Numlock News: November 10, 2022 • Key Change, Wakanda, Sharks
By Walt Hickey
Next week representatives from over 180 nations will vote on 52 items at the conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and two of them — Proposal 37 and Proposal 38 — are all about trying to reform the global shark fin trade. When a species is listed under Appendix I of CITES, it’s banned from international trade, and when it’s banned under Appendix II, the export of animal parts from the species has to be strictly monitored. Proposal 37 would list all 56 species of shark in the family Carcharhinidae to Appendix II, and Proposal 38 would do the same for hammerhead sharks of the family Sphyrnidae. This would increase the number of CITES-covered species affected by the fin trade from a quarter to 90 percent of species.
AT&T will end its operator service in 21 states, meaning that 3 million customers with digital landlines can’t dial 0 and get directory assistance. AT&T’s landline operations have only 8.5 million customers, so that’s a pretty substantial chunk. Realistically, the internet has made the need to call up an operator to find a business a rather vestigial offering. At peak, 350,000 people were employed as operators by U.S. telecoms, a figure that today stands at just 550 operators in the trade.
Twitter is undergoing a period of tumult as the service falls under the leadership of Elon Musk, and the ensuing chaos has driven some to the lifeboats. Many have turned their eyes to Mastodon, a decentralized social platform that was founded in 2016 and has since served as a federated social network full of smaller communities that, as of October 28, had 381,113 active users. In a tale as old as the internet itself, a convention going back to the earliest usenets and the dawn of the first day of Eternal September, the massive influx of newbies — by November 7 Mastodon has another 489,003 new users and 1,124 new servers — has led to some mild culture shock, and basically a lot of Linux users who had a nice little internet community are now dealing with growing pains.
Songs that have key changes were a staple of the 20th century, especially following the influence of the Motown era that made them a defining feature of hit songs. From 1958 to 1990, fully 23 percent of number one hits were in multiple keys. The most popular is when a key is shifted up a half or whole step near the end of the song, which made up about 52 percent of key changes. Think “Livin’ on a Prayer,” or “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” or for a slightly more extreme example, “Love on Top.” What’s especially interesting about key changes is that they have absolutely disappeared. Declining throughout the 1990s and 2000s, since 2010 the key change has been pretty much dead among No. 1 hits. The reason is thought to be twofold: first, hip-hop’s popularity, which given the emphasis on rhythm over melody means that key changes don’t add much. Second, it’s computers and the changing way songs are written, more often as a whole linear loop-based song in music software rather than section-by-section.
While ride-hailing titans DiDi and Uber duke it out in the major cities of Latin America, the smaller cities and countrysides of the region have taken a different approach to the market. First off, it’s a lot of people underserved by the biggies: Uber is in 131 cities in Brazil, but that is out of over 5,500 urban areas with over 10,000 people. That’s pushed people to build hundreds of small, hyper-local ride hailing services, often hiring a developer like Gaudium to whip up a rideshare or delivery app on contract and then roll it out within a smaller area. Those apps are about 85 percent of the apps made by Gaudium, and they’ve made 1 billion reais (just under $200 million) in revenue in 2022 alone.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has sold $45 million in advance ticket sales ahead of its domestic release this weekend. It’s hoped to snap a bit of a slow streak at the box office since the summer blockbuster season. Projections put the Marvel movie, the first to feature the character of T’Challa since the untimely death of actor Chadwick Boseman, to make at least $175 million domestically and between $155 million to $195 million at the international box office. The first film debuted to $202 million domestically and eventually landed at $1.34 billion worldwide.
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, in the midst of a massive liquidity crisis, had the rug pulled out from under it by market leader Binance for the second time, as the larger company has reversed its offer of an acquisition to save the company. They decided to drop FTX after looking at their books, according to the exchange. This means that right now FTX is in desperate need of emergency funding and is reportedly looking to scare up $4 billion in equity to plug a shortfall of up to $8 billion. The chaos has led to a crash in the price of major cryptocurrencies, or as those who follow the crypto space call it, “literally any given Wednesday.”
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