Numlock News: August 15, 2022 • Fizz, Tectonic, Chalk
By Walt Hickey
Welcome back! Thanks again to Ali, Pat, Dave, Rachael and Olivia for covering me last week. I hope you loved reading them as much as I did, and I had a great vacation as a result. Check them out at their respective homes.
End of Summer
Total domestic box office revenue was just $66 million last weekend, the lowest of a summer in which much of the theatrical box office rebounded on the backs of a number of hits like Top Gun: Maverick and whatever Marvel movies came out most recently. Bullet Train, which is in its second weekend, was pretty much the last big thing on the docket for the summer. One major milestone is that, following it increasing theaters from 2,760 to 3,181 locations, Top Gun: Maverick was actually up at the box office week over week and made another $7.2 million domestically, which right now puts it north of $1.35 billion globally. Next weekend is poised to be additionally quiet, the kind of weekend where a planned rerelease of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial might put up legitimately solid numbers against actual new movies.
The price of carbon dioxide is spiking, and it’s causing problems for breweries that buy the gas at an industrial scale to carbonate their beer. While prices vary across the country, the Massachusetts Brewers Guild said that CO2 that normally goes for 11 cents per pound has recently been quoted at around $1.20 per pound. As always, all happy supply chains are alike while each unhappy supply chain is unhappy in its own way, and the CO2 issues are manifold: There’s a contamination of CO2 in Mississippi, there’s maintenance going on at the ammonia plants that sell their byproduct CO2 to food suppliers, and the cost of shipping stuff is up across the board. As a result, it’s pricier to get the fizz in the drink, and the industry doesn’t expect a reprieve until at least October.
An especially shallow part of Germany’s Rhine river — a critical artery for the transportation of industrial goods throughout central Europe — has a depth measure for navigability right now set at 35 centimeters. That’s bad, because for a lot of barges the minimum depth they can manage at Kaub is 40 centimeters, meaning that it’s right now not feasible for a lot of traffic to flow. The worse news is that it’s poised to get worse, with the shallow area west of Frankfurt projected to drop to a depth of 30 centimeters and stay there until at least the 18th.
Chalk Up A Win
A U.S. District Court judge in Michigan ruled that the city of Saginaw violated the constitutional rights of its citizens when it used the once-standard strategy of chalking tires to enforce a parking limit. The policy is basically you send an attendant around to put some chalk on a parked car’s tire and if it’s still there the next time they make their rounds the car gets a ticket. After half a decade of litigation from a plaintiff who got 14 tickets, the judge found marking the tires without a warrant violated the constitutional right against unreasonable searches. The chalking was used for 4,800 tickets, but they don’t have to be refunded; Saginaw just has to pay $1 for each marking.
Bicycles, which saw an unprecedented surge in demand over the course of the pandemic, are seeing sales come back down to earth. In the first six months of the year, revenue at bicycle shops in the U.S. was down 7 percent compared to the same six months of 2021. That’s a slight miss, but the business overall is still up substantially off the pre-pandemic levels: In 2020, sales in the first six months of the year were up 46 percent over 2019, and in 2021 those sales rose another 4 percent on top of that. For manufacturers who didn’t have enough supply to sell in 2020 but now have too much inventory, it’s a rough time.
Swift Travel At A Price
Social media ire over the celebrities who own and use private jets in a climatologically tenuous period such as ours has put a spotlight on the private jet business. Monthly flights of private jets are overall up approximately 30 percent since 2019, according to Flightradar24. Despite the high cost of fuel that might chasten other fliers, private fliers tend to have the cash to overlook fluctuations in aviation prices, and business is outstanding. Private jet charters offer a degree of versatility that commercial lacks and usually run at a price of $3,000 to $10,000 per hour, depending on the size and a slight cost making your fanbase cap their interest and trade their support.
Plate tectonics is the way that the planet’s crust is moved around over time, the phenomenon that causes earthquakes and volcanos and all that other cool stuff. The general theory was that this was initially kicked off by the circulation of the liquid mantle, that the flow just happened as Earth began to cool. A new study of parts of Australia point to a different spark that got the plates in motion. Evidence of plate tectonics goes back to 3.8 billion years, which is coincidentally the same period of time as the Late Heavy Bombardment, which was when a lot of material smashed into the planets of the solar system. This theory suggests newly described geological evidence supports the idea that the onslaught of asteroid ilk was the thing that fragmented the crust and kicked off the tectonic shifts.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
The best way to reach new readers is word of mouth. If you click THIS LINK in your inbox, it’ll create an easy-to-send pre-written email you can just fire off to some friends.