Numlock News: February 9, 2024 • Hawkeyes, Monarchs, Raiders
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend.
In a unanimous ruling, the FCC has outlawed robocalls that use voices generated by artificial intelligence, a move that follows a call in New Hampshire impersonating Joe Biden. The ruling cites the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which regulated prerecorded and artificial voice messages, and allows the FCC to fine violators immediately. The fine is a maximum of $23,000 per call, and allows recipients the right to sue and recover up to $1,500 in damages per call.
A website called OnlyFake used AI to generate images of fake IDs at the cost of just $15 a pop, which is way less than I paid a dude off Canal Street in 2009, I will say. The service, which has since gone offline following media scrutiny, offers a potential bright spot in the AI world, which would allow people to countermand increasingly draconian ID-related laws around the world, including government efforts to demand actual identification to access potentially adult content in many places in the United States.
Very soon, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark will score her 3,528th point, and in doing so will surpass Kelsey Plum’s 3,527 points to become the top-scoring women’s basketball athlete in the history of the NCAA. However, there remains but one more feat to conquer: Lynette Woodard of Kansas played in the late 1970s, and scored 3,649 points over the course of her career in college ball. That said, she did it before the NCAA — an organization that resisted Title IX like it was poison — had women’s college basketball under its purview. Woodard accomplished this feat when the three-pointer did not exist, and illustrates that the idea that the NCAA is the authority on anything whatsoever is a rather novel idea that could be challenged by anybody, right?
A new analysis found that over 40 percent of Super Bowl commercials have more than one celebrity in them, an indication that advertisers are attempting to flood the zone with familiar faces when it comes to ads this cycle. As recently as 2017, the majority of ads airing in the Super Bowl didn't even contain a single celebrity, but today the majority contains at least one well-compensated face and many contain a multitude. As it stands, brands have paid $7 million for 30 seconds of airtime this year.
The Mighty Monarch
The number of monarch butterflies that have appeared in their ancestral wintering areas in Mexico is down 59 percent this year, with experts citing heat, drought and habitat loss as the causes. The migration is a bit of a miracle, as the butterflies that leave Canada and the United States embarking for Mexico will never survive to journey back, meaning that the animals that arrive back are completely different than those that left.
The heirs of the rock band Queen — which include the three living members of Queen as well as the estate of Freddie Mercury — is in talks to sell the rights to their catalog for $1.2 billion. Queen sold their North America master recordings to Hollywood Records, but the deal may include their royalties nevertheless. Queen has been shopping its catalog for a little while, and it's seen as a real acquisition for whoever manages to pull it off; the catalog has generated 38 million album consumption units since 1991, and annual streams of their music has shot up following the release of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Tom Brady has been trying to buy a chunk of the Las Vegas Raiders, and back in May some owners in the NFL were worried that Brady would be able to buy into Vegas at 70 percent below market value. Sportico valued the team at $5.77 billion. The latest is that Brady’s crowd has cranked up their investment to reflect an increased value in the team, with the consortium lined up to buy up 10 percent of the franchise, of which Brady would own 7 percent. I’m sure it’ll be fine, as there is no historical precedent for Tom Brady being screwed over by New York on multiple occasions.
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