Numlock News: October 17, 2019 • Stormquakes, Maleficent, Fishies
By Walt Hickey
In 2018, the United States imported $1.2 million worth of live ornamental freshwater fish from China, predominantly goldfish and other Crucian carp. It’s a niche business, with goldfish breeders and fans of very fancy fishies paying top dollar for high quality artisinal pet fish. A larger economic fight — a trade war between the U.S. and China — has put the hobbyists between a rock and a hard place, a hard place that is presumably a small ceramic castle where their fish can hide. Goldfish face a 25 percent tariff, which is really putting importers in a tough spot, as a high quality fish can go for $125 to $300, and the margins aren’t exactly flush.
Run Away Do Do Do Do Do Do
In other fish news, the towns of Cape Cod invested $50,000 in a 192-page study to find different ways to mitigate the risks of shark attacks. Researchers evaluated the efficacy and viability of 27 methods for preventing shark attacks, including spotting them early, blocking them from beaches, population control, barriers, even flashy personal tech like camouflage or shark repellent. None of it worked or was effective. The only solution detailed in the report to guarantee safety is to stay on land. For some perspective, it’s long been considered a cost effective use of city resources in shark prevention to pay a grizzled sailor $10,000 to — with the aid of a local sheriff and an oceanographer — to find a shark at sea and blow it up using a scuba tank and firearm.
An Oxford Classics professor was accused of selling 11 fragments of an ancient Bible from the university’s Oxyrhynchus Collection to the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. The Museum is the project of the craft store Hobby Lobby, which previously ran afoul of antiquities laws when in 2017 it forfeited thousands of Iraqi artifacts that had been smuggled illegally to the museum, an international incident that led to my favorite legal case of all time, United States of America v. Approximately Four Hundred Fifty (450) Ancient Cuneiform Tablets et al. The Museum agreed to return 13 pieces to the Egypt Exploration Society, and the professor is under investigation from the university.
Researchers have found that intense hurricanes and nor’easters can lead to seafloor rumblings that resemble magnitude 3.5 earthquakes, a one-two natural disaster punch that they’re calling “stormquakes,” which sounds like either an X-Man or a Dairy Queen menu item. They’re the result of massive waves at seas that can cause another type of wave that interacts with the seafloor to provoke the shaking on shallow, flat continental shelves. The researchers observed 14,077 stormquakes from September 2006 to February 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. In no time at all, Dwayne Johnson will be attached to Roland Emmerich’s Stormquake (2022).
SpaceX has applied to the International Telecommunication Union for spectrum access to 30,000 satellites, on top of the authorization they’ve already received for 12,000 satellites in their Starlink program. The aspiration is a global orbital swarm of Internet connected communications satellites that allow people who lack access to the Internet to get access from the satellite array. They sent 60 satellites into orbit in May, and will launch 60 more this month. Though the 5 percent failure rate is a concern, the real fear is that the thousands of satellites were truly necessary, and if their presence in low-earth orbit could later jeopardize access to space in the event of a mishap. There’s a lot of reason to be worried: as it stands, coming withing 125 miles of the International Space Station is unacceptable, and the company will have to find out how to navigate traffic.
There has been a drastic shift in international applications to U.S. business schools, which this year saw a decline of 13.7 percent. The winners appear to be European business schools, which saw 0.9 percent increases in applications from international students, and especially Canada, which has seen an 8.6 percent surge in business school applicants from outside the country. Business school applications are down overall, with 135,096 applications in the U.S. this spring cycle, down 9.1 percent from the 2018 cycle, which itself saw applications decrease 7 percent from 2017.
Fish eggs and larvae are believed to be basically planktonic, a word that means they drift along with the current. (Not, as spell check thinks, a word that means they have no desire for a romantic relationship.) But a new study of Atlantic haddock suggests that there may be a bit more motivation among the baby fish than previously believed, as when released from a chamber into the open ocean 90 percent of larvae were observed to immediately orient themselves northwest and moved that way. A further examination found that, when messing with the orientation of the magnetic field, the larvae continued to pivot to their northwest.
Following two weeks atop the box office this weekend Joker is widely anticipated to lose its top grossing spot to a new villain-ish contender, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The Angelina Jolie film, which tells the story of an extremely reasonable person, who has to deal with an adjacent monarchy, is projected to haul in something like $45 million domestically this weekend, beating the $20 million that Joker is expected to put up.
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Correction: a previous version of this post referred to a “city of Cape Cod” when in fact it is a geographical area with no such central government.
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