By Walt Hickey
Subscriptions for Movies
AMC Cinemas announced that 400,000 people have signed up for Stubs A-List, a subscription service that allows subscribers to see three movies a week for $19.95. The service launched just 14 weeks ago — you know, around when wealth redistribution service MoviePass was well into Act III of its Icarus reenactment — and wanted to have 500,000 enrollments at the one-year mark. The core innovation of AMC was to make sure that users were unable to do, say, $127 million worth of financial havoc in a single quarter.
We consume about 17 pounds of palm oil a year, but the way we get it is environmentally distressing, with groves linked to rainforest deforestation and habitat destruction. Malaysia and Indonesia grow 85 percent of global palm oil supply, with the countries having 5.8 million hectares and 12.3 million hectares of groves in total. A new dwarf palm tree could revolutionize palm oil production, and it’s massive news: shorter fronds allow farmers to plant 36 percent more seedlings per hectare, add a decade to their economic life, and produce 35.7 metric tons of oil-palm fruit per hectare, twice the current Malaysian national average. Finally, one less reason to feel guilty eating chocolate, decreasing the number of reasons down to like 32.
Nepal announced that there were 235 tigers in its jungles, up from 121 counted in 2009. In 2010, all the countries that still had tigers had a meeting and decided they vastly preferred keeping it that way, pledging to double the number of tigers by 2022. Nepal could be the first to actually pull that off.
Venom had an enormous weekend at the box office, pulling in $125.2 million internationally and $80 million domestically for a total of $205.2 million worldwide. The new Lady Gaga movie, A Star Is Born, had a huge weekend as well, taking $42.6 million and making this the best October weekend of all time in North America. Fun fact, I am literally the only person on earth who bought tickets to see both films on Thursday.
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As you may remember from previous coverage, brick-and-mortar retailer Mattress Firm has way too many stores and is struggling to compete with dozens of mattress delivery online companies. Friday the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will close 200 stores in the next few days and will reject up to 700 leases of its 3,500 stores. Generally, this will allow the company to scale back its footprint so that a mattress store is only on like every other corner in your town rather than three or four per mini-mall. Still, if I’m a strip mall landlord I am sweating right now and calling up Spirit Halloween to ask if they do rush jobs.
Iceland has rebuilt its economy through tourism, with the sector comprising about 12 percent of gross domestic product. But annual growth rates are falling, down from 38.9 percent growth in the number of tourists in 2016 to 24.1 percent in 2017 with the 2018 projection coming to 15 percent growth. I’m not shocked, mainly because as an Instagram user who follows many, many broke but adventurous twenty-somethings I feel like I have literally seen the entire country through my friends’ social media posts.
The difference between earth warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius is substantial. At 1.5 degrees Celsius, 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs die, and at two degrees Celsius that rises to a projected 99 percent. At 1.5 degrees warming, the Arctic Ocean has an ice-free summer once every century, but at 2 degrees warming that’s once per decade. If warming is held to 1.5 degrees rather than 2 degrees, an area of permafrost the size of Alaska doesn’t melt. A new IPCC projection says that humans can continue the current rate of emissions for only 10 to 14 years for a good chance — 66 percent or better — of avoiding warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius. To accomplish that, we’d have to increase renewable electricity from about 24 percent of energy to 50 to 60 percent.
The number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. in 2017 was the second-highest since 1990, and at 5,977 deaths was 46 percent higher than the number in 2009. Large commercial trucks and SUVs are responsible for a disproportionate shared responsibility of cyclist and pedestrian deaths, and lately SUVs have become more popular.
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