Numlock News: October 26, 2022 • Nicolas Cage, Taylor Swift, Kitty Cats
By Walt Hickey
Companies that made a play for the so-called “instant delivery” market where they’d zoom wares to buyers inside of 30 minutes have taken a serious beating, and it’s causing a whole lot of money to evaporate. All told, some 13 firms have raised on the order of at least $14 billion from investors, and the market sure seems no closer to actually making it work. This included $4.93 billion raised by Gopuff, $2.75 billion for Rappi, $1.82 billion for Getir, $1.37 billion for Glovo, $1.31 billion for Gorillas and $1.1 billion for Flink. Add in some pocket change for some other Pokémon-sounding companies — many of which have been bought or which have collapsed — and you’re talking real money thrown at stuff that in retrospect seems a lot like a lockdown flash in the pan, doomed like so many sourdoughs and knitting hobbies to the 2020–22 history books.
Coming Out Of My Cage
Nicolas Cage is back on the map, baby: After a flurry of activity and well-reviewed independent features, an erstwhile star once doomed to the direct-to-video bin has seen his quote rise steadily on the success of bona fide indie hits like Pig. He’s hot off a metatextual hit in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and is in a meaty role in the Universal vampire movie Renfield. During the dark times, when he was putting out four to six low-budget flicks a year, his fee was $1 million to $1.5 million. He got around as much for Pig, but the success of that film got him $7 million for leading in Massive Talent and $3 million for supporting in Renfield, and now his quote is back up to a respectable $4 million.
Midnights by Taylor Swift just had the best sales week for any album published since 2015 and is now the top-selling album of 2022, with 1.3 million equivalent album units moved including 955,000 traditional album sales, of which almost 500,000 were vinyl. That’s the single best week for a vinyl album in the modern era, since music sales began being tracked by Luminate in 1991. In the first three days the songs were streamed over 284 million times, which is the third-largest streaming week for an album in 2022 already. The week isn’t even over until Thursday.
Who’s a Good Boy?
People who have pets often talk to them in a vaguely baby talk fashion, and the pets love it. Dogs, to some notoriety, will fall for what researchers call “caregiver speech” from pretty much anyone, but a new study sought to figure out what precisely the deal with cats is. A researcher recruited 16 cats and their owners, and played a series of recordings for the felines. The cat then was played a recording of their owner saying five phrases, like “Do you want to play” and “Do you want a treat,” with the first three being in the kind of tone you’d use in talking to an actual adult, the fourth phrase being in caregiver speech, and the last one in again an adult voice. They wanted to see if the fourth got the cat’s attention, and measured that on a scale of 0 (no reaction) to 20 (highest reaction). Over the course of the first three phrases in adult speech, the cats on average started at a 13 out of 20 and then gradually dropped to a four, getting bored. But in the fourth cat-directed speech, that got them back up to a 14 out of 20, which dropped to a six with the fifth and final recording. Notably, when the same experiment was conducted with a stranger’s voice addressing the cat, the cat did not care when they dipped into baby talk.
Goods and Services Tax
Five years ago, India redid its tax system, introducing the Goods and Services Tax on different items, assigning different classes of goods a different taxation rate of 0 percent, 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent or 28 percent. Five years on, we’re getting to the good lawsuits, the ones where different food companies are mad because it’s been revealed that the cheese they’ve been putting out is not, legally speaking, technically cheese. In one suit, the Khera Trading Company sued because they argue the mozzarella topping on their pizza should be classified as cheese (12 percent tax) while the courts say that given it’s 22 percent vegetable oil it cannot truly be cheese and is rather an “edible preparation” and would be 18 percent taxed. One 20-month-long case sought to find why paratha, a pan-fried flatbread, was taxed at 18 percent when roti, a round flatbread, was taxed at 5 percent.
A new survey asked Americans to rate the scariness of horror movie villains, an exercise which permanently makes me doubt that this country truly knows what fear is. The scariest entities were Freddy Krueger (65 percent considered “scary”), Hannibal Lecter (60 percent), Michael Myers (60 percent) and Chucky (54 percent), which, come on, a couple of serial killers? A nightmare spirit? Ridiculous. Those outpaced things like Pennywise (an eldritch abomination as old as time itself that feasts on children, merely 49 percent scary), The Thing (a shapeshifting alien that is insatiable and nigh indestructible, a paltry 38 percent), and The Xenomorph (a parasitic alien that would doom any world it’s condemned to, just 22 percent scary). Among the most divisive were Dracula (43 percent “not scary” and 41 percent “scary”) and Frankenstein (52 percent “not scary” and 33 percent “scary”), meaning that people seem to have forgotten the dangers of an unchecked aristocracy and unregulated medical research.
The shoemaker Adidas announced it is ending its partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after antisemitic remarks from the musician and designer. Adidas has been producing Yeezy branded products, and it’s been incredibly lucrative, accounting for about 8 percent of Adidas sales and about half of Adidas’ profits. The company said it anticipated a €250 million ($247 million) hit to earnings as a result of cutting ties.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
The best way to reach new readers is word of mouth. If you click THIS LINK in your inbox, it’ll create an easy-to-send pre-written email you can just fire off to some friends.
2022 Sunday subscriber editions: Mexican Beer · The Chaos Machine · [CENSORED] · Podcast Industrialization · Fantasy Shows · Law Dork · Chinese Box Office · Box Office Recovery · Giant Hornets · Graphic Novels ·