Numlock News: November 9, 2020 • Gliders, Squids, Wolves

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!

Wolves

Since the very founding of Rome, wolves have been a central figure in politics, and 2020 was no different. While many will be poring over the results state by state, one result is clear: when wolves are on the ballot, wolves win. Colorado’s Proposition 114 put the question to voters: y’all good with some wolves up in here? And the answer was a narrow “yes, sure, wolves, sounds like fun,” and now the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will have to put together a plan to bring wolves back west of the continental divide by 2023. This was a critical political win for wolves. Just a week ago, the federal government stripped them of endangered species protections, and the Coloradan voters made their pro-wolf voices known by what is now an incredibly narrow 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent margin, with 91 percent reporting. Ranchers should fear not, as wolves kill less than 0.01 percent of cattle in the Northern Rockies. For what its worth, I think we should have more votes for re-introducing wild animals into their original homes, which is why I am mounting a push for a ballot initiative forcing the government to release 200 bears and 6,000 bobcats in Manhattan.

Justine Calma, The Verge

You Deserve It

Important cookie news: the market for cookies in the 52 weeks ending September 16 grew 6.6 percent, nearly doubling the 3.7 percent growth observed in 2019. That year, about $9.1 billion worth of cookies was sold, mostly to my boyfriend. From March to September of this year, chocolate sales jumped 5.5 percent as well. Interestingly, there have been four categories in the “treats” world that have seen significant drops in sales since March: dessert bars, cupcakes, mints and gum. That these are “things we bring to social events at companies and schools” and “stuff we do to make our mouths, which are now covered, smell better” makes a lot of sense.

Jessi Devenyns, FoodDive

Ocean

A new report from Trygg Mat Tracking and the World Wide Fund for Nature found that a lack of oversight in the Indian Ocean is leading to massive harvests of seafood at an unsustainable rate, with the squid catch alone exploding 830 percent since 2015. The Indian Ocean is responsible for 15 percent of wild-caught seafood, but a third of stocks are being overfished at an unsustainable level. The only fish that has some sort of international oversight is the $6.5 billion tuna catch, which is governed by two regional bodies. For the rest, it’s a bit of a free-for-all, and that’s a problem because the squid, for instance, is a pretty important part of the tuna food chain and overfishing their food can have similar effects to overfishing them directly.

Kimberly Riskas, Hakai Magazine

Glides

New genetic research has determined that Australia’s greater glider — a vulnerable marsupial about the size of a cat that eats only eucalyptus leaves and jumps from tree to tree by gliding — is actually three unique separate species that had until now just been called “the greater glider.” It had long been understood that the gliders along the east coast were different sizes and colors in some places, but this genetic analysis from a number of Australian universities increases the numbers of marsupials by two. Petauroides volans are now joined by Petauroides minor and Petauroides armillatus, but there is a serious issue now: the raging bushfires that have consumed large portions of the habitats of the first type have taken up a much larger fraction of the species’ range than originally understood.

Graham Readfearn, The Guardian

Let Him Go

This weekend had been slated by Disney for Black Widow, a Marvel insta-blockbuster film that was yet again punted into a new frame of the calendar. In its place atop the box office rankings was a Kevin Costner-Diane Lane two-hander called Let Him Go that made $4.1 million in ticket sales across the 2,454 cinema locations that remain open. That’s about 48 percent of cinemas, but what’s even more shocking is that $4.1 million is the biggest weekend any movie has had in six weeks.

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

Streams

The average monthly streaming video spend in the United States among adults aged 18 and up was $39.60 in October, which was actually down compared to the higher spending on streaming notched in late spring and early summer. Back in May, the average monthly spend was $43.56. One fear analysts have is that the long-term unemployment endured by 12.3 million Americans is finally resonating in this kind of discretionary spending, though others think the paucity of new production — it’s been enormously challenging to film the kind of new originals that keep people from unsubscribing — could be having an impact. Prime-age workers between the ages of 21 and 38 saw the biggest decline ($10.32) between the average spend from May to August ($58.88) and their October streaming spend ($48.56).

Gavin Bridge, Variety

Booze

Drizly, an app that delivers alcohol, said sales last Tuesday were up approximately 68 percent compared to the previous four Tuesdays, for reasons that I’m sure will remain an enigma. The company identified an enormous increase in traditionally liberal-leaning states of 75 percent, compared to a still-up-but-like-not-crazy 33 percent in traditionally conservative states. In New York and D.C., sales more than doubled. These were some rookie moves because I can assure you based on a lifetime of experience the only thing more unpleasant than doing math drunk is doing math hungover and for four days.

Adedayo Akala, NPR

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