Numlock News: April 14, 2021 • Scrub Jay, Transfers, Complaints
By Walt Hickey
A judge ordered Charter Communications to fork over $19,179,392.45 to Windstream, a rival telecom, after sending out a mailing to Windstream customers with the color scheme of a Windstream notice heavily implying that Windstream was dead, and that they should switch to Spectrum. Windstream was not done for — they had merely filed for bankruptcy protection — and the judge in the case did not look favorably on Charter’s attempt to poach some of the company’s 1.1 million internet customers with the mailing. According to Windstream, 1,386 customers cancelled their subscription as a result of the ad. I, for one, am shocked that a cable company got caught acting sketchy; they’re usually really good at keeping that on the down low.
Northrop Grumman pulled off another neat little orbital maneuver with their MEV-2 vehicle, a satellite that connects with older satellites to keep them in service as they run out of fuel but remain operational. The target this time: the 6-ton Intelsat 10-02 broadband satellite that orbits at 36,000 kilometers above Earth and has been in service for about 17 years. The cost of appending the fuel onto the Intelsat 10-02 is considerably less than the value the satellite will provide over the five years that will get added on to its mission. This latest MEV-2 maneuver was the first on an active satellite, as the successful mission last year was on a retired satellite in a graveyard orbit that is now active again.
Requesting A Trade
I hope you were not particularly attached to your preferred college basketball team because the lineup may look very, very different next season. Right now, a week after the end of the season, 1,296 men’s college basketball players have indicated a desire to transfer entering the NCAA transfer portal. That’s over 28 percent of the 4,500 Division I scholarship men’s players, and more than double the number who switched over the portal last year. One reason for the surge is many players expect the NCAA will soon no longer require athletes that transfer to sit out a year following a transfer. A similar eyeing-of-the-academic-exits is happening in other sports like football (over 1,400 players in the portal) and women’s basketball (863 players).
About 20 years ago the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decided that when it assessed the environmental impacts of constructing a proposed natural gas pipeline, it wouldn’t consider the downstream emissions it would cause. This may change, according to a new order from the five-member commission that controls FERC — a consideration that could lead to denied certifications for major natural gas projects. Any risk of denial due to a vast emission footprint would be a colossal shift, as the batting average of pipelines at FERC is near perfect over the past 20 years, with 475 pipelines approved and only two pipelines rejected.
The BBC reported receiving complaints from 110,994 people regarding their decision to move most of their television and radio stations over to wall-to-wall coverage of the death of Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband. This is a new record for complaints: the previous record is thought to be a 2005 broadcast of Jerry Springer: The Opera, which provoked 63,000 objections, predominantly from religious groups. Further analysis of the objections found 233 complained that the BBC hosts were wearing insufficiently respectful clothing, and another 116 people complained that the BBC was making it too easy to complain about BBC coverage. Let me be the very first to lodge a formal complaint against those who complained that complaints were too easy to lodge; compliant complaining can complement coverage, and I complain that complaints about the complaints completely overcomplicate the BBC complaint compilation.
We’ve done it: Americans have enough toilet paper. In January, sales of toilet paper were down 4.3 percent compared to January 2020, as a nation worked through a glut of toilet tissue accumulated in linen closets over the course of months. Following the domestic onset of the pandemic, Americans resorted to the Smaug strategy of bathroom tissue management, which was to hoard it and avariciously seek more out despite ample reserves. At the time, companies had difficulties expanding capacity to make more of it to keep pace, because toilet paper requires an enormous unique machine to make. It’s also very clear from the data it’s just a toilet paper stockpile America is working through; sales of paper towels were up 10 percent in January, and household cleaners were up 75 percent.
Twelve years ago, a study was conducted in New Mexico near natural gas wells to determine the impact that noise pollution has on plants. The researchers found that there were 75 percent fewer piñon pine seedlings in noisy sites compared to quiet ones, an effect chalked up to the loud sounds driving away the Woodhouse’s scrub jay, which plants caches of the seeds ahead of winter. A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B went back to see what happened in the years after the natural gas companies moved the compressors, and after noisy sites became quiet yet again. Researchers again observed a decrease in seedlings compared to the always-quiet sites. This is because the Woodhouse’s scrub jay can evidently hold a grudge, declining to return to sites known at some point to have been noisy.
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