Numlock News: December 6, 2022 • Beavers, Marbles, Dogs
By Walt Hickey
Hey, New York area readers! I’m hosting a show at Caveat in NYC on December 15th. It’s a live play of the TTRPG game I designed for Insider’s “Red, White and Gray” project and it should be a ton of fun. We’ve got some excellent guests lined up; buy tickets here, I would love to see you there! There’s also a livestream option for out of town folks.
Generally speaking, tech workers make more in compensation in the private sector than they do in the public, with one analyst firm putting the average annual base salary of the 2.5 million private tech workers in the U.S. at $109,400, considerably more than the $80,900 average base comp made by the 135,000 tech workers employed by the U.S. government. That said, given some 60,000 layoffs across Silicon Valley this year — whether by a company that overestimated pandemic profits, or perhaps an impetuous headcount cut after a delusional South African billionaire buys out your app — all of a sudden working for reliable ol’ Uncle Sam is looking mighty appealing for some. Last year, just 1,300 tech workers made the leap from private to public sector, but recruiters for the feds are keen on recruitment as the tech cycle enters a downturn.
Several fans of the artist Taylor Swift have filed a complaint in L.A. County Superior Court against Ticketmaster and their parent Live Nation over the bungled sale of tickets to Swift’s “The Eras” Tour. They’re asserting claims of breach of contract, fraud, antitrust violations, unfair competition and intentional misrepresentation. The complaint said that 1.4 million verified fans got codes to buy up to six tickets, and that Ticketmaster simply lacked the actual physical seats to satisfy the ensuing demand, and furthermore that the company allowed 14 million other users into the verified window.
Beavers can significantly alter the areas in which they live, with their homes redirecting rivers and flooding forests and serving as a critical part of the ecosystem they inhabit. Rapid warming in the Arctic has made an area that was once too cold for beavers to roam into vast, unclaimed and unexplored territory for beaver-kind, and they are making serious inroads into the once-tundra. In the 1950s, there were no beaver ponds in Arctic Alaska. A recent study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks analyzing satellite imagery found 11,377 beaver ponds, and it’s causing issues for an environment not accustomed to their ecological infrastructure.
Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has hit the rare milestone of 1 billion hours of viewing over the first 60 days a show was on Netflix, according to the company, a feat accomplished only two other times in the streamer’s history. The first to do it was Squid Game in 2021, and then earlier in 2022 season 4 of Stranger Things managed it again. Even third-party metrics out of Nielsen, loathe Netflix would be to acknowledge them, confirm it’s a hit. All that’s left for the streamer is to figure out a way to make billion-hour must-watch television that is not a gigantic bummer where a lot of people are killed.
As of February, the United States government employed 5,159 dogs, the bulk of which sniff for explosives. The overwhelming majority of them are imported, with the U.S. responsible for just 7 percent of the federal working dog cohort, with mainly Europe supplying the rest. The pandemic made those pups a hot hire, as so much of the training and development of those dogs was an ocean away and getting them stateside was a logistical issue. Training of a single animal for the TSA can cost $46,000, and the supply chain disruption has made the dogs hard to come by.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that the Real ID driver’s license requirement to board an aircraft in the U.S. — an enhanced identification card intended to better vet travelers, and also presumably con them out of 80 bucks every couple of years — will be delayed another two years. That means that starting May 7, 2025, to board a plane you’ll need one, rather than the original plan of May 2023. This has become a hilarious and repeated failure at DHS. Even if they do pull it off, May 2025 is fully 17 years after the changes were originally supposed to take effect in 2008, and only 49 percent of Americans with a state ID card have a Real ID document. Hilariously, many responsible people who were early to get their Real IDs have likely had them already expire before DHS got around to even rolling out the program. Yes, Real ID is a trend that is perpetually two years away from being popular in America, just like the metaverse, self-driving cars, the blockchain or soccer.
Secret talks between the British Museum and Greek authorities are setting up a potential transfer of sculptures looted from the Parthenon back to Athens, a long-sought return for Greece of the so-called Elgin Marbles. They’ve been at the British Museum for over 200 years, and the ownership and control of the 2,500-year-old sculptures has been an artistic and diplomatic thorn in the side of the Greeks and the Brits for four decades. The negotiations have reportedly been going on for months and are at an “advanced stage,” and should the deal get finalized the marbles could return to Greece as soon as early 2023 and would be displayed at the Acropolis Museum.
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