Numlock News: July 26, 2021 • Shyamalan, Seltzer, Time
By Walt Hickey
In a surprise, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old won the weekend at the box office with a $16.5 million opening. It beat out Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, the film that Hasbro wanted to build upon to create a Marvel-style connected universe, which made $13.4 million. It’s the seventh time a Shyamalan movie opened at number one, and Old cost only $18 million to make. Speaking of things that age really quick, while this weekend was thought to still be Space Jam: A New Legacy turf, box office receipts collapsed 69 percent for that movie, which actually meant the LeBron James-Bugs Bunny two-hander fell behind Black Widow this weekend.
The hegemony of the FICO credit score may be threatened, with several large lenders working to phase out the use of it in making choices about who to lend to. Capital One and Synchrony Financial have cut FICO for most decisions, and JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have reduced the role FICO plays in some decisions. About 53 million adults in the U.S. don’t have a FICO score because they lack a borrowing history. The company that makes FICO scores, Fair Isaac Corp., derives about 40 percent of its revenue from the scores, but pretty much all of its profit.
The Year In Review
The American Time Use Survey for 2020 dropped, and needless to say it turns out people may have altered their behavior somewhat. Parents with kids in school spent an additional 1.6 hours per day providing secondary child care, while layoffs meant the average time spent working was down 17 minutes per day. The biggest winners of time were telephone calls (up 61.5 percent), lawn and garden care (30.8 percent), and relaxing and leisure (up 17.6 percent); the biggest losers were travel related to work (down 33.1 percent), shopping (21.8 percent), and socializing and communicating (16.1 percent). Somewhat distressingly, the average amount of time spent grooming fell 10.7 percent, from 41 minutes to 36 minutes. The survey didn’t break out the specific amount of time Americans spent saying, “You’re muted, Kevin, your mic is off,” but Numlock’s own preliminary estimates are forecasting a 200 percent increase.
America had a pretty solid run at Olympic basketball, a sport which was both invented and colossally popular in the country, but a 25-game winning streak ended this weekend when none other than France beat the Americans 83-76. This is only the sixth time that the United States has lost a basketball game at the Olympics out of 144 games. Since the period when NBA players could be on the team, the squad is 53-4. It’s the worst thing to happen to American basketball since the Monstar incident of 1996.
According to Zenefits, which tracks time off requests for 3,000 companies, employee requests were up 16.6 percent in June compared to June of 2020, and up 1 percent from June of 2019. Notoriously stingy with vacation usage — last year, workers gave up 33 percent of their vacation time — Americans seem to have caught the travel bug, with surveys indicating workers plan to take more time off than they have in the past.
The hard seltzer market may have been a little over-carbonated based on recent results from Boston Beer, the makers of Sam Adams and popular hard seltzer Truly. Overall, hard seltzer sales were up over 51 percent in the 52 weeks ending July 10. However, that growth hasn’t sustained: in the last 12 weeks of that period, the sales were up 7.8 percent.
Archaeologists have found a 25-meter-long ship that sank off of what was, 2,400 years ago, Egypt’s largest Mediterranean port. The city, Heraklion, was supplanted by Alexandria as the main Egyptian port once that city was founded by Alexander the Great, and in the 100s BCE several earthquakes and tsunamis caused the city of Heraklion to sink into Abu Qir Bay. The ship, about 2,100 years old based on coins found aboard, is likely a warship built for speed, and it’s rare to get a ship of this kind from this era, as the only similar one is a Carthaginian vessel from around 235 BCE.
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