Numlock News: April 14, 2022 • Kosher, Florida, Dungeons and Dragons
By Walt Hickey
In March of 2021, someone bought an NFT — a non-fungible token, the kind of cryptography-enabled digital asset that has caused a bit of a frenzy in some circles with prices rising to bubble-esque levels — of the first tweet ever, paying the equivalent of $2.9 million. Last week, the NFT was up for sale for $48 million. The item did not sell for $48 million. It did not sell for $2.9 million. The auction closed with just seven bids, and the best offer was 0.09 ETH, or about $277. The seller has to decide whether to move at that price or continue holding that bag.
Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast, the company behind the tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons that’s been a bit of a sensation recently. Wizards was responsible for 72 percent of Hasbro’s operating profit of $547 million last year, with the role-playing game books and materials selling incredibly well throughout the pandemic. That said, there was one element of the business of D&D that Hasbro was licensing out to a third party: D&D Beyond, which helps people play the game online. Wednesday the company announced they were buying the 10 million user online gaming resource and platform for a cool $146.3 million in cash from its current owner, Fandom. Given how much D&D earns for Hasbro, it’s the best deal in D&D since they let fighters dip a few levels into rogue, and the best bargain since the acquisition of the Flaming Poisoning Raging Sword Of Doom.
Georgia is weighing a cap on its annual film credit tax program at $900 million. The state doles out a fortune in state money to private production companies to try to convince them to film in Georgia, $1.2 billion last year. It’s the latest in a multi-state arms race to pry film production from its traditional areas by spending public money: Louisiana started the process in 1992, ramped it up in 2002, and by 2010 there were 44 states with film credit programs, all racing to the bottom. That said, some states are realizing the smart move may be not to play: From 2009 to 2018, 13 states ended their programs, and today only 32 states are in the film credit game.
The consumer advocacy group Campaign for Healthier Solutions tested 226 products purchased from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Five Below and 99 Cents Only and tested 635 product components for toxic materials. Those included metals that are toxic when consumed, PFAS chemicals, bisphenol A and more. They found that half the items had at least one chemical worthy of concern in detectible quantities. This can be a real concern: While Apple and Samsung have policies against using such chemicals, headphones for children from two of the stores had solder with 22,000 parts per million of lead, and contained plasticizers.
All told, investors buy 27 percent of single-family homes in the United States — that is, people who are buying them in order to rent them out. About four in 10 are mom-and-pop operations, investors who own less than 10 homes, but large institutions with oceans of Wall Street money buying up property algorithmically are increasingly major players in the market. A few markets dominate the iBuyer purchases; in the U.S., 50 percent of algorithmic home purchases were in just five metro areas: Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte or Las Vegas.
Kosher certification is a rigorous process where food manufacturers incorporate Rabbinical observers directly into the production process to ensure that food is handled according to Jewish religious requirements. Incidentally, manufacturers have come to observe the “Kosher certified” label actually has a pretty pervasive fandom among non-Jews, as its reputation for cared oversight during the production process is perceived as a specific market of quality. The global market for kosher foods was estimated to be $24 billion in 2017, increasing 11.5 percent by 2025. OK Kosher, the largest certification organization, certified 700,000 products from 4,000 manufacturers, and Jews specifically encompass only around 20 percent of the kosher product customer base.
When you make 1 ton of phosphoric acid intended for fertilizer, as a byproduct you get 5 tons of phosphogypsum. The piles of it can contain large quantities of substances that are bad for people, like arsenic and chromium and radium and radon. It’s nasty stuff, and there are about 734 million tons of it piled up in the United States, much of it in over 70 massive open-air piles hundreds of feet tall and hundreds of acres across. Naturally, about a third of those stacks are in Florida, and those piles have been known to fall into sinkholes and contaminate the water supply, which isn’t great.
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