Numlock News: August 5, 2019 • Philly Phanatic, Scooters, Drama

By Walt Hickey

Hobbes & Shaw

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s Hobbes & Shaw made $180.8 million worldwide this past weekend, with just $60.8 million of that coming domestically. The film cost at least $180 million to produce, even before marketing, so that solid opening salvo is a great start. And while it did launch in 63 markets over this past weekend, conspicuously absent were the China and South Korean debuts that aren’t scheduled to happen until later in the month, two territories that have long since been the fuel that drives the cars-and-explosions based franchise.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Phanatic Custody Suit

The Phillie Phanatic is both one of the most iconic and also notoriously one of the most litigated entities in all sports, and a new phederal lawsuit filed Phriday seeks to hammer down precisely who owns the concept of the Phanatic, the Phillies or Harrison/Erickson Inc., who co-created the beastie and sold the rights for the Phanatic to the Phillies for $215,000 in 1984. The suit seeks to maintain that 1984 copyright agreement. The Phillies claim Harrison/Erickson is angling to withdraw from that compact and stop the team from using the mascot unless paid a sizable sum, a legal argument the Phillies think is baseless. Needless to say, this will be the custody battle of the century.

Oona Goodin-Smith, The Philadelphia Inquirer


The median bedtime of the American kindergartner is 8:30 p.m., with 10 percent in bed before 8 p.m., 10 percent in bed after 9 p.m., and the remaining 80 percent dozing off sometime between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Childhood sleep is related to lots of health outcomes, and not getting enough of it is linked to poor academic performance, injuries and obesity. Moreover, it’s getting harder to get kids to sleep with new distractions: kindergartners in the mid-2000s got 30 minutes less sleep on average than those born in the 1970s. Kids who watch more than two hours of television at night went to bed about 20 minutes later than kids who watched less.

Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post


In Germany, 16 percent of the country’s flights are domestic, in a nation roughly the size of Montana. The German government is a major consumer of those domestic flights, booking roughly 230,000 domestic flights in 2018, 52 percent of which were between Berlin and Cologne-Bonn Airport. Bonn is home to six of Germany’s 14 national ministries, owing in part to its history as the capital of West Germany. The growth of Germany’s high speed rail is going to be important in driving down the appeal of those short flights, which is why the Green party wants to give Deutsche Bahn a €3 billion subsidy to create faster links along major rail hubs.

Feargus O’Sullivan, CityLab

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Oil and Gas

In the race to recruit the next generation of engineering minds, oil and gas are coming up short. According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the number of grads going into the petroleum exploration business in 2017 was at the lowest level since 2012, down 61 percent in four years. Part of that is that people want to work for ethical companies, and in an era of climate change awareness — when 67 percent of students consider doing a job that contributes to climate change to be unethical, and 91 percent care about working for an ethical company — oil and gas companies are not necessarily coming out in credit. The average age of workers in the industry is 42.2.

Eddie Spence, Bloomberg


An estimated 12,000 high schools have a drama program in the U.S., and that means a lot of school plays. One 2017 survey of 3,000 schools asked about audiences for those shows, and found nearly 50 million people attended those high school plays, which doing some mild back-of-the-napkin math is still well more than double the lifetime attendance of Broadway’s longest running show, Phantom of the Opera. So, what’s playing? The top high school play in 2019 was The Addams Family, followed by Mamma Mia!, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. As for plays, Almost, Maine came out on top cementing a decade of dominance and five years at number one, followed by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter and the Starcatcher, Our Town and Alice in Wonderland.

Elissa Nadworny, NPR


A new paper found that realistically electric scooter fleets are hardly carbon-free, given the cost of manufacturing all those scooters with mediocre durability, as well as the cost of paying people to drive around to collect them and refill their batteries. Scooters produce about 200 grams of carbon dioxide per mile compared with 415 grams per mile for a standard automobile, which is an improvement until you realize the majority of scooter rides aren’t actually replacing car trips. The researchers also found that only 34 percent of scooter rides were replacing a personal car or rideshare service, while half would have just walked, 11 percent would have taken a bus, and 7 percent would have skipped the trip.

James Temple, MIT Technology Review


The pH balance of a moisturizer can have enormous consequences for skin health, as skin is inherently acidic and messing with that can have deleterious impacts for overall health and complexion. Good luck finding out if that skincare product is good though: a 2018 German study found just a third of moisturizers had an appropriate pH, and when other researchers tested 31 widely available moisturizers, they ranged in pH from 3.73 to 8.19.

Courtney Rubin, The New York Times

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