Numlock News: June 23, 2021 • Britney Spears, Tracer, Laundry
By Walt Hickey
New details are emerging about the state of pop star Britney Spears' finances, with new records indicating that the musician — who was banking millions from a ridiculously popular Las Vegas residency — was being given a $2,000 weekly allowance by the conservatorship who oversees her finances, a conservatorship long controlled by her father Jamie. Her dad makes a better income from the business of Britney Spears than Britney herself: Jamie is pulling in a $16,000 per month salary overseeing her finances, with another $2,000 per month for office space, plus a percentage of the revenue from any number of deals, such as a 2.95 percent commission from the Femme Fatale tour in 2011 and 1.5 percent of the gross from the Vegas residency in 2014.
The University of Hawaii pays $1,500 per month for access to the Japan-U.S. Submarine Cable System, a $1 billion intercontinental fiber-optic cable that gives the University 10 GB per second in some periods. This data link has turned out to be a remarkably helpful, and now profitable, chunk of web infrastructure during the pandemic. The Overwatch League is an esports league operated by Activision-Blizzard, and about half the league is now operating out of South Korea and the other half is in the U.S. They want those sets of teams to compete, but the lag over the Pacific is a bit much. That's why the esports league is paying $80,000 to the University this year, so they can fly U.S.-based teams out to Hawaii to compete against the Korea-based teams on the best possible internet connection.
A new presentation in the National Museum of Denmark has reunited two relatives. One, a man in his early 20s in England, and the other, an older man in Denmark, were discovered to be related. The significant piece of that news is that both have been dead for about a millennium. The younger one is believed to have died in either a coastal raid or in a purge of Danes by Æthelred the Unready in 1002. Most significantly, though separated by 500 miles, they were either half-siblings, uncle and nephew, or grandfather and grandson.
Engine That Could
Earlier this year, a tiny impact investment group Engine No. 1 successfully launched a bid to get climate-friendly directors on the board of Exxon. This week, the firm announced they will launch an ETF, or exchange-traded fund, that will track the Morningstar U.S. Large Cap Select Index of the top 500 companies, with rates at 0.05% and a ticker of VOTE. The goal: invest in companies and then use that voting power to get pro-climate directors on boards. The angle is sensible: right now, BlackRock, Vanguard Group and State Street Corp. hold 43 percent of U.S. equity assets, and a typical company could soon have 35 percent of their stock in the hands of one of those rudimentary funds.
The Heart of the Cards
Topps, the trading card company, announced that first quarter sales hit $166.6 million, up 55 percent. More specifically, the projection of revenue is up to $740 to $760 million on the year, up from the $692 million last disclosed on June 3. The sports and entertainment part of the business has seen sales practically double, and that’s about two-thirds of the company’s business.
Australia has been beset by mice, a plague sweeping the country and pushing many farming families towards financial ruin. Mice first arrived in Australia in 1788 as an invasive species, and have adapted perfectly to the environment. After growing to six weeks of age, mice can reproduce every 19 to 21 days, with litters hitting 10 pups. Prior to this year, when mice have infested rural regions, the worst plagues to date were in 1979 and in 1993-94. For the past eight months, farmers have contended with an explosion in rodents that has jeopardized the food supply and cut more than 1 billion Australian dollars from the forthcoming winter grain crop.
On the International Space Station, there is no such thing as laundry day. Right now, an astronaut needs about 150 pounds of clothes in space per year, and will wear their clothes — gym, underwear, all of it — until they cannot stand the smell, and then throw the clothes away, ejecting the shirts to eventually burn up in the atmosphere. A new study, a collaboration between NASA and Procter & Gamble Co., will attempt to find a good way to clean clothes in space.
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