Numlock News: January 12, 2023 • Kingdom, Titles, Princes
By Walt Hickey
JP Morgan is suing a 30-year-old founder of a fintech company they bought for $175 million in September of 2021, alleging a shocking amount of fraud during the due diligence process. In the suit, JP Morgan alleged that the company — which was called Frank, a company purporting to improve the process of applying for student loans — overstated and faked the number of users it actually had. JP Morgan said Frank pitched it as having 4 million users. During due diligence, the founder is alleged to have created a roster of 4.265 million names, addresses, birthdates and customer information for people that didn’t actually exist to cover up for the reality that the company had less than 300,000 accounts. JP Morgan alleged that when an engineer refused to make a list of fake customers, she paid $18,000 to a college professor to do it, and also spent $105,000 to buy a data set of 4.5 million students from a marketing company. JP Morgan said it discovered the issue when it sent a test email to 400,000 Frank customers and less than a quarter could actually be delivered.
A new study argues that the creation of dumb and arbitrary titles designed to make overtime-eligible jobs into “management positions” allows companies to avoid paying an estimated $4 billion in overtime wages. Often used by retailers and restaurants, it’s an abuse of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows companies to be exempt from paying overtime when an employee is a manager making a certain amount of money. The researchers found that there has been a 485 percent increase in job postings for salaried employees in management roles that are dubiously management and entail very few management responsibilities. As a result employers get to avoid paying overtime on 151 million work hours in the aggregate. As the Numlock Senior Team Lead For Sequential Ordering Of Letters, I’m furious.
Spare, a debut book by English expatriate author Harry Windsor, has sold 1.43 million copies in the United States, Canada and Britain, a remarkable figure and the largest first-day sales for a book in the history of Penguin Random House. Of that number, 400,000 were sold in Britain, where the author’s family is reportedly based. Expectations were high for the memoir, which was rumored to be sold for $20 million, and Random House printed 2.5 million hardcover copies for North America alone. Windsor is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan and was the subject of significant media scrutiny following the controversial death of his mother, a philanthropist. After moving to the United States he has distanced himself from his family, a group of prominent landlords.
The Internal Revenue Service has bit a huge chunk out of a dizzying backlog it racked up, a backlog that as recently as December 31, 2021, included 4.7 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 3.2 million business returns. As of December 23, 2022, that’s down to 400,000 paper individual returns and 1 million paper business returns. The agency hired thousands of workers at paper processing sites and diverted workers away from answering phones and over to moving paper through the system, and as a result they’re heading into 2023 in much better shape than last year.
At the end of last month the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act was signed into law, allocating $25 million in funding for research into the declining state of salt lakes in the U.S. There are 800 square miles of the bed of the Great Salt Lake exposed, which has caused toxic dust storms in nearby Salt Lake City, and Owens Lake in California is the largest source of PM10 pollution in America. Some 338 species depend on the Great Salt Lake for sustenance, and more than 80 species of birds live in or migrate through Lake Albert in Oregon, which is a critical link on the Pacific Flyway bird migration route that runs from Alaska to Chile.
Payment companies spent a bunch of money to create “signature sounds” that are made when a user successfully makes a purchase at a payment terminal. Visa bought a two-chord chime supposed to signify the audio mark of a Visa purchase in 2017, Mastercard has a 1.3-second tune they introduced in 2019, and American Express hired a composer to whip up a unique sonic identity that includes a four-note tune halfway between the Disney Channel theme and Dies irae. The most notorious thing about all of it is that nobody actually turns the sound on for their payment machines, because that is incredibly annoying and human beings need to stand next to that point of sale system all day. Visa declined to share usage figures and Mastercard said that it plays at 300 million touchpoints out of billions in use.
Disney is cutting some prices on its U.S. theme parks, which has become eye-wateringly expensive. The cheapest one-day one-park ticket in a given year is $104, and Disney will now offer two months’ worth of those days per year, a 40 percent increase in the number of days when it’s cheapest to go to Disney. They’re also once again waiving the $15 to $25 per night parking fees logged in their Florida resorts, park hopping in California will start at 11 a.m., two hours earlier than it is currently, and ride photos will now be free for Genie Plus system buyers.
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