Numlock News: November 1, 2022 • Beluga, Fiesta, Terrifier
By Walt Hickey
One under-the-radar box office hit is Terrifier 2, a slasher movie that has made $7.73 million domestic at the box office. It’s done that with no major stars, barely any promotion, and just word-of-mouth among the horror faithful. It is unrated by the MPA and isn’t really trading on a famed franchise, as the first Terrifier was screened in just five theaters. The sequel barely secured distribution, making $825,000 in its opening weekend from just 886 cinemas. After four weeks in cinemas, it seems poised to end up somewhere around $10 million, which is phenomenal because the movie was made for just $250,000.
Thaw and Eat
Frozen food in the United States is a big moneymaker for the large consumer packaged goods giants, with Nestle’s Stouffers, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets and DiGiorno frozen and then cooked foods being a staple. The next frontier in the space appears to be what’s called thaw-and-eat, a quickly-growing $600 million market segment for meals that don’t actually have to even be heated up after they’re thawed to be tasty, instead designed to be taken on the go frozen and edible within two to four hours. Examples include Nestle’s Deliwich and J.M. Smucker’s Uncrustables. The category is experiencing double-digit growth, about 25 percent compound growth per year.
The death of the Ford Fiesta is nigh, as the company announced that it will stop production of the Fiesta sedan in Europe in 2023, a year earlier than expected, to make way for electric vehicles. The Fiesta rolled off the line first in 1976, an efficient vehicle for the times of another energy crisis. Ford anticipates that half its sales will be electric by 2030, and all of its passenger vehicles in Europe to be fully electric by that time. The Fiesta was phased out in the United States in 2018 as the company invested more into the lucrative trucks and SUVs.
What Goes Up
China’s space program launched a 23-ton Mengtian module to its Tiangon space station. The issue is that the modified versions of the Long March 5B that have sent the mission components of the space station into orbit have time and again reentered Earth’s atmosphere completely uncontrolled rather than following the standard accepted practice of sending spent boosters into Point Nemo in the Pacific. Right now, 20 metric tons of rocket are careening down over the next week, so once again the world gets to play Long March Bingo for a fourth time. In 2020 debris crashed into villages in Côte d'Ivoire, in 2021 they went into the Indian Ocean, and in 2022 debris landed near villages in Borneo.
Climate change’s impacts like droughts and flooding are making the normally slow-moving field of archaeology have to really kick it into gear when a site of interest is revealed by receding waters or potentially subsumed by rising waters. There are a lot of sites in play; the National Park Service alone has cataloged 150,000 archaeological sites on its 85 million acres, and has a dedicated archaeologist in its climate change response program ready to respond to an emergent situation. The acute effects can be seen in places like Lake Mead and Lake Powell, where sites that once were submerged under hundreds of feet of water are now in open daylight.
The market for furniture jumped by $4 billion from 2019 to 2021, as Americans confronted with the sparse state of their homes did something about it. The e-commerce market for furniture is a $27 billion business as of 2021, and is projected to reach $40 billion by 2030. This has drawn attention to the other side of the commerce equation: the eventual trash that the particleboard bookcases shall become. For the fast furniture market, many of those items will only last a couple of years, and as a result the glut of stuff purchased during the pandemic is potentially only a few years away from its expiration date, and how that trash is handled — some 12 million tons of waste furniture a year at this point, up 450 percent from 1960 — is of increasing concern.
Debra Kamin, The New York Times
Beluga whales will go to great lengths to avoid ships that they hear, which their excellent hearing can detect from up to 80 kilometers away. On one hand, that’s good: Ships run over whales and kill them all the time, it’s not great, and avoiding ships is good. On the other hand, we’re not exactly talking about a species with a lot of energy to spare, as life in the arctic can be challenging and the energy wasted by traveling a superfluous 50 kilometers is a risk for the animals. Researchers are particularly worried because a melting ice cap means that more ships can use the arctic as a viable shipping lane, which could compromise beluga quality of life.
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