Numlock News: March 31, 2023 • T-Rex, Adult Swim, Bidets
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend!
On the cusp of the service’s big push to get existing verified users to shell out for an eight-dollar subscription to maintain a vanity checkmark, details about Twitter’s dire advertiser situation have come to light. From September to October of last year, the top 10 advertisers on Twitter spent $71 million on advertisement. Over the past two months, the top 10 advertisers spent just $7.6 million, an 89 percent decline. Major brands that had been longtime advertisers on Twitter have pulled out and not return, including Coca-Cola, Merck, Hilton, AT&T and Mondelez.
A new study of the dental enamel of Tyrannosaurus rex found evidence that, much like lizards, T. rex likely had lips. In lipless reptiles like modern crocodiles, teeth are constantly exposed, and this causes the teeth to wear down faster than in animals that have lips, with an American alligator going through 3,000 teeth over the course of its life. According to the new study, a large tooth from a Tyrannosaur that spent more than 500 days in the creature’s mouth during life found no evidence of wear and tear, evidence that Tyrannosaur teeth lasted more than 12 months before needing to be replaced, evidence for a lipped T. rex.
Bayer, which owns Monsanto and produces the herbicide dicamba, is suing four soybean farmers in Missouri for illegally spraying an older version of dicamba after the state cutoff date, alleging that the farmers violated their user agreement, saved seeds from dicamba-tolerant soybean crops between seasons in violation of their agreement, and harmed Bayer’s already a bit testy relationship with the EPA. It’s also suing another two farmers for saving seeds, but not using dicamba illegally. Dicamba has been a bit of a headache for Bayer, particularly when farmers’ usage of it destroys neighboring crops that were not genetically engineered to survive it: A jury in 2020 assessed $265 million in damages in favor of the largest peach farmer in Missouri related to dicamba damage, Bayer paid a $400 million settlement to farmers over dicamba damage in 2020, and Texas grape growers are suing Bayer for $560 million over pesticide damage. Dicamba use is up sixfold in the past 10 years, and soybean and cotton is responsible for about two-thirds of use. In 2022, Bayer got 246 reports of off-target dicamba movement, which is still the lowest since they rolled it out.
Apple is rolling out a new app called Apple Music Classical, which is designed to serve as a better distribution mechanism for classical music than traditional music management apps, which are designed for an era where one artist is responsible for a song. Essentially, any given classical piece can have hundreds of different versions and performances from all sorts of different artists — Mahler’s Fifth can have lots of different versions, and you might search in vain for Lydia Tár’s performance — and fans of the genre have been overall underserved by the apps available. The app has 20,000 composers with 115,000 works and 5 million tracks, and users can search for individual tracks, or artists, or composers, conductors and more. It’s a niche, but one Apple hopes to own as others neglect it.
Go, Team Venture!
Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block is moving up by an hour a day, starting at 7 p.m. rather than 8 as of May 1. The animation block, which debuted in 2001 and targets teens and adults, has proven remarkably resilient and a consistent draw for the network, with its shows having a remarkably long tail compared to other programming. For example, 4 percent of the 2022 tune-in to Adult Swim was for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a show that has not had a new episode since 2015. It made sense to move the block up, as 68 percent of the Cartoon Network audience from 6 to 8 p.m. were over the age of 18.
High precipitation has really done wonders around the West in fixing some of the drought conditions that in some areas have persisted for years, with just 16 percent of the region in severe, extreme or exceptional drought, down from 60 percent two years ago. In some areas the change is especially remarkable: In March 2021, 94 percent of Arizona was in a severe to exceptional drought, a level that as of March 21 is now 0 percent of Arizona. It has posed some serious logistical and meteorological challenges, include snowed-in people who are unaccustomed to the kind of weather they’ve been subjected to, as well as some roofs that were simply not designed to bear the weight of that amount of snow. Still, the snowpack is a big deal for the region, the extent of which won’t be understood for a few years.
Japan’s largest bathroom products manufacturer, Toto, is best known in Japan for innovations like heated, programmable toilet seats, as well as sophisticated waste tech to make the experience of an evacuation as pleasant and downright noble as possible. They’ve set their eyes on Europe, and Toto’s president has sought to increase overseas sales to account for 50 percent of total sales by 2030, a significant expansion into markets abroad.
This week in the free to listen podcast version of the Sunday Edition, I spoke to Abraham Josephine Riesman, who wrote the explosive new book out this week Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America. I have been looking forward to this one for a while; I was a massive fan of her 2021 book True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. The subject matter of this one will be of interest not just to wrestling fans but to anyone who has felt the reverberations across pop culture, sports and politics of one extremely complicated family and their very influential “sports entertainment” business. The book is out this week and can be found wherever books are sold. Riesman can be found at her website and on Twitter.
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