Numlock News: February 17, 2022 • Wizards, Force Majeure, Massachusetts Drivers
By Walt Hickey
Hasbro announced earnings yesterday, and the Wizards of the Coast unit alone was responsible for 46 percent of the company’s $1.29 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Wizards oversees the Dungeons & Dragons line of products and the Magic: The Gathering card game, and a group of activist investors are wondering if it wouldn’t make sense to make like a barbarian and cleave the company in twain, separating the Wizards of the Coast unit into a standalone entity that they estimate could eventually be worth $13 billion or more all on its own. Indeed, Alta Fox Capital Management LLC has gone so far as to gather the material components necessary to cast a fifth-level Board of Directors Vote, and if the current management fails to succeed on a Wisdom-saving throw equal to the attacker’s shareholding modifier, they may very well get their wish.
Glyphosate is an herbicide used all over the world in agriculture, and its price rose 25 percent from January 2021 to November of last year. The business was hit with a new speed bump late last week when Bayer AG, which makes the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, announced they’d be declaring a force majeure following a mechanical failure and production shutdown at a key supplier. The repairs could take three months, which may result in higher costs for cotton, soybean and corn producers and thus higher prices for items containing those things, which is pretty much every single consumer good.
Officials at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles have fired four employees related to a scheme that led to 2,100 drivers being granted licenses without having to actually take a road test. This has prompted a statewide search for the drivers to ensure they get certified, so if you or anyone you know sees a person with a Massachusetts plate driving like a total idiot on the interstate, which as we all know is an incredibly rare occurrence and never, ever happens under normal conditions, please contact the Massachusetts DMV.
Namibia announced their Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is trying to capture 57 elephants to fulfill its end of an auction it orchestrated last year. In 2020, the country announced plans to sell 170 of the country’s 24,000 wild elephants to private bidders. Last summer they said that three bidders had bought 57 elephants, 42 of whom will be exported with 15 remaining in Namibia. As of yesterday, 37 elephants have been captured, much to the dismay of environmental groups and organizations that advocate for the elephants. The move is internationally contentious: The CITES treaty, which regulates the export of elephants, says Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa can’t export the animals to a country where they haven’t lived in the wild unless there’s a benefit to conservation.
House Always Wins
U.S. casinos won $53 billion in 2021, and one of these days we’re gonna figure out their strategy because they’ve got to be up to something here. That’s up a jaw-dropping 21 percent compared to the previous best year on record, 2019, almost as if some sort of major event happened that dulled people to incurring massive losses over manageable risks. Those figures don’t even include tribal casinos, whose leadership further indicated they’d also had their best year ever. Of that $53 billion, around $45 billion was won from in-person casinos, while $4.3 billion was made from sportsbooks in revenue after deducting winning bets and other expenses, up 177 percent compared to 2020.
Sales of books through bookstores hit $9.03 billion in 2021, up 28 percent compared to the depressed $6.5 billion in sales in 2020 and just shy of the $9.13 billion in sales logged in 2019. That’s a really encouraging sign: While books as a whole have seen sales surge during the pandemic era, the physical retail book shops took a hit during 2020. That 28 percent rebound for 2021 well outstrips the 19.3 percent increase seen in retail as a whole.
Not Lichen How This Looks
Lichens are composite organisms made up of fungi and algae in a symbiotic balance, and are essential members of loads of the world’s ecosystems. About 7 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in lichens, and a new study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that climate change poses a colossal problem for lichens. Lichens are about 250 million years old, and have survived a great deal of climactic events in that time. But given the current rates of evolution of several species of Trebouxia algae that can be found in 7,000 species of fungi, or half of all lichens, it could take hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years to keep up with the pace of warming projected over the next century.
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