Numlock News: June 21, 2018
Votes to Legalize Pot
Votes pour Légaliser le Cannabis
A bill that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana in Canada has passed the Senate 52 to 29, meaning that by September, Canadians should be able to buy and consume the drug legally. Honestly, at this point it kind of feels like they're just showing off. Canadians spent an estimated $4.5 billion (USD) on marijuana in 2015, which is roughly how much they spent on wine. If you were going back and forth on opening up the poutine shop of your dreams, now is the time to seize your moment.
Expensive Rocket Trash
Right now, the only way to get a human into space is through the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The United States has lots of humans who want to be in space, so NASA paid the Russian space agency Roscosmos about $3.4 billion from 2006 to 2018 to get its astronauts to the International Space Station. Shooting stuff into space means that lots of discarded booster rockets fall back down on the region around Baikonur, an estimated 2,500 tons since the 1950s. In the Soviet era, those were recovered quickly, but since then it's been a dangerous yet profitable hustle for scrap scavengers.
Paul Cooper, Nautilus
Guinea worm is parasite that has plagued the human race since the biblical era and is about to be eradicated thanks to a monomaniacal campaign by Jimmy Carter. Last year there were just 30 human cases of Guinea worm, all in Chad or Ethiopia, down from 3.5 million in 21 countries when the Carter Center launched its quest to conquer the ancient pestilence in 1986. One issue complicating the final stretch is an outbreak among over 800 dogs in Chad, which is delaying the Guinea worm's date with oblivion.
Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times
Something weird is happening with the Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews of "Gotti," a terrible movie about an awful man. Critics gave "Gotti" a unanimous 0 percent fresh rating on the site, while audiences gave it (at press time) a 67 percent fresh rating. The issue is that the number of ratings — over 7,000 — is totally out of proportion for a movie with this kind of release pattern (limited), box office (laughable) and reputation (miserable). "Incredibles 2" made 105 times as much money in its opening weekend, but it only notched about 7,600 audience ratings. Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine
Teens and the Enormous Clouds of Vape Smog they Produce
Last year, only 14 percent of Americans were smokers, according to an annual, 27,000-subject CDC study. That's down from 16 percent the previous year. Teens are smoking less than ever, as only 9 percent of high school studentssmoked. On the other hand, 13 percent of high schoolers vape, so it seems many traded acrid carcinogenic smoke for obnoxious bursts of noxious pineapple-watermelon-kiwi-root beer fog.
The Walt Disney Company upped its offer for 21st Century Fox to $71.3 billion, a new cash and stock counteroffer following Comcast's all-cash offer of $65 billion for the Hollywood assets of News Corp. That's a steep climb from the $52.4 billion all-stock offer Disney made back in December. The Murdochs (who control about 17 percent of Fox's voting shares) will have to choose between The Mouse or The Minions.
Steven Zeitchik and Rachel Siegel, The Washington Post
Puerto Rico is in America
U.S. foundations sent about $29 million in philanthropy to Puerto Rico from 2011 to 2015, while Detroit — a mainland municipality in a similarly dire fiscal situation during the period — reaped $1.2 billion in aid from those grant makers in the same period. Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas, led to $341 million in philanthropy, while Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico, attracted $62 million.
Drew Lindsay, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The latest estimates from the Small Arms Survey greatly increases the number of firearms we have on earth since the last estimate in 2007, and the U.S. is an enormous part of that. Overall there are 1 billion guns on earth, up from 875 million in 2007. The number in civilian hands rose from 650 million in 2007 to 857 million civilian-held firearms today, a staggering 393 million of which are in the United States. That's 46 percent of all civilian-held guns.
Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
Free Trade Money
With the U.S. advancing an isolationist agenda, the European Union is looking to open up free-trade negotiations with over a dozen new partners. The latest is Australia; the E.U. is already the nation's second-largest trading partner after China, and a free trade deal that includes New Zealand would boost E.U. GDP by an estimated €4.9 billion by 2030.
Richard Bravo, Bloomberg