Numlock News: May 5, 2022 • Jets, Grenades, BTS
By Walt Hickey
Intuit, the company that produces tax prep software TurboTax, has agreed to pay $141 million to consumers it deceived into spending money on it with false promises of free tax-filing services. The settlement was signed by the attorneys general of all 50 states, and Intuit will have to yank its “free, free, free” ad campaign off the airwaves and subsequently pony up restitution to about 4.4 million people it steered away from the actual, federally supported free tax service — Free File — and into its own costly products. Consumers who were inappropriately steered into their pricey products have $30 checks coming their way for every year Turbo Tax fleeced them.
Best Lawyer Will Be Decided By Right Of Combat
A Georgia company called Best Lawyers, which rates lawyers based on reviews from other lawyers, is suing Washingtonian magazine in federal court after the publication put out a list that it called the “Best Lawyers” practicing in Washington, D.C., claiming trademark infringement. The field of law is full of accolades both rigorous and spurious: Two Texas defense attorneys are also suing each other over who can be called the “Dopest lawyer,” and one Texan attorney said he got his dog listed among “Lawyers of Distinction” for a nominal fee. Lawyers of Distinction claims that incident — as well as incidents that saw the successful nominations of a chicken and a poodle — are isolated and they now honor only metaphorical lions of the profession though a vetting process outlined in U.S. Provisional Patent # 62/743,254. Unless that patent reads “organized an international Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney tournament,” well, color me skeptical.
The Military Services Act in South Korea requires all able-bodied men to enlist in the military for two years sometime before age 30. The law was amended in 2020 to increase that age limit from 28 to 30, but that only bought time for the prospective recruit that the world has its eye on, Jin of international pop sensation BTS, who will turn 30 this coming December. Jin may be the oldest member of the pop group, but the possibility of hard power military service interrupting the ascent of the country’s most significant soft power export ever has some in parliament questioning the blanket policy, and forcing a resolution within the next several months.
Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?
A new paper published in the journal PLOS One analyzed four medieval ceramic shards excavated from the Armenian Gardens in Jerusalem from 1961 to 1967, once the location of a Crusader palace. One of the shards — number 737, a dense grey vessel with a scaly-style exterior and thick walls — may have been from an early version of grenades. They based this on the residue found on the inside of the shard, which included sulfur, mercury, magnesium, nitrates, phosphorous, calcium, lead and iron, which given its basic shape and format would resemble reported early grenades used in the time of the Crusades. That, or the medieval times were a time of truly reckless and daring cocktail innovation.
Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat
Cat and cat accessories are in a boomlet, as the surge in pet adoption during the pandemic and rising spending on those animals establishes a market for cat care where once there wasn’t one. There are now 45.3 million households with at least one cat, up from 42.7 million last year. Most of the ancillary pet businesses — watchers, groomers, boarding — was for the somewhat needier canines rather than the strident and more independent felines, with cat-sitting operations usually tacked on to larger dog-sitting operations and so on. That’s beginning to change, as the market for cat owners grows and establishes its spending power: There are only 240 cat groomers nationwide accredited by the National Cat Groomers Institute, but the number of cat-grooming students enrolled this year is up 39.5 percent over 2021. The number of cat-sitting visits on the app Time to Pet is up 51.2 percent in 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. I mean, good for cats for finally getting their share of the market, but it’s not like dogs are just going to roll over; tell me, has a cat ever been named one of the Top Lawyers in Texas? No?
When someone ingests water that is contaminated with bacterial pathogens, they can develop types of gastroenteritis of varying severity. A new study found that the concentrations of the Enterococcus bacteria in the ocean is not uniform, and in fact they’re far less common around meadows of seagrass, which have some kind of sanitation effect on the waters. The study estimated that if all the seagrass meadows around the world offer this pathogen reduction service, they would be responsible for averting up to 24 million cases of gastroenteritis annually, saving $74 million in healthcare costs globally.
In a big vote of confidence for the pandemic recovery, airline manufacturer Airbus announced its plans to significantly ramp up production of the A320 jets. Right now Airbus is making approximately 50 of the planes a month, and this year has a goal of 720 jetliner deliveries, one it plans to hit regardless of the lockdowns in China and war in Ukraine and supply chain difficulties. It plans to target 65 jets per month by the middle of 2023, and just announced plans to make 75 jets a month by 2025. Airbus and Boeing have been fiercely competing in the single-aisle jet market that currently dominates sales.
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