Numlock News: June 11, 2018

Bee Brains

The human brain has about 86 billion nerve cells, way more than the 1 million brain cells your typical bee has. But despite their slight numerical disadvantage, a new study in Science seems to show that bees can grasp the nature of the number zero, a mathematical skill only before observed in dolphins, birds and primates. The study took two cards with a number of symbols on them, and placed sugar water under the one with the fewest symbols. Bees could consistently locate the sugar water, and that skill continued when there was one symbol and zero symbols. 
Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR


The number of regular golfers fell from 30 million in 2002 to 20.9 million in 2016, and the sport as a whole is in decline. The average golf course is 150 acres, and the reality is we're going to need fewer of them soon, so the question becomes what to do with that land. With that kind of acreage, a defunct course could host 600 single-family homes, but if recent history is any indicator locals who live around the course will fight such housing initiatives tooth-and-nail. 
Nolan Gray, CityLab


Votes in Parliament

This Tuesday and Wednesday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to get her vision for Brexit through Parliament. She's working with an extremely tight majority of Tories: she needs 320 votes to get a deal, and has 326 conservatives and DUP members of parliament in her bloc. Of those, 21 are M.P.s who have proven inconsistent in supporting pro-Brexit legislation.
Simon Kennedy, Bloomberg

Giant Salamanders

The world's largest amphibian may be extinct in nature, as a years-long study found 0 wild-born giant salamanders. The creatures are targets of poachers, as their meat has been popular since a rebranding as a luxury item in the 1990s. Since 2009, upwards of 72,000 captive-bred salamanders were released back into the wild. That's an issue when it comes to biodiversity, as the captive-bred amphibians are a single hybridized species while in the wild there are — well, were, at least — anywhere from five to eight different species of giant salamander.
Rachel Nuwer, The New York Times

Box Office

"Ocean's 8" pulled in $41.5 million domestically from 4,145 locations, taking in $53.7 million worldwide. The numbers — a solid beat of expectations for the $70 million movie — was bolstered by a really outstanding turnout from women, who accounted for 69 percent of the audience. 
Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Cryptocurrency Value

A cybersecurity incident at a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange has wiped out $46 billion in the value of digital crypto assets. Bitcoin alone dropped 11 percent since market close on Friday and was trading at $6,784.04 when markets opened Monday in Hong Kong. The total value of digital crypto assets tracked by were worth around $830 billion in January; that value is down to $294 billion.
Eric Lam, Jiyeun Lee, Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg 

Japan's Feelings About Us

A Japanese poll taken last November found that the people of Japan identified North Korea as the greatest threat to world peace and security, with 55 percent identifying the D.P.R.K, 43 percent identifying the U.S., and 34 percent identifying China. That same poll, taken in May and June with 1,000 respondents? The U.S. was identified as the greatest threat to world peace by 52 percent of respondents, China by still 34 percent and North Korea by only 30 percent.
Shibley Telhami, POLITICO

Congressional Ad Money

Since Jan. 1, 2017, over a million television ads have aired related to 2018 congressional and gubernatorial races, with the estimated total cost of television advertising nearly $375 million. The 1,035,327 ads in the 2018 cycle is up 86 percent from the 555,251 ads that had aired over the same period during the last midterm cycle in 2014.
Wesleyan Media Project