Numlock News: June 17, 2022 • Soccer, Shakespeare, Dinosaurs
By Walt Hickey
A 399-year old copy of Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories & Tragedies, the title better known as the First Folio, will go on sale in early July at Sotheby’s, and is estimated to fetch $1.5 million to $2.5 million. The tome compiles 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, 18 of which are unique to the book and hadn’t been printed in other locations so could have been lost, a disaster that could have destroyed the valuable IP behind iconic films like She’s The Man and 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s believed that only around 750 copies of the First Folio were printed in 1623, and only 235 copies are known to remain.
Apple has landed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer for all of the league’s global media rights, reportedly for about $250 million per year starting in 2023. The connection makes sense: One is a formerly niche player who exploded in popularity over the course of the past 20 years, and the other is Major League Soccer. But really, the appeal for Apple’s streaming service is clear because the average MLS fan is 39.6 years old, with Millennials and Gen Z accounting for 58 percent of the fan base, an incredibly youthful cohort compared to most professional leagues.
For a while, exhibitors were worried that the box office was a little too top-heavy. Spider-Man: No Way Home got 92.3 percent of the total box office in its opening weekend, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had 84 percent of the box office, and it was looking like that the box office was in a peculiar holding pattern where only one movie could make money at a time. That’s bad for the industry, because it means that a movie can only really make money until the next movie comes out two weeks later. Good news then, because last weekend Jurassic World Dominion debuted to a great weekend but only had 67.4 percent of the total revenue, while Top Gun: Maverick managed 24.1 percent.
Over 100 million Americans — including 41 percent of American adults — have medical debt, and about half of the country has been saddled with debt because of medical or dental bills in the past five years. About 1 in 5 don’t expect they’ll ever pay the debt off. The new data comes just as recently as hospitals in 2019 recorded their most profitable year ever, with profit margins of 7.6 percent. That has a cost: 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 69 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds, and 60 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds have had medical debt in the past five years.
While only a slim fraction of internet traffic was still coming from Internet Explorer at the time that Microsoft pulled the plug on the product earlier this week, that doesn’t mean it was completely out of use. Indeed, many companies in Japan are reportedly scrambling to find replacements for Internet Explorer on older machines that are nevertheless critical corporate infrastructure. A March survey found that 49 percent of responding organizations said their firm still used Internet Explorer in some capacity, such as for attendance management, expenses and other purposes, in some case forced to do so by even slower clients.
This week was another podcast version of the Numlock Sunday, and I spoke to Kaitlyn Tiffany, the author of the new book Everything I Need I Get From You, a dive into the fandom, and how fangirls were instrumental in the design and evolution of the internet. The book can be found wherever books are sold.
Auto lenders have been pumping the brakes on riskier buyers, who until recently didn’t have all that much trouble getting a hold of financing for vehicles. This time last year, 8 percent of borrowers getting financing from the company Global Lending Services didn’t have a credit score, a level that last month was down to 5.6 percent. Santander’s subprime arm cut down the fraction of its auto loans that went to buyers without a credit score from 12 percent of its loans at the start of 2020 to 8 percent this year. Now they’re worried that with a worsening economy, the customers who the computer said looked like they might not be able to actually afford the car may not in fact be able to afford the cars.
As polar ice coverage shrinks, countries are scrambling to lay down digital infrastructure such as transcontinental communications cables along the newly accessible seabed. One plan, a cable orchestrated by a partnership of Alaskan, Finnish and Japanese companies, would be the Far North Fiber route, which would run 14,000 kilometers connecting Japan to Alaska and then on to Ireland and Norway by way of the Northwest Passage over Canada. Work is intended to begin in 2023, with a target of being operational by 2026, all for the cost of around €1 billion ($1.04 billion). That would let a bank in London get data to Tokyo anywhere from 30 to 40 percent faster.
Another great recent interview in the Sunday edition: I spoke to Chris Ingraham, who wrote a fascinating series of stories about air pollution including “Why dirty air hurts kids more” for The Why Axis. I’m a huge fan of Chris’ newsletter, The Why Axis, and his decision to devote an entire month to the incredibly important but often overlooked issue of air quality is a great example of why. Chris can be found at The Why Axis and on Twitter at @_cingraham.
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