Numlock News: March 14, 2022 • Neon, Spiders, BTS
By Walt Hickey
The Batman, an attempt to film a movie with as little lighting equipment as possible, made another $66 million domestically and another $66.6 million internationally, bringing the global cume to $463.2 million. It’s doing particularly great business in Imax, which amounted to $38.7 million of its haul, and opens in China this week. The closest threat to The Batman was BTS Permission to Dance on Stage: Seoul, a live concert event that was released tape delayed in the U.S. That made $6.9 million in North America, good enough for the top-grossing live cinema event ever, and brought in $32.6 million globally.
An $8 billion allocation in the infrastructure bill passed last year is slated to go towards the development of four hydrogen hubs in the United States. The goal is to fund the initial buildout for areas that generate and then distribute hydrogen for fuel use including pipelines and ports to move it around. Right now, there are three proposed hubs: four Rocky Mountain states announced a proposal in February, SoCalGas has a pitch in for the Los Angeles area, and just last week three states — Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas — submitted their bid, citing their history of logistical work in fossil fuels. Bids are due by March 21.
They Do Move In Herds
There are 50,000 known species of spiders, and the vast majority of those are solitary creatures, who operate as lonesome predators and only socialize for mating purposes or when they want to save the life of a pig. However, 20 species of spiders live in colonies, and one species, Anelosimus eximius, lives in massive colonies of up to a thousand spiders. A new study found that these spiders communicate and collaborate on kills, coordinating their attacks to take down larger prey than a single spider can take out. The study found that the spiders use vibrations in their enormous webs to carry out a synchronized swarming attack.
Neon is used in the lasers that make some kinds of computer chips, and Ukraine is home to two companies — Ingas and Cryoin — that are responsible for producing 45 percent to 54 percent of semiconductor-grade neon. Chip producers needed 540 metric tons of neon last year to carry out their work, and the supply is about to get much tighter as the war in Ukraine has forced those manufacturers to halt operations. Ingas, based in the besieged Mariupol, produced 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of neon per month, while Cryoin, based in Odessa, produced 10,000 to 15,000 cubic meters a month. Most of the rest of the global neon supply is produced in China. It would take nine months to two years for other companies to initiate neon production.
In July, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline will become truly national, with a single three-digit number — 988 — replacing the current 1-800 number and a suite of upgrades to follow for telecom infrastructure and the patchwork of 180 call centers for the suicide prevention service. However, the situation is not without its issues: The current services are poorly-funded, and 330,000 of the 2 million calls to the lifeline last year, or 17 percent, were abandoned before a caller got help. Callers blamed hold times, and the hotline’s local directors cited their limited capacity from their limited resources.
A survey of 6,627 people, of whom 965 were workers who quit their job last year, found that the most common reasons cited for ditching a job included low pay and no opportunities for advancement (each tied at 63 percent), feeling disrespected at work (57 percent), and a lack of flexibility when choosing their hours (45 percent). Young adults aged 18 to 29 were most likely to have quit their job last year, with 37 percent of respondents in the age bracket leaving a job in 2021, nearly double the overall rate of 19 percent of non-retired workers quitting.
During the month of February, the wait time between when a semiconductor chip is ordered and when it is delivered rose three days, landing at a stunning 26.2 weeks. Prior to 2021, the lead time for such chips had maxed out at around 15 weeks, typically hovering somewhere between 12 weeks and 15 weeks. That said, the lag time is actually leveling off a bit: It’s up by about two weeks since September, which is still going in the wrong direction, but is leveling off from the massive delays seen last spring, when each month would see another two weeks added to the average lag time. The shortage began amid massive demand for consumer tech products and vehicles, and the shortage is expected to last into the next half of the year.
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