Numlock News: January 17, 2024 • Dog Man, Cousin Greg, Przewalski’s Horse
By Walt Hickey
An auction of props featured on Succession that coincided with the series’ dominance at the Emmy Awards brought in a haul of $627,825 across 236 lots up for sale from HBO. This included $18,750 for a comically large Burberry tote bag possessed by Cousin Greg’s girlfriend in an episode, a set of four note cards with a somewhat important speech on it from the final season selling for $25,000, and a lacquered scorpion offered as a beloved gift between a husband and wife selling for $10,000. Meanwhile, here I am still sitting on a bunch of un-vested Vaulter options like an idiot. Digital media, am I right?
The Przewalski’s horse, known to Mongolians as takhi, are the only breed of horses to never be domesticated. They were hunted to extinction in the 1960s, but 84 of the animals were airlifted to Mongolia in the 1990s from zoos in Europe, and today the population has recovered to about 1,000 of the horses at three sites, the largest of which is a 423-member herd in Hustai National Park. The country’s wildlife has been in crisis since the fall of the Iron Curtain, as the grasslands were exploited and the living things on it hunted for subsistence. From 1986 to 2004 the population of red deer fell from 130,000 to 8,000, and today the number of livestock animals is up to 71 million, putting the native grassland in danger of overgrazing.
Sales of graphic novels for kids in December was dominated by Scholastic, with every one of the top 20 distributed by the company’s Graphix imprint. All told, 1,021,781 kids graphic novels were sold in 2023, up from 915,620 in the same month of 2022. One author in particular is dominating the charts: Dav Pilkey, who writes the Dog Man books and the spin-off line Cat Kid Comic Club, and who alone was responsible for 11 of the top 20 selling novel-length comics for children in the month of December.
A new study out of the CDC argues that a small number of physicians may be over-prescribing antifungal medication, and that runs the risks of increasing resistance to a class of drugs with considerably fewer options than antibiotics, which combat the vastly simpler bacteria. Looking at a dataset of about 1 million Medicare prescribers, clinicians wrote 6.5 million topical antifungal treatments, but 131,000 of them were responsible for prescribing all the antifungals. Of those, 13,106 prescribers alone were responsible for 45 percent of all antifungals prescribed that year, 2.9 million prescriptions. Those disproportionate prescribers are concerning, as overuse of the drugs can potentially undermine their future efficacy for all of us.
A new analysis of U.S. Census data found that 45.5 percent of baby boomers with no children living in the house own a large home with three or more bedrooms, compared to 27 percent of millennials who have kids. Young families don’t have access to larger homes, and while some of them rent — 9.3 percent of millennials with kids rent a home with three or more bedrooms — the housing market as a whole is skewing older than ever before, with empty nesters owning a much larger share of homes in general than they did 10 years ago. In no metropolitan area of the United States do millennials with kids own more than 18 percent of all three-or-more-bedroom homes.
I’m Just Built Different
A new survey found that across the board, Americans think that personally things are going pretty great, locally things are going worse, and nationally things are going absolutely terribly. There’s a massive gap between how people rate different things when it’s contextualized as their own self versus how they envision it is for everyone. For instance, people say their own mental health is excellent or good 42 percentage points more than they say so about the people in the country as a whole; they say their social relationships are going well 24 percentage points more than the country as a whole; they say their romantic life is going well 9 percentage points more than everyone else’s; and they say their personal safety is great 31 percentage points more than everyone else’s. Yes, how rosy one’s outlook is increasingly depends on the scope in which one is asked to consider the question.
There’s a compelling geoengineering strategy to remove carbon from the atmosphere called iron fertilization, where the idea goes that you dump a bunch of nutrients — iron, nitrogen, phosphorous — off the side of a boat, those nutrients cause a boom in single-celled phytoplankton life sucking up all sorts of carbon from the environment, that life eventually dies and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, and it takes a chunk of that carbon down with it. It’s neat, but new research has posed problems. The latest modeling argues that ocean iron fertilization, if carried out through 2100, would trap just 78 gigatonnes of carbon over the course of that entire period, which is indeed a whole lot of carbon, but over the past four years the world has emitted 75 gigatonnes of carbon, so it’s not actually buying all that much time. What it would also do is, depending on the implementation, potentially increase the global volume of low-oxygen dead zones in the ocean by 17.5 percent.
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