Numlock News: November 13, 2023 • Marvel, Revel, Trevor
By Walt Hickey
Thanks to everyone who came out to the book tour events in Chapel Hill and Austin! It was so fun meeting so many of you, and I’m glad to hear you’re liking the book! The final event of the book tour is Washington, D.C., at East City Books, this Tuesday at 7 p.m. It’s filling up, so RSVP soon! It’ll also be streamed, if you want to watch.
The Marvels won the weekend, hauling in $110 million globally, which is unfortunately a bit of a miss on what Disney was hoping for with the $220 million movie, the 33rd film in the sprawling MCU. That’s well less than the $455 million launch of Captain Marvel in 2019. The film has faced many headwinds — struck actors couldn’t promote it, the marketing and branding for it has been somewhat lackluster, and the MCU as a whole has lost momentum — but I don’t know, maybe calling the big climactic movie The End, losing most of your main stars and then immediately making a hard pivot from standard super-heroics to elaborate plots about alternate universes and alien shapeshifters makes it hard to keep up.
Over the course of human history, around 200,000 tonnes of gold have been mined. Recycling that gold back into bullion can be a better bet than mining it fresh out of the ground, and Japan’s vast supply of old electronics — many of which have gold in their circuits — is seen as a veritable and extremely literal goldmine. Globally, the supply of recycled gold has increased 10 percent year over year, compared to 3 percent growth in supply from the mined stuff. Overall, recycled gold is a little under 30 percent of the global supply. Mitsubishi Materials wants to process 240,000 tonnes of electronic scrap a year to extract precious metals, up from 160,000 tonnes a year now, and the Sustainability Design Institute estimated that there are 5,300 tonnes of gold in Japan, or 10 percent of global reserves, and that 280 grams of gold can be recovered from 1 tonne of mobile phones. In terms of weight, that’s 56 times as effective as gold mining.
Tegu are lizards native to Argentina that can grow up to four feet in length, and they’ve got a foothold as an invasive species in the Florida Everglades. They’ll eat anything and everything and are extremely durable. They’ve also now been seen in at least two counties in Georgia and four counties in South Carolina, and it’s prompted those states to take measures to regulate ownership of the lizards, which are popular exotic pets. About 79,000 were imported from South America from 2000 to 2010.
On-demand moped rental company Revel is ending its moped business in New York and San Francisco, its two active markets, after ridership dipped 30 percent this summer compared to last year. The moped business has been a costly one, as high maintenance and repair costs, the punishing economics of ride hailing, and safety issues plagued Revel. The typical cost of a 30-minute e-scooter ride in the U.S. is $11.70, making it more expensive than many comparable transit or ride-hailing options. All told, micromobility startups have had a rough fundraising environment: This year so far, startups in the space have raised $772 million across 70 deals. That was $7.2 billion over 130 deals at peak in 2018.
The most popular show on American television is NCIS, which has run for two decades and launched a suite of spinoffs that include NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS: Hawaii, with a forthcoming international installment, NCIS: Sydney, launching on CBS this week. The program is a ratings juggernaut, hauling in 10 million viewers per episode last season, with over 300 million people around the world watching some version of it last year. The show has generated about $8 billion over the course of its run.
Through September, South Africa has seen 6.1 million visitors, well more than the 5.8 million international tourists seen in all of last year. The country wants to increase that number to 21 million visitors by 2035, and to that end they’ve recruited former Daily Show host Trevor Noah for a massive new tourism campaign that launched last week. The country has already seen a burst in travel from the Americas, logging a 59 percent increase in arrivals from the Americas this year so far. Weirdly, this is not even Trevor Noah’s only tourism ad this year, as he also shilled for Switzerland.
Both hydrogen and ammonia are seen as potentially critical fuels in decarbonized industry, as they can be burned without expelling carbon into the atmosphere. Japan and South Korea have reportedly cut a deal and will this week announce the Hydrogen Ammonia Global Value Chain, which will link up their energy industries working toward the fuels. The project — which links up two countries that have to import a lot of their energy — aims to develop a supply chain by 2030 to move the fuels around the world and produce them with a consistency and reliability that will make it easier to get their heavy industries on ammonia and hydrogen rather than carbon fuels. Mitsubishi (Japan) and Lotte Chemical (Korea) are already working on a U.S.-based production chain that can produce 10 million tons of fuel ammonia starting in 2029.
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