Numlock News: January 12, 2024 • Tectonics, Emmys, Turtles
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend! Check out the Numlock Awards newsletter.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which is the organization behind the Emmy awards for television, uncovered a scheme at ESPN where fake people were made up and added to lists of nominees so that the fake names would get Emmy awards that could be stripped, reengraved and given to on-air television personalities that were ineligible for the prizes. From 2008 to 2018, ESPN College GameDay won eight Emmys for outstanding weekly show, awards that go to the production team of the program. Hosts and on-air talent are not eligible, as their category is different and relies on individual features. To get the studio hosts some hardware, ESPN was found to make up fake behind-the-scenes employees like Kirk Henry, Lee Clark, Dirk Howard and Tim Richard to get Emmy statues that could be later engraved for the otherwise ineligible Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Tom Rinaldi, among others. According to NATAS, 37 trophies have been returned so far.
According to annual data from Luminate, one language in particular has been steadily rising in streaming track listening over the past three years: Hindi. Among the top 10,000 global tracks in 2021, 67 percent were in English, 12.4 percent Spanish, 3.8 percent Hindi, 3.5 percent Korean and 1.5 percent Japanese. Market share for three of those languages has in fact declined since then, as in 2023 only 54.9 percent were in English, 10.1 percent in Spanish and 2.4 percent in Korean. Japanese songs dipped in 2022 only to hit 2.1 percent of listening in 2023, while Hindi has doubled since 2021, as of 2023 accounting for 7.8 percent of tracks.
The eventual sex of a sea turtle hatchling is determined by the temperature of the egg over the course of incubation. Nest temperatures are rising due to the effects of climate change, and so that means that the sex ratio of sea turtles has been shifting over the past several decades. A study analyzed the sex ratio data of turtles captured off the coast of Bermuda from 1975 to 2018 and found that the sex has shifted from a mostly even split that slightly favored females to an overwhelmingly female set of turtles. Over the past four decades, the average percentage of turtles that are female increased by 3.8 percent per year, and it’s hit as much as 68.1 percent of turtles over the last four years of data.
A new analysis of SafeGraph data found that 85 percent of counties in the United States have at least one Mexican restaurant, and only 1 percent of the American population does not live in a county without at least one Mexican joint. Texas and California combine for 40 percent of Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and Los Angeles county has the most of any county in America, with 5,484 Mexican restaurants. Florida, New York and Illinois all have 4 percent each of America’s Mexican restaurants, meaning that 51 percent of all Mexican restaurants in the U.S. are in those six states.
Minnesota sees a lot of snow and has a lot of roads, and that combination means that the state is on the hook for a whole lot of salt. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates that 445,000 tons of salt are applied to paved surfaces every year, a massive pile of salt that would have the profile of an NFL stadium, a cone 160 feet high and 500 feet wide, if all put in a single heap. That’s got consequences beyond keeping the roads clear, as a teaspoon of salt is sufficient to pollute five gallons of water; 50 of the state’s notoriously ample lakes and streams are listed as impaired due to high levels of chloride, and 75 more are getting dangerously close.
The Himalayan mountains are geologically speaking a somewhat recent innovation, the result of a collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates that started 60 million years ago. Oceanic tectonic plates tend to sink into the mantle during collisions, while continental plates — the ones at play here — are less dense and float, so right now the Indian plate is thought to be sliding under Tibet rather than sinking into the mantle. A new study has come up with a third option that’s somewhat in-between: that the bottom part of the Indian plate under Tibet is peeling apart and going into the mantle, while the more buoyant top part continues to slide under Eurasia. Mantle flowing in between the “delaminating” top and bottom is what’s making Tibet as tectonically interesting as it is.
Phuket in Thailand has seen 6.24 million airport arrivals, up 88 percent on 2022, and the real estate market moved 27.5 billion baht ($784 million) in sales and inventory. The island is a major destination in Thailand, with 26 beaches and a population of 420,000. Phuket is trying to move away from over-reliance on tourism by simply selling to wealthy outsiders, often Russians: 27,000 Russians have moved to Phuket in the past 12 to 18 months, fueling a development boom.
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.