Numlock News: August 24, 2022 • Avocados, Thieves, Revenants
By Walt Hickey
Every civilization, every culture, has the myth of the revenant, the dead thing that returns by one means or another to a state resembling the living. In ancient Norway they called them gjengangers, in China a jiāngshī, and a hajduk in Serbia would have called this undead thing a vampir. On every continent and in every history, mankind has had to muster a word for a thing that should be dead, must be dead, was in fact dead, but in violation of the laws that govern our human mortality returns to conclude unfinished business by whatever savage means they think necessary. This, plainly, should terrify us. No matter where you lived or where you came from, the idea of an animated corpse wearing the flesh of a loved one and undermining the social order and peace that we have built? These things exist, and they will greet you with the face of an old friend, and every nugget of folklore we know says that is what you must fear most. That being said, yesterday MoviePass — a subscription service that collapsed totally after offering unsustainable unlimited movie screenings for $9.95 per month — announced it will return on September 5, with three subscription price tiers of $10, $20 and $30 per month.
Single avocado prices in Australia are down 30 percent compared to normal levels, with some shops hawking avocados for $1 (Australian) apiece, or about 70 cents USD. This is because over the past several years farmers planted a ton of new trees anticipating rising demand that did not materialize as quickly as the supply did. All told, the surplus in the country is enough for every resident of Australia to eat 22 avocados a year, and sellers are keen to make that happen with ad campaigns and contests working to cut into the glut.
What kind of tires a car has does have a dramatic effect on its mileage, which is particularly important for EVs. A BMW i4 M50 with 19-inch tires can travel 271 miles on a single charge, while on 20-inch tires it can only go 227 miles, cutting the range by 16 percent. The most efficient tire is skinny, small in circumference, and has a hubcap that covers most of the wheel; unfortunately, the aesthetics of that don’t always offer what buyers want. At least now, EV manufacturers are just going to give consumers the dumb inefficient tires that they want — fully 40 percent of Volkswagen ID4 buyers choose 20-inch rims over 19-inch rims — and gradually work on shifting the trend toward the actually efficient wheels.
Over the past year, movie star Ezra Miller has had a string of legal and public relations troubles that have grabbed headlines and thrown into jeopardy the forthcoming movie The Flash, which they star in. A new poll asked what moviegoers think should be done about a film where a star was involved in some kind of scandal. For instance, for a hypothetical film in which a star is accused of felony burglary, 20 percent said the film should be released as-is, 16 percent think the movie should be postponed, 40 percent think the film should be reshot to replace the performer, and 24 percent think the film should be cancelled and never released. They asked this about disorderly conduct, threatening others, felony burglary, physical assault, and owning an unlicensed cannabis farm, among other things Miller has been accused of. For the “all of the above” option, fully 42 percent of respondent think it’s best to just cancel the movie, 33 percent think it really needs a reshoot, and just 14 percent think it’s worth releasing on time.
Many cars are outfitted with an immobilizer, a device that can make a car stop functioning in the event that it’s stolen. And while the rate of car theft in 2019 was down 67 percent from its 1991 peak, not all cars are made equally, and some areas are seeing increases in some kinds of car theft. For instance, catalytic converters in cars contain valuable metals and thefts of the parts are up 1,215 percent since 2019. When cars are stolen, the savvy thief has since learned to hit Hyundais and Kias, which until recently did not come standard with an immobilizer. In some metro areas, Hyundais and Kias are half of all cars stolen, and some insurers are even making it harder for owners of some models to get coverage.
The number of movies poised to see a theatrical release in over 1,000 theaters in North America is projected to be significantly down from pre-pandemic levels, a dearth in supply that will cause problems for exhibitors. In 2018 and 2019, there were respectively 142 and 128 films that enjoyed a wide release domestically. In 2020, that collapsed to 50 for obvious reasons, rebounding to just 88 wide releases in 2021. This year it’s projected that only 90 films will see a wide release, and next year the projection is just 77 films released wide. While blockbusters will continue to get big releases, cutting out 70ish films that would still do otherwise decent business from the release pattern could push the floor down further for cinemas.
An audiophile launched a class-action lawsuit against MoFi, a record label that was long knows for its pressings of vinyl records from original master recordings and tapes. It’s considered by collectors to be the best, purest sound available, and it was for a while the company’s bread and butter, records that were as close as possible to the original studio recording. That said, the company has been in a controversy lately where they’re accused of using digital files in its production chain, essentially selling records billed as original but in fact derived from a copy of a copy. According to the suit, before 2011 things were pretty much on the level, but by the end of that year allegedly 60 percent of the company’s vinyl releases incorporated digital tech, and that the last recording that was completely digital-free was in 2020.
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