Numlock News: June 28, 2022 • Forgeries, Private Jets, Kate Bush
By Walt Hickey
The FBI raided the Orlando Museum of Art on Friday, seizing all 25 of the paintings in an ongoing exhibition of paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The seizure is related to questions about the authenticity of the works, which are painted on cardboard and which the museum said were created in 1982 and sold to a screenwriter for $5,000. When the screenwriter forgot to pay for his storage unit, the works were auctioned off and sold for $15,000. The evidence against them being bona fide Basquiats is varied, but rather compelling: For instance, apparently one of them is painted on a FedEx shipping box, specifically one with a typeface not used on FedEx boxes until 1994, which beyond not working with the origin story also is six years after Jean-Michel Basquiat died.
Title IX, the federal policy that banned sex discrimination in education, was a massive boom for the sport of women’s soccer. Many American high schools and universities, in a hasty attempt to comply with the law in 1972, quickly organized women’s soccer teams because the sport is notoriously inexpensive and they needed to add women’s sports. Now the U.S. is a global powerhouse in women’s soccer, far more than the anemic state of the domestic men’s sport. In 1974, there were just 6,446 girls playing soccer in 321 high schools in merely seven states. As of the 2018–19 season, there were 394,100 girls playing high school soccer. In the NCAA, the 1,855 women playing soccer in the 1981–82 season exploded to 28,673 players in the 2019–20 season.
(To Make A Deal With Spotify)
Kate Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” has exploded on streaming services following an appearance in the Netflix show Stranger Things and the subsequent reintroduction of the banger to a new generation. Since the appearance on the show, the song saw a 16,867 percent increase in streams, and in the week ending June 16 it led the most-streamed song list with about 31 million plays. It’s also hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s great news for Bush, who is both the sole songwriter and owns the entire copyright to the masters, and so is probably bringing in 80 percent of the music revenue from plays of the song, which some argued made her technically the largest independent artist in the world right now. Luminate estimated she probably made $2.3 million from the post-Stranger Things streams so far.
The Minneapolis school district will discontinue its contract with Gaggle, a digital surveillance service installed on the district’s school-issued Google and Microsoft accounts that uses AI to spy on students for inappropriate behavior. The service to surveil children is obviously rather controversial, as is the school district’s decision to use pandemic relief funds to cut a deal with Gaggle outside the normal procurement process at the onset of the pandemic. All told, the district spent $355,000 on the software.
The Walt Disney Company has renewed its deal with Formula One to broadcast their races in the U.S., but thanks to a spike in the popularity of the sport the fee is going way up. Under the previous deal, the Mouse was paying $5 million a year to broadcast F1, but under the new terms of the deal the company will pay between $75 million and $90 million a year over the next three years. Viewership of the sport — NASCAR for people who know the name of at least one European soccer team — on ESPN was up 56 percent year over year in 2021, an unheard-of pop for a once-niche sport.
The once-logjammed ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have largely cleared, but they’re not out of the woods yet. In January, there was an all-time high of 109 containerships backed up near the ports. Pre-pandemic, the number of containerships in backup at a given time was usually one or zero, so this constituted a massive traffic jam that jeopardized logistics across the continent. In June, we’re back down to 16 containerships in the queue — one at anchor, and 15 just outside the Safety and Air Quality Area introduced in November — which is down 85 percent from the high, but still almost double the nine ships seen in June of 2021.
Spending by S&P 500-listed companies on private jets for executives rose 35 percent year over year to hit $33.8 million in 2021, the highest level in a decade. The two top spenders for chief executives were Meta, which spent $1.6 million on private jet travel for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Lockheed Martin, which spent $1.1 million on flights for CEO James Taiclet. The average amount spent on private jets for CEOs and board chairs last year was $170,660.
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