Numlock News: May 24, 2021 • Whales, Tigers, Online Dating
By Walt Hickey
The latest installment of Vin Diesel’s ongoing car-themed Dungeons & Dragons campaign, F9, was released in cinemas in eight overseas markets this past weekend and made pretty much the amount of money a blockbuster movie released pre-pandemic would have desired to make, $162.4 million total of which $135.6 million was from China specifically. It’s the best showing for a title out of the U.S. film industry over the course of the pandemic and has studios — which pushed entire slates of films from 2020 to 2021 — salivating at the prospects for this summer.
Killing humpback whales in Greenland was banned in 1986, but in 2010 every Greenlander regained the right to hunt nine whales per calendar year. It’s a solid chunk of change for a resident in need of some quick money: humpbacks have sold for around $16,000. The issue is a classic tragedy of the commons, though: turns out that when you kill a whale in a place, other whales will understandably avoid that place, and in addition to being important parts of an ecosystem, whale-watching tours are an important part of Greenland’s tourism economy. As a result, in April a new law was passed that banned people from hunting in the vicinity of Nuuk, the capital and largest city.
An iceberg the shape of Manhattan and the size of Majorca has broken off from Antarctica and is now floating through the Weddell Sea, according to the European Space Agency. Named A-76, it has an area of 4,320 square kilometers and is now the largest iceberg in the world, beating out Weddell Sea neighbor A-23A which is 3,880 square kilometers in size. Icebergs don’t always pose dangers, but sometimes can: last November a berg named A68a looked to be on a collision course with an island home to thousands of penguins and seals, but broke up before the slowest and yet cutest possible disaster movie could play out.
The United States federal government has seized 68 big cats from Tiger King Park in Oklahoma — 45 tigers, six lions, 11 lion-tiger hybrids and one black jaguar specifically named in an affidavit, plus other animals found over the course of the execution of the seizure — after repeated inspections of the facilities found inadequate care, feeding and noncompliance with several court orders, according to the USDA and Department of Justice. The park, which was featured in a Netflix documentary last year, had been in the custody of Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, who had also been featured.
The Travel Bug
Domestic fares at U.S. airlines are up 9 percent since April 1, with international fares up 17 percent as demand for getting the heck out of Dodge spikes following widespread vaccination for Americans. While business travel is believed to be rather slow in rebounding, Southwest Airlines is reporting that leisure travel fares are getting back towards 2019 levels.
According to dating site OkCupid, people who display that they are vaccinated on their dating profile are 14 percent more likely to get a match. Lots of the latest pushes to get people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are based on rolling out perks, with dating apps including Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, BLK and Chispa rolling out new features to encourage the idea that getting inoculated may help them get a date.
The total revenue derived from CBD products for pets could hit a projected $400 million by 2027, as more and more people begin dosing their animal companions with the cannabinoid to relax them. In 2018, hemp cultivation was given a green light at the federal level, and since then the compound — found in hemp and marijuana, but not the THC that gets you stoned — has been cropping up in all sorts of products alongside claims it’ll help with pain or anxiety. Lots of those products are for pets, and according to Nielsen three-quarters of CBD consumers are also pet owners, and it was only a matter of time before the genetically-innate anthropomorphizing leap of faith from “I enjoy this” to “I bet my dog also enjoys this” that has plagued mankind since shabby wolves first feasted on the trash of a settlement on the Eurasian Steppe was triggered.
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