Numlock News: December 9, 2022 • Jaguars, Dogs, Peacock
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend!
I’m hosting a show at Caveat in NYC on December 15th, we’ve got some excellent guests lined up; buy tickets here, I would love to see you there! There’s also a livestream option for out of town folks.
The first auction selling the offshore wind development rights off the coast of California concluded, selling five lease areas covering 373,267 acres of developable area for $757.1 million. The winners were mostly European companies that are seeking to buy a foothold in the American wind energy business, including Norway’s Equinor, Demark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Germany’s RWE and the Ocean Winds French-Portuguese-American joint venture. Per-acre prices were lower than the sales on the East Coast: Companies paid almost $9,000 per acre to develop off the coast of New York and New Jersey, where it’s shallower, but $2,028 per acre off California given the risks and less state support.
Jaguars are largely considered a solitary species, but a new report from the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research provides some evidence that wild male jaguars can sometimes make a friend. Yes, the mysteries of male friendships expand well into the animal kingdom, but evidently jaguars have had some isolated success in sustained bromances. Across 7,062 records of male jaguars, teams recorded 105 interactions between males, only 18 of which were aggressive, and 70 of which were cooperative. In two studies, pairs of male jaguars teamed up for over seven years, with one documenting a pair of male jaguars that cooperated from 2006 to 2014 sharing kills and communicating. Sure, they still continued to mate with female jaguars, so take the speculation to AO3, but the long-lasting cooperation and collaboration highlights a new facet of a species that has seen nearly 50 percent of its historic habitat lost.
The House of Representatives again passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which enshrines the legality of same-sex and interracial marriage rights into federal law. In July, the House passed an initial bill with 267 in favor and 157 opposed, and last week the Senate passed a revision of that bill 61-36. The vote yesterday in the House to approve that revised version was 258-169, and the bill now advances to the president who has indicated strong support for the measure. The measure became especially necessary after the Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson decision that ended the right to abortion in the United States was observed to also have reverberations to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
New research out of the National Human Genome Research Institute has attempted to figure out dogs, specifically what their whole deal is and why certain breeds are the way they are. Given that the answer is “selective breeding over millennia” we know who in general is responsible (us) but the researchers wanted to find out where different heritable traits and skills emerged within that lineage. The researchers looked at genomic data of over 4,000 dogs, and also at a behavioral survey data of over 40,000 dogs. They’re able to figure out there are eight trajectories of dogs, genetically speaking: terriers, sheepdogs and cattledogs, sled dogs, sight hounds, scent hounds, pointing dogs, retrievers, and then an eighth group they call spitzes and primitive-type dogs.
The third quarter of 2022 was a decent one for streaming services, which added a net 5.2 million subscribers across Apple TV+, Discovery, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, Showtime and Starz. One issue for the lot of them is that while in aggregate the services added 37.2 million new subscribers over the period, they also in aggregate lost 32 million subscribers. That’s a lot of churn, and it’s a high-water mark for cancellations. The average monthly churn rate at the 10 services was 5.8 percent in September, up from 5 percent in June. This year through the end of August churn was highest at Peacock, which had an average monthly churn rate of 7.49 percent.
The International Energy Agency has revised its global forecast for the growth in renewables, and is now forecasting 76 percent more growth than it did two years ago. By 2026, the IEA projects that renewables equivalent to the entire electricity generation of India will come online. Renewable energy is now projected to surpass coal by early 2025 to become the largest source of electricity generation, and by 2027 solar alone will be beating coal, per the new estimates. In 2020, the IEA projected that 1,092 gigawatts of capacity would be added from 2022 to 2026, an estimate it raised to 1,496 gigawatts this year, and now is up to 2,383 gigawatts.
Right now, it costs the public money to access documents in the federal court system through PACER, costing $0.10 per page up to $3 per document. That can begin to get very pricy very quickly, particularly for open government groups and journalists, and raises another impediment to accessing the legal system. The Open Courts Act, now pending in the U.S. Senate, would eliminate those fees, and that had some in the government worried about cutting off a substantial funding source for the Justice Department. A new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, though, actually puts the government in the black, saying the Open Courts Act would actually generate $175 million in net revenues over a decade and add just $161 million in mandatory spending, a deficit cut of $14 million over the decade.
This week in the free unlocked Sunday edition, I spoke to Sabrina Imbler, the author of the new book How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures. Imbler’s a writer at Defector and is one of my favorite science writers; they specialize in coverage of new science being done in the animal kingdom, and I have been really excited for the book out this week. The book is ten essays that examine the lives of animals that live in the ocean, and explores how their lives and Sabrina’s reflect one another in really compelling ways. The book can be found wherever books are sold, particularly independent shops, and Imbler can be found on Twitter and at Defector.
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.