Numlock News: July 22, 2021 • Charlotte, Jurassic Pompeii, Pot Farms

By Walt Hickey

Product Placement

In 2021, $23.3 billion will be spent globally on product placement in media, which is up 13.8 percent compared to 2020. The type of marketing is rising faster than the overall pot as a whole, with marketing spend projected to rise 5.9 percent annually to $1.35 trillion globally. New tech is enabling new opportunities: a green screened bag of chips could now become Fritos or Lay’s depending on which a streamer discerns a viewer would be more likely to buy. I’m thrilled to announce Numlock will be trying this system out shortly; why don’t you pop open a crispy bag of MORNING CONSULT POLLING, chow down on a ESCAPED ANIMAL, enjoy a refreshing LITHIUM ION BATTERY, and relax to the new episode of MOVIEPASS. The future!

Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg


Social media platform Tumblr announced it’s rolling out subscriptions, which is excellent news if you were trying to figure out which of your friends were still actively maintaining a Doctor Who AU art account and deserve to cash in. The network has slimmed down substantially since the heady days of 2012, when it was logging 67.7 million daily posts; today, Tumblr enjoys 11.3 million daily posts, which is still down from 14.8 million this time a year ago.

Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Pot Farms

Illegal pot farms are a leading cause of water theft in California, which has endured a significant drought lately. In the first half of this year, 125 Californians have reported water theft to the state, which is twice as many as a decade ago. Damage to water mains is serious, and can cost $10,000 to repair. In the Sierra Nevada, there are as many as 4,000 illegal pot farms operating in Nevada County alone, with another 400 in the Antelope Valley alone. The desert offers privacy, but it lacks water, and to get the necessary water to farm pot illegally the solutions are typically off-the-book, to the detriment of the state at large.

Julie Cart, CalMatters


The fifth-busiest airport in the world is now Charlotte in North Carolina, where 21,192 flights arrived in June alone. That’s down just 6.7 percent compared to June 2019. By comparison, the other busiest airports on the planet in 2019 were down far more, with LAX down 29 percent and Beijing down even more. A lot of that shift to Charlotte is the result of American Airlines re-orchestrating its flight patterns to two hubs, Dallas and Charlotte, as well as the U.S. domestic airline business recovering vastly faster than international flights.

Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal


Sports analytics company Gracenote projects that the United States will win 96 medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held next week (in 2021) in Tokyo. Of those, the projection is that 40 of them will be golds, with the U.S. earning medals in 27 of 33 sports on offer. Other big winners are projected to be Russia, China, Japan, and Britain. Meanwhile, Numlock Analytics projects this Olympic Games will result in two 30 for 30s, one anime, one other anime for straight audiences, approximately 17 NFT startups, one really bad SNL host, and six podcasts.

Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times

Pliny the Fossilized Seafloor Animal

An estimated 167 million years ago, in a shallow sea off the coast of what’s now England, a mudslide triggered by some sort of natural disaster enveloped a thriving ecosystem that has since fossilized and was recently discovered in a private quarry. Described as “Jurassic Pompeii,” the sediment is home to tens of thousands of perfectly preserved animals, many of which resemble echinoderms. Species previously found on the order of dozens in the world have been found on the order of thousands at the site.

Jonathan Amos, BBC


A new analysis from the International Council of Clean Transportation sought to address a common critique of electric cars: namely, you’re only as green as the grid you use to charge it. Comparing the emissions of medium-sized electric vehicles registered in 2021 across several countries, the researchers found lifetime emissions for an electric car in Europe were 66 to 69 percent lower than a comparable internal combustion vehicle, a figure that was 60 to 68 percent in the U.S., 37 to 45 percent in China, and 19 to 34 percent in India. The latter two countries rely more on coal in their grids, but nevertheless it’s still better than gas.

Justine Calma, The Verge

Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.

The best way to reach new readers is word of mouth. If you click THIS LINK in your inbox, it’ll create an easy-to-send pre-written email you can just fire off to some friends.

Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at

Check out the Numlock Book Club and Numlock award season supplement.

2021 Sunday subscriber editions:Wikipedia · Thriving · Comic Rebound · Return of Travel · Sticky Stuff · For-profit Med School · A Good Day · Press Reset · Perverse Incentives · Demon Slayer · Carbon Credits · Money in Politics ·

Local News · Oscar Upsets · Sneakers · Post-pandemic Cities · Facebook AI · Fireflies · Vehicle Safety ·
Climate Codes · Figure Skating · True Believer · Apprentices · Sports Polls · Pipeline · Wattpad · The Nib · Driven
2020 Sunday Edition Archive
2019 Sunday Edition Archive
2018 Sunday Edition Archive