Numlock News: March 11, 2020 • Rocket, Tree, Banned Apps
By Walt Hickey
A new report from Britain’s Office of National Statistics estimated that tree cover in London saved £5 billion ($6.56 billion) from 2014 to 2018 simply by cooling the air. This backs up earlier research from 2015 where ONS found the 8.4 million trees in London removed 2,240 tonnes of pollutants from the London atmosphere annually, which otherwise would have cost £126 million, sequestering £4.79 million worth of carbon and saving £2.8 million for the city by mitigating storm water run-off. Now I am not the kind of dude who’s all “we need trees, for the savings” but given that we’re all basically learning that The Lorax was a documentary, I guess I’m for putting some dollar signs next to the trees if it gets the job done.
Apple is requiring game designers with applications in the App Store to have game licenses within China, and the June 30 deadline is fast approaching for compliance. China has issued a total of 43,104 game licenses, but there were 64,677 paid games in the App Store in China as of March 6. This means that — even if every single license was for a mobile game in the App Store — at least 21,500 mobile games will be yanked in just a few short months. This is a huge deal for both the designers and Apple, as the gross revenue from the Chinese iOS App Store was estimated at $8.8 billion in 2019, of which a 30 percent cut goes to Apple.
In the most “silver lining” stories of all possible litter-related stories, a new study found out that while, yes, much of the ocean floor near human activity is absolutely littered with trash and human-dumped detritus, at least a lot of that crap is used by the native flora and fauna as a house. Researchers trawled an area in the Gulf of Naples and found 3,444 specimens belonging to 133 different species living there, about 102 kilograms worth of what the scientific community terms “floppy, floppy fishies.” They also trawled up 3,590 pieces of litter, mostly plastic, weighing about 260 kilograms, about 83.6 percent of which originated on land. The researchers found that over 50 percent of the litter items had been colonized by invertebrates or eggs from mollusks.
Right now, it’s hard to buy a new house that isn’t large in America. Homes under 1,400 square feet have historically represented about 16 percent of new housing stock, but since 1999 they’ve been just 8 percent of new construction. Homes sized between 1,800 square feet or less had been 40 percent of new homes, but now they’re merely 22 percent. Meanwhile, the 2,400 square foot and up segment had represented a third of the new market but now are about half. New entry-level and starter homes are simply not on the market anymore, mainly because costs associated with construction have surged, so it’s go big or no home.
Five years ago, NPD’s market research found that 25 percent of people who had bought sports shoes actually intended to use those shoes to play sports. Under Armour was appealing to those people — those who actually buy running shoes to run, or cross-training shoes to cross-train, or tennis shoes to play tennis — the focus of their business. This was not a great plan, because last year when NPD did that survey just 15 percent of buyers of sports shoes mentioned an actual sport or athletic activity as an intended use of the sneaker, meaning that the casuals, who were inevitably a larger contingent of Americans, may have been a better core customer.
Canada’s government said it will force their country’s three largest telecoms to cut prices on some wireless services, a sentence that as an American may as well be written in Greek. You can… do that? Really? The three companies in question — Rogers Communications, BCE Inc., and Telus Corp. — control 90 percent of Canada’s wireless market, where wireless plans are notably more expensive than peers. About 40 percent of Canadians have a wireless plan between two and six gigabytes per month, and the Government wants them to cut prices on those by 25 percent within two years.
The Space Launch System is the rocket NASA wants to get it back to the moon, a powerful engine capable of chucking 200,000 pounds of stuff into low earth orbit. The original cost of the program was $10.8 billion when first authorized in 2014, until December 2019, by which point it had cost $14.8 billion and now it’s expected to cost $17 billion. The new audit found that by 2021, when the rocket 4wwill fly at earliest, the program is projected to cost $18.3 billion, and were the second flight of the SLS to fall to 2023, the program will probably have cost $22.8 billion. For the record, the rocket was originally supposed to first blast off in 2017.
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