Numlock News: May 12, 2021 • Snitch, Best If Used By, Ransom
By Walt Hickey
A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that only 64 percent of Americans were actually able to explain what “Best If Used By” labels on food meant, and only 44.8 percent were able to describe the “Use By” label. In general, uh, just in case you’re an unwitting member of the 55.2 percent, “Use By” is on perishable products with shorter shelf lives and means when it’s expected to spoil and be unsafe, while “Best If Used By” is on longer shelf life products and points to the time when things will still be in solid shape, and anything after is still probably safe but not as good. This differs from earlier research originally published in the acclaimed scientific journal Things My Boyfriend Insists On, which found that the “Best If Used By” label describes the precise moment something becomes fatally poisonous.
Bev Standing recorded 10,000 sentences of audio for the Chinese Institute of Acoustics in 2018 to use in translations. You may recognize her voice now, as it’s the one played over TikToks when implementing a text-to-speech voice-over. Now, she’s suing the application in the Southern District of New York on six counts: right of publicity, Lanham Act unfair competition, common law unfair competition, permanent injunctive relief, copyright infringement, and violation of N.Y. General Business Law.
There are 34,000 warehouses with 1.17 billion square feet of space in the area around Los Angeles, about 3,300 of which are larger than 100,000 square feet in size. Following a 9-4 vote of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, those larger warehouses will have to cut back on air pollution emitted by the diesel trucks that are their raison d'être. The board isn’t trying to cut traffic, but rather to push the warehouses to reduce the pollution in their area in aggregate, whether by pushing fuel-cell or electric trucks, implementing rooftop solar panels, or installing air filters at nearby homes, hospitals and schools.
In 2018, a U.S. Supreme Court verdict functionally gave a green light for many states to open up legalized online sports betting. Naturally, the then-illegal online gambling spent approximately $0 in television advertising; that jumped to $10.7 million at the beginning of 2019 and is now a $154 million market in the local ad space alone and ranks 11th overall among the 1,200 product categories that Nielsen tracks on television, single-handedly accounting for 2.1 percent of all advertising dollars spent on television.
Snitches Get Riches
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has a whistleblower program that pays out money to people who report bank manipulation. They have a very good problem, in that a Deutsche Bank executive ratted out his colleagues — leading to $2.5 billion in settlements in 2015 after the Department of Justice alleged they manipulated the London interbank offered rate. That’s a big amount of money, and since the whistleblower payment is a percentage of the settlements, the payout could exceed $100 million. That’s a problem because that would deplete the funds allocated to pay whistleblowers, which is only replenished when it falls below $100 million. Normally that’s not an issue as most penalties are $5 million or less, and the 30 individuals who have gotten a payment since 2014 have made a total of $123 million. With this whale in the pipeline, all the other whistleblower settlements are getting bogged down.
The diet industry generates $61 billion a year from Americans, and business is great right about now. Noom, a trendy new health plan app, has seen four million downloads in the past year, and WW International — the latest rebrand of Weight Watchers — reported 4.2 million digital subscribers, up 16 percent compared to this time last year.
The kerfuffle with the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline has spotlighted a bustling industry on the march. Yes, the future is in ransomware, with profits running through the roof — the average ransomware payment in the third quarter of 2020 was $233,817, up 31 percent compared to the previous quarter — and it’s disrupting the competition. There were 2,500 reports of ransomware attacks to the FBI last year, up 66 percent, and at least $350 million in crypto was paid to criminals. If you want to look into this promising career path in cybercrime, contact a career counselor at tips.fbi.gov.
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