By Walt Hickey
A new bill introduced in California would ban exclusive contracting in the ticketing industry, a direct attack on Ticketmaster. Those clauses are in the contracts between the venues and the sellers, and force venues to exclusively use that seller for their ticketing needs. This has been used to great effect by Ticketmaster owner Live Nation, as it’s the ticket seller for 70 percent of the venues in the country and thus is pretty much the only game in town in many places. That hegemony is helped in no small part because of the threat that Live Nation Entertainment, which operates tours, might retaliate and avoid venues that don’t use Ticketmaster when scheduling events. Indeed, there’s a lawsuit alleging precisely that. Those exclusivity clauses might last five to 10 years, so even if consumers want venues to take their business elsewhere they might very well be unable to.
A new study analyzed data for over 200 bird populations across the world representing over 100 species, looking at their production of eggs over the past 50 years. The data isn’t great: While 43 percent of species are producing more offspring over the period, 57 percent of bird species are producing less offspring over time, meaning that the overall bird population is declining slightly as a whole. Birds with large bodies and migratory birds were more likely to produce less offspring than birds with smaller bodies or non-migratory birds. This might mean that smaller, non-migratory birds are better adapting to the effects of climate change than large animals who do a huge physical exertion semi-annually.
New York City, the gleaming metropolis, the hemispheric center of arts and culture, the continental capital of finance, the city against which all other cities are judged against, it basically just leaves its trash on the curb every night as if the study of municipal waste management hasn’t advanced since the city of Ur. Naturally this has sustained a serious rat problem, and so the city paid the boffins at McKinsey $1.6 million to come back with the advice of “just put it in a bin like every other city does.” Yes, it’s the city’s love of parking that is provoking the rat issue, as it’s possible to move trash to containers on 89 percent of streets by removing under 10 percent of parking on residential streets, a sacrifice of just 150,000 of the city’s 3 million free parking spaces to ameliorate the trash and rat issue. To pilot it out, the budget proposal includes $5.6 million for a pilot program in West Harlem to install trash containers on 10 residential blocks and double trash collection.
Emma G. Fitzsimmons, The New York Times
Europol announced a massive bust of ‘ndrangheta, an organized crime group based out of Calabria, Italy, that is believed to operate a drug and gun smuggling operation with an accompanying money laundering system. All told, 132 people were arrested across 10 countries, including raids in Brazil and Panama as well as Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Romania. Italy was the lion’s share of the arrests, where the Carabinieri announced the arrest of 108 people on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons possession.
Subway is for sale, with the sandwich joint reportedly fielding bids anywhere from $8.5 billion to $10 billion, with over 10 private equity firms submitting bids. The chain is massive; even though it closed 3,223 domestic locations from 2020 to 2023, it still finished 2022 with 20,576 restaurants in the United States, an order of magnitude more than most of the competition, with the closest runner-up — Starbucks, with around 16,000 locations — still thousands behind.
Champagne’s bubbles tend to flow upward through the beverage in a somewhat straight line, at least compared to other carbonated beverages. The bubbles — which can be 1.7 mm across by the time they reach the surface — are a critical element of the Champagne, releasing aromatic compounds at the surface of the wine that enhance flavor. A new study found why the bubble dynamics of Champagne work the way they do, and found that there are surfactant molecules that coat the bubbles and give them a smoother trip to the surface, rather than bumping into each other and making the kind of chaotic carbonation found in sodas. The more surfactants the researchers added, the more stable the bubble chains were.
Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica
Researchers exploring the cliffs of northern Patagonia in the Andes have found a scientific goldmine, specifically a two-millennia-old pile of bird crap. The location in question is a longtime haunt of the Andean condor, the largest bird of prey in the world, and one nest found by the researchers contained “a doughnut-shaped mound of compacted droppings,” from which they extracted a 25-centimeter-thick piece of guano. After analysis, they determined that condors have used the nest for 2,200 years, but vacated the nest during a period from 300 to 1300 C.E. due to what researchers believe was volcanic activity that made the area uninhabitable.
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Just what I needed this morning: a dollop of condor poop in my coffee. Goes down smooooooooooooth.
I was going to make a snipe about not wanting to disrupt the fine waste management companies in NYC, but then I saw the next subhead.....