Numlock News: August 25, 2021 • Container Ships, Spare Parts, Lanternflys

By Walt Hickey

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Maersk has ordered 8 container ships designed to run on e-methanol to the tune of $175 million each. That’s at a bit of a premium — about 10 percent to 15 percent above market rate for vessels with conventional propulsion systems — but the hope is that they’ll help Maersk cater to customers who have made pledges when it comes to the climate. E-methanol comes from a Danish startup, and it’s created by using solar power to produce hydrogen, then combining it with recycled CO2. Maersk is the largest shipping company in the world, and half of their 200 largest customers have climate targets that require cleaner shipping.

Tim McDonnell, Quartz

Jawnship Troopers

The state of Pennsylvania really would just love it if you killed every single lanternfly you see, thanks. Per the state’s Department of Agriculture, the invasive bug can cause damage to trees, vines, and crops, and they’ve now been spotted in 34 of 67 counties. The state’s now asking people to call in sightings of the bugs — do the right thing and briefly delay complaining about Jalen Hurts on WIP-FM to call the 1-888-4BADFLY hotline — and has also specifically requested you to, after reporting it, treat it like Santa and pelt it with anything in sight. Every fall, the bugs lay egg masses with 30 to 50 eggs, which take 8 months to hatch, so let’s just say time is increasingly of the essence, do it for Gritty. The state is increasingly worried about the economic impact — it could cost the state $325 million a year — so don’t drop the ball, unlike Agholor.

Maria Cramer and Isabella Grullón Paz, The New York Times

Milk Stork

When mothers went from the United States to compete or support athletes in the Olympics, they were unable to bring their infant children owing to the pandemic. This was a substantial inconvenience, particularly for athletes who were still breastfeeding their children. A California company stepped in after a report from a marathon runner in May was posted online, and Milk Stork — which overall has shipped 4 million ounces of breast milk around the country for clients, many of whom travel for work — oversaw the overseas transfer of an estimated 21 gallons of milk in a colossal logistical accomplishment.

Barbara Rodriguez, The 19th

Final Jeopardy!

A new poll found that a majority of Jeopardy! viewers supported newly minted host Mike Richards’ decision to resign the post following the reveal of a number of derogatory remarks on a podcast he once hosted, with 68 percent of 1,469 Jeopardy! viewers backing the decision to step back and only 17 percent opposing it. The kerfuffle proved to be a fairly significant story on the pop culture radar, with 43 percent of U.S. adults hearing at least something about Richards’ exit, a degree of notoriety greater than Chris Harrison’s resignation from The Bachelor (32 percent). Both Ken Jennings and LeVar Burton have seen their support increase a bit over the course of the news cycle.

Sarah Shevenock, Morning Consult


Ottobock, a 102-year old German manufacturer, specializes in prosthetic limbs, and since the 1998 Paralympic Games has been a perennial fixture at the Paralympics to tune up or repair any potentially damaged prosthetics for the competing athletes. In 1988, their presence was a single tent; this year, Ottobock is sending 18 tons of equipment and 17,300 spare parts, all staged in a full shop floor. In London, the company was doing 2,000 repairs a day over the 10 days of competition. Over 4,400 athletes will participate in the Tokyo Games, which kicked off August 24.

Samanth Subramanian, Quartz


McDonald’s was forced to pull milkshakes from the menu in its 1,250 restaurants in Britain owing to Brexit supply problems and pandemic delays. The exit of the U.K. from the E.U. has meant that truck drivers who would normally be from the continent originally are now unable to work in Britain, and there have been coronavirus-related delays for new truckers taking driving tests. The country is short about 100,000 drivers compared to the pre-pandemic total of 600,000 truck drivers.

The Associated Press


Countries don’t seen to be particularly interested in getting the Olympics anymore because of the enormous costs and inefficient stadiums, and as a result bids are reportedly down. Beijing spent $40 billion and competed with a field of 10 cities to score the 2008 Olympics, but for the 2022 Winter Games, Beijing had barely any competition, with Oslo pulling out before the vote and only Almaty, Kazakhstan, competing for the games. Starting in 2019 the IOC moved the bidding process out of the public eye, and for the 2028 games (in the U.S.) and 2032 games (in Australia) the cities were the sole bids. This is great news for my forthcoming sick prank in which I plan to accidentally saddle the city of Philadelphia with an undesired but incidentally unanimous 2040 Olympic Games. 

Asli Pelit, Sportico

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