Numlock News: July 15, 2021 • Weddings, Sacks, Lizards

By Walt Hickey


Prepare your toasts, dry clean your suits, learn 1 Corinthians 13 down pat, do some squats to prep for the Horahs, and please decide between chicken, beef or fish, for Wedageddon is upon us! Marriages in the U.S. were down 40 percent in 2020, and this year are projected to surge 50 percent to 1.9 million weddings, according to The Wedding Report. Next year there are nearly 2.5 million weddings anticipated in the United States, the most on record since 1984. In June 2021, the number of wedding websites published on The Knot was up 48 percent compared to June 2019. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to purchase a truckload of Swoon Carafe Decanters in bulk directly from the manufacturer, otherwise these registries are going to bleed me dry.

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Sophie Alexander, Bloomberg


Mysterious inch-long black worms emerge from large glaciers every summer, and scientists have absolutely no idea why. In a single glacier, there are an estimated 5 billion ice worms. It’s an enormous mass of life in these frozen, high-altitude areas that previously had been written off as barren. They’re believed to live under 30 feet or more of snow, and typically emerge early in the summer. They most likely eat algae and bacteria, but we know way less about them than most other species.

Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR


With 75 percent of the world’s iPhone users now having downloaded the new version of iOS that allows them to stop app tracking, the fundamental threat posed to Facebook’s business by the shift is in question. Most of the people who are given the option to cut off the trackers opt-out of tracking, but the question for Facebook, which relies on tracking for its ad business, is how bad it’s going to be. According to estimates, if only 20 percent of Apple’s users opt-in to be tracked, Facebook’s revenue could be cut 7 percent. If only 10 percent do, that could be a 13.6 percent dip in revenue.

Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg


Stats archive, Pro Football Reference, recently added a previously undocumented database of sack statistics prior to the 1982 season to its large reserve of NFL statistics. For Al “Bubba” Baker, a now 64-year-old former Lions player, this is particularly sweet: in his 1978 rookie season, the database has him with 23 sacks. That would put him above the 22.5 sack record secured by Giants’ player Michael Strahan in 2001, who is now better known for other work. Strahan’s record still stands — sacks weren’t counted as an official stat prior to ‘82 — but it’s still very nice, and Baker said he cried when he got word the data was published, so it’s all really sweet, honestly.

Grant Gordon,

Cleansing Fires

The Algerian sand racer lizard, which lives on the Iberian Peninsula, not only survives wildfires but finds them downright pleasant, according to new research. Lizards are affected by mites, little bugs that suck their blood and are altogether nasty. When an area is hit by fire, the lizards survive, but the mite’s don’t, and so wildfires have the effect of cleaning the reptiles of parasites. In places without a wildfire in the past year, 74 percent of lizards carried parasites, but in areas that had burned in the past year, just 18 percent did. Weird that they leave that bit out of fairy tales, that mythical dragons evolved to breathe fire only because if they didn’t they would be positively lousy with parasites.

Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic

Work Week

A new poll asked Americans what their ideal work schedule would look like, and found that 40 percent of Americans would prefer a four day, 10 hours per day work week, while 35 percent would prefer the (now standard) five day, eight hours per day work week. The other 25 percent were roughly evenly split between a three day, 13 hours per day work week, a six day, six hours per day work week and a seven day, five hours per day work week, each of which is completely buck wild for a totally different reason. Women were 15 percentage points more likely — that is, 49 percent of women — to back the four-day work week than men were.

Alyssa Meyers, Morning Consult

Sunday Ticket

The rights for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, which allows subscribers to watch whatever out-of-market games they want, are coming up for acquisition soon. Right now, DirecTV pays $1.5 billion per year for the rights, which costs customers $294 per season, but the thing is that AT&T wants out of that business, so the rights are up for grabs. The price is expected to go up — it’s cost AT&T $1.5 billion since 2015, it ran for $1 billion a year from 2011 to 2014, $700 million from 2006 to 2010, and $400 million from 2001 to 2005 — and will probably go for around $2 billion annually. One suitor is reported to be Apple, which needs something to get people on Apple TV+, but even this may be a little much; the $4.99 per month Apple charges now comes out to a whole lot less than $294 per year. Then again, if there’s a corporation on Earth that can squeeze its customers out of a few hundred here or there, it would be Apple.

Gavin Bridge, Variety

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