Numlock News: June 10, 2022 • Agatha Christie, Tequila, Criminal Sentencing
By Walt Hickey
Have an excellent weekend!
Sterling Jewelers will pay $175 million to settle a class-action suit first filed in 2008 that alleges years of discrimination against women who worked for the company, which owns Jared and Kay Jewelers. The class of 68,000 women who had worked predominantly as sales associates alleged that the company systematically denied promotions to women and underpaid women, and a number of people stepped forward to report that they also experienced sexual harassment, groping and coercion from male bosses.
In a 4-3 decision at the Ohio Supreme Court, a judge’s decision to add six more years to a person’s sentence after the individual called them a “racist ass bitch” during sentencing is unjustified and has been reversed. The defendant, Manson Bryant, was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery and initially was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Following the judge’s sentence, and in light of a co-defendant getting just 12 years for the same crime, Bryant had his emotional outburst, and in response to that the judge added another six years onto his sentence, making it 28 years. While that was upheld by a district court of appeals, the case made it to the state’s Supreme Court which found that it was nonsense to sentence someone to six additional years in prison for being mildly rude when you were sentencing them to 22 years in prison.
The United Kingdom is seeing a devastating collapse in coastal environment biodiversity, with 90 percent of seagrass simply gone compared to pre-industrial levels and most of that within the past 30 years alone. The current prediction is that most of the 26,000 square miles of kelp forests in the U.K. littorals will be gone by 2100, a habitat loss that will be catastrophic for coastal marine life. Naturally, we have to find the person responsible for this, the entity who controls the seabed encircling the United Kingdom — say, maybe to like 12 nautical miles out — who has overseen this mismanagement. Anyway, that turns out to literally be Queen Elizabeth II, who thanks to William the Conquerer’s savvy real estate dealings legally owns the seabed as part of the Crown Estate. While lots of companies and non-governmental organizations are trying to revitalize the coastal environment, at times the Crown Estate has been delayed or slow to actually provide licenses and leases to help in coastal restoration.
And Then There Were Some
From BookTok to the book clubs, the hot new author out there is none other than Agatha Christie, who after a series of film adaptations of her work and the fact that she’s responsible for a lot of just banger mysteries is having a significant revival in interest despite her death in 1976. After all, technically what is an Agatha Christie audiobook if not just a dishy compelling true crime podcast that actually delivers for once? Sales of Christie’s books in the U.S. were up 39 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter a year ago.
For the first time, Americans will spend more on mezcal and tequila than they will on domestic whiskey, and next year mezcal and tequila are projected to become the most-purchased spirits with $13.3 billion in sales, beating $12.5 billion for vodka and $12.3 billion for American whiskey. The trends have been unmistakable: In the United States mezcal sales grew 53 percent from 2020 to 2021, and tequila sales were up 27 percent, vastly outpacing the competition. Agave-based liquor in general is projected to grow 81 percent from 2021 to 2026 in the U.S., and that’s hardly it: Agave liquor sales are also exploding in the U.K., Germany and Japan, and the Canadians are particularly crazy about it with sales projected to rise 109 percent from 2021 to 2026.
The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is enduring the rigors of space well, having already endured four small measured micrometeoroid impacts and one more serious one that took place sometime between May 23 and May 25. All satellites are built to sustain a dinger for the many small meteoroids that stalk the solar system, and the JWST is no different. The bigger hit impacted the C3 mirror, one of the 18 pieces of the primary mirror, and while it was a larger impact than the ones that designers had modeled for on the ground, everything’s still in working order. The first science-quality images from Webb are planned to drop on July 12.
Prior to the pandemic, Japan was getting about 90,000 foreign travelers a day, riding the high of a tourism boom for the country. On June 1, the daily entry cap set by the government over the course of the pandemic was doubled to 20,000, and the government is already weighing upping the cap to somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 or even ending it overall. In the event that they can get travelers back at the level they were seeing pre-pandemic, they could be looking at an additional $8.2 billion in consumption. Japan dropped their on-arrival testing requirements for most entering the country after positive tests dropped to less than 20 per day in June. Tourism from China — which pre-pandemic was responsible for about 40 percent of inbound spending and 30 percent of travelers — is seen as more likely to be a slower, or more diminished rebound.
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