Numlock News: June 14, 2021 • Skeletons, Tattoos, Geothermal
By Walt Hickey
In The Heights
The new Warner Bros. musical In The Heights, an adaptation of a Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway show, missed out on expectations at the domestic box office with an $11.4 million showing from 3,456 theaters. The film was released on streaming platform HBO Max as well, which likely ate into its box office performance. Still, this might not be the end of the road for In The Heights: musicals can have incredibly strong legs and run for months provided they can find the right audience, like how The Greatest Showman in 2017 debuted to a mere $8.8 million but eventually racked up $174 domestically and $438 million worldwide amid great buzz and repeat viewing.
Tattoo parlors are increasingly slammed with appointments, as needles in arms end up leading newly vaccinated people to pursue some needles on arms. About 30 percent of Americans have at least one tattoo, and there are 30,000 working tattoo artists across about 20,000 studios in the United States. In a given year, tattoo parlors in the U.S. generate about $1 billion in sales, but last year crushed the industry. So far, this year studios are reporting a surge in interest as people seek to commemorate a unique, intense experience with a tat.
The Cost Of Fashion
In 14th century Britain, the height of fashion involved poulaines, which were pointy leather shoes. New research indicates that this trend actually caused lasting impacts on the skeletons of the uniquely hip and on-trend Britons of the era: an analysis of 177 skeletons from the 11th century to 15th century found in Cambridge found 27 percent of the skeletons from the 14th and 15th centuries — when poulaines were all the rage — suffered from bunions, while just 6 percent of those from the 11th through 13th century did. The skeletons from richer cemeteries — people more likely to doff poulaines — were more likely to suffer from bunions, as only 3 percent of rural skeletons and 10 percent of the parish graveyard suffered the affliction, while 43 percent of the permanent residents at a graveyard for clergy and wealthy benefactors of a friary had bunions.
Global geothermal power capacity was north of 14 gigawatts at the end of last year, up 40 percent over the past decade. There’s increasing demand for the form of electrical generation from places in Indonesia and eastern Africa, and lots of the companies that design and install utility-scale geothermal are Japanese: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba Energy Systems, and Toyota Tsusho are huge players in the geothermal space, with Japanese corporations holding over a 60 percent share in geothermal turbines. What’s weird, though, is that even though Japan itself has the potential to generate around 23.4 gigawatts from geothermal, it’s had a capacity of 550 megawatts steadily for the past decade.
Ryo Mukano and Azusa Kawakami, Nikkei Asia
National Parks in the United States are packed, with a restart to tourism demand in many places driving huge interest in national parks. However, the parks were short-staffed even before the latest rise in interest: from 2011 to 2019, the National Parks Service lost 16 percent of its staffing capacity. Over the same period, the park system as a whole saw a 17 percent increase in visitation. Today, it’s harder for the NPS to retain staff given that remote workers who moved in the vicinity of the parks have made it difficult for new parks employees to find places to live, and towns near national parks are hardly known to be large metropolises for the obvious reasons.
Allison Pohle, The Wall Street Journal
A crack team of investigators has solved a century-long disappearance and tracked down several varieties of apples long thought to be extinct. There were once 17,000 named apple varieties in North America, but today that’s down to 4,500 after farmers phased out types that were no longer in demand. The Lost Apple Project scours records and investigates abandoned orchards to try to track down once-lost apples, and recently rediscovered seven types of apples in old orchards, bringing the total rediscovered count since 2014 up to 29 lost varieties.
Known to cybersecurity researchers as Ryuk, a gang of Eastern European cybercriminals have been attacking hospitals across the United States, and are one of the busiest ransomware gangs on the web. Of the 203 million ransomware attacks in 2020 in the U.S., a third of them came from Ryuk, according to the cybersecurity firm SonicWall, with $100 million in ransoms collected by Ryuk ransomware last year, according to a bitcoin analysis firm. Ryuk has attacked at least 235 general hospitals and inpatient psychiatric facilities since 2018, and the gang has demonstrated a willingness to attack critical institutions like hospitals that other groups may chafe at.
Kevin Poulsen and Melanie Evans, The Wall Street Journal
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