Numlock News: May 26, 2021 • Escaped Monkeys, Dinosaurs, Wolves
By Walt Hickey
Copper hit a record high price of $10,460 per ton in early May and has held north of $10,000 since. The metal is a great indicator of the overall health of the global economy, with copper serving as a necessary commodity in electrified vehicles, cables and infrastructure. By 2030, Goldman Sachs projects that global demand for copper will increase 600 percent to 5.4 million tons, owing in large part to a global transition to cleaner green energy.
For the past 70 years a colony of monkeys has thrived in the vicinity of Dania Beach, Florida, and now researchers at Florida Atlantic University have found out precisely where they came from. In 1948, there was an escape from the Dania Chimpanzee Farm where most — but not all! — of the escapees were recaptured, presumably to be sold for medical experiments. The rest decamped to a mangrove swamp where today their descendants number around 41 monkeys. Naturally, the apes are beloved by the local community, and they want them protected.
Rising vaccination rates in the United States have people buying up the kind of personal cosmetic items needed to re-enter an increasingly open world. Luggage sales were up 400 percent at Walmart, and partyware sales were up 50 percent in April versus the same month last year. Sales of perfume, nail polish, sunscreen, and swimsuits are rising, teeth whitening sales have surged, and at Target apparel sales rose 60 percent last quarter year-over-year. The nation is getting its groove back, with sales of sexual health products alone up 32 percent in the week ended May 1 compared to a year ago.
Bake It Off
Last year, interest in baking exploded on a level never seen before, with sales of baking mixes and ingredients surging 25 percent in the U.S. to $8.3 billion. This year, sales of baking ingredients are projected to decline 6 percent to $7.8 billion, but that'd still be 17 percent higher than the level notched in 2019 as novice bakers keep up with the newfound hobby. It's an enduring win for millers: King Arthur Baking Co. sold 156 million pounds of flour last year, but in the first two months of 2021, sales were still 47 percent over the same pre-pandemic period of 2020.
Lots of fossil deposits aren't clean one-off skeletons that are perfectly set in place with the dinosaur framed at exactly the moment of death; plenty are just jumbled piles of bones, ancient ossuaries that are more fossilized fiasco than obvious dinosaur. Even the number of dinosaurs in a given boneyard can be a mystery: one site in Utah's Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry holds an estimated 46 Allosaurus skeletons, a figure derived from the number of left thigh-bones found there from the species. A new technique described in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica will help sort through the bones, using thinly sliced core samples of bones under a microscope to analyze the microstructures of the fossils to find patterns between bones.
There's Going To Be A Party When
New research has found an outstanding way to save lives and stop collisions between vehicles and deer: up the wolves. Every year, an average of 19,757 Wisconsinites hit a deer, and on average 477 of them are injured and eight die. New research finds that when wolves — who prowl along trails and roads — are in an area, they kill or scare the deer away from the roads. The research compared data from 29 counties where wolves are on the rise and deer populations have plateaued to 34 counties that lack wolves and have seen deer populations surge. Across the past 22 years, Wisconsin's wolves have saved the state $10.9 million in losses by slashing the rate of deer collisions by a quarter. This is a bargain, and 63 times the compensation paid by the state for losses of livestock or pets.
A new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters analyzing tree rings found that 2016 was the warmest year in Yellowstone National Park since the year 770. The research collected samples that were in some cases over a thousand years old, and was part of a project to construct a timeline of the park's climate by looking at August temperatures using an innovative way of determining density by measuring the blue light reflected by a tree ring.
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