Numlock News: June 26, 2023 • Flash, Snails, Vanna
By Walt Hickey
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was again the top movie of the weekend following a massive crash for The Flash in its second week of release. The Flash made $15.3 million, a somewhat shocking 73 percent decline compared to an already muted $55 million opening weekend, good for only third place at the box office behind Spider-Verse (which made $19.3 million in its fourth weekend) and Pixar’s Elemental, which dropped just 37 percent week over week to $18.5 million. Rounding out the top four was Jennifer Lawrence’s comedy No Hard Feelings.
Be Our Guest
A five-star hotel in Delhi, India, is alleging that a guest walked out on a INR 5.8 million ($71,000) bill in January 2021 after spending 603 nights at the Roseate Hotel. They’re alleging an inside job, with not only the guest, Ankush Dutta, but also a number of members of the staff working to forge or delete documents to aid the guest in the scheme.
Florida is yet again attempting to eradicate invasive giant African land snails that threaten its agriculture and ecosystem. Right now the state is dealing with three quarantines after the massive mollusks were spotted in Lee County, Pasco County and now finally Broward County. The snails eat 500 different plants, they do not need to mate to reproduce, and they lay 500 eggs at a time. This is not the first time that Florida has had to eradicate this snail: Introduced in 1966, it was eradicated in 1975 for $3 million, then introduced in 2011 and again destroyed by 2021 for $23 million.
The South Pole scientific bases are in serious disarray, and need millions of dollars of work to not sink into the glacier. The Amundsen-Scott base at the South Pole is two to three years and $60 million a year away from no longer sinking into the accumulating snow, and work can’t begin to extract the base until 2026. One factor is electricity: The planned cosmic microwave background S4 project needs 170 kilowatts, but power at the pole is limited to 600 to 700 kilowatts, fueled by a fairly hard cap of three fuel deliveries per season.
Store brands are doing great these days, owning 18.7 percent of so-called center aisle sales, or the sales that have to do with consumer packaged goods brands. That is up from 17.9 percent over the same period a year ago, and given the massive amount of spending on the things we need to eat, that is a fairly substantial diversion of money away from actual brands. At the same time, household care items are seeing their store brand share rise from 31.9 percent to 32.6 percent over the same period.
Americans will eat 100.9 pounds of chicken this year, up from 82.4 pounds per year in 2010 and 59.5 pounds in 1990, a massive swing in meat consumption. Compare that to the 67.7 pounds of beef consumed in 1990, down to 59.6 pounds of beef by 2010 and then just 56.3 pounds of beef today. That shift in preferences has fueled massive changes in fast food business models, the environmental implications of eating, and new trends in food.
Wheel of Fortune may seem like an absurd, casino-infused game show, but it's a massive industry where the forthcoming departure of host Pat Sajak threatens the balance of one of the most productive and lucrative shows in existence. This leaves Vanna White, the other hand in this two-hander of a show, to negotiate a future, and litigation is already brewing. White makes $3 million a year, plus $55,000 per episode for Celebrity Wheel, which Sony offered to raise to $66,000, still considerably south of the $300,000 that Pat Sajak makes per episode.
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