Numlock News: May 23, 2022 • Dippin' Dots, Wind, Downton Abbey
By Walt Hickey
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J&J Snack Foods agreed to buy Dippin’ Dots for $222 million in a deal expected to close by the end of June. J&J is the company behind food brands like Minute Maid frozen ices, Luigi’s Real Italian Ice, Icee and Superpretzel, and Dippin’ Dots is the iconic flash-frozen ice cream treat available in malls and amusement parks, best known for having the most novelty of all ice cream novelties. One can only assume that immediately after buying Dippin’ Dots, J&J likely suffered a brain freeze and ice cream headache, put them down, and only bothered to integrate them into their corporate structure after they were mostly melty around 20 minutes later.
A New Era
Downton Abbey: A New Era made $16 million in the United States, a decent performance given the pandemic keeping the older audiences that have made up the bedrock of the Downton Abbey franchise fan base away from cinemas. The first movie opened to $31 million domestically and went on to haul in $192 million globally, but Downton Abbey: A New Era seems to be tracking fine, making a total of $51.7 million worldwide on a $40 million budget. This entry continues to probe the fundamental question at the heart of Downton, which is “no seriously, how far into the 20th century can we take this and still have the aristocracy remain likable.” While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness won the weekend, it’s an encouraging sign that not all movies need to be about saving the multiverse to succeed at the box office; sometimes it’s just enough to make sure Maggie Smith gets paid.
New analyses are turning up evidence of people trading on cryptocurrencies using insider information. For instance, one wallet last year was spotted buying up a $360,000 stake in Gnosis coins, that one week later Binance, the largest crypto exchange, announced would be listed, pumping the price up from $300 to $410 per Gnosis in an hour and granting the well-timed wallet a $140,000 profit. The wallet would go on to make further well-timed trades, and was one of 46 wallets identified by a trading analysis firm as making suspiciously-timed purchases of coins that would shortly after go on to get listed on one of the biggies. Those 46 wallets made a total $1.7 million profit, minimum, on $17.3 million worth of coins that would soon be listed. I for one am shocked, shocked to find gambling happening in this establishment.
A first shipment of 78,000 pounds of European baby formula obtained by federal government has landed in Indiana, enough to make up 15 percent of the formula needed in the United States and the first of several flights designed to ease the scarcity of baby formula. Another 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science’s Alfamino Infant and Junior formula will leave Germany, with another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA coming in a few days. Regulators and the manufacturer Abbott Nutrition, whose plant closure was a contributor to the crisis, said the closed facility will be back online next week. It’s a huge win for the Air Force, which for a long time ceded responsibility for air-lifting powder around the world to the CIA.
Power grid operators want to have an understanding of what the weather is going to be in coming days, as accurate wind forecasting allows them to plan to rely on the cheaper, renewable energy when it’s windy while also making preparations to rely on coal or natural gas when they expect it to not be windy. The ability to accurately forecast wind, therefore, can save operators a bunch of money so that they’re not unnecessarily burning fuel or having to scramble to buy supply on an unexpectedly still day. NOAA’s High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model has been updated several times since 2015, and the Department of Energy was able to put an estimate on the amount of money consumers saved thanks to those upgrades: $384 million from 2015 to 2018, just because power companies better understood the wind. While NOAA remains hard at work upgrading the model to determine the intensity of the wind, they have had no success on finding the third update to The Name of the Wind.
A new working paper looked at tipping in New York City taxi cabs, and found that when offering customers a menu of tipping options, the average tip increased 11 percent. Three options tended to be the ideal, as experiments with four or more found that they didn’t get the numbers up any better than three options did. They also looked at what happened when the automatic recommended tip percentages were increased, such as from a 15-20-25 percent set of options to a 20-25-30 percent range of options. In that case, the total tip revenue increased 8 percent, but the percentage of rides who used the menu fell from 58 percent to 47 percent.
The Kids Are All Right
A Pew Research Center analysis found that 11 percent of state capitol reporters in the United States were student journalists, but a few states in particular have a massive chunk of their statehouse press corps as students. For instance, 40 statehouse reporters in Nebraska are students, meaning they made up 58 percent of the reporters covering state affairs. Student journalists made up 29 percent of statehouse reporters in West Virginia, 26 percent of reporters in Louisiana, and 25 percent of Virginia statehouse reporters. Many of them work for university and college news outlets, or are interns.
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