Wednesday, March 13, 2019

116-year-old woman honored as world's oldest person enjoys studying math

116-year-old woman honored as world's oldest person enjoys studying math 

Woman honored as world's oldest person enjoys studying math A 116-year-old Japanese woman -- who is usually up by 6 a.m. and enjoys studying mathematics -- was honored Saturday as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records. The global authority on records officially recognized Kane Tanaka in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in Japan's southwest.  Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate.  Tanaka was born on January 2 in 1903, the seventh among eight children. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child. The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117. The oldest person prior to Miyako was also Japanese. Japanese tend to exhibit longevity and dominate the oldest-person list. Although changing dietary habits mean obesity has been rising, it's still relatively rare in a nation whose culinary tradition focuses on fish, rice, vegetables and other food low in fat. Age is also traditionally respected in the country, meaning people stay active and feel useful into their 80s and beyond.  Kane Tanaka celebrates during a ceremony to recognize her as the world's oldest person living and world's oldest woman living by the Guinness World Records in Fukuoka, Japan, March 9, 2019.  KYODOREUTERS Tanaka loves playing the board game Othello. She has a ways to go before she is the oldest person ever, an achievement of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, according to Guinness World Records.  Guinness said the world's oldest man is still under investigation after the man who had the honors, Masazo Nonaka, living on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.

116-year-old Japanese woman crowned the world's oldest person by Guinness Book of World Records 

Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old Japanese woman, gestures after receiving a Guinness World Records certificate, back, at a nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, on March 9, 2019.  Takuto Kaneko, AP Kane Tanaka wakes up at 6 a.m. each day, likes to study math and other subjects for fun and competes fiercely in the board game Othello.  It's proven to be a pretty good combination for the 116-year-old from Fukuoka, Japan.  Tanaka was named Saturday the new oldest living person in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.  She was recognized at a ceremony at her nursing home where she was given a commemorative framed certificate and a box of chocolates. She started eating the chocolates immediately, Guinness said, and responded with "100" when asked how many she planned to eat that day. Tanaka, the youngest of seven children of Kumakichi and Kuma Ota, was born prematurely on Jan. 2,  1903. Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States and World War I was still a full decade away from changing geopolitics forever.  She married Hideo Tanaka at 19, before they had ever met, following a Japanese norm at the time. The couple went on to have four children and adopt a fifth. Hideo Tanaka operated a family business that produced sticky rice and Udon noodles. Kane Tanaka took on a greater role in the family business after Hideo began military service in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Their oldest son served in World War II and was held captive by the Soviet Union before returning to Japan. A younger Kane Tanaka, bottom row center, with her brothers and sisters.  Guinness Book of World Records Kane Tanaka now resides in Fukuoka, located in the southwest portion of Japan, across the sea from South Korea. She's overcome several operations, including one for cataracts and another for colorectal cancer, according to Guinness. To become the oldest person ever recorded, Kane Tanaka would need to live another six years to surpass the record held by Jeanne Louise Calment of France for the past 22 years. Calment, born Feb. 21, 1875, died in at the age of 122 years and 164 days on Aug. 4, 1997.  Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Guinness says that the title for oldest living man is "under investigation" after Masazo Nonaka of Japan died Jan. 20 at 113 years and 179 days. The oldest man ever recorded was Jiroemon Kimura of Japan who died in 2013 at 116 years and 54 days. Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old Japanese woman, celebrates with the official recognition of Guinness World Records' world's oldest verified living person in Fukuoka on March 9, 2019.  Jiji Press, AFP Images

New Car Buyers Are Paying a Record Average of $551 Per Month But that Isn't the Problem 

The average new car payment is $551 per month, that is up ten percent compared to three years ago. Car buyers that bought or leased cars back in 2016 are getting some sticker shock and that is leading to some of them putting themselves into dangerous financial situations. A report from USA Today, citing Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, and The Public Interest Group, paints a picture of 2019 car buyers falling into a potentially dangerous “monthly payment” trap with increasing payments and transactions prices for new cars. The problem with the report, just like the myopic financial advice from professional millionaires, is that these experts are focusing on the wrong issue. While USA Today and other sources are correct that super cheap loans combined with higher sticker prices are driving the total transaction costs up from 2016 to 2019, they still want to place the blame on this “monthly payment” approach to buying or leasing a car. The article opens with a reference to “the age of Netflix” and discusses how people are accustomed to these monthly subscription fees and that impacts their car buying habits. Netflix did not invent monthly fees and the car loans have been around for a good while. The issue is not the payments themselves but how too many car buyers just do not do the math before going into the dealer. Here is a common scenario: A car buyer in 2016 got a zero percent APR loan on a new car that retailed $30,000 and the payments were $500 per month. That person is now back in the market but their trade value is equal to their loan payoff so it’s a wash. They go for another car at $30,000, but those low APR loans have dried up and now the interest rate is around four percent. That brings the payment of that $30,000 car to $552 per month. For folks on a budget that extra $50 can make a big difference. So what do these folks often do? They either take on that larger payment or they stretch that loan term out, to drop the payments. That $552 per month becomes $469 on a 72-month term with the same 4 percent APR. But those loans are being stretched farther and farther, with 84-month terms becoming more and more common. These longer loan terms dramatically increase the risk of a buyer being “underwater” which is a bad place to be if you need to get another car. USA Today gets halfway there when it comes to giving advice on how to avoid paying too much Advisers say car buyers should consider the total amount they’re paying over time. But many people think more about whether they can handle the monthly payment….If you can’t afford a midsize SUV, for example, consider a midsize car. The price difference between the average midsize SUV and the average midsize car in January was $38,744 to $25,930, according to Kelley Blue Book. You want an SUV but it’s too expensive? Just pick a smaller car! I’m sure many buyers are going to be really keen on that super helpful advice. Here is what people should be doing: figure out what they can afford before they go shopping, even if that means starting with the monthly payment and working backwards. I’ve discussed this concept in detail in a previous post but here is a recap. Google search has a very helpful tool if you type in “Car Loan Calculator” That buyer who wanted to be at $500 per month but is now facing a four percent load can plug in the numbers and the calculator will kick back a spending limit of $27,150. This is less than $30,000, but that is how math and interest works. Maybe the $30,000 they had in mind is no longer in their budget and they need to seek an alternative. The great thing about the car market is that different cars have different prices. Some are cheaper, some are more expensive. Used cars can usually give people more value than new ones. So if a new car is now more expensive due to a higher MSRP andor increasing interest rates, the solution to keep payments down is simple...get a cheaper car.

Stupid off day math: probabilistic division standings 

You can read this post’s title either way, they’re both valid. Either this is stupid math, or math for a stupid off day. Take it how you will. One of my favorite meta baseball-y things are playoff odds. Some people may not care, but I like watching them zigzag and evolve over time. While this is more fun during the season, the offseason can also suffice. Unfortunately, Fangraphs’ playoff odds module Yesterday, Anthony did a tremendous job summarizing a whole bunch of things. That article go read it if you haven’t included some great tables about current projected records, as well as playoff odds via Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS which is not quite the same as the overall Fangraphs playoff odds, which blend Steamer and ZiPS together. That got me to thinking, all of that is well and good, but given what we know, how might the division actually shake out? That’s where the stupid math comes in. Here’s what I did. I started with each team’s projected wins, from the Fangraphs projected standings page, which is updated for 2019 Minor pedanticirrelevant note — I’m a fan of considering wins in the context of WAR-wins, i.e., team projected WAR plus about 47.6. By this record, the Fangraphs Depth Charts projections have the Braves at around 85.5 wins, above the 84-win projection. The reality, though, is that schedule matters to some extent, and that’s likely what’s driving the 84-win projection, as well as the fact that I think Fangraphs uses BaseRuns rather than straight-up WAR totals for their projected standings. But, those win totals are just point estimates. And what do we say to the god of point estimates? “Show us distributions, dingus!” To get those distributions, I simply applied the complete array of variability associated with “projected vs. actual results” for 2005 through 2018 hat tip to Jeff Sullivan for most of these data, which he graciously shared with me years ago; I’ve been updating it since. Once that was done, it was an easy task to just array the five NL East teams in terms of wins, and see who came out ahead, and how often. I ran 10,000 trials. Here are some examples: In the first trial, the Nationals captured the division title with 97 wins. The Braves and Phillies also crested the 90-win mark by winning 93 and 92 games, respectively. The Marlins substantially outperformed their own projections as well, winning 77 games, leaving the collapsing Mets fifth with just 75 victories. In trial number 39, the Nats again prevailed 95, and the Braves and Phillies were again neck and neck 89, 87, also joined by the Mets 84. The Marlins Marlined, with 58 wins. In trial number 1920, it was the Mets who clambered on top with 90 wins, and the Phillies finishing as runners-up with 87. The Nats backslid down to 83 wins, but sadly for the Braves, they finished under .500 with a 78-84 record. The Marlins had 57 wins. In trial number 9997, the Braves were victorious in the division with a 99-win season, while the Nats finished a distant second with 93 victories. The Phillies, Mets, and Marlins all kind of died 78, 85, 54 wins, respectively. To summarize these and the 9,996 other trials, see below. You can see from the above that the Nationals come out ahead most often, at a rate almost twice as frequent as the Phillies and more than twice as frequent as the Braves and Mets. Yet, their division victory likelihood is still under 50 percent. The Phillies are marginally more likely to be the divisional runner-ups, while the Braves and Mets are equally likely to finish in some combination of third and fourth. And the Marlins, well, they also exist, I guess. Now, this exercise is very stupid, in that it doesn’t take into account stuff like: Sometimes wins come at the expense of other teams in your division. This exercise ignores this, and just modifies wins in general. In trial number 6472, the Phillies win the division with 75 wins. The division finishes with only 335 wins, total. That’s probably not going to happen; it’d mean the various NL East teams lost huge to every other division. The flip side is trial number 1660, where the Mets take first place with 104 wins, but the three non-Marlins teams finish with 99, 98, and 96 wins between them. Also probably not going to happen, unless the NL East pounds every other opponent mercilessly. The distributions around the central estimate for each team aren’t equal, but that equality assumption is being made here. Different teams have different risk factors and outcome distributions. This ignores all that. I’m not sure how rigorously the Fangraphs playoff odds apply this concept, but it’s probably more rigorously than here, so wait for those for a more judicious treatment of this aspect of forecasting. The Mets almost certainly not getting through the season without Michael Conforto missing two weeks due to a hangnail suffered while skydiving and Zach Wheeler injuring his elbow as a result of drinking Gatorade too quickly. Anyway, there you go. Stupid is as stupid math, and now you know. 17 percent division victory odds aren’t the best ever, but it’s better than 2015 through 2017 and better than 2018 as well. Opening Day can’t come soon enough.

Myrtle Beach fifth grader memorizes record-breaking amount of digits for Pi Day 

MYRTLE BEACH, SC WBTW - One 10-year-old at St. James Intermediate School is breaking the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls. Pi Day is March 14, and fifth graders Taylor Hansen and McKenzie Bessinger make memorizing the digits in Pi look easy. "I would read 10 digits and then memorize them and I do a little quiz on them, and then I do more and keep going on and on," said Bessinger. Bessinger is the frontrunner for a Pi Day contest teacher Ron Satterley put together.  She's able to ratte off 252 digits as of Friday, Mar. 8, and Satterley says that's above the 224 digits that a Harvard student got to in their annual Pi Day contest and celebration at Harvard University. "It just goes to show, when you put your mind to something, even if it's just memorizing a bunch of numbers, what the human brain can do, but she's a hard worker and it doesn't surprise me, it's just amazing to see," said Satterley. Satterley says Bessinger has such an appreciation for math and is such a genius that she lies awake at night seeing numbers when she closes her eyes.  "I feel good, beating a college Harvard student, because one, they're older than me, they're in a higher grade, and I feel like I'm doing great," said Bessinger. Satterley says Bessinger started practicing just two days ago, and says she's just showing that girls can do anything they put their minds to, with a little hard work. "I wanna go to like, a really good college, and get like a really good job, like maybe something with like technology, since I was just in a tech fair, which I won," said another one of Satterley's students, Taylor Hansen, who's in the running for the Pi Day contest right behind Bessinger. Hansen can recite near 120 digits of the mathematical constant.  Satterley will announce the winner of his classroom Pi Day memorization contest, and he says if Bessinger wins, she doesn't know what she's getting.  "We got a couple surprises up our sleeve," he said. "Yeah, she doesn't, I'm not divulging all of the prizes yet, but she'll win something big."

For the Wizards, the math is simple: Outrebound the opponent and wins will follow 

Candace Buckner National Basketball Association with an emphasis in covering the Washington Wizards. March 7 Bobby Portis adorns himself with a diamond-encrusted bulldog necklace, but the flashy bauble doesn’t match his game. Inside the paint, where elbows fly and the faint of heart flee, Portis seeks contact while battling for what he thinks rightfully belong to him: rebounds. His tenacity was most recently on display Wednesday night. Although Portis had an off game on the offensive end, which is why he wasn’t on the court as the Washington Wizards sealed their 132-123 win over the Dallas Mavericks, he still corralled eight rebounds in nearly 22 minutes. As a team, the Wizards matched his desire and outworked the Mavericks for a 49-39 rebounding advantage. Brewer: Dirk Nowitzki deserves every cheer, even if he’s not certain this is goodbye “When I was a little kid, ever since I was a young ’un, I was always taught to hit my man and then try to get the ball,” said Portis, whose necklace boasted a word spelled out in crystals: UNDERDOG. “I’m not the most high-flying, athletic man in the world, so I have to use everything in my advantage,” Portis said. “You know me, using my body, boxing out and trying to get the ball with two hands.” If the Wizards 27-37 would take on Portis’s bulldog mentality more often, their chances of making the playoffs would increase. As simple as that idea is, Washington’s road map toward success, is in, fact a straight line drawn from Point A to Point B. When the Wizards rebound, they win. On Wednesday, the Wizards improved to 14-2 in games in which they outrebound an opponent. While nothing quite beats Washington’s winning percentage when it holds teams to fewer than 100 points — it is 8-0 when this dream scenario occurs — if it commits to defending, getting stops and clearing possessions, good things happen. “I think the focus is just different. It’s a good record to have, I guess,” Jeff Green said. “We just got to especially communicate with the switching we’re doing and also driving our opponents out of rebounding position to secure the rebound. We’ve done a better job of that and we just got to keep doing it.” Bradley Beal wins sizzling duel with Luka Doncic as Wizards upend Mavericks Jabari Parker, who played nearly 29 minutes off the bench Wednesday, led his teammates with nine rebounds while four others secured at least six. Although no one reached double figures in rebounds for Washington — the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell had 11 and 10, respectively — the Wizards won with a group effort. The strength in numbers will be the only way Washington survives under the glass without a singular rebounding force, and against the Mavericks it was powerful enough to make up for a lack of rebounds from the team’s starting power forward. Green, who has averaged just 3.3 rebounds over his past 10 games, ended offensive possessions by walking toward the other end of the floor, and during defensive stops he shunned the paint. Although Green splashed a pair of clutch threes in the final quarter and finished with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, he was a non-factor beneath the glass. Green became the last Wizards player to secure a rebound, and his only one of the night came with 4:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. A Dec. 12 game still stands as the last time Green pulled down double-digit rebounds 10 against one of his former teams, the Boston Celtics. “Luck of the bounce, I don’t know,” Green responded when asked about the difference between Wednesday and that December game against the Celtics. “I don’t know. I just had one against Dallas, and Dec. 12 I had 10. I don’t know. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. Sometimes the objective is to just get your man off the boards. That’s what the team is for.” Still, the Wizards didn’t expect to be this reliant on team rebounding. They signed Dwight Howard to help them on the boards. However, a recent development may put Howard’s return to the lineup in doubt. Longtime Wizards broadcaster Steve Buckhantz’s future at NBC Sports Washington is uncertain The day before Washington faced the Mavericks, Coach Scott Brooks announced Howard tweaked his hamstring during one of his low-impact workouts. Howard has been limited to on-court drills with coaches without physical contact since he returned to the team from spinal surgery, yet he still suffered a “minor setback,” as Brooks described it. The Wizards signed Howard last summer to a two-year deal, including a player option next season, and he has appeared in only nine games. During his brief time on the court with a balky back, however, Howard averaged a team-best 9.2 rebounds. “We don’t do it enough, obviously — 16 times,” Brooks said of grabbing more rebounds than opponents. “That’s one of the big reasons we went after Dwight: He’s going to go down as one of the best rebounders. We have to rebound. We have to make them miss and rebound. Our record shows that we are 14-2 when we outrebound teams, and we did it tonight.” By no reasonable metric could the Wizards claim they played a solid 48 minutes of defensive basketball Wednesday: Dallas shot 48.4 percent, hit 15 of 41 three-pointers and became the 26th opponent this season to score more than 120 points on the Wizards. However, the final 5½ minutes of the game could have been the Wizards’ master class on the joys of defense. Doncic missed a step-back three with 5:30 to play, but Powell, the Mavericks’ 6-foot-10 starting center, blazed past the statues posing as Wizards and soared for an unchallenged putback. Powell’s offensive rebound and dunk gave Dallas a 112-111 advantage. But after that, the Wizards took control of the boards. Washington held the Mavericks to five rebounds the rest of the way while grabbing 10. Portis, the underdog watching from the sidelines, liked what he saw. “Us just having to stick with it,” Portis said. “Obviously, rebounding is you’ve got to want the ball and go get it. Me, I love to rebound. I love seeing 10-plus boards in the box score every time I finish the game. So it’s a pride thing. It’s an effort thing. You can’t just let your man go by you.” : God Shammgod created a legendary move. His NBA coaching crossover could be even bigger. Troy Brown Jr. has earned more minutes. And he’s starting to make an impact for the Wizards. As injuries and losses mount, LeBron James and the Lakers have accepted their fate Hawks’ Kevin Huerter ‘wasn’t expecting’ jersey swap with Dwyane Wade. That much was clear. Opponents are starting to figure out how to stop Bradley Beal

First, check state's school aid math: Editorial 

Asbury Park Press Published 4:31 p.m. ET March 8, 2019 | Updated 4:53 p.m. ET March 8, 2019 School districts protest proposed budget cuts ahead of Governor Murphy's state budget address on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Trenton. Danielle Parhizkaran, NorthJersey When Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week that his proposed 2019-2020 budget would include a record amount of direct school aid — up $206 million from the current fiscal year — you would have had to excuse many Monmouth and Ocean County school superintendents for withholding their applause. Or, for that matter, responding with expletives. Under Murphy's budget, more than two of every three school districts in Ocean County will see a reduction in state aid. Excluding Lakewood, which will receive a major bump in aid, the eight other county districts in line for increases will receive a total of $422,905 more. The 18 districts that will see a reduction in aid will take a collective hit of $8.67 million. More: Lakewood schools get more from NJ; see what your district gets — or gives up More: Arbitrator needed to justify school aid redistribution: Letter More: NJ school aid: Protesters jeer money cuts, but formula unlikely to change About half of the Monmouth County school districts will receive more aid and half will receive less. But overall, county schools will receive $11.5 million less in school aid — down 2.6 percent.   Both counties had lots of big losers — mostly, but not all, large regional districts: Freehold Regional, $3.7 million -7.5 percent; Asbury Park, $3.42 million -6.4 percent; Toms River Regional, $2.79 million -4.2 percent; Brick, $2.74 million -8 percent; Jackson, $2.29 million -4.1 percent; Howell, $1.6 million -5 percent; Manalapan-Englishtown, $1.5 million -5.2 percent; Neptune City, $1.63 million -5.2 percent; Plumsted, $800,000 -7.0 percent; Ocean Township Waretown, $683,000 -10.1 percent.  Buy Photo Protesters line the front entrance to the state house as visitors have to pass through the crowd to get inside. Teachers, administrators, and students from Brick and Toms River as well as other district around the state protested outside of the New Jersey Statehouse about lost funding under the S2 School funding bill of Senate President Stephen Sweeney.   Peter Ackerman The new school funding formula instituted last year, ostensibly aimed at creating greater fairness in the distribution of school aid, inevitably created winners and losers. Some school districts in the two Shore counties were among those hit hardest. And unless the formula is changed, or successfully challenged in the courts, the damage will continue through 2025. The basic idea behind the revised formula was to redistribute aid away from districts deemed to have received too much of it in past years in favor of those deemed underfunded. It's easy to sympathize with school districts that are now being punished because they spent money they lawfully received from the state in the past. The overfunding occurred largely because of the state's failure for years to adjust aid downward to reflect declining school district enrollment or an increase in a district's ratable wealth, which would enable local taxpayers to foot a greater share of the education bill. Now, the state is attempting to compensate. Some would say overcompensate.  Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Buy Photo Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Districts hurt by the revised funding formula have already begun to mobilize to exert public pressure on lawmakers to adjust it.  But the odds of any major changes being made to the formula are next to nil — at least while Democrats retain their grip on Trenton. School administrators should instead direct their attention to fully understanding the formula and how each element of it is weighted, and making certain the math adds up. For instance, the main justification given by the state for the sharply reduced aid in many of the large regional districts at the Shore is declining enrollment. While overall school enrollment since 2010 has declined 8.1 percent in Ocean County and 6.8 percent in Monmouth County, it has been far more modest in many of the districts facing the largest cuts. The enrollment drops in Toms River, Jackson, Freehold Regional, Brick and Manalapan-Englishtown all have been less than 1.4 percent. So what other factors have come into play? Have the districts become wealthier?  If the state aid cuts are indeed irreversible, school administrators will have to begin fine-tuning plans for spending reductions that do the least damage to the educational program. Either that, or start building a compelling case for voter approval of a budget cap override that will allow vital programs to continue.   Become an Asbury Park Press subscriber today and get unlimited digital access and support stories e. JOIN TODAY  

Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Superhero Fatigues To Record $61M Friday 

Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson in 'Captain Marvel'Walt Disney After two months of comparatively somber domestic box office, Hollywood got the hero it needed even if it wasn’t the one it deserved last night, as Walt Disney’s Captain Marvel finally flew into theaters. Thanks to a nearly dead Oscar season Green Book… and, uh… Green Book?, less holdover business from Christmas Aquaman + Mary Poppins Returns + Bumblebee < Last Jedi, Jumanji and Greatest Showman, and a few key biggies Glass and LEGO Movie 2 that either disappointed or didn’t really break big, the domestic coffers were in a rut. That’s not even counting Black Panther grossing $700 million domestic last WinterSpring, which arguably shouldn’t even qualify as a comparison point. Ditto comparing any big domestic release to The Force Awakens or any Chinese blockbuster to Wolf Warrior 2, but I digress. Goose: The Cat Who Will Kill Thanos and Supplant Dr. Doom and Galactus as The Phase Four MCU Big Bad otherwise known as Captain Marvel opened with a superb $61.382 million on Friday, counting $20.7m in Thursday preview grosses. That’s obviously and understandably a much bigger opening day than the $38m Friday for Wonder Woman, which makes sense since the MCU is a trusted brand while the DC Films franchise wasis still on double-secret-probation. I’d like to think that Patty Jenkins is reading this while sitting in Hall of Doom petting an evil cat as she plots her revenge while James Wan tries to convince her to produce a $20m-budgeted spin-off based on Diana’s lasso or favorite hat. Let’s just consider what happens over the next month to be #WonderWoman1984Goals. Oh, and the film earned another $33.5 million in China -2% from its $34m opening day for a $67.7m two-day cume and likely $91m opening weekend over there. The MCU flick has now, counting China's Saturday gross, earned just over $221m globally and should top $350m by tomorrow night. Before we get into the math, here are some things that didn’t mean a damn thing yesterday: - Online trolls review-bombing Captain Marvel on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Metacritic before and after the movie came out in order to push its average user rating way below the norm it earned an A from Cinemascore; - Folks upset that star Brie Larson called for the press junkets to be more diverse and less just white men than is the norm; - YouTube videos exclaiming that Disney and Marvel were furious over Captain Marvel and that the 1995-set prequel which was also the MCU’s first solo female-led superhero movie, was a disaster that was going to cripple the Marvel Cinematic Universe; - Alleged controversies concerning men arguing that Brie Larson’s performance judging from the trailers was muted and that she should be smiling more; - Online trolls trying to use Alita: Battle Angel, another big-budget female-led action fantasy which opened a month ago, as a battering ram against Captain Marvel uh… you know Disney is about to own Fox, right?; - A comparatively muted and unfocused batch of trailers and commercials which turned out to be a way to avoid spoiling much of the film’s second half okay, that one earns a mea culpa from yours truly; Here’s what did matter yesterday: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most popular cinematic franchise around, maybe the biggest ever give-or-take inflation for the first six Star Wars movies which average out at around $750 million domestic each sans reissues when adjusted for inflation. Audiences will show up for a splashy, big-budget female-led superhero movie if that superhero is someone they want to see in theaters. Captain Marvel has earned an 80% fresh and 6.8310 average critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s in the bottom third among MCU movies in terms of critic scores, but it’s not aggressively worse than those in the proverbial middle. With the caveat that plenty of folks will enjoy it more than me which is just fine, it’s a three-star ThorAnt-Man-level movie that’s getting three-star ThorAnt-Man-level reviews. Here’s what else mattered: Captain Marvel opened a year after the MCU kicked it up a proverbial notch with Black Panther the first comic book superhero movie to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination and and Avengers: Infinity War making the brand even more popular. It opened after the above-mentioned tentpole drought, after Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse mostly wrapped up their domestic runs. It was a big movie from the most popular sub-genre around and part of the most popular franchisebrand in Hollywood, with the “bonus” of being a demographically-specific event movie for people who look more like Brie Larson than Chris Pratt. Barring an unforeseen variable like poor reviews or folks just not giving a damn about Captain Marvel, this was always going to break big. This is still likely to be a best-case-scenario debut. The 1995-set kinda-sorta prequel it takes place in the MCU but it’s the first time we meet Carol Danvers earned 32% of its Friday gross via Thursday previews, which is right in the comfort zone for this super-duper tentpole openings. If it plays like a stereotypical MCU opener over today and tomorrow an overunder 2.5x weekend multiplier, we should be looking at an overunder $156 million debut weekend.  Maybe that’s closer to $138m Ant-Man and the Wasp’s 2.25x multiplier or maybe that’s closer to $167m Iron Man’s 2.68x multiplier, but even a $153m launch would put it above The Hunger Games $152m in 2012 sans 3-D as the third-biggest March opening behind Batman v Superman $166m in 2016 and Beauty and the Beast $174m in 2017. For reference, anything above $134 million would put it above Deadpool’s Fri-Sun debut and Suicide Squad’s $133m launch both in 2016.That would also place the Anna BodenRyan Fleck-directed sci-fi adventure in fifth place among non-sequels behind only The Hunger Games $152 million, Beauty and the Beast $174m, Black Panther $202m in 2018 and The Avengers $207m in 2012, if you count it as a non-sequel. Anything above $147m would put it above Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $146m in 2017 and give Captain Marvel the MCU’s seventh-biggest opening behind Iron Man 3 $174m in 2013, Captain America: Civil War $179m in 2016, Avengers: Age of Ultron $191m in 2015, Black Panther $202m in 2018, The Avengers $207m in 2012 and Avengers: Infinity War $258m in 2018. A $149 million-plus opening above UniversalComcast’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would make it the biggest launch since Avengers: Infinity War last April. A debut over $158 million The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013 sans 3-D would make it the fourth-biggest female-led movie opener behind Beauty and the Beast $174m, Star Wars: The Last Jedi $220m in 2017 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens $248m in 2015. Oh, and anything above Iron Man 2’s $128 million debut $146m adjusted-for-inflation would make Captain Marvel into Samuel L. Jackson’s fourth-biggest opener behind the first two Avengers movies and redibles 2 $184m in 2018. Sadly, I cannot count Infinity War toward Jackson’s total since he is only in the post-credit cookie. Here’s hoping Fury is in Endgame enough for it to “count.” So, after months of speculation, rumors, manufactured controversies and the usual online huffing-and-puffing, Captain Marvel did as well as could be expected, at least for the moment. It performed not like a standard MCU origin story somewhere between Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, but like a true-blue mega-event movie that served conventional superhero fans and those who so desperately wanted a female-led MCU movie. While one huge superhero movie can’t singlehandedly save two months of “meh” domestic box office, it’s certainly a start, especially if the likes of Us, Pet Semetary and Shazam pull their weight between now and Avengers: Endgame. Let’s hope that we haven’t gone from allegations of “superhero fatigue” in 2015 to a domestic box office that is entirely dependent on superhero movies, but that’s for another day.

The city values Ken Griffin’s record-setting $238M penthouse at $9M. Here’s the math behind that 

The city values Ken Griffin’s record-setting $238M penthouse at $9M. Here’s the math behind that The tax systems undervalues condos in prime neighborhoods February 28, 2019 08:00AM Ken Griffin and 220 Central Park South Credit: Wikipedia Billionaire Ken Griffin set a record with his $238 million condo — but New York City values the property only at $9.4 million. The city’s property tax system requires all condos and co-ops to be assessed as if they were rental buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported. Assessors look at rental income at nearby buildings to estimate a condo’s value. So Griffin’s effective tax rate comes out to about 0.22 percent. The tax rate is similar to that of other individual homes in Manhattan and prime Brooklyn neighborhoods where taxes have been capped as property values have climbed. The city undervalues condos in prime neighborhoods, according to the Independent Budget Office. Co-ops and condos were valued at about 20 percent of their market value, per estimates. “It is a crazy system,” said Martha Stark, a former city finance commissioner. “The true market value bears no relation to sales price, and nowhere is that truer than among high-value coops and condos.” In January, Griffin closed on a massive penthouse at 220 Central Park South. The priciest residential deal to date is a $361 million home in Hong Kong in 2017. While Griffin’s deal falls short of that purchase, it breaks the record for priciest U.S. home sold. The tax rate on Griffin’s penthouse was determined before the purchase closed, and one expert told the Journal that the rate could increase come 2020. WSJ — Meenal Vamburkar

Guinness World Records: Japanese woman honored as oldest person at 116 

× Guinness World Records: Japanese woman honored as oldest person at 116 TOKYO  — A 116-year-old Japanese woman who loves playing the board game Othello was honored Saturday as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records. The global authority on records officially recognized Kane Tanaka in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in Japan’s southwest. Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate. Tanaka was born Jan. 2, 1903, the seventh among eight children. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child. She is usually up by 6 a.m. and enjoys studying mathematics. The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117. The oldest person prior to Miyako was also Japanese. Japanese tend to exhibit longevity and dominate the oldest-person list. Although changing dietary habits mean obesity has been rising, it’s still relatively rare in a nation whose culinary tradition focuses on fish, rice, vegetables and other food low in fat. Age is also traditionally respected here, meaning people stay active and feel useful into their 80s and beyond. But Tanaka has a ways to go before she is the oldest person ever, an achievement of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, according to Guinness World Records. Guinness said the world’s oldest man is still under investigation after the man who had the honors, Masazo Nonaka, living on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.

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