Numlock News: September 17, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Box Office

The movie with the gratuitously spooky trailer traveled way better than than the movie about trigger-happy gentlemen who attempt to murder the first alien to ever visit earth, with The Nun pulling in $33.1 million internationally in 62 markets and The Predator earning $30.7 million in 72 markets. Globally, the movie about scary members of the clergy has made $228.7 million in two weeks on a $22 million budget. Given how Hollywood works, I’m looking forward to forthcoming tied-in jump-scare vehicles like The Altar Boy (2019), The Return of the Nun (2020), The Rabbi (2021), The Deacon (2022), Deacon vs. Rabbi (2023) and of course A Pope But He Is Spooky (2024)

Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Airplane Toilets

The most popular product in its entire class is by far the 737 Advanced Lavatory, which is 40 percent of all new orders for airplane bathrooms. The reason? Rockwell Collins figured out a way to save an additional 7 inches of cabin space, which is a sentence that makes your typical airline executive produce a disturbing and oddly shamanic scream of delight. The coolest part of this story is I learned that these companies keep a database of very very tall people and short people who they call up and ask to test their product, mainly to ensure that science has not gone too far vis-a-vis toilet engineering. “Professional tall person who will test your bathroom for money” is absolutely the weirdest side hustle I have ever heard of in our bold new gig economy.

Mark Wilson, Fast Company

Daylight Savings Time

The European Union wants to eliminate daylight savings time, the semi-annual tradition where the time is changed by an hour because farmers or something. I don’t really know. I’ve always been opposed to this bargain-bin form of time travel, and it should be illegal to confuse a hardworking citizen about what time the bar closes. A public consultation of Europeans found 84 percent wanted to abolish seasonal clock changes, so good luck dealing with that, every programmer in the world.

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg


A study of resident attitudes toward the construction of new housing found that while 28 percent of people generally opposed a hypothetical new housing development, 48 percent of respondents opposed the housing development proposal when they were also told the developers were poised to reap a potentially large profit from the construction.

Sarah Holder, City Lab


Regardless of our myriad other differences, utility industry research indicates that Americans are really, really into the concept of renewable energy. Market research indicated that 87 percent of respondents thought that companies and cities committing to 100 percent renewable energy is a “pretty” or “very good idea.” That same survey found that even if that causes bill increases, majorities support shifting power generation to renewable sources: 56 percent of respondents still thought it was a good idea if it entailed a 10 percent bill increase, and 51 percent still thought it was a good idea if it involved a 30 percent bill increase. This is a pickle for utilities: consumers really like renewable energy, but a shift to 100 percent renewables would mean early retirements for loads of facilities.

David Roberts, Vox


The arowana, or “dragonfish,” is the trendiest pet in Southeast Asia. In Singapore, a juvenile arowana sells for about $300, a rarer breed goes for $1,500, and an adult albino fetches $70,000. The fish was listed as endangered in 1975, which facilitated its pivot from menu item to beloved member of the family. In 2016 over 200,000 of the fish were exported from Singapore, triple the level in 2006.

The Economist

Repatriated funds

During the GOP sale of their tax bill, the repatriation of $4 trillion in overseas cash holdings was purported as a major advantage of lowering tax rates. A Wall Street Journal analysis of 108 companies with $2.7 trillion in profits parked abroad and untaxed found that a mere $143 billion has actually been repatriated this year, most of it from just two companies. I’m shocked, shocked to learn that offshore use of tax havens is happening in this establishment. Numlock is proud to be produced in America, then routed through a disregarded Delaware LLC that resides in a P.O. Box in the Dutch Antilles whose profits are routed through our Irish subsidiary that leases the intellectual property rights from a Bermuda-based S-Corporation headquartered on a Liberian flag-of-convenience container ship in international waters.

Richard Rubin and Theo Francis, The Wall Street Journal

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The National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast of the location of Hurricane Florence’s first landfall was off by only 2 miles, a massive accomplishment given that the average five-day error is around 250 miles. Generally, the NHC has been getting better at predicting the location of landfall: looking at the 3 day forecast accuracy, they’ve got error down from about 450 miles in 1970 to under 100 miles today.

Zoë Schlanger, Quartz

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