Numlock News: June 15, 2023 • Elton, Parrots, Uranium
By Walt Hickey
I’m back — a huge thanks to Neil, Colin and Dave for filling in for me and letting me have an excellent break! You can find their work respectively at , and , where I read everything each of them writes.
Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour has grossed $887 million over the 309 shows played through the end of May, and with 18 scheduled dates left before its conclusion in Stockholm in early July, he’ll probably add on around $40 million or so to the top of that which will likely make him the first tour ever to gross over $900 million. His career gross is now at $1.928 billion since Boxscore started tracking such things in the 1980s, so he’ll probably cap out just south of $2 billion on the road.
Earlier this week, the Miami Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, but not everyone in Miami came out a loser from these playoffs. Kaseya, an IT software company, stepped in to buy up the names to the Heat’s arena after FTX, the cryptocurrency polycule that imploded back in the fall after holding the naming rights for two years. FTX agreed to pay $135 million over 19 years, and following their legal issues Kasaya inked a 17-year, $117 million deal that technically starts effective July 1. Miami was eager to wash the stink of crypto failure off of their arena, and signage went up on April 8, just before the final regular-season game for the then-No. 8 seeded Heat.
Large urban centers are host to a resilient, clever and audacious species, as 60 of the world’s 380 kinds of parrots have formed breeding populations in countries outside their traditional geographic range. This is a somewhat recent development; sure, there are records of parrots breeding in the wilds of the U.K. as early as 1855, but it’s not until the ‘60s when the birds became popular as pets that they really started to form distinct communities far from the forests they called home. While sometimes they’re invasive pests, in some cases the urban birds are now a critical population: The 200 Yellow-crested Cockatoos that live in Hong Kong compose about 10 percent of the remaining population given habitat loss in Indonesia.
Egg prices fell 14 percent in May month over month, which was one of the main contributors to the slowing of the rate of food inflation down to 0.2 percent for the month. The decline in egg prices comes alongside the slowing of the outbreak of avian influenza that killed millions of egg-laying hens. It’s the biggest single month-over-month drop in the price of eggs since 1951.
Following a 2018 congressional mandate to address the matter, the FAA has issued a final rule that will now require all new aircraft flown by commercial airlines to have a secondary cockpit door, which will essentially mean that in order to exit the cockpit, the pilots will open a door, pass through it, close it, then open a second door to enter the cabin. This will prevent hijackings, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, which has long advocated for it. The FAA estimates it’s going to cost $296.5 million over the course of the next 25 years and about $505 million over the next 50 years to actually implement.
High Speed, High Volatility
The Flash is projected to make about $70 million this weekend according to internal tracking, but analysts are split and giving the troubled film a pretty wide range of possible opening weekends ranging from $68 million to up to $85 million, the lower end of which will be disappointing for a movie that cost over $200 million. What isn’t in a lot of doubt is that the new Pixar film that’s opening against it, Elemental, will potentially be the worst opening for a Pixar wide release film, now tracking for $35 million. That’d come in south of Onward, which opened right as the pandemic did, and The Good Dinosaur, which flopped in 2015.
In 1993, in the pursuit of wrapping up the Cold War in a cute, capitalist bow, Washington and Moscow inked a deal where the United States would buy and import the vast amount of Soviet weapons-grade uranium laying around the country, which would then be converted to nuclear fuel for power plants. This gave Americans cheap atoms to crack, Russians money, and the world some peace in our time, but the side effect was that it pretty much wiped out the American uranium enrichment business. For decades, rather than invest in upgrading American centrifuges, the country just kept buying Russian uranium, which means that right now a third of enriched uranium used in the U.S. is imported from Russia, to the tune of around $1 billion a year. Naturally, this has posed a bit of a geopolitical pickle given the invasion of Ukraine and needed to stop, and the U.S. now needs to line up a new supply of enriched uranium, which will take years.
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