Numlock News: July 12, 2019 • Whales, Friendship, Maroon 5
By Walt Hickey
Have an excellent weekend!
A new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that physical distance in New York City is actually of less consequence than public transit distance. Inherently, people’s social networks are informed by proximity, but in New York that proximity is more temporal than physical. Increasing, the distance correlated with a 10 percent reduction in Facebook friendships, sure, but increasing the travel times by 10 percent led to a 15 percent reduction in friendships. This held even after controlling for a litany of factors. You see that, Albany? By neglecting MTA maintenance and letting the subways go to hell there is scientifically less love in the world. I hope you’re proud of yourself.
Hobbes & Shaw
Hobbes & Shaw is the heartwarming story of Magdalene Shaw, a smart woman played by Helen Mirren, who is the proud mother of a lovable group of grown children. Deckard, the retired government employee, Owen, the well-known activist, and the Hattie, the government bureaucrat. The film tells the heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a police officer and her unemployed son as they look past their differences, talk their problems out, and come together to work as a team to stop a cyber-genetically enhanced international terrorist from global annihilation. The Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham-starring Fast and the Furious spinoff is projected to make $65 million on its opening weekend in early August, and it will also make history as the first film to average 5 percent body fat across the board.
Some dated research produced the idea of the “bystander effect,” where people who witness a crime or altercation refuse to intervene. Despite plenty of urban apocrypha, past studies had serious problems actually figuring out how often people will intervene. Under laboratory conditions, the studies observed bystanders intervening in anywhere from 11 percent to 74 percent, but thanks to a global surveillance dragnet that thrusts us all into a withering panopticon at the pleasure of the state, a new study was able to determine that bystanders intervene in bad situations all the time. The new study looked at over 200 incidents captured on CCTV cameras in Amsterdam, Cape Town and Lancaster to determine how often people stepped up to defuse a devolving conflict. The average number of bystanders was 16 and in nine out of 10 incidents at least one intervened, with an average of 3.8 interveners, and the more bystanders there were the more likely someone would intervene.
Maroon 5 featuring Absolutely Nobody, Apparently
“Girls Like You” is a song by Maroon 5 featuring the artist Cardi B, but not according to Adult Contemporary radio stations. The song — which does not contain Cardi’s verse in the bridge when played on many Adult Contemporary stations — just broke the record for longest time atop the AC charts, with 29 weeks at number one across 86 contemporary stations monitored by Nielsen. This is emblematic of a larger story, where just as hip hop secures more and more of U.S. pop AC stations routinely spurn the genre. Indeed, when Whiz Khalifa’s song “See You Again” featuring Charlie Puth spent 12 weeks on the top of the Hot 100, most AC stations played a version that cut all of Khalifa’s verses.
This past weekend’s Sunday edition featured a really great conversation with writer Peter Fairley about the fascinating story of how Moloka’i became Hawaiian Electric’s guinea pig when it comes to their 100 percent renewable grid mandate, and the complications that resulted. His wonderful original story, The Hot Mess of Hawai‘i’s Renewable Power Push can be found in Hakai Magazine.
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The men’s skin care market is projected to grow 24 percent over the next five years to $5 billion, thanks to younger consumers with less traditional views regarding who cosmetics are for. The value of the global men’s makeup market is considerably smaller, $1.14 billion, which is a tiny sliver of the $71.1 billion cosmetics business. Globally speaking, the market seeing the largest growth is Latin America, where 2018’s $11.3 billion in men’s grooming is up more than 50 percent compared to value in 2013.
In the U.S., about 7 percent of water consumption is used in households, with the rest of it going to industrial use or farms. Worldwide, it’s getting pricier and pricier to keep the taps flowing: where once the total worldwide cost of water distribution and production hovered consistently between $40 billion and $45 billion, today it costs about $200 million to keep the spigots on. Even in established systems, maintenance is costly: the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates 2 trillion gallons of drinking water are lost every year to water main breaks.
China Box Office
China’s box office is in an awful slump, down 3.6 percent in the first half of the year after at least eight consecutive years with first half growth. This is the result of a confluence of things — a weaker year from American film studios, trade tensions, and the cascading effects emanating from an enormous scandal that wrapped up the entire Chinese film business in a tax spat with the government. When last year 77 films launched in July and August, this year only 68 are slated. While the top four films of last year were all Chinese, this year Avengers: Endgame holds the second position after The Wandering Earth, which made $691 million. Last year China spent $8.2 billion at the box office, five times as much as 2010, and the weak year is throwing water on the projections that the Chinese box office will overtake the American one next year.
Despite international condemnation and a waning industry, Japan has returned to commercial whaling as of July 1. Fewer than 300 people are directly involved with whaling around Japan and the amount consumed annually is less than 0.1 percent of all meat consumption. About 5.1 billion yen — roughly $47.31 million — was budgeted for whaling in 2019, and meanwhile whale watching has exploded in popularity, particularly among tourists. About 65 percent of the tourism boat business in whaling country is to watch the whales, and the number of whale watchers around Japan doubled from 1995 to 2015.
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