Numlock News: February 11, 2022 • Mazda, Exabytes, Kelp
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend!
An Astra Space rocket carrying four CubeSats on behalf of NASA failed yesterday, with the 43-foot rocket last seen spinning though space. The mission was the result of a $3.9 million contract from NASA as part of a push from the space agency to encourage more companies to build rockets and bolster competition in the commercial space. The four erstwhile CubeSats were from the University of Alabama, New Mexico State University, University of California at Berkeley and the Johnson Space Center. Astra has three more missions from NASA this summer for weather satellites.
Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel
Industrial Nursery Rhymes Inc
Moonbug Entertainment, which produces the top kids show on Netflix and YouTube, CoComelon, has acquired competitor Little Angel, which is a network of YouTube channels that combined have around 90 million subscribers and generate approximately 1.5 billion views per month. The main Little Angel channel produces animated videos set to nursery rhymes, the ones that use Shrek-era CGI; I’m certain you know the type of video style I’m talking about.
Lucas Shaw and Rob Golum, Bloomberg
Western Digital and Kioxia (formerly Toshiba) have reported that contamination issues have affected the output of their flash memory factories, with WD saying that at least 6.5 exabytes — that is, 6.5 million terabytes — of memory output is affected. That’s a massive amount of memory pulled out of the supply chain: The cumulative capacity of SSDs produced in 2021 was 207 exabytes, and Western Digital and Kioxia combine for roughly 32.5 percent of the overall NAND flash market, with the contamination issue impacting 13 percent of their first quarter output.
Vroom Vroom to KUOW
Drivers of Mazdas in Seattle and western Washington have seen their in-car infotainment systems hijacked. The vehicles, specifically Mazdas from model years 2014 to 2017, have an issue with National Public Radio station KUOW 94.9, which due to a technical glitch is now the only thing that many of the consoles are able to broadcast. According to Mazda’s American operation, from January 24 to 31 the radio station sent out image files that didn’t have an extension, which broke the CMU, a component of the system. It costs around $1,500 to fix, which Mazda will repair on the house. This is surprisingly not the first time a Mazda had a somewhat hilarious fluke specifically related to a charming and informative audio broadcast. The bad news? I don’t know if you heard but there are serious issues in the chip department so the wait could take weeks to months.
Umar Shakir, The Verge, and Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire
New research out of the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that the nutritional content of giant kelp has declined by 18 percent over the past 19 years amid the rise in ocean temperatures, even as the amount of kelp stayed the same. This is an issue, because kelp is the building block of lots of coastal ecosystems. That lower nutritional content means that marine animals need to spend more energy to keep their nutritional needs satisfied, which can stress the fauna.
Researchers investigating Facebook found that 41,000 of the highest-membership groups were used by only 52 million active users, roughly a quarter of the claimed user base. Even among that minority of users fueling the churn of Facebook’s content, the top 3 percent of accounts were responsible for 52 percent of all observed interactions, and just 1 percent were responsible for 35 percent of all interactions. In general, the smaller the groups get, the more the power is consolidated among smaller groups of power users steering the content. Looking at what Facebook calls “meaningful social interactions,” most come from just 700,000 users out of 230 million on the platform. The researchers took a sample of the most active 300 users they could find and found that they were mostly white, old and male, that pretty much none of them were under 30, and of the 219 accounts with more than 25 public comments, 68 percent spread misinformation, posted spam, or posted comments that were racist, sexist, homophobic or anti-Semitic. Anyway, congratulations to the most important tastemakers in American politics: around 700,000 virulent maniacs who use Facebook so much they were able to singlehandedly steer the majority of conversation on the platform.
Matthew Hindman, Nathaniel Lubin and Trevor Davis, The Atlantic
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, authorized in the autumn infrastructure bill, has begun to roll out, with $5 billion poised to be distributed to states over the next five years to build out a nationwide electric vehicle charging network. The first round of money, $615 million in fiscal year 2022, will prioritize charging stations along the Interstate Highway System and to-be-designated alternative fuel corridors, which will essentially serve as the primary conduits for inter-city and cross-country electric vehicle transit. Later, states can then roll it into community charging infrastructure.
This week in the Sunday edition, I spoke to Natasha Gilbert, who wrote “The Search for What’s Harming Florida’s Beloved Bonefish” for Hakai Magazine. We spoke about how pharmaceuticals get into the watershed, why large manufacturers share lots of the responsibility, and how wastewater treatment needs to improve to save the bonefish. Natasha Gilbert can be found at her website, Instagram and on Twitter.
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