Numlock News: July 18, 2019 • Moon rocks, Home runs, Canned Wine
By Walt Hickey
The six Apollo missions brought back a heaping pile of 382 kilograms of rock and lunar soil — along with 0.3 kilograms of Soviet soil collection and 334 kilograms worth of retrieved meteors that originated on the moon — and that soil has proven an invaluable asset to scientists attempting to understand the origins of the universe. That being said, one might ask where precisely those incalculably valuable extraterrestrial objects are at the moment. Fort Knox? JPL? Self-serve storage facility near Jacksonville? Turns out they’re fairly scattered. About 73 percent are at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, about 95 percent still in pristine condition. Another 15 percent are at a facility in New Mexico, also pristine. About 5 percent were consumed or used up while being studied, and 2 percent are in 125 laboratories worldwide. But 5 percent are on public display at some 60 museums and libraries, where humanity may admire the handiwork of a government employee’s manual labor.
Brand Echh No More
A new poll found that fandom is a fairly overlapping quantity by measuring the percentage of self-proclaimed fans of various science fiction or fantasy properties who were also fans of the competing fandom. For instance, despite their many trials, 88 percent of Star Wars fans are also Star Trek fans, though the Trekkies are a bit more measured in their intergalactic affection with 72 percent also being fans of a galaxy far, far away. A full 87 percent of DC comics fans — the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fanboys — also liked Marvel, which is only a mildly chillier reception compared to the 93 percent of Marvel fans who are fans of the shall-we-say Distinguished Competition. There is also strong overlap in fans of literary magic, as both The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises shared the largest overlaps. Just a note, the definitive ranking of the archers in those franchises goes Hawkeye, then Chewbacca, then Legolas, then Green Arrow, and in last place Captain Jonathan.
Gonna Be The Main Event
Bets are in, and The Lion King is poised to make an enormous amount of money this weekend. The film uses photorealistic CG animation to re-tell the classic 1994 story of a lovable lion who recruits friends, overcomes obstacles and finds the strength within himself to become the rightful and beloved king of the savanna, and all he has to do is murder his brother and drive his nephew away. Critics are soft on the film, but the $54 million opening in China is nothing to scoff at, and the film “will easily earn” $150 million or more in North America and a final $400 million to $450 million weekend globally.
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.
A study of 22,484 pornographic websites found that 74 percent of them had trackers (such as cookies or embedded pixels from Google or a subsidiary), 24 percent had trackers from Oracle and 10 percent had trackers from Facebook. Overall, 93 percent of the pornographic websites sent data about visitors to a third party domain, with the average number or recipients being seven, and only 17 percent were encrypted, opening that user data up to breaches potentially. While Facebook and Google denied that data collected on users who visited sexually explicit websites was used to advance their marketing profiles, Oracle did not respond when asked for comment, which is not super encouraging.
A new study in the Journal of Regional Science found that not merely level of education, but more the concentration of job-based skills had serious outcomes for how adeptly a city responded to economic shock. Breaking Bureau of Labor Statistics data into three major skill sets — cognitive, people and motor — the researchers found that those once similarly important skills had shifted from their relative equality in the 1970s, with motor skills sliding while people and cognitive skills both grew more heavily correlated and more important, relatively speaking. Metros that had higher concentrations of cognitive and people workers fare better in recessions, with each percentage point increase in their people skill share decreasing the time to recovery by 1.3 months.
Drink of the Summer
It’s summertime, which means that beverage companies are all jockying to become the beloved and refreshing alcoholic drink of the hot times. This is a serious boom time for concoctions that make liberal use of palm trees on the bottle, with hard seltzers, Aperol spritz and canned wines all seeing imbibing bumps in the hot times. The hard seltzer crowd — part of the “flavored malt beverages” sector — has seen sales rise 10.7 percent to $2.6 billion last year, while the brilliant innovation of putting wine in a portable can is having a truly banner season, with sales at $69 million last year compared to $2 million seven years ago.
At the height of the steroid era of baseball, there was an average of 1.17 home runs per game in 2000. That heady era, which in 2001 saw 2.91 percent of all major league plate appearances culminate in a home run, was a ridiculous time where the only things leaving the ballparks more often than used syringes were runs. Thanks to changes in how batters work to strike the ball and considerable evidence for a materially changed baseball, baseball’s current era is making baseball’s steroid era look practically as muted as baseball’s amphetamine era or gambling era. Today there are 1.38 home runs per game, and about 3.59 percent of plate appearances end with a homer.
Thank you so much for subscribing! If you're enjoying the newsletter, forward it to someone you think may enjoy it too! Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at email@example.com.
The very 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.