Numlock News: April 3, 2023 • Bubble Tea, Elephants, Dungeons & Dragons
By Walt Hickey
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves made $38.5 million domestically and $33 million across 60 overseas markets, a $71 million opening which is pretty good all things considered on the $150 million budget. The issue is figuring out a second session to see the film, as most fans presumably will be texting the group chat, throwing out possible days to meet up, but then at the last minute one or two people will have to call out and then everyone will try to figure out if it’s worth going for it without a healer or if we should push back another week, and then we push back another week, and then at that point the warlock’s mother-in-law is in town so we’d have no one to tank and honestly this next session seems like a pretty combat intensive one so perhaps we should just push back another week so that everyone is in town and around. In related news, Strahd was recently seen playing a bunch of 2048 to kill the time.
A GPS collar for an elephant costs about $4,000, and given that the mammals can cause some serious damage to agriculture in the regions where they live, NGOs have paid for collars on prominent bulls in order to track elephant troops before they enter an area. Communities are often in conflict with elephants, with the humans destroying the forest in which they live and the elephants often descending into agricultural areas and eating tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of food. To reduce the conflict, locals are notified by app when troops of elephants move close, so they can set off fireworks and prepare to repel the grazing in non-combative ways.
Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, and the business for it in the United States has exploded recently. The market for bubble tea is expected to be $640 million in 2023, but is projected to hit $2.2 billion in 10 years. CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice, a bubble tea chain, saw its store count jump 77 percent from 2019 to 2022. The U.S. imported 30.5 million kilograms of tapioca — the integral ingredient in boba — in 2022, 69 percent from Taiwanese sellers.
New York is covered in feces. The dogs of New York produce 74 tons of poop a day, or approximately 27,000 tons a year. Those who don’t pick up their dogs’ expulsions in the aggregate can cause some serious accumulation. However, there is a total lack of enforcement: In 2022, there were just 18 tickets issues for failure to pick up canine waste, down from 72 tickets issued in 2019.
First Republic Bank has had a difficult couple of months, with their significant exposure to cryptocurrency and other issues in banking presenting significant problems for their business. This has presented a problem for Republic First Bancorp, which to be clear is a completely different bank, just with an extremely uncreative name given what banks can be called. Given the sell-off in First Republic, Republic First has had to endure a 40 percent drop in its stock from traders with fat fingers. In 1996, First Executive and Republic Bank merged to form First Republic, which was then sued by the other First Republic, after which it changed its name to Republic First. This is the second-worst thing that has happened to the bank thanks to their rival since.
In the United States, there are an estimated 700 million to 2 billion parking spaces, which given the number of vehicles in the country means there are between 2.5 to seven spaces for every single registered vehicle in the country. Many cities have realized that ceding so much of their prime real estate to static vehicles is a bit of a tactical error when it comes to stimulating their downtowns, especially requirements that insist that there must be a certain number of parking spots for every apartment in the downtown district. It’s had some issues: 14 percent of Los Angeles County alone is parking.
There are about 90 million people a week who listen to a podcast, something like 31 percent of the American population, a number that is up from 7 percent a decade ago. While this audience growth is generally lovely, the issue when it comes to making that into a proper business is that the number of podcasts in the most general sense has really exploded, with some 3,074,906 podcasts with 160,881,736 episodes all competing with one another for ads. Podcast revenue in the U.S. is projected to rise to $4.2 billion in 2024, up from $708 million in 2019.
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