted down. Just 13 percent of Citigroup shareholders backed the proposal, 11 percent of Wells Fargo and 11 percent of Bank of America shareholders. Organizers did manage to get the support of a number of large institutional investors — several New York City pension funds among them, as well as the New York State Common Retirement Fund — and hope to persuade large money managers at BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard to back them next time when they refile for 2023.
Amazon’s Twitch is reportedly reconsidering its payout structure to the tens of thousands of streamers on the platform. The service has over 51,500 people in its partnership program, and viewers can subscribe to a streamer for $5 to $25 per month, and those partners can get between $3.50 and $5 per 1,000 ad impressions when they run an ad. But the math may be changing: This year, each creator who streams at least 40 hours a month could get $100 for running two minutes of ads per hour, with a sliding scale for more minutes. One proposal under consideration is a revenue share, which could benefit large streamers, while another is to cut back the revenue cut that streamers get on subscriptions from 70 percent to 50 percent.
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