Numlock News: August 2, 2019 • Dwayne Johnson, Sandwiches, Challenges

By Walt Hickey

Callbacks

The NBA is rolling out the ability for coaches to challenge ref rulings when it comes to personal fouls, out-of-bound calls, and goaltending violations, because we can all agree we love watching well-dressed men yell at each other and hate it when ads are interrupted by gameplay. The NFL, which pioneered the format of sabotaging the pace of play with instantaneous litigation, has since 1999 seen a putrid 38 percent of regular season plays end up overturned after a coach challenged it and demanded video review, meaning that even on the tough calls the zebras get it right two-thirds of the time.

Nick Greene, Slate

Sandwiches

A YouGov survey of 1,223 people found that the single most broadly acceptable sandwich is the grilled cheese, which 79 percent of respondents liked or somewhat liked. That’s followed by grilled chicken (75 percent), turkey (75 percent) and roast beef (71 percent). Now I don’t just want to highlight that researchers were able to replicate an Arby’s menu through random sampling, I mostly want to point out that only 56 percent liked meatball sandwiches, 48 percent liked Reubens and 46 percent liked French dips. First, that is literally all the information I need to recommend the governor allows New York City to plug the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, sever the George Washington bridge and leave the rest of America to its Velveeta, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Second, I want to point out that scientifically speaking that means “one free cup of au jus” is worth negative 25 percentage points, because that’s literally the only difference between a roast beef sandwich and a French dip.

Andrew Greiner, YouGov

Movies

In 2002, 27 percent of Americans attended one film per month or more, a figure that has since fallen to 10 percent in 2018. Over that period, the number of film tickets sold per person per year fell 33 percent, from just over five tickets in 2000 to just 3.45 tickets last year. That’s one reason movies are getting pricier — the average price is up 13 percent over the same period or about $1 — but that price hike is also an accelerant to the drop, so the industry is in a bit of a pickle. The six largest studios have managed to reduce the number of titles they put out annually by 20 percent since 2000, nevertheless cranking up that market share from 69 percent to 81 percent over the same time period.

Matthew Ball, REDEF

This past Sunday’s paid subscriber edition was the first half of a great conversation with Karen Hao of the MIT Technology Review all about how AI actually works. I love her work, and she has a great newsletter about AI called The Algorithm if your interest is piqued here.

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How Can We Not Talk About Sweating When Sweating’s All Johnson’s Got

Ahead of the release of Hobbes & Shaw, Bloomberg broke out the stopwatches and cranked out another installment of the Stats of the Furious, a second-by-second guide to a franchise that has changed the box office a quarter mile at a time. So far, Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbes has thrown 43 punches, eight kicks and 16 body slams for a total of 45 enemies vanquished over the eight core franchise films compared to Jason Statham’s Shaw’s 24 punches, 17 kicks and three body slams in the service of beating 38 rivals. Here’s hoping that Johnson breaks out the oil in this one: the actor spent 90.3 percent of Fast Five drenched in sweat, a figure that fell precipitously to 41.9 percent in the sixth film but has slowly crawled back to 73.4 percent by Fate of the Furious.

Mark Glassman, Chandra Illick, Kim Bhasin, Mira Rojanasakul, Steph Davidson, Jeremy Diamond and Kyle Stock, Bloomberg News

Moving

From 2017 to 2018, just over 32 million Americans moved. The reasons why are varied, but tend to focus on family, work and housing reasons. According to an analysis of the Current Population Survey, the five most common reasons were 5.3 million moved because they wanted to move to a better house or apartment, 4.1 million moved to start a family, 3.6 million for a miscellaneous family reason, 3.3 million for a new job, and 2.6 million because they wanted cheaper housing. There are lots of other reasons too: 900,000 moved to attend or leave college, 200,000 because of a change of climate. 2.4 million wanted to buy, not rent. 1.8 million wanted an easier commute. Regrettably, the government fails to report the count who moved because a plucky sheriff’s deputy in a remote Midwestern town found the remnants of a discarded former identity, prompting you to skip town on the next bus out of Dodge to keep a low profile until the heat dies down and you can dig the money back up again. Actually, wait, that would probably count as “other job-related reason”

Nathan Yau, FlowingData

Esports

In a bid to put itself on an equal footing when it comes to consideration as a viable sports property, esports has very nearly everything: legions of ravenous fans, big salaries, wealthy ownership groups and compelling on-field product. But esports is finally coming into its own thanks to the cementing of the essence that truly defines professional sports: a legion of middlemen itching for a percentage of player revenues as compensation for things like promotion and training. The 16-year-old winner of the Fortnite World Cup will be kicking 20 percent towards Sentinels, his organization, which is middle-of-the-road in an industry where such organizations lay claim to 10 percent to 30 percent of player winnings. Epic Games, which put on the event and fuels the investment in the pro scene, made $2.4 billion from Fortnite in 2018. I mean, imagine the NFL profits if they owned the intellectual property of the concept of football and you start to see why lots of people see a serious upside to esports.

Shannon Liao, CNN

Greenland

This week is the peak of the summer ice melt, and Greenland will lose an estimated 50 billion tons of ice, which will permanently elevate global sea levels by 0.1mm. In July, Greenland lost 160 billion tons of ice, an amount that would cover the state of Florida in six feet of water. That’s worse than projected. On Thursday alone, 12 billion tons of water melted permanently, the largest single melt day ever recorded in Greenland.

Eric Holthaus, Rolling Stone


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