Numlock News: January 24, 2022 • Tigers, Lucifer, Crystal Symphony
By Walt Hickey
A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again, Per Court Order
The United States has issued an arrest warrant for the Crystal Symphony, a luxury cruise ship, and it’s now diverted from its original plan to dock in Miami and is making a play to the Bahamas, where it docked Saturday. A company filed a lawsuit trying to recoup $4.6 million in unpaid fuel fees for three of the ships owned by Genting, the operator of the Crystal Symphony which is currently having some cash problems, and a U.S. marshal is prepared to arrest the ship if it shows up into a U.S. port. The company reported a loss of $1.7 billion back in May, and its shipbuilding subsidiary went into insolvency earlier this month. There are passengers on the ship who were indeed planning to return from their 14-day voyage to Miami on January 22; they were told that they’d be diverting to Bimini, where Genting’s billionaire owner owns a casino and resort, and would be ferried to Fort Lauderdale.
Justice For Ana
Two people have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Universal for at least $5 million over the film Yesterday, which they argue misled audiences with the implication that Ana de Armas was in the movie. The pair each spend $3.99 to rent the film, which tells the story of a guy transported to a world where The Beatles never happened. The trailer for the film featured De Armas as a potential love interest, a substantial role that was eventually cut from the film after test screenings revealed audiences hated the subplot. While the suit has a fairly uphill battle, it’s far from the first, as seen in a seven-year-long suit over the movie Drive, where a fan sued because the trailer had a lot of car stunts but the movie was pretty light on the car stunts.
The Main Stream
The most-streamed original series of 2021 was, in a bit of a surprise, Lucifer, which according to Nielsen hauled in 18.34 billion minutes of viewing time, beating out Squid Game with 16.43 billion minutes. Those figures, while huge, have actually come to lag the numbers from more conventional television fare, the series that aired on a network and whose streaming rights were flipped to a streaming service. Lucifer itself was originally a Fox show that was flipped to streaming, with over 90 episodes available on Netflix. The top streamed series of the year was Criminal Minds, which airs on CBS but brought in 33.87 billion minutes of viewing time on Netflix, closely followed by Cocomelon, which had 33.28 billion minutes of viewership, Grey’s Anatomy with 32.63 billion minutes and NCIS with 29.53 billion minutes.
In 1991, double-pane windows were the best windows in the United States. That year a team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory invented triple-pane glass, which on paper cut annual energy for heating buildings by 39 percent and air conditioning costs by 28 percent. The advantage clear, the decision was obvious: Glass manufacturers told the researchers to pound sand and the double-pane window is now still the main window in America. Currently, triple-pane windows are a niche product in the U.S. and have a 3 percent market share, though have picked up in Nordic countries. That was a mistake with a serious thermodynamic cost: Buildings use 75 percent of the nation’s electricity, heat loss through windows being a massive part of that issue. This month, the General Services Administration took another look at thin glass inserts on older buildings, and found an 11 percent energy savings in Miami and an 18 percent savings in Minneapolis.
Antibiotic resistance is a pretty well-known issue, but antifungal resistance is an increasingly substantial problem. There are only a couple antifungal medications: Amphotericin B was released in 1958, in the 1970s the azoles were released, and in the 2000s the third class, echinocandins, were approved by the FDA. That’s it. In the 1990s resistance to the azoles started cropping up, and so there are fewer tools for doctors to use to treat fungal infections, which yes are on the rise. In 2019 there were 469 C. auris infections in the U.S., then 746 in 2020, and then in the 12 months from September 2020 from August 2021 there were 1,156 cases. About 90 percent of C. auris samples are resistant to at least one antifungal, and 30 percent are resistant to two.
Amur tigers, better known as Siberian tigers, are in danger, and hunters are only stressing the species further. Hunting previously had been a disaster for the species, driving their estimated numbers down to 20. The population has recovered — estimated at 532 in Russia as of 2015, up 67 compared to a decade ago — but an estimated 49 to 73 Amur tigers are poached every year in the taiga of Primorye, a region in far East Russia. That is three to four times the official estimate for tiger poachings produced by the Russian government for the entirety of the country, which is 10 to 15 poachings. Globally, the world went from about 100,000 tigers of all stripes a century ago to just 5,000 today. Incidentally, Vladimir Putin is a fan of tigers, and has endorsed plans to crack down on poaching, but that said, many of the poachers are able to do so because their clients are well-connected in powerful places.
The forthcoming Beijing Winter Olympics will see lots of events take place in Zhangjiakou, a mountainous region about a 50-minute train ride outside of the city. China will need as much as 2 million cubic meters of water to create the necessary amounts of artificial snow for ski runs, which is a slight issue because more than half of Zhangjiakou is highly water stressed. These will be the first games to rely entirely on artificial snow — average winter precipitation is 7.9 millimeters over the past four decades in the Beijing-Zhangjiakou region — up from 80 percent artificial snow in Sochi and 90 percent in Pyeongchang. The country is investing a substantial amount of resources to make Zhangjiakou a ski region, with seven resorts hosting 3 million skiers annually.
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