Numlock News: August 9, 2021 • Kindergarten, Women's Basketball, Marijuana

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!

D-List

The Suicide Squad made $26.5 million domestically this weekend, which was a miss on expectations. It’s still the best opening in the pandemic era for an R-rated movie, but the global take of $72.2 million was south of expectations. The film, a good reboot of a bad movie that came out in the ancient, practically TCM era of 2016, tells the story of a ragtag group of villains and anti-heroes sent on a pseudo-suicidal mission. One interesting film at the box office this weekend was Jungle Cruise: so far movies have regularly collapsed about 70 percent from week one to week two, but Jungle Cruise dropped a downright palatable 55 percent.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Gold

U.S. Women’s Basketball won its seventh consecutive Olympics gold medal this past weekend in a 90-75 victory over host Japan. The win was the team’s 55th consecutive Olympics win, meaning that the American women have not lost a game in the Olympics since 1992. The last time the U.S. women lost in the Olympics, Google did not exist, George H.W. Bush was the president, and the team that beat them was some country called “CCCP.”

Brian Windhorst, ESPN

The Martian

Cosplaying as an actual astronaut isn’t just a thing for billionaires anymore, and if you do it you might actually advance the American space program. NASA began accepting applications Friday for four people who will live at Mars Dune Alpha, which is a 1,700-foot habitat that NASA is building at Texas’s Johnson Space Center. If selected, applicants will work in a simulated Mars mission beginning in fall of next year, all in the attempt to figure out how people will psychologically cope with the rigors of being completely isolated from other humans in a cramped space for an extended period of time. Because if anything is an enigma after 2020, it’s definitely that question.

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

Medal Race

With three golds on the final day of competition in women’s volleyball, women’s basketball and cycling, the United States leapfrogged China to win the most gold medals at the Olympic games in addition to winning the most medals, period, at the games. The U.S. finished with 39 golds, 41 silvers and 33 bronzes, a total of 113 medals. Women were particularly successful this year and were responsible for 66 of the American podium visits; if the United States women were a separate country, they would have singlehandedly ranked fourth in the world. China came in second in the medal count, followed by a consortium of athletes who incidentally are from Russia with 70, then Great Britain and host nation Japan.

Deepa Shivaram and Mandalit Del Barco, NPR

Stoned

There’s simply too much marijuana in the Canada, based on the aromatic contents of warehouses across the nation. After the growing season last year, there were about 1.1 billion grams of harvested or processed marijuana held in storage. Fully 95 percent of it hasn’t been purchased by wholesalers or retailers, and most is assumed to be schwag, either degraded in storage, or just not market viable. As anyone who ordered pizza in college can assure you, realistically forecasting market demand from a bunch of stoned people is an incredibly difficult problem.

Kieran Delamont, The Walrus

Kindergarten

The first analysis of enrollment at 70,000 public schools in 33 states found that fall enrollment for kindergarten was down 9.3 percent in 2020 compared to the class of 2019, with the 340,000 student drop meaning that the graduating class of 2032 could be considerably slimmer than those a class lower or higher. Across the 33 states, 10,000 public schools reported at least a 20 percent drop in kindergarteners.

Dana Goldstein and Alicia Parlapiano, The New York Times

Agribusiness

Cargill, which is the largest private U.S. company, reportedly made $4.93 billion in net income in its 2021 fiscal year, a colossal profit up 64 percent from the $3 billion it made in 2020 and significantly higher than the then-record $3.95 billion it made in 2008. It’s “reportedly” because it’s privately held, so Cargill doesn’t have to say stuff to markets, and in 2020 stopped sharing its results publicly, but Bloomberg scored a copy of the financials. Surging consumption of meat and the things that are needed to make meat, like corn and soybeans, was huge for Cargill, even if it does mean the highest levels of food inflation for households in a decade.

Javier Blas, Bloomberg

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Correction: The statistic regarding marijuana was from Canada, not the United States.


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