Numlock News: June 20, 2019 • Wolves, Bees, Canada

By Walt Hickey

Cows

Holstein cows produce the vast majority of milk produced today, partly thanks to their gifted genetics and partly due to production improvements overall. A dairy cow made about 5,300 pounds of milk per year in 1950, while the average Holstein cow today makes more than 23,000 pounds of milk per year. But inbreeding is an issue, with the average Holstein calf getting identical copies of 8 percent of its genes from both its mother and its father. Holstein fertility is down in part due to the genetic similarity, and thanks to artificial breeding two bulls that were alive in the 1960s are the common ancestors of 99 percent of the U.S.’s 9 million dairy cows, with just two Y chromosomes existing in the population. This is a major problem, and I think it’s because none of the classic farmyard idioms about undiversified asset allocation — “put it all on one horse” and “all the eggs in one basket” — pertain to cows, so dairy farmers just never found out about it.

Maureen O’Hagan, Undark

From Far and Wide O Canada

Canada led the world in 2018 when it came to resettling refugees, taking in 28,000 refugees, about the same as their 2017 total. They became earth’s most welcoming nation, in part, because the U.S. accepted only 23,000 refugees, down from 33,000 people the year prior and down from 97,000 in 2016. Overall, 2016 was a peak in refugee resettlement worldwide, as wealthy nations reacted in part to ongoing refugee crises in the Middle East and Africa. Up until 2017, the U.S. resettled more refugees than the rest of the world combined.

Jynnah Radford and Phillip Connor, Pew Research Center

Assemble

So far, Avengers: Endgame has made $2.743 billion worldwide, which is a perfectly lovely amount of money that would make any multinational intellectual property juggernaut content. There’s one issue, though, preventing Disney from resting and watching the sun rise on a grateful universe, and that’s the fact that in 2009, Avatar made $2.788 billion, and that number is just ever so slightly larger than Endgame’s number. (It also doesn’t account for inflation, a fact that we don’t need to get into, let’s just be reasonable here and handwave it away as a side effect of Pym particles or the sliding timescale or Franklin Richards, like all other slight inconsistencies in the world of Marvel.) So with $45 million standing between Endgame and the record books, the film will get a re-release push with some bonus content and stuff after the credits.

Randall Williams, Bloomberg

Nature

A new study specifically targeting me found that those who spent two to three hours in nature in a given week were about 20 percent more likely to say they were satisfied with their lives than those who spent no time at all. Indeed, the effects are far larger when asked about good health, with those who spent two to three hours in nature per week nearly 60 percent more likely to say they were in good health compared to the indoor campers. Listen, I spend plenty of time near the majestic and natural waters of the pristine East River every single day, I just spend that time underneath it, in a tunnel, specifically in a crowded subway car within that tunnel, and vastly preferring to be elsewhere. But you know what? At least I do not have ticks.

Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

Up The Wolves

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services will no longer kill wolves that haven’t been caught killing livestock and will roll out a cap on the number of Wyoming wolves that can be killed in a given year at 30 percent of the population. Since wolves’ reintroduction in the 1990s, Wildlife Services have killed about 16 percent of the wolves per year at the request of state, county and local pleas. The highest level of wolf control was in 2016, when Wildlife Services killed 111 wolves or 27 percent of the population. And just to further illustrate a mental picture of the forces the government previously deployed in the Great Wyoming Lupine War, 73 percent of wolves were shot from planes or helicopters.

Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole News & Guide

Density

Just because a metropolitan area gets jobs doesn’t mean the whole metropolitan area gets jobs. Job density is one way that the benefits and difficulties of job creation are unevenly spread throughout different areas. Not only did metropolitan America see job density rise from 2004 to 2015, it actually got way denser than anticipated. Researchers would have anticipated an overall increase in density of about 18 percent over the period in the 94 metros studied, only to actually find that job density rose 30 percent, meaning that job growth probably favored places in the metro that already had a lot of jobs. This was mostly true in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, which alone accounted for 90 percent of the total increase in job density in large metros nationwide.

Chad Shearer, Jennifer S. Vey and Joanne Kim, Brookings

The Buzz

Bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S., but, beyond their generous contribution to food production, they’re also critical pollinators for vast ecosystems around the world. An annual survey found that 37.7 percent of honeybee colonies died this past winter, fully 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss over the past 13 years. The 4,700 beekeepers endured the worst winter on record after what had been close to a decade of average or below-average winter die-offs.

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

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