Numlock News: January 30, 2023 • Fish, Whopper, Caesium
By Walt Hickey
In the great spirit of Twitch Plays Pokémon, several channels that involve pseudorandom attempts to play video games have sprung up and thrived, one of which was operated by a YouTuber named Mutekimaru whose tetra fish played a game of Pokémon on a Nintendo Switch based on their movements. This school of fish actually managed to pull off a financial transaction, when a game crash sent the fish to the Nintendo home screen where the fish got up to all kinds of tomfoolery, including changing the name of the account, logging into the Nintendo store twice, downloading a new avatar, setting up a PayPal account, accepting terms and conditions and adding 500 yen ($4) to the Switch account from a livestream, exposing the credit card details.
Spanish police raided a Togo-flagged ship Orion V hauling cattle that had been followed since leaving Colombia, finding $114 million worth of cocaine, or about 4.5 tonnes’ worth, off the coast of the Canary Islands. The cops say that smugglers are increasingly using livestock ships because it’s more difficult to trace the drugs on the vessels. Police arrested 28 members of the crew.
Oil is the main source of foreign exchange funds in Nigeria. One issue is that over the past several years, the reduction in the price of oil as well as the decline in oil production in the country has meant that the income from foreign currency — and by proxy, the amount of funds available for foreign exchange — has gone down. Over last year, Nigeria’s foreign reserves dropped from $40 billion last January to $37 billion in December, and it’s causing issues for companies, especially those that work in tech and owe money to services like AWS. While the rate on a bank naira card might go for 450 naira per dollar, a virtual prepaid dollar card can go for 850 naira per dollar.
Middle Eastern or North African
The Biden administration proposed a change to the 2030 census that would add a new checkbox for “Middle Eastern or North African” asking about race and ethnicity, as well as a “Hispanic or Latino” category that would add a specific category. Right now, people from those groups must identify as white, or as African-American. People with origins in Lebanon, Iran, Egypt and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa are categorized as white people. The last time the standards were updated were in 1997. Other reforms proposed include ending the word “Negro” and the term “Far East” from the data policy of the federal government, which could improve efficiency by halving the amount of times demographers have to say “yikes” in a given day.
Feel The Burn
A mining company apologized after it said an extremely radioactive caesium-137 capsule fell off a truck somewhere over an 870-mile drive through Western Australia. The item in question is a capsule measuring 8 millimeters by 6 millimeters, and is made up of caesium-137. It emits a dangerous amount of radiation, it can cause skin burns and cancer on the wrong timespan, and is used in radiation gauges. It also is a perfect size to get lodged in a tire. Rio Tinto, the mining concern transporting the nodule of doom, has apologized for the oversight. Weirdly, the deadly chunk is somehow not even in the top 10 most dangerous things in Australia.
Whopper Whopper Whopper Whopper
The most popular song in America right now is also the dumbest song in America right now, a song about a hamburger promulgated by Burger King on national airwaves. It’s spawned a TikTok trend, a Daft Punk remix, and several different versions, with the song “Whopper Whopper” worming into brains across the country. The song was written by a small ad agency scoring a $400 million two-year brand overhaul for Burger King, and has scored a 99 percent in brand recall and 62 percent in likability and engagement. The most remarkable news? There are now over 40 different cuts of the song. You will hear it for years.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced it gained access to the Hive ransomware group in July of 2022, and since then has been able to alert hacked companies of impending attacks and given out 300 encryption keys that averted $130 million in ransom payments. It’s estimated that Hive hauled in $100 million from over 1,500 victims in 80 countries, often jeopardizing operations at hospitals, schools and more.
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