Numlock News: November 16, 2021 • Scotland, Terrapins, Jets

By Walt Hickey

This past Sunday I talked to the brilliant Alex Abad-Santos for the subscriber Sunday edition. I also published it as a podcast, and everyone can check that out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. I’ve really enjoyed doing those around once a month and this conversation — about PED use in Hollywood — was particularly fun. If there’s another podcast app you like that you can’t find The Numlock Podcast on, do me a favor and email me about it and I’ll get it up there.

Stock

The Green Bay Packers is the only NFL team without one or two rich guys who own the whole operation, and they’ve announced a new stock sale with shares going for $300. The stock has pretty much no value beyond the sentimental, it doesn’t pay dividends and you don’t get to vote on the direction of the team, but it’s only the sixth time they’ve offered stock sales — the first three sales in 1923, 1935 and 1950 kept the team in the black while they played in Green Bay, and the sales in 1997 and 2011 raised money for stadium expansions — and fans will likely line up. There are 5,009,479 outstanding shares held by 361,362 stockholders, and nobody can hold more than 200,000 shares. The new sale will move 300,000 shares, and nobody can buy more than 200. A factually worthless aesthetic asset possessed exclusively by die-hards with little if any chance of accruing in value; congratulations to Green Bay for their forthcoming NFT sale.

Rob Demovsky, ESPN

Turtles

In early October, a Chinese national was sentenced to 38 months in American prison for his role in a U.S.-based animal smuggling ring. The ring allegedly smuggled terrapins captured from the United States Eastern Seaboard around the world to buyers, and Kang Juntao was charged with money laundering and animal trafficking totaling $2.2 million. It’s one facet of a far larger operation, one that saw an American plead guilty to smuggling an estimated 13,000 terrapin hatchlings out of the country. He had been caught in October of 2017 with 3,442 diamondback terrapin hatchlings in his home, reptiles that could fetch $32,049 in the American pet market and $427,320 on the global market.

Clare Fieseler, The Walrus

The Last March of the Ents

According to U.S. Forest Service data collected from over 74,000 plots in 9 states in the American West, the ranges of multiple species of tree are shifting northward as large swaths of the continent get warmer and drier. There were eight species of tree where seedlings were found to be growing in climates that were significantly different than the older trees of the same species. Fire may be a contributing factor to the shift: two of those species, the Douglas fir and the canyon live oak, saw larger shifts in areas that burned. The alternative theory, naturally, is for bole and bough are burning now, the furnace roars — they go to war! To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum, they come, they come! To Isengard with doom they come! With doom they come, with doom they come! (In this analogy, Isengard is a suburb of Edmonton.)

Rob Jordan, Stanford University

Aduhelm

In November of 2020, an independent committee for the Food and Drug Administration voted against approving Aduhelm, a drug intended to treat Alzheimer’s, with 10 of 11 members voting against and one voting uncertain, as they believed the data didn’t indicate the drug was actually effective at treating Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, the FDA approved the drug in June of 2021. Biogen set a list price of $56,000 per year, while a cost-effectiveness analysis put a reasonable price at $3,000 to $8,400 per year. Given its approval, it’s going to cost Medicare an absolute fortune, likely into the hundreds of millions according to some early analyses given the 5.8 million Medicare-eligible adults with Alzheimer’s, and the 2 million who use an Alzheimer’s treatment. On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will increase 14.5 percent, from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 in 2022. They said that about half of that increase is because of Aduhelm alone.

Beth Mole, Ars Technica

Satellite

Russia shot one of its own satellites with a missile, resulting in thousands of pieces of debris spreading in low-Earth orbit, which is incidentally where we keep our space stations. The U.S. has identified 1,500 trackable pieces of what was once Kosmos-1408, an old Russian satellite. The pathway of the International Space Station and what once was Kosmos-1408 come close to one another around every 93 minutes, and objects in low-Earth orbit move at around 17,500 miles per hour. Great day to search for “Kessler syndrome” in a panic.

Loren Grush, The Verge

Favorable Long-Term Projections For The Jets

Airbus and Boeing have released their estimated forecasts for the number of aircraft that the market will want over the next 20 years, and they’re strikingly similar to the projections released in 2019, before a certain global event that had a remarkable impact on the aviation sector. In 2019, Boeing estimated there would be demand for 44,040 aircraft over the next 20 years, and in 2021 that estimate was down just 1 percent to 43,610 aircraft. Airbus, which is overall less bullish than Boeing, also revised their estimate down by a fairly minuscule amount, down to 39,020 aircraft over the next 20 years compared to 39,210 estimated in 2019. Boeing delivered just 27 jets in October and Airbus moved just 36 aircraft. Boeing is building around 20 737 MAX planes a month, a rate that should rise to 50 a month.

Jon Sindreu, The Wall Street Journal

Scots

Approximately 10,400 years ago, people first moved into Scotland. Very quickly this was determined to be a gigantic mistake, and within 2,000 years the people in their coastal communities had up and left. The theory went that a tsunami caused by an undersea landslide near Norway hit the Scottish coasts with a six-meter wave that swept 30 kilometers inland, prompting the abandonment of the first Scottish experiment. A new study questions that timeline, though, looking at 439 samples from 87 archeological sites ranging in age from 10,600 to 5,800 years. This showed that the population in the northeast of Britain started to decline 8,500 years ago, which would be 300 years before the tsunami jacked the whole thing up. Their theory is that the decline is more related to a North American glacial lake draining into the Atlantic Ocean, disrupting sea levels and habitats and fisheries and prompting a #Scotxit.

James Urquhart, Hakai Magazine

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