Numlock News: May 19, 2022 • BTS, Moose, Dick Wolf
By Walt Hickey
Someone's Poisoned The Waterhole
The rising risk of ransomware attacks has made the cyber insurance business a perilous one, with premiums spiking as much as 40 percent as insurers reckon with a higher-than-projected volume and success rate of ransomware attacks. It’s made water companies in particular nearly uninsurable in some cases, as the small companies in charge of water systems pose a colossal risk if compromised and despite being in the liquid business, on balance they’re not particularly liquid. There are 51,000 drinking water systems nationwide, vastly more than the 3,200 electric distribution companies, and they’re all targets.
In the winters of 2005 and 2006, 161 mother-calf pairs of humpback whales off the coast of Maui were monitored by scientists, who recently revisited this data set and analyzed how those pairs of mothers and calves moved through the water compared to whales without calves. The researchers expected that the pairs would swim closers to shore than the whales without calves, as generally speaking humpback whale mothers like to keep close to shore to avoid sharks. But that wasn’t what they found; while they did start their day near the shore, as the day wore on, they left the shore to dice it in deeper water, and the reason they suspect the whales do that is that they’re trying to avoid boat traffic that increases in the afternoon.
Producer Dick Wolf has his grip on two separate television networks on three unique nights of television, three hours a night, a scope of television control unknown in the modern era. On CBS on Tuesday, he’s got three consecutive shows in the “FBI” franchise (“FBI,” “FBI: Most Wanted” and “FBI International”), on NBC on Wednesday he’s got the Chicago shows, (“Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Med”) and then on Thursday is the flagship “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” family of products. This is a breathtaking amount of television out of one shop: 198 hours of television produced on two continents in about 10 months, filming June to May, with crime-solvers crossing over show-to-show so often it’d make Kevin Feige blush.
Millennials seem to have a disdain for advertisement-supported streaming not seen in their younger or elder counterparts, a generational quirk that’s likely informed the early days of streaming but may not last. Among all adults, 27 percent would prefer a high-cost streaming service with no ads compared to 57 percent who would prefer a low-cost or free service that did carry ads. Among Gen Z adults and Gen X adults, 29 percent and 26 percent respectively prefer the high-cost service, pretty much on par with the average. Among Baby Boomers, presumably accustomed already to ad-supported paid cable, only 17 percent prefer the high-cost no-ad while 61 percent would go for low-cost with ads. But Millennials — who once tasted the promise of cheap, ad-free streaming in the nascent internet — like to pay to keep ads out of their streams far more than the typical adult, with 39 percent saying they like the high-cost no-ad service, a 12-point increase over the adult average.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reported a record die-off among moose calves this winter. Of the 70 calves the agency collared last winter, 60 of them — 86 percent — died by May. Moose populations have been ravaged by ticks, with an explosion of the bloodsuckers meaning that a single moose might be beset by tens of thousands of ticks. While many of the adults can survive that, the calves cannot. As to why the tick populations are exploding so far north, it’s a combination of dense moose populations — themselves emboldened by commercially-managed forests making for ideal habitats — increasing, which then facilitates explosions in winter tick populations, as well as warming climates making once-inhospitable areas more survivable for the ticks.
Hybe is the company behind BTS, the global K-pop phenomenon, and they’re trying to diversify into other performers and revenue streams beyond just the music component of the music business. They’ve launched other groups that are attempting to ride the BTS coattails and surf the hallyu, including LE SSERAFIM, a girl group that’s one of three debuts slated for this year. At one point BTS was 90 percent of Hybe’s revenue, a figure that’s now down in the ballpark of 60 percent to 70 percent. Indeed, less than half of the company’s 1.26 trillion won in revenue is now from music sales and concerts, the rest coming from licensing deals, merch and collaborations with the likes of McDonald’s. That’s when you know you’re on top in the music business, when you’re no longer technically even in the music business anymore.
Sympathy for the Parasite
An estimated 40 percent to 50 percent of animal species are parasites, which live their lives in a relationship with a different host species. Metazoan parasites are a widely diverse group of species that live in every habitat on the planet, targeting sometimes incredibly specific hosts and having at times intricate relationships with the ecosystem as a whole. They’re also parasites, which can sometimes be a turnoff and gives them an undeservedly bad reputation: Parasites provide an essential pest control function and are crucial links in the food chain, but one study found that 72 percent of 77 conservation biology texts simply don’t mention parasites, or if they do, present them exclusively as threats. They’re so understudied, in fact, less than 10 percent of parasites even have names.
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