Numlock News: August 1, 2019 • Butts, Oscars, Stress
By Walt Hickey
Today is a momentous day in online commerce, even if you don’t know it. August 1 was the day set by Amazon for brands to make their packaging more efficient: the retailer offered a $1 credit to producers for each item that met the standard ahead of today, and will now add a $1.99 surcharge on each item in packaging that fails to comply. The effects have been pronounced: Philips Norelco OneBlade cut its packaging volume by 80 percent, cutting it from 13 components to nine components. The makers of the Science Diet pet food cut wasted space by 82 percent and packaging volume by 34 percent.
Telomeres are protective caps that prevent damage to DNA. They also shorten each time a cell replicates, and when they get too short cells know it’s time to wrap it up and self-destruct. This plays a role in the aging process, and every year telomeres shrink by about 25 base pairs per year. Turns out that stress can seriously accelerate this process: first-year medical residents saw a decline of 140 base pairs, on average. Those who worked over 75 hours per week lost 700 base pairs.
Right now, both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are in a movie together that’s pretty well regarded by critics and will inevitably get a strong push come awards season. The spicy question under consideration this year will be if the coordinators of the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Oscar campaign will be pushing both DiCaprio and Pitt in the lead acting category, or if they’ll be more strategic and relegate one (likely Pitt) to compete in best supporting actor. This question is a pertinent one, as over the 17 films where co-stars were both nominated for lead actor, one of their actors won the Oscar only five times. How to play the game when it comes to category selection is a common question in a year with plenty of two-handers, such as Ford v Ferrari starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale and The Lighthouse starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
Projections from AT Kearney suggest 60 percent of meat eaten in 2040 will actually be alternatives to meat that don’t originate from dead animals, and with alternatives to meat going mainstream — 95 percent of people buying alt burgers are meat eaters — that will have a major impact on how calories in the U.S. are consumed. Beef is wasteful to produce, with cows requiring 430 gallons of water and 36,000 calories of feed to produce 1,000 calories worth of beef. And while nobody is swapping from prime porterhouse steaks to fake burger meat, ground beef is 60 percent of beef sales.
Tobacco manufacturers are taking another look at the detrimental environmental impact of cigarette butts, which are the most common type of trash out there. When a global waterway cleanup was conducted in 2018, there were 1.75 million plastic bottles collected, 3.67 million straws collected, and 3.73 million food wrappers collected, but there were a staggering 5.72 million cigarette butts collected. One survey found 14 percent of smokers don’t consider butts litter, and an estimated 65 percent of cigarettes smoked in the U.S. are littered.
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In 2018, broadcasters like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC collected $10.1 billion in re-transmission fees from cable and satellite companies, despite the fact that they broadcast their wares for free over the air to anyone with an antenna. Those retransmission fees are annoying for cable and satellite television providers given that they’re paying for something that is effectively being distributed for free. A non-profit which happens to be bankrolled in part by AT&T called Locast provides free access to broadcast television online in 13 U.S. markets, re-transmitting the over-the-air feed on digital streams. This naturally has broadcasters worried about losing all that aforementioned money, so the networks are suing and it’s bound to become an ugly proxy war in the larger cold war between distributors and networks.
Georgia’s film industry is in a bind, with recent abortion legislation prompting production companies to eye other municipalities. Georgia gives out $800 million in production subsidies, which is on par with the $822 million doled out by the United Kingdom, and almost double the $423 million given by British Columbia or $420 million in New York. New Mexico may be one winner of any exodus, with Netflix planning to spend $1 billion and NBC Universal $500 million there over the next decade. Georgia stands to lose a lot: the last year’s 455 film and television productions from the state accounted for 92,100 jobs and $4.6 billion in wages.
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