August 13, 2020

Yet another tropical storm has formed in the Atlantic amid 2020's unusually busy hurricane season.

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday gave the name Josephine to a tropical storm that has formed in the Atlantic with winds of 45 miles per hour, CNN reports. This makes Josephine the 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and the earliest storm with a J name ever, coming earlier than Jose, a tropical storm that formed on Aug. 22, 2005.

The good news, though, is that Josephine, which is over 1,000 miles east of the Leeward Islands, is expected to weaken and "it does not appear" it "will pose a threat to the mainland United States," according to The Weather Channel. Still, Josephine's formation was notable given that as USA Today reports, during an average hurricane season, it takes until Oct. 19 for the 10th named storm to form.

But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently forecast that 2020's Atlantic hurricane season could be one of the busiest ever recorded, with as many as 25 named storms when there are an average of only 12 in an entire season. Of those 25 storms, the NOAA projected that between seven and 11 of them will become hurricanes. Brendan Morrow

February 20, 2020

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed up for his first Democratic debate on Wednesday, and it seems safe to say there was some interest.

About 19.7 million people tuned in for the Nevada Democratic debate on Wednesday between NBC and MSNBC, making this the most-viewed Democratic primary debate ever, CNN reports. A June 2019 Democratic debate previously set the record with 18.1 million viewers.

This number was particularly impressive when you consider that it's not too far below the viewership for the 92nd Academy Awards, which recently sank to to an all-time low with an audience of 23.6 million viewers. The Nevada debate still falls short of the 24 million viewers who tuned into the first debate of the 2016 Republican primaries.

The Nevada Democratic debate turned into something of a roast of Bloomberg, with every candidate pummeling the former mayor, whose debate performance was subsequently panned by pundits. It was certainly the most combative of the Democratic primary debates so far, and if viewers are up for another round, the next one is just five days away on Feb. 25. Brendan Morrow

August 2, 2019

Move aside, U2: there's a new all-time highest-grossing concert tour in town.

Ed Sheeran's Divide Tour on Friday is projected to officially set the new record for highest-grossing concert tour ever, The Associated Press reports. A Hannover, Germany show on Friday will put him over the top, confirmed Pollstar, getting the tour to $736.7 million in revenue.

This will put Sheeran's tour just beyond the record of $735.4 million generated by the U2 360° Tour, which ended in 2011. These numbers don't adjust for inflation, however. Sheeran's tour has also lasted longer than the U2 one; it will have gone 893 days by the time it wraps up in August, while U2's was 760 days. Sheeran's tour had previously passed U2's in terms of tickets sold.

Sheeran in a statement celebrated the news as "amazing," per the AP. He had evidently set his sights on accomplishing this feat long ago, with agent Louis Messina telling The Wall Street Journal in June, "He told me before the tour even started — I want to break U2's record." Brendan Morrow

May 20, 2019

Game of Thrones just went out on top by breaking another viewership record.

The series' final episode, "The Iron Throne," drew 19.3 million viewers on Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter writes. This includes 13.6 million people who tuned into the initial 9:00 p.m. airing, as well as those who tuned in for replays and those who streamed the episode online.

This breaks Game of Thrones' previous ratings record — 18.4 million people tuned in last Sunday night to the season's fifth episode, "The Bells." It also sets a new record for HBO itself. The season 4 premiere of The Sopranos previously held the HBO record for biggest linear audience with 13.4 million viewers in 2002, although this was before the rise of streaming.

These impressive viewership numbers Game of Thrones has been drawing each week don't factor in those who watch the episode beyond Sunday night. When including those who watch later, HBO says the eighth season has been averaging 44.2 million viewers, Deadline reports.

Now, the network can only hope to retain these tens of millions of viewers for the forthcoming Game of Thrones spinoffs and that fans' watch hasn't ended quite yet. Brendan Morrow

May 9, 2019

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday joked about a congressional committee voting to hold him in contempt of Congress, observing that it must be a "record."

Barr spoke in honor of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at his farewell ceremony, saying that the job of attorney general was "a lot different" in the 1990s, when Rosenstein first joined the Department of Justice.

"You like records," Barr told Rosenstein, The Hill reports. "This must be a record of an attorney general being proposed for contempt within 100 days of taking office."

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to recommend holding Barr in contempt of Congress after he did not provide them with the full, unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. The Department of Justice has argued Barr can't legally release the entire report, and the White House has exerted executive privilege over it. The committee's contempt citation will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

A previous attorney general was held in contempt of Congress before Barr: Eric Holder, who the House of Representatives voted to hold in contempt in 2012, this being the first time a sitting U.S. attorney general was ever held in contempt of Congress — although unlike with Barr, this came three years into his term. Brendan Morrow

October 31, 2018

India just shattered the record for tallest statue in the world.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the newly-completed statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, which is 597 feet tall and cost $400 million to build, The New York Times reports. This makes it the world's tallest statue by far, with the runner-up being the 420-foot tall Spring Temple Buddha in China. For comparison, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall.

India's new statue honors the country's first deputy prime minister, a key figure in the nation's fight for independence. It was officially dedicated on Patel's birthday, recognized in India as National Unity Day. It took nearly three years, more than 7 million cubic feet of cement, and 25,000 tons of steel to build, NBC News reports.

In just a few years, though, the statue is set to be dethroned, the Times reports, as the country has plans to complete a memorial to 17th century king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 2021. That one will be nearly 700 feet tall, meaning there's a non-zero chance Tom Cruise will end up jumping off of it in a Mission: Impossible movie. Brendan Morrow

March 26, 2018

Black Panther has been shattering records since its release in February, and the trend is still going even more than five weeks after its release. The Marvel Comics superhero film is now the highest-grossing movie ever from a black director, reaching $1.237 billion worldwide, reports Forbes.

The film, which also stars a slate of black actors and actresses, was directed by Ryan Coogler, who additionally co-wrote the screenplay. Its box office earnings over the weekend made Coogler a record-breaking filmmaker, as Black Panther overtook 2017's Fate of the Furious, helmed by director F. Gary Gray, which previously held the title as the highest-grossing film from a black director.

Black Panther is now also the biggest comic book superhero movie in North America, outgrossing even the wildly popular 2012 film The Avengers. On top of that, the past weekend made Black Panther the biggest solo superhero movie ever across the world, reports Forbes; while other superhero blockbusters like the Avengers franchise boast multiple characters from the comic book world, Black Panther has boomed even without an ensemble.

Read more about Black Panther’s resounding success at Forbes. Summer Meza

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