Numlock News: July 18, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Moons of Jupiter

Astronomers have found 12 small moons of Jupiter, bringing up the total number of known moons to 79. Those astronomers said there are potentially 100 or more such small moons to be found, potentially forcing the astronomical community to convene once again to redefine, Pluto-style, what a moon is. The good news is that when it comes to naming, moons of Jupiter are generally named after men, women, animals or particularly sexy trees that notoriously promiscuous ancient Roman god Jupiter slept with. By my reckoning, we are likely in no danger of running out of names until we get to the low four figures of moons.

Joe Palca, NPR

Farm Profits

Total U.S. farm profits are at their lowest level since 2006, which means that for the people who grow our food this may not be a super great time to pick a trade war. Farm profits are projected to be less than $60 billion this year, down from $123 billion in 2006. New punitive tariffs will fall heavily on Farm Belt states, particularly regions that backed the President in the 2016 election. Every one of the 30 congressional districts hardest hit by new tariffs on soybeans broke for Trump.

Joshua Green, Bloomberg Businessweek

Approximate Number of Pit Bull-Type Dogs

There are many, many problems with the U.S. legal system, but the fact that the government has to sue random stuff to seize it is really great. If you enjoyed the suit of “United States of America v. Approximately Four Hundred Fifty (450) Ancient Cuneiform Tablets et al,” you’re going to love “United States of America v. Approximately 30 Pit Bull Type Dogs,” a North Carolina animal welfare suit that seizes a number of animals that authorities allege were involved in a dogfighting operation and seeks to bring their owners to justice.

@UnitedStatesV and Summer Meza, The Week

World Cup Final Viewers

Nielsen reports that only 11.8 million Americans watched the World Cup final between Croatia and France, down from 17.3 million who watched the 2014 World Cup final on ABC in 2014. There are a number of possible reasons for the 32 percent shortfall. Ratings for major sporting events have been down this year, and more to the point the U.S. didn’t even make it into this cup. The timing may have been an issue as well: the game aired on a Sunday morning, which as we all know is when many Americans have a religious obligation to attend boozy brunches.

Joe Otterson, Variety


MGM Resorts International is suing the victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting to block potential compensation claims against the hotel owner. The complaints claim that over 2,500 people brought or threatened to bring suits against MGM for any liability the resorts may have for the mass shooting that killed 58 people and wounded approximately 500 people. MGM would like those cases thrown out.

Jef Feeley and Peter Blumberg, Bloomberg

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Comic-Con Lineups

The organizers of San Diego Comic-Con say that the entertainment event has made broad steps towards inclusivity, with a 7 percent increase in the number of women attending in the past decade. As it stands, 54 percent of attendees identify as male. Still, the lineups that appear in Hall H, the convention’s biggest stage, don’t reflect that: from 2013 to 2017, a mere 29 percent of the 1,061 panelists were women. In 2017 television series, women accounted for 42 percent of major roles.

Daniel Holloway, Variety

Automatic Voter Registration

A new survey shows that American’s broadly do not know details of the myriad state election laws. This uncertainty was widespread: 60 percent didn’t know if their state allowed people who don’t have a permanent address to vote, 52 percent didn’t know if people late on their taxes could vote, 47 percent were unsure if outstanding traffic or utility bills stripped voting rights, and 36 percent were unsure if those who don’t speak English fluently can vote. I contend this isn’t really the voters’ fault, as serpentine and varied voting legislation is dumb and discriminatory. All told, people want to make registering to vote easier: 67 percent of those surveyed, including majorities of Republicans, Independents and Democrats, want citizens to be automatically registered to vote when they do business with state agencies or the DMV.

Alex Vandermaas-Peeler, Daniel Cox, Molly Fisch-Friedman, Rob Griffin, and Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute

Berkshire Shares

Billionaire Warren Buffett donated 17.7 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway worth $3.4 billion to five charities. That brings his philanthropic contributions to about $31 billion. The 87-year-old Buffett pledged in 2006 to give the bulk of his wealth to charity over the course of his life.

Katherine Chiglinsky, Bloomberg

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