Numlock News: March 18, 2019
By Walt Hickey
Liking Numlock? Forward today’s email to a friend you think may enjoy it and might subscribe.
The run time for the final season of Game of Thrones has been announced, with the six-episode season clocking in at a total of 432 minutes. Only the first two episodes come in under an hour, with the final two episodes of the season being essentially feature-length hour and twenty minute episodes where, I can only assume, the White Walkers who seek to eradicate humankind and Westerosi coalition in defense of the Realm resolve their differences through the use of communication, bipartisanship, and centrism. That means there are merely 7.2 hours standing between us and a world in which all that’s left to do is wait for The Winds of Winter.
As of last Friday, at three of the past six San Antonio Spurs home games a bat has brought the basketball proceedings to a temporary halt. This is because the AT&T Center is effectively a bat-cave that accommodates the periodic presence of basketball games. What gives? Well, the AT&T Center is 25 miles southwest of Bracken Cave, which has 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats in it in the summer. The arena lies basically exactly along the migration path from the bats’ winter home in Central America to their summer home north of San Antonio.
Customs in Jersey are on a roll lately, following up an enormous cocaine bust with the seizure of about 1 million pounds of pork smuggled from China. The seizure of about 50 shipping containers was announced Friday at a warehouse in Elizabeth where three rooms were full of smuggled pork. Of all the things I would think make even the bare minimum of sense to smuggle, I really have to confess “products derived from pig meat” is really not all that high on my list. The pork was smuggled in various ways like ramen noodle bowls and Tide detergent, which why? Why would you do that? That sounds awful. Adding to concerns is that there’s an outbreak of African swine fever in China right now and should that spread stateside the negative impacts could near $10 billion in damages.
Productivity is infectious. A 2017 study found that working near people who are good at their job makes you more effective at yours. Sitting within 25 feet of a high performer at work improved a given worker’s performance by 15 percent, while sitting within 25 feet of a low performer hurt their performance by 30 percent. No joke, I think this is why working hard along with the busy girl in the “lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to” is such an effective placebo for productivity.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
Higher, Farther, Faster
Captain Marvel pulled in $69 million domestically in its second weekend, bringing its cumulative North American total to $265 million and $760 million globally. It’s all but assured to join the billion club, and the box office desperately needed this shot in the arm: ticket sales are down 19 percent compared to 2018, when Black Panther proved a February juggernaut.
Ever wonder about those weird “deals” segments during morning shows? They make a killing, in part because hawking goods over the television is still an incredible business. The Today show made $60 million from its “Steals & Deals” segment last year, and even industry staple QVC continues to make a killing, and much of it is thanks to e-commerce. QVC (which bought rivals HSN and Zulily for $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively) has made more and more of its money online: in 2017, online sales were 59 percent of revenue, a figure that then rose to 62 percent in 2018, two-thirds of which were made by mobile app. Because even as retail businesses see continued change to the brick-and-mortar spaces, charming people demonstrating products on television will always be a money maker.
Hippocrates Probably Would Not Love This
A survey of primary care doctors found that about 45 percent were contractually locked into restrictive covenants, which are basically non-competes and no-poaching agreements. That means that should doctors go from one practice to another, they can’t alert their patients, which seems non-ideal. This is causing issues in rural areas, which may forbid physicians from setting up a new or competing private practice in an area already somewhat deprived of doctors.
Thank you so much for subscribing! If you're enjoying the newsletter, forward it to someone you think may enjoy it too! Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at email@example.com.