If dolphins really want to get special treatment, they need to figure out how to do something for us.
The number you are quoting is the solar constant, as measured by satellite.
The number the grandparent is quoting is the average atmospheric insolation over all of Earth for a calendar year. I found a nice calculator provided by NASA that generates "a numerical table of monthly latitude insolation at top-of-atmosphere for a given calendar year" that backs up his provided average of ~342 W/m^2 -- see the bottom right.
figuring out the best way to fill a rectangle with circles
I don't know about best, but I think Mandelbrot has already figured out the prettiest.
Link to Original Source
One study after another cites the previous study, and almost no one knows where that 42 billion dollar figure came from, but it's impressive, so everyone continues to quote it.
Ars did an article on attempting to trace one such oft-quoted figure of losses, and slashdot discussed it. This $42 billion figure is probably from the same source.
tl;dr: big-dollar piracy numbers probably come from some unsubstantiated source from 1993 or earlier.
On top of all this, people are capricious at best when it comes to movie tastes; they might not even like a movie based on its own merits, but something completely orthogonal to the question such as it being the movie they saw on their first date. As such, no set of ratings from any given user can really be accurately matched with those of another to provide suggestions, since they may have liked/hated those movies for entirely separate reasons. Granted, some of these things can't easily be transcribed into data for formulaic processing, but you'd think Netflix could at least add an optional 'detailed rating' section (e.g., rate by pace, plot, action, acting, dialogue, etc.) to better describe why a user did or didn't like a flick.