Numlock News: January 21, 2022 • Airline Seats, Icebergs, Snail Noodles
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend!
A new survey found how ready many Americans are for sports betting, with 31 percent of respondents aged 35 to 44 saying they bet on sports at least monthly, slightly more than the 28 percent of people aged 21 to 34. Among the people who bet monthly, only 23 percent actually go to a retail sportsbook, while 56 percent place the wagers with an online sportsbook or fantasy sports website. Another 48 percent said they mostly place bets with family and friends, while a hilarious 23 percent straight-up copped to betting on sports with a genuine bookie. The poll was conducted online, so that may have had an impact on the results; earlier landline polling that presumably would have hit pay phones outside the dog track in Elizabeth and the toughs waiting right next to the pay phones would have resulted in an oversampling of the percentage who utilizes a bookie.
We’re Going Streaking
A new study that scans the entire sky every two days looking for supernovas and asteroids is reporting that the percentage of their images at twilight that are being photobombed by SpaceX Starlink satellites is rising to a stressful level. In 2019, the percentage of the images captured at twilight that were affected was 0.5 percent, but as the company has increased the size of its constellation to 1,469 of the planned 12,000 satellites, in 2021 now 20 percent of the images at twilight are compromised. Observations taken during twilight are important because that’s how we would spot an asteroid coming at Earth from the direction of the sun. In the studied period, 5,301 images taken by the telescope were compromised by SpaceX. The company began installing visors on the satellites, and since then the brightness is down by a factor of five.
In July of 2017 the iceberg A68A broke off from the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica, beginning a three-and-a-half-year journey of 4,000 kilometers that ended in its dissolution. For the first two years of its existence A68A mostly stayed close to Antarctica and thus did not melt. Eventually, presumably following its inherent instinct to move into warmer waters to hunt passenger liners, it moved north. The berg, which was at one point about a quarter of the size of Wales, dumped 152 billion tons of fresh water into the ocean over the course of just three months of melting from 2020 to 2021, losing 67 meters of its 235-meter thickness. That 152 billion gallons is a massive amount of freshwater to inject into an ecosystem, so next steps will involve figuring out what kind of impact it had.
A new study by the advocacy group Women In Film has painted a disappointing figure for women-owned production companies. According to the latest data, women-owned production companies got just 18.6 percent of studio-subsidized film deals and just 35.7 percent of studio-subsidized television deals, and of all the production companies that received non-studio funding — that’s independent financing from venture capital and investors and banks — just 18 percent were owned by women. And of the average women-owned production company that got non-studio funding, the average amount raised was $3.3 million. For male-owned companies, that average was $24.4 million.
The consumer group Flyers Rights has filed a legal petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. asking that the FAA actually act on a 2018 mandate that would set baseline minimum standards for commercial airline seat widths and lengths. The FAA had been congressionally required to set the standards by October of 2019, which feels like eons ago, and yet they have not. Indeed, from November 2019 to January 2020 the agency conducted tests over whether the increasingly dense coach configurations can still be evacuated within the 90 seconds prescribed by law; they still haven’t released a report on the results of those tests.
The new hot trendy dish in China is snail noodles, cuisine from southern Guangxi province that went national in a massive way over the course of 2020 and 2021. Rice noodles are bathed in a slow-simmering broth of river snails, then topped with salted bamboo shoots and left to ferment. Food bloggers and influencers began to spread the unique dish and vouch for it across the country, so much so that last year the dozen brands who make the packets sold 1.1 billion packets of the instant at-home version. It’s also led to an economic renaissance for the city at the center of the trend, Liuzhou, where a new industrial park for noodle factories produced $2 billion worth of noodles last year.
New coral reef just dropped, as a new 2-mile reef was found off the coast of Tahiti thanks to a dive expedition sponsored by UNESCO. The reef is unique in that while most coral reefs are in shallow waters, this one is between 115 feet and 230 feet down. It’s yet another reminder that we lack an enormous amount of knowledge about our very own ocean, as the reef is simply located in a place where scientists haven’t had the chance to spend a lot of time, which could be said about any number of places that could be host to charming new reefs, or the deep, chthonic cracks in the thalassic firmament holding back untold and inconceivable horrors.
This week in the Sunday edition, I spoke to Eben Novy-Williams, who wrote “Fanatics to Buy Topps in $500M Deal as Trading Card Biz Zooms into 2022” for Sportico. I’ve been dying to have Novy-Williams on because I’ve been following the news from Sportico all year about a number of really thrilling stories, from the trading card business to the Broncos litigation and more. Novy-Williams can be found at Sportico, and on the Sporticast; check out the interview, it’s really fun.
We’re doing a free trial promo on paid Numlock subscriptions for the next two weeks! Give it a two-month free trial if you’re on the fence, it’s got great perks:
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.