Numlock News: September 16, 2021 • El Chapo, Van Gogh, Taco Bell

By Walt Hickey

The Lottery

Mexico's Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People will raffle off a former property owned by drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán located in a neighborhood in Culiacan. The Mexican government, having given it a fresh coat of paint and tiled over the hole underneath the bathtub that linked to an escape tunnel utilized by the narcotics kingpin during a 2014 raid, is prepared to give away the two-bedroom in the national lottery. The property's worth $183,000, and was one of the less ostentatious properties owned by the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

Andres Villarreal, The Associated Press

Van Gogh

This year about 40 different immersive exhibits featuring the works of Van Gogh have popped up across the country so far, an odd phenomenon given that many of them are independent and unrelated to one another. Prices go for $20 to $70 a ticket, and the box office is great: Lighthouse Immersive's Immersive Van Gogh, which is in 19 major cities, has passed 3.2 million tickets sold. The trend is the result of the royalty-free public domain nature of Van Gogh's oeuvre, as well as the deeply Instagram-friendly nature of the work. It costs about $1 million to set up a Van Gogh pop up in the U.S., and they’re popular enough that Immersive Van Gogh is the largest buyer of Panasonic projectors in the world.

Kriston Capps, CityLab


A new study analyzing 1,300 top-grossing films across the past 13 years found that of the 1,387 leads and co-leads featured, only 48 were Hispanic or Latino. That's just 3.5 percent of the sample, a far cry from the 18.7 percent of the U.S. population and 49 percent of Los Angeles' population that identifies as Hispanic or Latino. One potential contributing factor? Just 3.3 percent of the 2,041 casting directors are Hispanic or Latino.

Ariana Case, Zoily Mercado and Karla Hernandez, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative


The aquaculture business is in desperate need of a salmon that can handle a little bit of heat. The Atlantic salmon thrives between 10 degrees Celsius and 14 degrees Celsius, and when the temperature hits 20 degrees Celsius the fish begin to stop eating, which is not great for businesses that want to fatten the fish up. North of 20 degrees Celsius things get ugly, and at 23 degrees Celsius about 30 percent of them died off in a study. A heat-tolerant salmon could help the aquaculture business satisfy the substantial demand for the fish in a more sustainable model.

Chris Baraniuk, Hakai Magazine

The Bell

The results are in from QSR's annual Drive Thru Study, which sent examiners to 312 drive-thru locations of 10 of the largest fast food chains in the country in a blind test. Drive-thrus were critical last year for restaurants, with 42 percent of all traffic coursing through the drive-thru in the second quarter of 2020. The speediest drive-thru of 2020 was Taco Bell, with an average time of 268 seconds, followed by KFC with 272 seconds, 286 seconds at Carl's Jr and 295 seconds at Dunkin'.

Danny Klein, QSR Magazine


The BBC crime drama Shetland, which follows Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez as he investigates a series of grisly murders on islands 130 miles north of the mainland of Scotland, has triggered a substantial increase in tourism to the islands, with tourism up 53 percent since the first airing of the show according to a survey conducted by VisitScotland. A third of visitors cited television as the inspiration for the trip. This affirms my belief that if they ever cancel Law and Order: Special Victims Unit my city of New York would immediately fade into relative obscurity on par with Deadwood, Atlantis or Philadelphia.

Elizabeth G. Dunn, The Wall Street Journal

The Gram

Around 22 million teens log on to Instagram in the United States each day. According to an internal study by Facebook of teens in the United States and United Kingdom, 40 percent of Instagram users reported that they felt unattractive, and the feeling began on the app. Roughly a quarter said they felt not good enough, and that the feeling first started on Instagram, and lots of teens also said that the app undermined their beliefs in their friendships.

Georgia Wells, Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman, The Wall Street Journal

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