Numlock News: December 16, 2021 • Springsteen, Spider-Man, Volga
By Walt Hickey
Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
Bruce Springsteen has sold his masters and his music publishing to Sony Music in a deal worth around $500 million, a huge coup for the Boss. His catalog has earned 65.5 million sales in the U.S. and since 2018 alone has racked up 2.25 million album consumption units, and inexplicably Born To Run LP is somehow the official state flower of New Jersey. It certainly seems like Springsteen got a great deal on this sale: Billboard estimated the catalog masters generated around $12 million in annual sales on average over the past three years, and the publishing catalog brought in $7.5 million, which would value the catalog at $415 million. This contradicts earlier reports, which indicated now you're sad, your mama's mad, and your papa said he knows that I don’t have any money, and confirms later reporting that the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.
Pittsburgh is budgeting $16 million toward a retrofit of their streetlights, with the goal of following the suit of Tucson, Flagstaff and other municipalities in becoming dark sky cities. They’ll be switching lightbulbs in 40,000 street fixtures and swapping in LEDs that emit less blue light. The goal is to reduce light pollution, and also save a couple bucks in the process. Blue light can have a negative effect on plants, migratory animals attempting to pass through, and insects, and switching away from polluting streetlights has the added perk of a more vivid night sky. The city will save $1 million a year in electricity costs after the upgrade.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is projected to have an incredible weekend at the box office, with a projection of $150 million this weekend. While Sony Pictures is projecting a more modest opening of $130 million, outsiders who aren’t trying to minimize expectations think they might even hit $175 million. If it pulls it off, not only will it be the best debut since 2019, it’d also beat both Spider-Man Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. The film tells the story of a dork who lives in Queens with an interest in journalism who has to go to the Village in Manhattan to meet a friend from work, after which he makes a series of huge mistakes and runs into a bunch of weird characters in what is pretty much just a film about literally any weekend of my mid-twenties.
For years, people have been burying their trash in landfills. Sometimes these landfills were near water, because why not, it’s not like the water is going anywhere, right? Well, it turns out the water has indeed been going anywhere, specifically up, and sometimes over, and a new study reveals that thousands of landfills around the world are at risk of exposure due to degrading shorelines. In 2008, a cliff collapse in England unleashed buried hydrocarbons and asbestos back into the environment, some particularly gnarly elements of the 50,000 tonnes of trash then doomed to fall into the ocean from the buried cache. That’s just one of 1,200 landfills in a tidal flood zone in England, 1,099 in Florida — of which 420 are at a high risk of erosion — at least 1,000 in France, and some 4,000 to 6,000 in the Netherlands.
The National Weather Service is continuing to analyze the devastating tornado that ripped through four states this past weekend. So far it’s been confirmed that the tornado had a continuous path of at least 128 miles, according to the Paducah, Kentucky office. Now, neighboring offices are determining how much time the tornado spent on the ground in their jurisdictions, as it’s entirely possible it could break a record set in 1925 of longest path. The storm could have carried on for 250 miles, which would beat 1925’s Tri-State Tornado which traveled 219 miles.
The Volga river runs 2,300 miles through Russia, with 60 million people — 40 percent of Russia’s population — living in its basin, and Moscow’s 12 million getting their drinking water directly from the river itself. The river’s in trouble, though, and due to decades of damming is more a connected series of polluted reservoirs now than the mighty river it once was. Water flows at a tenth of the speed it once did, thanks to the 11 reservoirs caused by hydropower facilities that produce 5 percent of the electricity in Russia. The river itself has issues with invasive species, algal blooms, and pollution: it alone gets 40 percent of the polluted wastewater in Russia, and only 10 percent of wastewater from sewer pipes is treated to the appropriate levels.
An analysis of the 100 most popular crackers from Albertsons and from Whole Foods found that, across the 200 crackers from 42 brands, a solid chunk of them failed to have any kind of disclosure about possible ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction. There are around 32 million Americans with at least one allergy, and one in every 13 kids has a food allergy. While the FDA requires food producers to label ingredients that are major food allergens, the current labeling is voluntary. Some 17 percent of accidental exposures come from unlabeled ingredients, and this analysis of crackers reveals labeling is hardly standard: in 35 percent of cases, even after contacting manufacturers, it was unclear if the crackers contained sesame or not.
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