Numlock News: September 7, 2021 • Shang-Chi, Ferrari, THC

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!

Shang-Chi

Marvel’s newest film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, made $90 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend domestically, with its three-day $75.5 million haul breaking the all-time record for Labor Day openings. It’s the second biggest opening of the pandemic behind just Black Widow, and a huge opener for a film centering a character not previously explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Globally, it’s pulled in $146.2 million, which is solid given the film’s $150 million budget and shall we say complicated release condition. Most interestingly, the film’s exclusive in theaters for the first 45 days of release, so if it stays sticky through the next couple of weeks it could be precisely the argument for theatrical exclusivity the cinemas have been clamoring for.

Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Lockers

Amazon has rolled out 49 lockers in public parks in Chicago, with another 53 planned for future places, and many locals are ticked. The private, company-owned lockers have obstructed some public paths, and a recent public records request revealed that, at most, the city of Chicago would receive $137,600 in payment for forking over real estate in dozens of parks to Amazon. The company is no stranger to subsidies, having received some $741 million in taxpayer subsidies in the Chicago area alone.

Pat Garofalo, Boondoggle

Big Grass

Pot is so legal in Canada that industry groups are now lobbying the government to tweak standards in terms of limits on pot-infused beverages. A given cannabis beverage in Canada can have no more than 10 milligrams of THC in it. As it stands, the current regulation caps customers at no more than 30 grams of marijuana per purchase, or its liquid equivalent of 2.1 liters. This effectively precludes the sale of six packs, a universally acknowledged ideal quantity of intoxicant: they can’t package six standard 355mL cans together — that’d be 2.13 liters, and that surplus 0.03 liters is illegal, and since the six-pack is one SKU, it’d have 12 milligrams of THC so stores can only package five at a time, which is deeply annoying for consumers.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Vroom

The European Union has proposed a 2035 phase-out of internal combustion engines, a generally popular policy that would significantly advance climate goals in the bloc. Italy’s government supports the measure, but they want an exception for their niche supercar businesses like Ferrari and Lamborghini. The argument goes that these high-end shops sell a negligible number of vehicles, all things considered, and should be considered exempt. These are not, as it stands, enormously popular vehicles: Ferrari moved 9,100 vehicles in 2020, and Lamborghini sold just 7,400. Ferrari plans to roll out its first battery electric vehicle in 2025; Porsche, the German supercar, has had the Taycan out since 2019.

Chiara Albanese, Daniele Lepido, and Alberto Brambilla, Bloomberg

College

At the end of the 2020-21 academic year, 59.5 percent of college students in the United States were women, with men accounting for 40.5 percent of those in higher ed. Compared to five years ago, 1.5 million fewer students were at American universities, and 71 percent of that decline stemmed from men. In the 2021-22 school year, 3,805,978 women applied to college in the United States, according to the Common Application, compared to 2,815,810 men. Anyway, just wanted to give everyone a heads-up about the next Rorschach test in the culture war because, ho boy, we’re never going to figure out why this is actually happening. I bet Twitter’s got a lot of fascinating ideas that will come to every vestigial magazine’s cover sometime soon.

Douglas Belkin, The Wall Street Journal

Thailand

Thailand is a very thin country, and at its narrowest — the Kra Isthmus — is 44 kilometers across. Naturally, the country’s been eyeing that other isthmus nation of Panama and has for the past 400 years asked itself, hey, why not a canal? Such a connection would cut the distance to transport goods from East Asia to ports west by 1,200 kilometers by cutting out the Malacca Strait. The estimated cost of a canal connecting the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea would be $30 billion and incredibly difficult, however, a land bridge composed of railways and roads connecting ports in Ranong and Chumphon would cost in the ballpark of $1.85 billion. Decisions are expected by 2023, and whether the country wants to become the $30 billion Panama or the $1.85 billion New Jersey of Southeast Asia is still under deliberation.

Yohei Muramatsu, Nikkei Asia

Hydrogen

The Port of Rotterdam is closing a deal to be home to a 100MW hydrogen electrolyser, which will use power generated from North Sea wind farms to produce green hydrogen, which will then be pumped into a new hydrogen pipeline running through the port. In addition to connecting to the national hydrogen infrastructure through the pipeline, given Rotterdam’s centrality to European maritime trade, it’s an ideal location to make the port an import and export link in the global hydrogen supply chain. The partnership is reportedly considering an eventual upscale to a 500MW unit.

Molly Burgess, H2 View

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