Numlock News: May 26, 2022 • Top Gun, Burgers, UFOs
By Walt Hickey
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The new Tom Cruise movie Top Gun: Maverick is projected to bring in $85 million to $100 million in its opening weekend, and counting Memorial Day could be set to make $130 million. A sequel to the iconic original Navy recruitment video, the film is playing in a staggering 4,732 cinemas. Weirdly, even a lower end opening would be one of the biggest openings of Tom Cruise’s career, as his best domestic opening weekend is only $64 million with War of the Worlds. The Top Gun franchise tells the story of a group of volleyball players as they train for the big game against a team that is vaguely implied to be North Korea but never actually unambiguously said to be North Korea, and the undeniable will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry between Maverick and his wingman, Goose. Basically Haikyuu!! if it was partially subsidized by the Pentagon.
A new 35-page federal class action lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York alleges that Wendy’s and McDonald’s exaggerate the size of their beef patties in advertising. It claims McDonald’s uses undercooked patties, and that Wendy’s overstates the amount of toppings on the burger, with the end effect being that the burgers look 15 percent to 20 percent larger than in reality. A similar suit, against Burger King in Florida, alleged BK makes the burger look 35 percent larger in ads. This is all missing the main deception, people, which is that the Burger Kingdom clearly funded the campaign of Mayor McCheese with the sole goal of changing the government’s policy on non-intervention in the ongoing Hardees-Carl’s Jr. conflict.
A new survey found that 62 percent of American voters believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life, while 14 percent are unsure and 24 percent do not think life exists on other worlds. And while that might be enough for some, the survey went further and asked those 62 percent, hey, level with us, do you mean that you think the government concealed the existence of UFOs? Because that’s a big leap compared to me and the rest of the Drake Equation crowd. Of those who believe extraterrestrials exist, 79 percent also think yep, the government also covered up UFOs, which is good for just under half of American voters.
Lehman Brothers, the company whose implosion was inextricably linked with the global financial crisis and whose subsequent bankruptcy is often rated as the starting line of the Great Recession, still in fact technically exists. It’s been in court since the implosion, and is staffed mostly by lawyers and accountants who have been in charge of selling off the company’s assets and paying out to creditors. And weirdly, they have actually done a truly excellent job of it. In 2012, only about 6 percent of outstanding Lehman Bros debt was paid, and overall the initial estimate for the percent of assets that unsecured creditors would eventually recover was a little over 21 percent. But as of this April, they’ve actually gotten back 46.5 percent of assets, a frankly astounding performance in such markets.
As Arctic sea ice melts, it can be navigated by ships for longer and longer stretches of the year. While the inexorable march of global warming obviously has disastrous consequences for almost every living thing on the face of the earth, I mean, it seems like shipping companies may save a little time, cutting up to 9,000 miles off a trip from East Asia to Europe. A new study found that the area of the Arctic open to ships for at least 90 days of the year is up 35 percent today compared to 1979, so, congrats?
All told, recycled plastic uses 79 percent to 88 percent less energy to produce compared to brand new virgin plastic, but the pricing has been pretty volatile comparing virgin plastic and renewed plastic amid fluctuations in the oil market and demand for the recycled stuff from consumer packaged good brands trying to make good on environmental pledges. Consumption of renewed PET plastics was up 10 percent in the United States and Canada in 2020, even though collection was down 2.3 percent. As more companies commit to the scarcer renewed stuff, prices go up: The average price for post-consumer PET beverage bottles was up 17 percent from March to April, 39.22 cents per pound, up from 12.03 cents last year.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is weighing protection of four types of fish — the Russian sturgeon, Persian sturgeon, ship sturgeon and stellate sturgeon — under the Endangered Species Act. The auspices would be that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen lots of clashes in the Black Sea, arguably threatening the commercial fisheries and pushing producers to overfish. Listing would push caviar-producing counties to cooperate — and potentially accept financial assistance — in protecting the species. Global caviar demand requires roe from over 1.5 million sturgeon annually. The overall biomass of Russian sturgeon decreased 80 percent from 1995 to 2010, and in 2011 only 10 percent of mature sturgeon in the Volga were female due to the lifelong harvesting pressure.
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