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So how did my Hunger Games trade pan out after opening week?

March 21: (25000) @ 331.62 (four week total)

boxofficemojo reports:

The odds were definitely in The Hunger Games favor this weekend: the big screen adaptation of the immensely popular young adult novel opened to an enormous estimated $155 million, which ranks third all-time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million). Remarkably, it debuted above all of the Twilight movies, and it also topped Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million) for highest debut ever for a non-sequel. 

HSX: HGAME 5 day chart

So I doubled down at the new level

March 25: (32469) @ 418.50

The ability to split atoms and extract energy from them was one of the more remarkable scientific achievements of the 20th century, widely seen as world-changing. Intuitively one might expect such a scientific wonder either to sweep all before it or be renounced, rather than end up in a modest niche, at best stable, at worst dwindling. But if nuclear power teaches one lesson, it is to doubt all stories of technological determinism. It is not the essential nature of a technology that matters but its capacity to fit into the social, political and economic conditions of the day.
Oliver Morton of The Economist

…or so says the “news” ticker in my office building’s elevator. I found myself very intrigued by this statistic. Let’s break it down a bit here. I saw this less than 2 min ago and I am going to compose at the keyboard so this could be sloppy but bear with me.

First let’s recognize that the probably of being born on any given day is the same across all days. I understand this may not be the case. But I would be stunned if it was wildly wrong, so I’m fine operating under that assumption. However, notice I said days not dates. And that is an important distinction, especially today. That is of course because today’s date only occurs every 4 years and a day, or 1461 days, which is nearly 1/4th as often as any other date on the calendar.

So now we know that about 1 out of every 1460 births occur on February 29th. Well with an global population of roughly 7 billion people, that would predict that about 4791000 of them were born on February 29th. I assume my elevator got to this point, decided to round up, and reported 5 million people celebrating birthdays today. Not a bad estimate. Seems to check out. 

But can we do better? Absolutely.

The biggest problem I see with our 4.80 million number is this: it assumes that there are an equal number of living 1,5,9,13,17,21,… year olds as there are 4,8,12,16,20,24,… year olds. Do you see what I am getting at? All of our leap day babies were born in 2008, 2004, 2000, … You know, leap years. This means that as of today (or even better, as of yesterday) people born on leap day are, on average, older than people not born on leap days.

This in its self would not be a problem. After all, take any 4 year bucket of consecutive birth years and you will still find roughly an equal number of birthdays on any given day. But here is the kicker, not all of those people are equally likely to be alive, specifically when you look at those born 1,2,3, and 4 years ago. 

The sad truth is that infant death is a huge threat, especially when we extend our scope beyond the United States, to developing countries without adequate healthcare. A quick Google search yielded a world wide population pyramid for every 5 years since 1950 (as well as projections out to 2050). The pyramid shape itself illustrates exactly my point. Death rate decreases as age increases and this trend is especially evident among the youngest population groups.

As a quick side note: It is interesting to note that this trend has grown less severe over the last 6 decades. No doubt a tribute to the technological progress we have seen in the medical field.

So finally we can get a sense for how to better calculate the number of people who are celebrating their birthday today. The figure we are looking for is the number of people who are precisely 1461, 2922, 4383, 5844, … days old. This numbers can be pulled from our population pyramid. At the moment all I have is the plot. Actually finding those numbers and adding them up would take some significant work and my lunch break is over. Suffice it to say that our new number would be south of 4.8 million, already a good 100K people short of the 5 million presented by the news ticker. But we will excuse the small margin of error.

As we just learned, the number of people alive born on February 29th should boom today, and then “erode” at a high but decreasing rate for the next four years, and then boom again.

A depressing thought for sure. Probably good of them to not include that on the monitor in the elevator.

What do you think? Can we do even better?


The major labels says that Limewire owes them 75 TRILLION in damages. Hot Hardware created a sweet chart to help us put that in perspective. 

(via kquizzo17)

Absolutely staggering numbers. A real wake up call. 

Concerning the “Global Wealth Pyramid” (high res)

We estimate that 3 billion individuals – more than two thirds of the global adult population – have wealth below USD 10,000. A further billion adults (24% of the world population) are placed in the USD 10,000–100,000 range, leaving 358 million adults (8% of the world population) with  assets above USD 100,000. Figures for mid-2010 indicate that 24.2 million adults are above the threshold for dollar millionaires. While they make up less than 1% of the global adult population, they own more than a third of global household wealth. More specifically, individuals with wealth above USD 50 million are estimated to number 81,000 worldwide.

Concerning the “Regional Composition of Global Wealth Distribution” (high res)

To be among the wealthiest half of the world, an adult needs only USD 4,000 in assets, once debts have been subtracted. However, each adult requires more than USD 72,000 to belong to the top 10% of global wealth holders and more than USD 588,000 to be a member of the top  1%. The bottom half of the global population together possess less than 2% of global wealth, although wealth is growing fast for some members of this segment. In sharp contrast, the richest 10% own 83% of the world’s wealth, with the top 1% alone accounting for 43% of global assets

(via zerohedge:Credit Suisse)

Pay what you want for a sneak preview of Freakonomics: The Movie

Screenings in ten cities offer fans an opportunity to see the upcoming film based on the internationally bestselling book for a price that they choose. New York, NY (September 15, 2010) Magnolia Pictures and the Green Film Company announced today a unique screening program in ten cities across the country that will allow filmgoers to choose how much they want to pay for an advance look at Freakonomics: The Movie.

The highly anticipated film version of the internationally bestselling book by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt hits theaters nationwide on October 1st. These pay-what-you-want screenings offer fans a chance to see the film on Wednesday, September 22nd, over a week before its official opening, at Landmark Theatres in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver and Seattle.

Tickets for the screenings are now available, and are being exclusively sold online through Filmgoers can choose how much they wish to pay-anywhere in the range of $.01 to $100, with the completion of a short questionnaire. The survey, which after completion gives access to the ticket buying page on is accessible here.

(via slashfilm)

Halo: Reach (X360) adds another 183,000 pre-orders for the week reaching a total of 1.25 million with 4 weeks until release. The gap between Halo: Reach (X360) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360) has grown for a third straight to 112,000. Next week will be interesting as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360) saw its biggest jump that week with 300,000 new pre-orders. (gamrfeed)

Percentage-Wise, The 20 Most Profitable Movies of All Time

1. Paranormal Activity (Budget: $15,000; Revenue: $193 million): 645,801.51%

2. Tarnation (Budget: $218; Revenue: $1.1 million): 266,416.97%

3. Mad Max (Budget: $200,000; Revenue $99.7 million): 24,837.50%

4. Super Size Me (Budget: $65,000; Revenue: $29,529,368): 22,614.90%

5. The Blair Witch Project (Budget: $600,000; Revenue: $248 million): 20,591.67%

6. Night of the Living Dead (Budget:$114,000; Revenue: $30 million): 13,057.89%

7. Rocky (Budget: $1 million; Revenue: $225 million): 11,150.00%

8. Halloween (Budget: $325,000; Revenue: $70 million): 10,669.23%

9. American Graffiti: (Budget: $777,000; Revenue: $140 million): 8,909.01%

10. Once (Budget: $150,000; Revenue: $18 million): 6,232.39%

11. The Stewardesses (Budget: $200,000; Revenue: $25 million): 6,150.00%

12. Napoleon Dynamite (Budget: $400,000; Revenue: $46 million): 5,667.62%

13. Friday the 13th (Budget: $550,000; Revenue: $59,7 million): 5,332.24%

14. Open Water (Budget: $500,000; Revenue: $52,100,882): 5,110.09%

15. Gone with the Wind (Budget: $3.9 million; Revenue: $390 million): 4,906.73%

16. The Birth of a Nation (Budget: $110,000; Revenue: $11,000,000): 4,900.00%

17. The Big Parade (Budget: $245,000; Revenue: $22 million): 4,389.80%

18. Saw (Budget: $1.2 million; Revenue: $103 million): 4,195.68%

19. Primer (Budget: $7,000; Revenue: $565,846): 3,941.76%

20. The Evil Dead (Budget: $375,000; Revenue: $29,400,000): 3,820.00%

(via kquizzo:Pajiba:The Numbers)

A Missouri man who won a $258 million Powerball jackpot and plans to use some of the money to pay bills, replace his two missing front teeth and take his children to Disney World said he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll quit his job at the convenience store where he bought the winning ticket.

This guy said he had just $28.96 in his bank account when he bought the 5$ winning ticket. How stupid do you have to be to spend 1/6th of your money on a lottery ticket? Looks like it worked out though. He is the winner of the 10th-largest Powerball jackpot ever.

(via Ben)

"A new study has been published by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp that claims the one-dollar DVD rentals from Redbox kioskshave cost Hollywood one billion dollars." /Film

The economics of the motion picture industry are based on exclusive release windows which allow price differentiation; that is, some earlier transactions take place at higher price points. Redbox, or any other distributor that weakens the release-window model, could reduce overall industry revenue. Lower revenue will likely lead to lower production activity, hurting the Southern California economy. THR

Microeconomics 101 in action. Redbox inhibits Hollywood’s ability to price discriminate. This results in lower revenues for Hollywood.