Numlock News: March 16, 2023 • Sauron, Kraken, The New York Yankees
By Walt Hickey
Delta Airlines charges about $9 per flight for in-flight WiFi, a fact that affects many people who are not Major League Baseball players, a field in which it’s generally understood that the team will pick up the tab for WiFi. This, however, is not the case for every team, specifically two organizations — the small-market Cincinnati Reds, and the New York Yankees, a $6 billion franchise — who forgo the approximately $40,000 per year for a team in-flight WiFi plan. This means that many of the prominent millionaires of the franchise are bumming WiFi from colleagues’ family T-Mobile plans.
Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated
I Was There When The Courage of Men Was Moved To The Discard Pile
Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game designed to ensnare players into devoted thralls who devote years to the franchise, has released a new special crossover set themed to the Lord of the Rings franchise. Naturally, this began with the printing of the great Sol Rings versions: 3,000 Sol Ring card editions to the Elves, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings; 7,000 Sol Ring card editions to the Dwarf-lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls; and 9,000 Sol Ring card editions to the race of Men, who above all else desire power. But they were all of them deceived, for one last card was printed: Deep in the land of wherever Wizards of the Coast prints stuff, in a printer, the corporation printed a single copy, one-of-one mythic-rare legendary artifact The One Ring card with extended art and rendered in the Black Speech of Mordor, and then Willy Wonka-style slipped the one existing card into the English-language collector packs.
Based on American Kennel Club data on 716,500 puppies registered with the organization last year, 108,000 of them were French bulldogs, which are according to the group’s data the most popular breed in America. That’s 21,000 more registrations than Labrador retrievers, which were the runner up. Fans of the breed are a little worried about that spike in popularity, as short-term surges in interest in breeds can foster genetic problems in the dogs as unscrupulous breeders produce lots and lots of the animals to meet demand.
Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press
Diamond Sports Group has finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company was formed in 2019, formed by Sinclair Broadcast Group in order to acquire the regional sports networks that Fox was required to spin off as a condition of the company’s acquisition by Disney for $10.6 billion. Buying those channels meant taking on $8 billion in debt, and the subsequent decline in cable television viewership put Diamond Sports in a dire financial situation. This has implications across a lot of sports: Diamond owns 19 regional sports networks which broadcast the games of 42 teams, including 16 NBA teams, 12 NHL teams and 14 MLB teams.
Alden Gonzalez, ESPN and Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter
As the state of some longtime fisheries are in serious trouble amid overfishing and climate change, squid has emerged as a winner of climate change and one that could potentially stand to get on more plates compared to other, worse-off animals. Calamari is already a restaurant staple — it’s in 21 percent of all U.S. restaurants and 42 percent of all fine dining establishments — but it’s not yet in the top 10 most popular seafoods, and some chefs with an eye for sustainable seafood want to change that. Squid can survive in a vast variety of ocean environments, and studies have recently found that cephalopod populations are up globally over the past six decades and that the impacts of climate change have in fact been favorable to squids. Some areas, like Oregon, have seen squid fishing go from nonexistent to a 4,600 metric ton per year industry in five years.
In 2020, Sony bought Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.18 billion, which was at the time thought to be an acquisition at a pretty substantial premium. In retrospect, though, it’s increasingly a bargain, as the anime streaming service — which was combined with Funimation upon acquisition — has been a solid bright spot amid the mixed assessment of streaming service performance. The company’s internal research estimated that 300 million people around the world watched Japanese animation in 2022 in one form or another, which was double the level in 2020, and that its user base in the 13 to 25 age demo is growing substantially. The company has 10 million paying subscribers and is profitable, and somewhere along the way became the top North American distributor for anime titles released theatrically, responsible for 10 of the top 20 grossing titles.
Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter
World production of seaweed is up to 34.7 million tonnes, six times the amount produced 30 years ago, and while historically lots of seaweed farming was in Asia — which still accounts for 97 percent of production — since 2018 production off the coasts of Alaska, Maine, France and Norway each more than doubled. Many large environmental groups back producing and consuming more seaweed, with the significant nutritional value in seaweed possibly replacing more resource intensive terrestrial farming. However, some are a little more skittish, as industrialized aquaculture has often been more complicated in practice than in theory, with mangroves being plowed down to farm shrimp and fish farms posing serious issues when it comes to disease. Still, it’s already the source of food and work for lots of people: Seaweed is 30 percent of the wet weight of all seafood produced by aquaculture globally. In Indonesia, seaweed farms employ a million people, and account for 40 percent of the national fisheries output.
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