Numlock News: November 1, 2021 • Mayans, Dogs, Beaches
By Walt Hickey
Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!
Jessica Simpson has purchased back the name “Jessica Simpson” from Sequential Brands Group, which is auctioning off assets amid a bankruptcy. Sequential owned the branding rights as it was the owner of the Jessica Simpson line of apparel as well as Joe’s Jeans and Active Division, and now that the company’s being sold for parts Simpson’s firm With You Inc. paid $65 million to get the brand back. Originally set to be an auction, Simpson’s was the sole bid.
The riches of Arrakis continued this week, with Dune holding on to the top spot at the box office with $15.5 million domestic. Typically movies that were released on streaming platforms simultaneously completely collapse in their second week to the tune of around 70 percent, but Dune’s dip was just a 62 percent decline. While two spooky films — Last Night in Soho and Antlers — opened this weekend, box office receipts were muted, falling behind even My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, an anime sequel that made slightly less than the new James Bond movie to secure fourth place.
Driving Up Costs
An analysis of a dataset of 858,000 auto loans made by 17 different lenders found that some 25 percent of borrowers are being pushed into loans that they can’t afford, that income verification takes place just 4 percent of the time, and delinquencies are high. It’s troubling information for the booming auto loan business, and as of this spring about 1 out of every 12 people with a car loan or lease were more than 90 days late on payment. Of the loans studied, 46 percent were underwater — that is, people owed more than the car was worth — and the average amount they were underwater was $3,700.
New York has received 120 million cubic yards of sand, 8 percent of the national total, for beach replenishment, the fifth-most in the country. One reason for this is the Hamptons, a fantastically wealthy enclave on Long Island that strongly prefers that the inexhaustible erosions of time and the tireless maw of the sea would, you know, cut it out. East Hampton is buying millions of dollars’ worth of sand annually to shore up the coast and ensure that there remains an East Hampton, but it’s not just the locals footing the bill: the U.S. will spend $1.5 billion for 80 miles of Long Island in the Fire Island to Montaulk Point project, where the Army Corps of Engineers will pump offshore sand back onto beaches.
A new study investigated that thing that dogs do where they sort of cock their head when attempting to think about something. The researchers were conducting a study about dogs with a particular acuity for learning words, comparing seven “gifted” dogs with 33 “typical” dogs. The scientists found that when asked to retrieve a toy, the smart pups cocked their heads 43 percent of the time across several dozen trials, compared to a head cocking rate of 2 percent in typical dogs. They found that the dogs had a distinct tilt preference left or right, and they hypothesize the tilt is linked in some way to thinking.
The latest Cigarette Report from the Federal Trade Commission revealed that 203.7 billion cigarettes were sold in the United States in 2020, which was up 0.4 percent from 202.9 billion cigarettes in 2019. This is the first time in two decades that the number of cigarettes went up, as smoking rates have declined consistently. In 2020, tobacco companies spent $7.84 billion on ads and promotional spending, up from $7.62 billion in 2019.
An aerial lidar survey of 32,800 square miles in Mexico revealed 478 ceremonial sites that had previously been hidden under vegetation or were too big to see from the ground, a massive find that shows just how transformational the technique has become for archaeology. The area, once controlled by the Maya, has also been found to contain tens of thousands of irrigation channels and roads revealed through aerial lidar. Lidar is a technique which uses a laser to determine exact distances, and has proven to be very useful in scanning large territories for obscured remnants of older civilizations. The 478 rediscovered Mayan sites, which are in the vicinity of the 1.4-kilometer Aguada Fenix and share some of the same features on a smaller scale, were probably built 1100 to 400 BCE.
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