The 11th Hour Dispatch – Thursday, April 5, 2018

| April 5, 2018

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BINGE WATCH

Netflix is taking its first steps into theme parks with a Stranger Things partnership with NBCUniversal-owned Universal Studios. The themed maze experiences will mirror the series’ infamous Upside Down and will be a part of the Halloween Horror Nights series this fall at Universal’s Hollywood, Singapore, and Orlando parks. A Demogorgan will even stalk guests if you’re hankering for a heart attack. This partnership will give the streaming giant, the CEO of which just said last month that a Netflix theme park is not in the cards for the next 5-10 years, a taste of what life is like as a major multimedia conglomerate like Disney or Comcast — something Netflix seems to be moving closer and closer to with each new stream.

YOUNG MONEY

The company famous for jellies in glass jars, J.M. Smucker Co., is buying the Rachael Ray-backed dog and cat food brand Ainworth Pet Nutrition in a $1.9 billion deal. Smucker, which also owns Jif peanut butter and Folgers coffee, has felt the blow of the growing shift toward online grocery shopping. Its pantry staples are not selling like they used to because people are shopping differently, so it’s cashing in on America’s tendency to treat pets like (if not better than) human people. Smucker is also reportedly considering a sale of its baking unit to focus more on coffee, snack foods, and pet products. This unit, which includes brands like Pillsbury and Hungry Jack, pulls in $370 million in sales annually, and Bloomberg reported last month that it could go for around $700 million.

COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES

In what sounds like a bad science fiction movie, NASA may end up sending a swarm of robotic bees to Mars to better understand it as we creep closer to sending people there to (probably) die. A team of Alabamian and Japanese researchers are working on the project, which was one of 25 selected to receive funding from NASA prior to sending humans to Mars. The “Marsbees” are roughly the size of a bumblebee but with larger wingspans in order to travel through Mars’ thinner atmosphere. The Marsbees would have a home base, or hive if you will, to recharge before going out to do some more terrifying science. NASA has learned so much about the Red Planet thanks to its successful Mars Rover program, but the machines move incredibly slow. Just for scale, the Curiosity rover has only traveled around 11 and a half miles since it landed on Mars a little over 2,000 days ago. Relatable.

BIG BUSINESS

Twitter has suspended 1.2 million terrorism-related Twitter accounts since 2015, 274,000 of which in the last six months of 2017. But before you jump in the bunker, keep in mind that Twitter deleted 27% less accounts in 2017 than it did in 2016 because less accounts were being created in the first place. Twitter credits this to its efforts to make the platform “an undesirable place” for terrorism-affiliated groups and individuals. 

NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET

This 9-year-old girl is the only person that is allowed to participate in the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contests from now on.

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