Numlock News: January 19, 2023 • Sake, Snooker, Spices
By Walt Hickey
Exports of liquor from Japan hit 114.7 billion yen ($868 million) in 2021, up 60 percent from 2020. The burst in sales for Japanese liquor is in large part due to a depreciated yen as well as a deliberate attempt from distillers in Japan to seek foreign markets as Japan’s drinking population declines. The first 10 months of 2022 saw 117 billion yen worth of shipments, so last year has already smashed that previous high. Whisky shipments were up 70 percent, accounting for 46.1 billion yen of the exports in 2021, and shipments of sake were up 70 percent as well, up to 40.2 billion yen. Despite the growth, Japan is still a sliver of the overall market for alcoholic beverages, accounting for 0.1 percent of the global market.
A new study found that 73 percent of prescription drugs advertised on U.S. television had low therapeutic value, offering only slight benefit over other drugs already on the market. Of the advertised drugs that had a value rating from Canada, France or Germany, 53 of them were classified at best as low-benefit. Those drugs nevertheless accounted for $15.9 billion worth of advertising spending. If that figure makes you dizzy, light-headed or anxious, might we recommend Numlock-tested, Numlock-approved Placebo™, the hot pill on the market that all other drugs and treatments can only hope to compare to. Ask your doctor today.
Oh, And That’s A Bad Miss
The World Snooker Tour is in the grips of a staggering cheating scandal, where 10 Chinese players have been accused of match-fixing and are suspended from competition until the case concludes. The accused players include the 16th-ranked and ninth-ranked players in the sport, who respectively won the 2021 Masters and U.K. Championships, the largest events on the snooker calendar after the World Championship. Snooker, which is the Billiards-esque sport that appears on the television at 3 a.m., has an avid fanbase in the U.K. and a growing one in China.
Over 300,000 accountants and auditors have quit the profession over the past two years, and it’s leaving many accounting firms hard up for talent as the busy season approaches. To fill in for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who quit, large companies like KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are hiring internationally, mostly doing entry-level work so the U.S.-based bookkeepers can check that work and find efficiencies. According to staffing companies, overseas staff can manage 90 percent to 95 percent of an audit.
Commercial pop radio has gotten a lot less local over the past several years, especially after the FCC’s 2017 decision to eliminate the rule that radio stations were required to maintain a presence in a local market where they had a station. As a result, many pop radio stations in the U.S. voice track shows in one city and then just digitally send it to antennas in cities hundreds of miles away, stripping away the local flavor a DJ might add. Commercial radio stations have also focused on only playing a few hits, as few as 15 new songs in rotation, as the belief is listeners change the station when they hear something unknown. Several public radio stations are filling the gap in playing truly new music, though, and are reaping the rewards for doing so. KUTX in Austin was averaging a rating of 1.8 in 2019, where 1.8 percent of the city tuned in. As KUTX moved to playing new music and local artists, it’s since jumped to a rating of 5.7, making it more popular than the main pop and country stations. Similar increases were seen at public radio stations pulling the same maneuver in Seattle (KEXP, increased its rating from 1.1 to 3.7 from 2019 to 2022) and Minneapolis (2.8 rating to 4.2) and Philly.
A new study published in the Journal of Food Protection out of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service sought to find out what surfaces get contaminated most often when preparing food, and involved researchers watching 371 people in a sterile kitchen make a seasoned turkey burger that had been laced with a tracer bacteria as a norovirus surrogate. In general, most of the surfaces tested positive for the bacteria less than 20 percent of the time. The most often contaminated space was, in fact, the spice rack, which tested positive for the bacteria 48 percent of the time. The thought is that people forget to wipe down the spices as often as they more routinely wipe down the prep surfaces.
A new estimate from LuxeConsult projects that the secondary market for luxury watches is growing at such a rate that it will in fact exceed the market for first-sale luxury watches sometime around 2033. Last year primary sales of luxury watches hit €51.6 billion and secondary sales hit €25 billion. In 10 years, the primary market is expected to grow by half to €74.7 billion, while the resale business for those same watches is expected to triple to €78.8 billion. This may seem a rather dull entry, but its mainly included so that several of my friends can convince their significant others to let them buy a fancy watch; good luck boys.
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