Numlock News: September 8, 2020 • Imposters, New Zealand, Drunk

By Walt Hickey

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The Christopher Nolan film Tenet has amassed $146.2 million over its first two weekends, $30 million of which came from China over its initial release this past weekend and $20.2 million which came from its Labor Day weekend release in the North American market. It’s the first big movie to come out after widespread global shutdown of the exhibition industry, though the two largest American theater markets — New York and L.A. — are closed. Mulan from Disney came out in a handful of Asian territories and made $5.9 million, but the big play was Disney released that over on-demand premium video through Disney+, and we won’t know how that went for a while if at all.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter


The International World Games try to showcase games that are not yet Olympic sports but may well become one, and Ireland secured a sport in the men’s lacrosse tournament, which will be run with an abbreviated six players instead of 10 and contain an eight team tournament. However, the Irish players have given up their spot in the tournament, ceding it instead to the Iroquois Nationals, the lacrosse team put forward by the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, Oneida and Tuscarora Nations, who created the sport, but were excluded from invitation based on the ruling they were not a sovereign nation and did not have an Olympic committee. After pushback, the association said that if a team gave up their spot the Iroquois could play, and the Irish delegation — the nation has enjoyed a close relationship with Native Americans historically — volunteered to forego their bid.

Michael Glennon, RTE

One Note

A performance of a song at a church in Germany that began on September 2001 and is scheduled to end in 2640 — “ORGAN/ASLSP” by John Cage — changed chords last Saturday with the addition of two new organ pipes. The previous note had been held for the past six years and 11 months. The bad news is that the new sound kind of sucks, according to fans present. A listener who spoke to the AP said it reminded them of “the metallic buzz inside a big ships’s engine room.” The worse news is that the next chord change isn’t until Feburary 5, 2022.

Kirsten Grieshaber and Markus Schreiber, The Associated Press


A new report from the Government Accountability Office of the federal government found that the Customs and Border Patrol was doing a bad job of alerting the public when facial recognition was being used on them, hiding the clear, legible signs disclosing this and describing how to opt out behind larger signs. It’s also not entirely clear that the enormous investment put into this tech is genuinely useful, as the report also found that of the 16 million passengers arriving in the U.S. through May 2020 that the CBP scanned in airports, they resulted in stopping 7 imposters.

Dave Gershgorn, OneZero

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New Zealand

Approximately 50,000 New Zealanders have returned from abroad since the beginning of the year. Behind Ireland alone, New Zealand has the second-highest proportion of its citizens living abroad, with between 600,000 and a million New Zealanders living abroad compared to a population of 5 million people in the country itself. Many are in Australia, where they can work without a visa, but others go to other countries further off for work or school. A University of Auckland sociologist estimated 100,000 could return depending on how long the pandemic lasts, which could bring a number of advantages and issues, potentially prompting new business formation, a housing crunch or perhaps some beloved televised comedies with a muted witty style that are exportable and kill it among comedy nerds but kind of max out at FXX and don’t really break mainstream until they sign on to a Marvel movie or something.

Natasha Frost, BBC


A new study from the University of Pittsburgh found the researchers were able to use smartphone motion data to determine if a person was drunk, getting an accuracy of 93 percent. The researchers got them to a .20 blood alcohol level, and then conducted some gait analysis using the tech built into the smartphone. That 93 percent is way better than how good humans are at identifying their own state of drunkenness, where 50 percent of the time they were unable to recognize the extent of their alcohol impact. The hope is to make it so that people can have tools in their devices to alert them they may be impaired, rather than the usual techniques of noticing you’re getting really good at darts, or racking up like twenty bucks at a jukebox, or a couple of typos in Numlock, or sending lots of texts to people you haven’t spoken to in four months.

Matt Simon, Wired

It’s A Catastrophe

A 7,050-acre wildfire in San Bernardino County was caused by a gender-reveal party with a pyrotechnic device at 10:23 a.m. Saturday, authorities have announced. The event has caused a blaze affecting 3,000 residences, and being fought by 527 firefighters. As of 7 p.m. Sunday, it was just 5 percent contained, with the governor declaring a state of emergency in the country for the El Dorado fire. As of Sunday morning, three-hundred foot flame lengths were being reported, and rollouts — where ablaze trees roll down steep terrain and spread the fire — were a significant issue. Anyway, moving forward please refrain from firebombing your own country to commemorate a pregnancy.

Richard K. De Atley and Jennifer Iyer, The Press-Enterprise

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