Numlock News: July 19, 2022 • Superyachts, T-Pop, Super Spikes
By Walt Hickey
The British Royal Family has managed to keep a precise accounting of their assets under wraps, utilizing a carve-out in British law exempting them from the standard requirement that the content of wills be published. By sealing wills, they’ve been able to obscure the precise nature of the assets the family has managed to accumulate since William the Conqueror called dibs on the island a few centuries ago. An analysis of declassified government files and estate values published in public registries puts the amount of money in 33 wills over the course of a century at £187 million in today’s valuation, though there may be some double counting.
The superyacht business is positively booming right now, as widening wealth disparities fuel a spike in the number of global billionaires and those billionaires subsequently indulge in their natural yearning for the open sea. In 2021, the yacht industry sold 887 superyachts — that is, a yacht that is more than 98 feet in length — which was about double the amount sold in 2020 and a record. Over a thousand superyachts are on order, and there are waiting lists chock-full of people who really, really hate to be told they have to wait for something. There are about 5,400 superyachts in the world, of which roughly a hundred rise all the way to the status of gigayacht, which have a length of more than 295 feet.
Super Spike Era
In 2016, 35 men competing in NCAA meets pulled off a four-minute mile, a figure which stayed generally flat for the past several years. Then, in the 2022 season, racing spike shoes that have revolutionized the world of running became competition legal for all, and the effect has been immediate: This year, 90 men ran a four-minute mile, which is up 160 percent. That’s not all: The number of men running an 800-meter race in 1 minute, 46 seconds or less is up 56 percent from 2016 to 2021, while the number of women finishing a 5,000-meter run in under 15 minutes, 10 seconds has doubled over the period.
In industry terms, “current music” is songs and albums that have come out within the previous 18 months as well as songs still in the top half of the Billboard 200 or songs that are currently on the radio, while everything else is “catalog music.” The big shift over the past several years has been the rising dominance of catalog music. In 2017, current music was 38.9 percent of the market while catalog was 61.1 percent. Things have changed: In the first half of this year, current music was just 26.8 percent of streams while catalog was up all the way to 73.2 percent, a tectonic sonic shift. Backing out to music as a whole, the same pattern holds: Catalog now makes up 72.4 percent of the whole market, up three points from 69.5 percent last year.
The pool of recruits available to the U.S. military is low, and the Pentagon is facing serious problems signing recruits not seen since the early 1970s. Right now, only 23 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 would be considered qualified to serve without a waiver regarding disqualifications due to obesity, drug use and criminal records. An internal Pentagon document reported that only 9 percent of young Americans eligible to serve in the military “had any inclination to do so,” which is the lowest level observed since 2007. Indeed, 57 percent of the respondents said they thought they would have emotional or psychological problems after service and almost half think they would have physical problems. This year the Army is at 40 percent of its recruiting target for a fiscal year that ends in September, though the post-high school graduation quarter tends to be the best one for recruitment.
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer, a voracious insect responsible for hundreds of millions of dead ash trees costing billions of dollars in North America, has finally made it to Oregon. The state has been dreading this for some time, and has been preparing for what’s feared to be a forestry apocalypse for a state covered in Oregon ash. The bugs kill 99 percent of the trees they infest, and there are 10 species of ash tree in the state all especially vulnerable after years of drought. The urban tree removal and replacement costs are projected to be $50 million in Portland alone. The state is now in a race against time, as the goal to collect a million ash seeds to preserve the genetics and seek resistant trees is only up to 350,000 seeds, with another 600,000 sought this year.
Thailand’s entertainment industry is beginning to push its domestic pop acts abroad, attempting to replicate some of the success seen by Korea and Japan in getting their pop culture traction internationally. The entertainment industry of Thailand is projected to hit revenues of 600 billion baht ($16.7 billion) by 2025, and has already begun to secure some solid overseas hits. The Thai television series “2gether” was a hit in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, and the music acts featured in it have been riding its coattails.
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