Numlock News: June 15, 2022 • Internet Explorer, Sriracha, Nightcrawlers
By Walt Hickey
Breaking news about a supply chain problem, let’s see what it is this week: owing to a [spins wheel] significant drought in the United States and Mexico, there’s a [draws ball from raffle hopper] shortage in the red jalapeño hybrids which led [pulls slot machine arm] Huy Fong Foods Inc. to halt production of Sriracha. Every year, the company produces 20 million bottles of Sriracha, a feat that requires 100 million pounds of peppers that are in season for just four months of the year, and logging $150 million in sales per year. Grocery stores are already beginning to run out, and Huy Fong has told suppliers to not promise deliveries to customers if they don’t have the bottles in hand.
A new study saw 127 scientists test 258 rivers in 104 countries for 61 different chemicals that result from the presence of pharmaceuticals in the water supply. Whether it’s companies just dumping pharmaceutical waste into the water system, surplus drugs being flushed, or incompletely processed pharmaceuticals exiting the bodies of humanity in the conventional fashion and entering the sewage system, drugs were found in varying quantities across rivers around the globe. Some — caffeine, nicotine, acetaminophen and cotinine — were found on every continent including Antarctica, and another 14 of the chemicals were found on all the continents but Antarctica.
Internet Explorer was killed today, with Microsoft ending support for the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application once and for all. As of this month, only about 0.28 percent of internet users were on Internet Explorer, compared to 18 percent who used Safari and almost 2 in 3 users who used Chrome. Microsoft’s been pushing users towards Edge, which has a feature called “IE mode” that will enact a post-death simulacrum of the immediate pleasures of consuming the internet through Internet Explorer, a memorial it will maintain through at least 2029 and will help access the remaining parts of the web that can only be accessed through Internet Explorer.
The deal is done, with the rights for India’s cricket league going for $6.2 billion, putting the average match value now at $13.7 million a game, behind only the NFL ($35 million a game) but ahead of the $11 million per game in the English Premier League. Disney got the rights for broadcast television for $3.01 billion, Viacom18 got the regional streaming rights for $2.63 billion, and the rights for the rest of the world went to Times Internet for $135 million. This may sting a bit for Disney; it now has both streaming and television rights for half the price, and losing those digital rights may be an issue because right now 35 percent of the subscribers to Disney+ are in India, and losing many of them to whatever Viacom18 puts together could hurt.
Modern Times Beer, a craft brewery that once claimed an implied valuation of $264 million following a $1.22 million crowd investor fundraising campaign, will go up for auction to the highest bidder. The stalking horse bid in the auction is only $7.62 million from the Maui Brewing Company, a sign of the craft brewing industry’s impending debts. Amid new competition from hard seltzers that are eating into their marketshare, large debts used to build out many of the breweries during the craze are now coming due, in addition to more direct competition from the leviathans in the field and just a massive spike in the number of breweries: From 2015 to 2019, the number of breweries in the United States jumped from 4,847 to 8,530.
Jumping worms are a non-native species of earthworm introduced to North America sometime in the early 1900s and which has since inched across the continent, to a least 38 states and now evidently Canada. They can reach densities of 200 worms per spare meter and they’re voracious: Forests can lose 95 percent of their fallen leaves’ top layer over four months if infested with the worms, and that can be bad because tree seedlings and wildflowers are devoured into dirt. One type of worm, Lumbricus terrestris or the Canadian nightcrawler, was brought over from Europe and has actually become a massive business in its own right, with Ontario producing 500 million to 700 million worms per year that are sent around the continent for anglers to use as bait, something that’s estimated to be a $230 million business.
Google has long claimed that it doesn’t accept advertisements for firearms, but a new investigation finds that isn’t true. At least 15 of the largest sellers of firearms in the United States bought ads on Google’s systems that reached at least 120 million impressions between March 9 and June 6. And while lots of those ads may have violated Google’s rules, the company’s ad systems — an ad exchange of ad exchanges — means that it gets a cut of revenue from partner ad systems that may not be so discerning, meaning at the end of the day Google is still the one delivering the ad, in contrast to the television networks, newspapers and magazines who by and large banned ads for guns a while ago.
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