Numlock News: March 1, 2021 • Chariots, Beer, ATMs

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!

Cat and Mouse

A gripping, timely film about the tribulations of the hospitality and event planning business amid unprecedented adverse conditions has sparked a national conversation about the lengths entrepreneurs and workers must go to in order to salvage celebrations in the most trying times. That’s right, Tom & Jerry has made $13.7 million in North America and a global total of $38.8 million, launching the second-best domestic opening of the pandemic behind just Wonder Woman 1984. That number is with New York’s cinemas still yet to open up in early March, but for the time being it does technically mean that Tom & Jerry is the highest-grossing film of 2021.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Beer

Local Argentinian breweries submerged 185 gallons of artisanal beer attached to a sunken ship 66 feet underwater off the coast in an experiment to see how deep water beer-making would impact the flavor of the beer. The beer submerged was a dark ale with an alcohol content of 11 to 12 percent, and after a year of work attempting to obtain the permits, seven barrels were lowered into the depths on November 22. Well, the results are finally in: someone stole all the beer. The brewers have resolved to try again.

Daniel Politi, The New York Times

WFH

A study of the behaviors of work-from-home households from 2013 to 2017 found that employees who don’t have an office were found to increase their spending on their living space to the tune of 0.3 to 0.4 more rooms, with remote workers spending 6.5 to 7.4 percent more of their income per month on housing. This is from the before times, when only around 3 percent of U.S. workers did business from home, a figure that has surged vastly over the past year.

Sarah Holder, CityLab

Chariot

Archaeologists have unearthed a well-preserved 2,000 year old chariot discovered in the ruins of Pompeii, a vehicle that the researchers say was preserved in outstanding detail and could fit one or two people. Most interestingly, the researchers describe it as “a Lamborghini” and “an outright fancy, fancy car,” which is decked out in sculptures and medallions and other cool stuff. This naturally opens up a series of questions I must know about; for instance, the existence of a Lamborghini of chariots implies the existence of, say, a Ford Taurus of chariots, or a Toyota Camry of chariots. I must know what the gearheads of yesteryear were into. Was there a Nissan Stanza of chariots? Have archaeologists ever clowned on a ride of someone dead for two millennia? In print?

Becky Sullivan, NPR

ATM

Fully 2,956 ATMs out of 5,395 machines operated by Mizuho Bank in Japan have gone rogue, with the machines unable to dispense cash and devouring cards. The bug is related to an issue that popped up when the bank was updating its data, and 55 percent of Mizuho’s branches have been forced to shut down.

Jun Watanabe, Nikkei Asia

Movies

An independent study commissioned by Netflix analyzed the streaming service’s performance on representation in 2018 and 2019, finding that the streamer outperformed industry standards and approached proportional representation. All told, 48.4 percent of films had a female lead or co-lead as did 54.5 percent of series, outperforming the 41 percent figure for feature films released in 2018 and 2019. Behind the camera, 23.1 percent of Netflix films had a woman directing, compared to 7.6 percent of the comparison set of top-grossing box office films over the period. The company subsequently announced it’s setting up a fund to push money towards organizations of underrepresented film professions.

Stacy L. Smith, Dr. Katherine Pieper, Marc Choueiti, Kevin Yao, Ariana Case, Karla Hernandez & Zoe Moore, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Sinking

A new study of the physical weight of cities causing the actual topography of the land to sink — a geological issue called land subsidence — estimated that the problem is poised to get worse over the coming years and that denser cities will sink faster. The collective weight of San Francisco was estimated to be 1.6 trillion kilograms, which may have caused the land to sink 80 millimeters over time. Lagos, Nigeria may be in for difficulties as it’s poised to see its population of 14 million double over the next 30 years; right now it’s sinking between 2 and 87 millimeters per year.

Linda Poon, CityLab

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