Numlock News: February 8, 2023 • Nintendo, Match Fixing, In-N-Out
By Walt Hickey
Nintendo is expecting their net profit for the year ending in March to fall to ¥370 billion ($2.79 billion), which would be a 22.5 percent drop year over year and down ¥30 billion from pre-Christmas guidance. It’s in large part due to changing consumer behavior around the pandemic, as there is understandably less of a social need to stay at home all day and play Animal Crossing on a Switch. Nintendo expects to sell 18 million Switch consoles over the year, down from the 21 million units sold in the fiscal year ending March 2021. That’s awful news for several people I went to middle school with, as their uncles who work for Nintendo and tell them all the cool gossip — like how you can use strength to move the truck parked in front of the S.S. Anne to find Mew, or that you can obtain Sonic in Super Smash Bros. Melee — may very well be out of the job, and unable to route corporate secrets to their 11-year-old relatives.
Waiting All Week For
The conclusion of the NFL season this coming Sunday means that it will be months until one of the most recognizable theme songs on American television is heard again, Carrie Underwood’s “Sunday Night Football” song. It’s been the theme song on what is technically the most popular show in America since its introduction in 2006, and is unique in the sense that it’s simultaneously the same song every week — pretty much a football rewrite of “I Hate Myself For Loving You” — but also a different song every week. Every year, Underwood records 85 permutations of lines in the song describing the competitors, the expectations regarding the contest, or other spins deliberately derived from the nature of the game. The cutting room floor of each season — presumably involving several unused bars extolling the accomplishments of the New York Jets or Cleveland Browns produced on spec for the vanishingly small likelihood one of the franchises is flexed into primetime — must be incredible.
Getty Images has filed a second lawsuit against Stability AI, alleging that the creation of the company’s Stable Diffusion model involved the unauthorized use and duplication of 12 million photographs and their metadata in the Getty Images collection. The suit alleges that Stability AI removed their copyright management information and even duplicated the Getty watermark on some images. The first lawsuit was lodged in the U.K., and a class-action lawsuit from artists alleges the model was trained on billions of copyrighted artworks without compensation offered or permission sought.
Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has been in power for most of the past seven decades, but as a result of the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage or civil unions, Japan is the only G7 country that does not have legal recognition for same-sex couples. That’s out of step with the attitudes of Japanese voters: An NHK survey from 2021 had 57 percent of respondents say they supported legal recognition for same-sex unions. The issue has come to a head recently as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida — already reeling from an abysmal 30 percent approval rating two years into his term — had to fire an aide who told the media he wouldn’t want to live next to LGBT couples or even look at them, a level of homophobia too extreme even for the LDP brass.
Sportradar, which attempts to identify match-fixing events amid a surge in legal sports gambling, identified 903 suspicious matches across 10 sports in 76 countries in 2021, and there’s reason to suspect that match fixing for financial gain is significantly more common than those numbers suggest. There have been match fixing allegations and investigations in snooker, handball, triathlons, kabaddi matches in India, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and cricket. With so much money sloshing around, finding players willing to throw a game for the right price is a feasible undertaking. Match fixers hauled in an estimated profit of $177 million in 2021.
In-N-Out Burger has announced plans to expand east of Texas beyond its 385-restaurant footprint throughout the Southwest. The burger joint is off the charts when it comes to foot traffic: The average fast-casual and quick-service restaurant chain averaged 121,000 visits per store in 2022, while In-N-Out locations averaged 700,000 visits per store that year, vastly more than other high-traffic shops like Shake Shack, Whataburger, Chick-Fil-A and Portillo’s. Usually, one reason that number drops is when companies expand beyond their home markets. That has not happened so far with In-N-Out; when it entered Denver in 2020, average visits per store were near 900,000.
The fashion supply chain is massive, fragmented, and also in some ways sketchy, and one side effect of that is that sometimes garments are mislabeled when it comes to the actual fabric that went into it. Target had to cut ties with a textile manufacturer in 2016 after finding out that 750,000 Egyptian cotton sheets and pillowcases were not, in fact, Egyptian. That same year, the Cotton Egypt Association estimated 90 percent of garments labeled Egyptian cotton were fake, in 2020 the Global Organic Textile Standard estimated 20,000 tonnes of organic Indian cotton wasn’t actually organic, and in 2022 an attempt by Waste2Wear found that 60 percent of tests of fabric claiming to be from recycled plastic bottles came out indicating they were likely virgin plastic.
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