Numlock News: October 10, 2022 • Roller Coasters, Sabotage, Smile
By Walt Hickey
Smiles All Around
The horror flick Smile made $17.6 million in its second week at the box office, which is a decline of only 22 percent compared to its debut last week. That’s one of the smallest drops ever for a horror movie, and a great sign for the movie as we enter into Halloween territory. Globally the movie’s up to $88.9 million, which is a great return for a $17 million budgeted film. The other big hit of the fall is the big hit of a decade ago, with this rerelease of Avatar making $71.9 million globally so far.
The new iPhone models have a feature where if they detect a rapid deceleration, they can call 911 to report that the owner has been in a car accident if the owner does not disable the feature before the end of a 10-second countdown. While the uses are clear, there are already some goofs: For instance, the Warren County Communications Center provided a reporter with six iPhone crash detection calls from people who were riding roller coasters at Kings Island outside of Cincinnati.
A suit from the National Pork Producers Council has made its way to the Supreme Court, with the livestock farmers challenging a 2018 referendum in California where 62 percent of voters supported a ban on the use of gestation crates and would require sows to be raised with 24 square feet of space. As it stands, 6 million pigs spend much of their lives in narrow crates as they breed more pigs. The agriculture industry claims that it’ll cost millions to implement, and the pig people are the maddest because California consumes 13 percent of the pork in the U.S. but produces less than 1 percent of it, meaning that the implementation of the fixes will have to come from out-of-state producers.
The amount of butter the U.S. has in cold storage is down 22 percent compared to a year ago, and the average price of Grade AA Butter is up 80 percent year over year to $3.15 per pound. The reason for this is that seasonal milk production is down in lots of parts of the country, and as of August there were 11,000 fewer milk-producing cows on U.S. farms compared to a year ago. Dairy products that see seasonal surges in usage in the winter months like cream cheese and egg nog are also eating into supplies of milk that would otherwise go into butter.
A Vermont town has been rocked by the revelation that a rogue water and wastewater superintendent who bought into a bunch of conspiracy theories singlehandedly slashed the fluoride in the water system, leading to decaying dental health in the area. Fluoride in water decreases cavities and tooth decay by 25 percent, and 73 percent of the United States population drinks water with fluoride added to protect teeth. Water fluoridation is a widespread and successful public health measure, and in Vermont public water systems that voluntarily fluoridate serve over half of residents.
Medicare Advantage, which is the program where private sector companies get paid by Medicare to offer health insurance, will soon account for half of Medicare enrollment. Corruption appears to be rampant: Eight of the 10 biggest Medicare Advantage insurers have submitted inflated bills according to audits, and there is between $12 billion and $25 billion a year in overbilling by the insurance companies. For perspective, the amount of money spent annually on NASA is $21.5 billion, so this is a serious chunk of funding being sucked up inappropriately.
A teardown analysis of the new iPhone 14 found that the cost of parts within the device is up about 20 percent compared to the previous round of phones, but Apple’s held the price steady and is thus likely eating a bunch of that cost. The price of the guts of the iPhone 14 Pro Max was estimated to be $501, up $60 from the estimated price of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The main driver of that price increase was the A16 Bionic chip, which goes for $110, and is 2.4 times as expensive as the A15 chip in last year’s model.
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