Numlock News: April 12, 2022 • Starlink, Cargo, Litigious Lakes
By Walt Hickey
SpaceX’s Starlink service, which connects remote areas to the internet via an array of satellites, has been a hit in Ukraine following the invasion of the country several weeks ago. Currently free for all Ukrainians, daily downloads of the app in the country have surged from 2,972 on February 27 to 214,909 on March 24. SpaceX had been planning to enter the Ukrainian market before the invasion, and so they were able to get 5,000 terminals into the country within three weeks. The company has spent $30 billion building out its satellite internet constellation, more than $20 billion more than the highest-spending of its rivals.
For the first time in nine months, China granted new licenses to 45 approved new video game titles. China was approving new games at a clip of 80 to 100 per month up through last July, when it abruptly cut off new approvals for games without providing a reason. This followed another hiatus in approvals that took place in 2018. Interestingly, none of the 45 games are from Tencent or NetEase, the two largest video game companies in the country. Last year, authorities capped the number of hours that people under the age of 18 can spend gaming at three hours per week.
In 2021, Spotify’s catalog of songs increased from 70 million to 82 million tracks, meaning they added music at a clip of 33,000 tracks per day. Apple Music is up to 90 million, and YouTube Music is up to 80 million tracks. Most of those tracks are not getting any serious play — in 2021, only 37.5 percent of tracks had more than a thousand lifetime streams, and 25.8 percent of tracks had 100 lifetime streams or fewer — but the platforms do have to make some efforts to deepen their repertoire to please subscribers. You might not have noticed the 18 million new tracks, but Spotify has 406 million subscribers, and if every one of them can’t find a song just once per year at that rate that’s still over a million pain points per day.
Traffic is piling up outside of China’s ports, as a city-wide lockdown in Shanghai and subsequent diversions of cargo has 477 bulk cargo ships in line to unload into China. There are 222 bulk cargo ships off the coast of Shanghai in particular as of yesterday, which is up 15 percent compared to last month. The container ships are also piling up as truckers and warehouse workers become in short supply: There are 197 ships loading or waiting to load in the combined anchorage of Shanghai and Ningbo, up 17 percent month over month.
Lake Mary Jane
A lake in Florida is attempting to win a lawsuit, a first attempt at an innovative legal strategy that seeks to grant legal rights to natural elements. There’s some precedent here: Lots of animals have had their date in court, as have some entire species such as the palila, primarily joined by co-plaintiffs that do most of the talking and the paying. But lakes, at least in the U.S., are new, and Florida’s Lake Mary Jane is suing to stop a development that would convert 1,900 acres of wetlands and forest into homes and offices. It’s the latest in a long-brewing fight over the rights of nature. In 2020, Florida’s Orange County had voters weigh in on an amendment asking if the county’s waterways should have the “right to exist, flow, to be protected against pollution and to maintain a healthy ecosystem,” a position which won with 89 percent of the vote. Seeking to head it off, the state government preempted it by prohibiting local governments from granting legal rights to the natural environment.
Masses of Etsy sellers are closing their stores from April 11 to April 18 to protest a hike in the platform’s fees from 5 percent per sale to 6.5 percent per sale. At the end of last year there were 7.5 million active sellers on the Etsy platform, which was up 72 percent year over year. The company itself is doing better than ever: From 2019 to 2020, revenue was up 111 percent to $1.7 billion, but the incremental cost increases for sellers — including advertising on the platform itself — have hit a breaking point.
Small rural hospitals are especially at risk for ransomware attacks. According to a 2021 survey, the hospital industry spends about 6 percent of its IT budget on cybersecurity, and 73 percent said they rely on old, antiquated operating systems — Windows 2008, for example — that is just catnip for hackers. So when already cash-strapped hospitals get hit with a ransomware event, it can be a massive cost shock. Campbell County Health in rural Wyoming got hit with a ransomware attack in 2019 that shut down 1,500 computers and servers, and it took months to get its infrastructure back online, at a cost of $1.5 million. And that’s when you do pay the ransom; when Sky Lakes Medical Center, which serves rural Oregon, got hit in October of 2020, they powered down 2,500 devices for 23 days, resorting to pen and paper, fax and phone, and replaced its entire suite of computers, incurring a kit and caboodle $10 million impact on the hospital.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
Correction: Authorities capped the amount of time people under 18 can play video games last year, not last week.
The best way to reach new readers is word of mouth. If you click THIS LINK in your inbox, it’ll create an easy-to-send pre-written email you can just fire off to some friends.
2022 Sunday subscriber editions: Coughgeist · Black Panther · Car Dealerships · Black-Footed Ferret · Oil to Clothing · Just Like Us · How To Read This Chart · Pharma waste · Arcade Games · Blood in the Garden · Trading Cards · College Football