Numlock News: February 28, 2022 • Godfather, Auditor, Amusement Parks
By Walt Hickey
After three days of bidding, the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management finished the largest offshore energy lease auction in American history: six leases for 488,000 acres off the coast of New York and New Jersey that’s slated for wind development. The total amount made was $4.37 billion, of which $1.1 billion came from the largest 125,964-acre lease area, which went to the enigmatically named Bight Wind Holdings LLC. Nevertheless, the auction was a triumph for the feds, which are attempting to get 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy up and running by 2030. It’s also the first of what’s likely to be several offerings, with BOEM planning to review 16 plans for offshore wind by 2025 worth 22 gigawatts of clean energy.
Uncharted, starring Tom Holland, made $23.3 million in its second outing at the box office, bringing its domestic total to $83.4 million. Holland’s also in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which still remains at number three at the box office. Also appearing at the box office was a Paramount film that made around $1 million domestically in its 2,606th week in release called The Godfather, which, if I’m reading this synopsis correctly, appears to be some kind of period gangster picture based on an unsuccessful novel. It’s in 156 theaters ahead of some anniversary. Pfft, like that’ll ever play.
There are around 4,852 working satellites, and for all intents and purposes all of them are on a one-way trip. They went up, they’re going to stay up as long as they have communications and fuel, and then eventually either they’re going to crash down to Earth, be sent into a graveyard orbit, or expire in some unpleasant fashion for it and everything around and below it. This need to have an all-in-one self-sustaining satellite has driven up the cost of a communications satellite to up to $500 million, but NASA’s experimenting with new solutions that could repair and refuel satellites in orbit and extend the lives of the instruments. After 2025, NASA will launch the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) satellite, which would attempt to build new structures in space. Its first target is Landsat 7, a 1999 USGS satellite that’ll serve as the test subject for in-orbit refueling of 115 kilograms of hydrazine.
Who Audits The Auditors?
PwC Canada has been fined $750,000 by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and C$200,000 by the Canadian Public Accountability Board after its staff was discovered to be sharing examination answers for tests that auditors must take to maintain their certifications from 2016 to 2020. PwC failed to observe that 1,200 of its 7,000 employees were sharing test answers, of whom more than 1,100 were specifically in the assurance business auditing other businesses.
Theme Parks are rebounding financially, with the five largest theme park operators — Disney, Universal, Six Flags, SeaWorld and Cedar Fair — reporting $11.1 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, which is higher than their combined revenue in the same quarter of 2019. Disney said its park revenue is up 101 percent year over year, Cedar Fair said attendance was 70 percent of 2019 levels but revenue was just shy of the figure logged that year, and SeaWorld said per-capita spending in the park was up 22 percent compared to 2019. For Disney, the main thing stymieing the rebound is the 20 percent of guests from outside the U.S. who are still low.
Next month East Japan Railway Co. will begin testing on a hydrogen-fueled train developed with Toyota and Hitachi. The vehicle, a two-car train that cost about $35 million to develop, can go 140 kilometers at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour on a single fill hydrogen. The hope is that the prototype works out and that they can use them to replace diesel trains, eyeing a commercial rollout in 2030. Japan’s making a significant national bet on hydrogen in its attempt to reach climate goals, with the government setting the target of 20 million tons by 2050 and major industrial powers in the country attempting to incorporate fuel cells into machinery, vehicles and infrastructure.
A new study estimated that the percentage of energy used to power bitcoin mines that was derived from renewable sources fell from 41.6 percent in 2020 to a paltry 25.1 percent as of last August. That’s the result of China banning the energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining in June 2021, which forced producers out of China and away from its hydroelectric power and to other places, including Kazakhstan and the United States, where the power comes from fossil fuels. Kazakhstan derives its energy from coal-fired power stations, and many of the states that have drawn crypto-miners tend to source more of their energy from natural gas than others. The study was published in the journal Joule, and pushes back on rosy industry estimates as to the level of renewables used in producing digital currency. The estimated emissions of bitcoin on an annual level, according to the study, is 65.4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year, a magnitude comparable to Greece, which produces 56.6 megatonnes.
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