Numlock News: November 22, 2022 • T. Rex, Autopen, Spicy Dolphins
By Walt Hickey
Diabetes drug Ozempic has become popular in a number of circles for off-label use as a diet and weight loss drug, with recent viral social media posts and tabloid stories highlighting the drug’s other potential uses among the media, entertainment and business class set. That’s making demand skyrocket for the injectable, which was approved by the FDA in 2017 for people with Type 2 diabetes. The manufacturer now says that there’s a shortage of the drug, which has semaglutide as its active ingredient, as well as a shortage of Trulicity, another diabetes drug. Ozempic costs $1,000 for a 30-day supply, and because it’s a diabetes drug it’s more likely to be covered by insurance than Wegovy, which is a higher-dose version of semaglutide approved to treat obesity, but which costs $1,500 for a month’s supply. As a result, diabetics are having trouble getting their medication.
Come Writers and Critics Who Automate With Your Pen
Bob Dylan sold 900 copies of his book The Philosophy of Modern Song in a limited edition hand-signed autograph version for $599 a pop. Fans discovered that this hand-signed version was not, in fact, a hand-signed version, and was in fact an autopenned signature. After sharing photographs in online forums of the autographs, fans pieced together that there were at least 17 different signature variations that were being used, but that these books were nevertheless the work of machine signatures, not the hand of Dylan himself.
Cheese is basically just milk that was encouraged to rot in a deliberate and pleasing manner, using bacteria and microorganisms to develop a cheese with a desirable set of tastes and textures through science. Cheese is the result of all sorts of microbes, from the cultures and starters added directly to it, to the microorganisms on humans who handle it and the animals that produce the milk in it, and the key task is to use pasteurization, salting, cooking, acids and temperature to kill all the microbes you don’t want in the cheese while facilitating the growth of the microbes you do want in the cheese. The microbes even self-police: One study looked at 55 artisanal Irish cheeses and found that one out of three microbes involved in making them had the ability to produce chemical compounds that killed off rival microbes. Cheese is really at the end of the day a group project, more so than most other food.
Chrisley Knows Best is a reality television show on USA Network that profiles the Chrisley family, helmed by patriarch Todd and matriarch Julie who have everything that money can buy, watching the group go through the rigors of being a wealthy family in the real estate business living large and handling all the drama. Also, Todd Chrisley just was sentenced by a federal judge to 12 years in prison on charges of criminal bank fraud and tax evasion, and Julie just caught seven years plus 16 months of probation. They’re alleged to have taken out $30 million in fraudulent bank loans to fund their lifestyle and get on television, and then hid income through the film production company.
When people want to keep animals away from something, many times they turn to capsaicin, which is the origin of the spice in hot chili peppers. Often this is enough to make a predator shy away without having to get too disruptive in the environment. This strategy was attempted by researchers in Greece who wanted to deter dolphins from attacking full fishing nets, which both costs fishermen money and also risks injuring the dolphin. They did this by coating the nets with a resin full of capsaicin. The issue is that after months of testing, it turns out that dolphins are completely fine with a little extra kick to go with their sashimi. The first time dolphins interacted with the nets, two dolphins spent 15 minutes tearing 217 holes in the gear. This presents an intriguing opportunity if dolphins have any desire to promote an upcoming project, as I for one would love to see a dolphin go on Hot Ones where they’ll face hot questions while downing even hotter wings. Worst-case scenario, I bet they’d still be better than D.J. Khaled.
The nation’s rail workers and railroad conglomerates are due back to the bargaining table after the SMART Transportation Division, a union representing 28,000 conductors, brakemen and more, voted 50.87 percent against ratifying a deal struck in September. This means that four of the 12 freight rail unions, with a membership of some 60,000 workers, have voted down the deal. If one union strikes, they all do, meaning 115,000 rail workers honoring the picket lines. The deal has been controversial — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, representing 23,000 workers, ratified the deal with a slim 53.5 percent of the vote Monday — and the workers are now staring down a deadline of December 8 to get a new contract.
A T. Rex skeleton named Shen has been yanked from Christie’s auction block 10 days before it was scheduled for sale with the official reason that the specimen would “benefit from further study” and the unofficial reason of “dang a whole lot of those bones sure look like replica casts of a different T. rex skeleton sold in 2020 rather than actual bones.” The Black Hills Institute retains the intellectual property rights to Stan, and sells painted polyurethane casts of it for $120,000 each, and some of Shen’s parts look a bit too similar to Stan’s for comfort and the consignor has decided to lend the specimen to a museum rather than sell it. The T. rex was expected to get $15 million to $25 million.
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