Numlock News: August 20, 2020 • Water Parks, Elephant Shrews, Three Gorges

By Walt Hickey


Indonesia’s plan to relocate their capital city from Jakarta to a location in East Kalimantan province of Borneo has been put on hold, with the $33 billion effort — with construction set to start in 2021 — being pushed back. The plan entailed civil servants moving in 2024, which has been pushed back as well. The objective is to relieve Jakarta — a critical city of 10 million — of the additional load of supporting the national government, as the city itself is sinking due to groundwater overextraction as well.


Forbidden Waterpark

The city of Nashville, Tennessee gave $13.8 million in tax breaks for Ryman Hospitality to build a waterpark. Unfortunately, the citizens paid for a waterpark they themselves could never swim in, as it was for the exclusive use of hotel guests at the convention center, and nobody who lives in a city is going to pay to stay at their convention center’s hotel, that’s ridiculous. Well, it’s been a rough couple of months for the convention business, and through September 3 locals can enjoy the water park they paid $13.8 million for at the price of $50 per day. The initial break was itself somewhat ridiculous, given that literally no human ever decided to host a convention somewhere because that location had a medium-tier waterpark, excepting of course Florida Pete’s Wet-N-Wild Inner Tube-N-Foam Sled Roadshow, I guess that one actually counts. Also, and I don’t like to get political in this newsletter, but I’m gonna say what I believe in my heart: if you’re specifically informed that you are not allowed in a waterpark, it is your god-given right, no, duty, to sneak into that waterpark, and no jury in America would disagree with me.

Pat Garofalo, Boondoggle


Despite the incredible efforts of Major League Baseball, the main goal they have had as an organization for the past decade has failed, despite more efforts than ever before: the games are getting longer. A month into the new mini-season, games are taking an average of 3 hours and 7 minutes. That would be a record were it to hold: 3 hours, 5 minutes in 2017 and 2019 set the already undesirable high. The average game has seen 4.67 pitchers per game, the highest ever, and up 6 percent from last year. The exception to this has been the Boston Red Sox, who maintain absolutely no pitchers whatsoever.

Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg

Elephant Shrews

The Global Wildlife Conservation group has a list of species that haven’t really been seen in a bit, and they’re hoping someone can check in on them to make sure they’re kicking. Number five on their top 25 list was the Somali sengi, a creature living in the Horn of Africa that has not been documented by researchers since 1968. The good news, though, is that the mouse-sized elephant shrew has been found alive and thriving in Djibouti, with a team of researchers relying on local knowledge and setting over 1,000 safe traps filled with peanut butter, oatmeal and yeast to track them down. They found 12 sengis in total, and they are unquestionably the most adorable things I have ever seen in my life, so great job all around.

Damian Carrington, The Guardian


On Tuesday, the state of California cut a deal with BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo for the automakers to cut emissions in their vehicle model in the years 2021 through 2026. Each has agreed to cut the CO2 produced by their vehicles by 17 percent by 2026’s model year, similar to an earlier arrangement but with a more solid timeline. Carbon dioxide emissions from small light trucks will drop from 195 grams per mile to 162 grams per mile, in large light trucks from 335 grams per mile to 278 grams per mile, and smaller cars will see similar reductions. By comparison, the European Union fines automakers whose fleets exceed an average of 152 grams of CO2 per mile.

Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica


While it’s not precisely the medical treatment Earth has been most hoping for lately, Finnish researchers claim that they have found a cure for hangovers, and honestly I’m glad that some people have found a way to excuse their reckless quarantine drinking to their boss. They found a dose of 1,200 milligrams of L-cysteine, an amino acid, reduced nausea and headache, and a 600 milligram dose alleviated stress and anxiety. The study was of 19 male volunteers drinking for three hours and then taking either a placebo or a tablet.

Kati Pohjanpalo, Bloomberg

Three Gorges

China’s Three Gorges Dam will top its record of 76,000 cubic meters per second of inflowing water soon. As it stands, the dam’s discharging 48,000 cubic meters per second through 10 gates, but the water is rising: at 145 meters, there’s safe room for further flooding, and at 175 meters, it hits its designed maximum. On Thursday, water levels are expected to reach their new high of 166 meters following serious rains that caused significant flooding upstream on the Yangtze.

Shunsuke Tabeta, Nikkei Asian Review

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