By Walt Hickey
Have an excellent weekend! We’re off on Monday in observation of Memorial Day, see you on Tuesday.
The price of a dozen eggs has crashed back down to earth, falling from $5 per dozen wholesale all the way down to $0.84 per dozen, according to the USDA. This surprised even analysts of the egg industry, coming after 59 million birds were killed last year due to a bird flu outbreak. Over the course of the year, egg producers lost 15 percent to 20 percent of their supply. Nevertheless, good news is on the way, as the USDA predicted in April that egg prices were going to fall 33 percent year over year over the course of 2023.
The city of Zibo, a fairly standard industrial city in China, has managed to become a top tourist destination thanks to its distinctive style of barbecue, where mutton and other meats are roasted and served in a savory pancake. It's blown up on social media, and as of March Zibo welcomed 4.8 million visitors, more than the 4.7 million people who live there and the mark of a true tourist town. It's a bright light for China's tourism industry, where even though trips are up 19 percent over 2019, total tourist spending is up only 0.7 percent.
Brian Spegele, The Wall Street Journal
Among the 50 most popular albums on Spotify, 16 percent of the time the fourth track on the album was the most popular song on the album, 14 percent of the time it was the third song on the album, and 12 percent of the time it was the second song. The numbers start to drop off after the fifth song, and the first song was the most popular just 10 percent of the time. Album arranging is an art, and often it's the third or fourth song that gets the nod as the big single.
Chris Dalla Riva, Can't Get Much Higher
Adidas is sitting on a mountain of shoes produced in partnership with Ye, who was previously known as Kanye West. The company cut ties with the artist over a series of meandering, antisemitic tirades over the course of last year, and as a result Adidas is sitting on $1.3 billion worth of Yeezy merch. The plan is to sell them, and will be donating some proceeds to the Anti-Defamation League. The problem, though, is that it was just revealed that selling them will still mean they owe Ye a bunch of money in royalties, specifically about 11 percent of every single sale, which means Kanye's still looking at $150 million from Adidas if they manage to unload the stock.
Kim Bhasin and Tim Loh, Bloomberg
Cruises are once again packed, with major cruise lines recovering robustly from the depths of the pandemic. A cruise ship is at 100 percent capacity when it's got two people in every cabin. Royal Caribbean is reporting that its occupancy rate is at 102.1 percent over the first quarter, up from 57.4 percent as of last year, and Norwegian Cruise Lines has an occupancy rate at 101.5 percent. This has sent prices back to above water, with the starting cost of a five-night cruise in an inside cabin averaging $743 in June, up from $551 year over year.
Jacob Passy, The Wall Street Journal
Russia produced an estimated 325 tonnes of gold in 2022, and exported 116.3 tonnes of it from February 24, 2022, to March 3 of this year. Russia is not exactly the most favorable trading partner of the world, so the overwhelming majority of it, 99.8 percent of Russia's gold exports, went to just three countries: predominantly the United Arab Emirates (75.7 tonnes worth $4.3 billion, up from 1.3 tonnes in 2021) and then China and Turkey, who split the balance. Russia's been hawking its gold at about 1 percent under market rates, making it a favorable trade to those willing to subvert the global sanctions.
A new study analyzed a region of the Pacific Ocean that stretches from Hawaii to Mexico and has been the subject of a whole lot of interest in seafloor miners. The study found 5,580 species living in the area, only 438 of which had been previously identified by science. That means that the mining interests would considerably affect a submerged mountain of biological diversity, with an estimated 8,000 species living in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Indeed, 95 percent of those species in the CCZ have not been reported as present in other Areas of Particular Environmental Interest.
This week, I spoke to Ana Diaz of Polygon all about the new Legend of Zelda game and a fascinating new app poised to change the way that manga is consumed in America. Ana’s work is excellent, and I wanted to talk to her about this smash-hit game release and why it’s not getting the kind of coverage from mainstream cultural publications that a movie of a similar scope would enjoy. Ana can be found at Polygon, and she’s also on both TikTok and Twitter at @pokachee.
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Hope you enjoy the holiday weekend, Walt!! May you and yours stay safe & be happy!