Numlock News: June 6, 2022 • Sunscreen, Socks, Morbin' Time
By Walt Hickey
It’s Morbin’ Time
Sony Pictures, the venerable major studio, was convinced by constant online chatter, trending social media mentions and memes that their failed superhero movie Morbius had actually built up a steady stream on word-of-mouth online support, and as a result re-released the vampire movie in 1,037 theaters in its tenth weekend, up from double digits cinemas a week ago. Well, they were bamboozled by the hype. Far from being the next Encanto, instead the ruthless mockery of the film has not actually translated into anything approaching devotion, and it made only $280,000 this past weekend after a dismal $85,000 Friday. That $270 per theater average is as grim and twisted as Doctor Michael Morbius himself.
Podcasts that distribute exclusively white noise sonic landscapes are a big business, with podcasts that specifically tout pleasant or neutralizing sounds regularly outperforming bona fide podcasts on streaming services like Spotify. One producer behind the podcast “Tmsoft’s White Noise Sleep Sounds” gets $12.25 per thousand listens from its commercial providers, which translates to around $18,375 per month for the neutral white noise sound mix. Another sound mix, “12 Hour Sound Machines (no loops or fades),” gets 100,000 listens daily, racking up 26.6 million streams.
Top Gun: Maverick made $86 million in its second weekend at the domestic box office, a huge achievement. Among movies that opened to over $100 million, it’s the first movie ever to decline just 32 percent in its second week, beating out the record for best hold previously attained by Shrek 2, a 33 percent drop. All told, the movie has made $548.6 million globally, and with $291.6 million domestic it’s now Tom Cruise’s best-ever domestic performer. Later this week, Jurassic World: Dominion opens domestically, and early overseas numbers point to a massive opening for the paleontology documentary.
While office temperature discussions have always been a bit fraught as landlords, management and workers quibble over the ideal number at which to set the thermostat, things have boiled over as companies try to coerce workers back to the office. The temperature is becoming a bit of a dealbreaker for some, as why precisely would someone leave a home office dialed to their precise preferred temperature to return to an office that resembles Siberia? The data on office temperatures reveals just how consequential they can be when it comes to productivity: One study found that cognitive work performance peaks between 71.6 and 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and another found that typists were half as productive and made double the number of errors when the temperature was decreased from 77 degrees to 68 degrees.
New data from the NPD group found that over the past two years, socks replaced t-shirts as the top clothing purchase, with a fifth of all items of clothing bought in 2020 and 2021 being socks. This makes some degree of sense, as people who are working from home more may be putting some more wear and tear on socks, given that 70 percent of American adults wear socks in the home. Also fueling the run on socks is socks specifically advertised as being good to sleep in, with sleep sock demand up 21 percent over the past four years.
The Environmental Working Group released their 16th annual guide to sunscreens earlier this year, once again calling out the fact that sunscreen is an incredibly weird substance and we don’t totally know what’s going on in the goop. According to the EWG, out of 2,000 products tested only 25 percent met their standards for adequate protection while also avoiding chemicals they called “worrisome,” like aerosols and oxybenzone. A 2008 study found that oxybenzone had been found in about 97 percent of Americans, the same chemical in sunscreens that has been linked to endangering coral reefs. About 30 percent of non-mineral sunscreens have oxybenzone in them, down from 60 percent three years ago.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that consumers lost $1 billion in crypto to scammers from the start of 2021 to the end of March 2022. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, the FTC estimated that $329 million was scammed out of consumers. The majority of the scams are phony investments, the fake coins and offerings that claimed $575 million from scammed Americans. Among 46,000 reports to the FTC, the median loss was $2,600.
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