Numlock News: March 11, 2021 • Trappists, Psychics, Applicants
By Walt Hickey
Trappist breweries are associated with actual abbeys of Trappist monks, who have historically brewed and sold beer to pay for their livelihoods. However, as these orders of monastic life decline, it’s become difficult for some to maintain the needed staff, as the arrangement requires a certain degree of monk involvement in the beer making in order to score the official designation. To be a member of the International Trappist Association, beers must be brewed at a monastery, with monks overseeing the business, and with profits going to charities or the abbey. Today there are 11 monastic members of the association, a number that has fluctuated; in 1998, there were eight monasteries behind the Authentic Trappist Product label, with one ejected in 1999 for getting too cozy with the commercial operation running their brewery, though returning in 2005. It’s a solid, industrious business: Scourmont Abbey’s Chimay brand made $77 million in 2019.
The Colorado River is a critical water resource for seven states in the Western U.S. and serves the needs of 40 million people. Utah has caused a bit of a tiff between the states by passing new legislation that would build an underground pipeline transporting water 140 miles from Lake Powell, a key reservoir for the river, to a place in Utah near the Arizona border. The upper basin states — which Utah is one of — get a share of water based on what is available, but generally don’t use it all. While the lower basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona get specific volumes of water that can be cut. The plan set out by Utah would use 400,000 acre-feet of water in addition to the typical 1 million acre-feet it uses.
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A new analysis looking into the year-over-year trends of the pandemic era found that Americans turned to some unconventional aid in their attempts to discern the unclear future, with consumer interest in psychics rising 74 percent, mystics rising 71 percent and astrologers up 63 percent. It’s unclear whether the fortune-tellers involved in the 2020 Tarot card reading goofed up and used the Rider-Waite OOPS! All Towers deck but, hey, the year was what it was.
College admissions officials are highly screwed right now, and they’re passing on that complete and utter matriculation mystery to the applying students in the form of colossal waitlists for next year. Applications using the Common App were up 11 percent through the beginning of March, but the number of applicants was up just 2.4 percent, which means kids are applying to more schools in general. The share of admitted students who eventually enroll at a given college is on average 33 percent nationwide, and next year it could be pretty much madness, as people who deferred or delayed school return in the fall. Listen, if you’re worried about not landing a spot, I get it, but there are alternatives: if you want to live in a dorm with bros, get on track for a great lucrative job and be surrounded by beer, have you considered becoming a Trappist monk?
Nuclear power is waning, but not for the typical fears. Rather, other ways of generating electricity have just become cheaper and more available. Nuclear power in 2020 accounted for about 19 percent of U.S. electricity needs, a figure that by 2050 is projected to slip to 11 percent according to the Energy Information Administration. Nuclear power is over half of low-carbon electricity generation in the U.S., and is about 30 percent of the world’s low-carbon electricity. The coming years will determine how much nuclear power — which is expensive to build but on a carbon basis clean to run — will play a role in the energy future, as the new demos of small modular reactors begin to roll out in the United States.
Cell-based meat, which is the term used to describe the kind of meat that’s cultivated in a lab away from actual animals, could see production costs fall shortly that would motivate a larger rollout beyond photo ops and proofs-of-concept, according to a new study. The projection is that cell-based meat production costs could fall to $2.57 per pound by 2030, which is still certainly a premium sticker price but approaches competition with traditional meat from animals.
Disney has made a deal with the NHL valued at between $2 billion and $2.2 billion over the next seven years that will see the hockey league take its talents to ABC, ESPN and, most significantly, its streaming service ESPN+. The deal will get the whole of the Stanley Cup back on to network television, which had previously been split between NBC and NBCSN, a premium cable channel, which led to ratings dropping 30 to 35 percent during hockey’s marquee event. The biggest shift is that ESPN+ will functionally subsume the NHL out of a market streaming offering, which now goes for $149.99 per season.
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