Numlock News: May 1, 2023 • Voyager, Dust, Mario
By Walt Hickey
The Super Mario Bros. Movie made another $40 million domestically in its fourth weekend of release, and given the $490 million it's made in North America and the $532 million it's made internationally it is not only the first movie of the year to make a billion dollars, it's one of just five films to make a billion dollars in the pandemic era. Other films didn't do as well, including the adaptation Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which made $6.8 million on debut on a $30 million budget but has excellent word of mouth and is seen as a possible hold next week.
The average spot market for getting a 40-foot container from Asia to the American West Coast jumped $425 over the past two weeks, a 34 percent increase to $1,659. In light of the past three years, though, that's a downright reasonable price; the average price a year ago to get the same can across the Pacific was $9,203, and since the middle of last year that price has steadily — and then rapidly — crashed back down to earth. The pop in the spot market price is pushing some importers to finalize their plans for this coming fall.
NASA will attempt to keep the Voyager 2 spacecraft in operation through 2026, extending its now-45-year-long mission even further. The spacecraft, launched in 1977, is running out of power, and given that it’s 12.3 billion miles away that problem isn’t going to get any better. It’s now investigating the region outside the heliosphere, and to keep the science going NASA will shut down one of its five science instruments and tap into reserve power from a safety mechanism regulating voltage, on top of existing moves to sacrifice heaters and other parts.
There are approximately 500 Catholic mission churches in northern New Mexico in the area around the Rocky Mountains, churches that once were on the frontier of Spain’s conquest into North America. Those churches, constructed out of mud centuries ago and now iconic adobe structures that define the landscape, are in many cases neglected, unused and at risk of completely falling apart. It’s fallen to a few faithful to maintain these rare cultural artifacts, as well as a few organizations which seek to keep the churches in decent condition and some slight support from the archdiocese.
The Landless Workers Movement in Brazil is arguably the largest social movement in Latin America. The goal is to get poor people onto unused lands of Brazil owned by wealthy landowners, in an attempt to fight increasing inequality in the country. Organizers estimate 460,000 families live in settlements started by the movement, with an informal membership encompassing 1 percent of the Brazilian population. It’s a conundrum for the new president, who has long supported the movement but is also contending with attempts at coalition-building in a legislature where agriculture is a powerful force.
Digital lending apps have emerged as a necessary way of getting access to capital in countries where the traditional banking isn't necessarily established, and Nigeria is a perfect example. Roughly 2 percent of adults have access to bank loans, and over 70 percent of the unbanked simply lack the required documents. Anyway, the rest of them need capital, and they find it other ways, one of which is loan applications that have proven popular the world over. The issue is, when the loan apps lack the traditional means of enforcing the loans — seizure of assets, credit hits, and so on — they turn to vigilante methods, including shaming people in arrears. This in turn leads to counter-vigilantism, attempting to shame the apps that go after debtors in unconventional manners.
The number of planned projects to generate clean, green hydrogen have jumped substantially in North America, despite a longtime advantage that Europe has held. All told, in the U.S. the number of electrolyzers has increased 18 percent over the past six months, capacity exceeding more than a terawatt of electricity. Europe was responsible for 63 percent of planned hydrogen projects in the prior half-year period, which is now down to 56 percent of projects, with a prediction that by 2025 Europe will account for less than half of the hydrogen infrastructure in the works. Today, about 90 million tons of hydrogen are produced a year, a figure that the IEA anticipates will have to hit 180 million tons by 2030. Low-emission production of hydrogen — now less than 1 percent of total production — will soon have to become more than half by 2030.
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.
Previous Sunday subscriber editions: Working · Cable · Ringmaster · Hard Seltzer · Enhanced Geothermal · Hoop Muses · Subsea Cables · Wrestling · Tabletop Renaissance · BTS · Baby Boom · Levees · Misdirection · Public Domain