Numlock News: November 2, 2020 • Astronauts, Seafarers, Demon-Slayers
By Walt Hickey
Global behemoth Sony and anime streaming service Crunchyroll are in final talks about an acquisition, with Sony reportedly paying on the order of 100 billion yen ($957 million) for the American streamer, which is owned by AT&T. While the Japanese domestic market for anime is big, the overseas market is still about half of the overall demand pie: The Association of Japanese Animations said the overall worldwide market for anime in 2018 was $21 billion, which was 1.5 times higher than the value in 2013. Crunchyroll has 70 million free members and another 3 million paying customers spread across 200 countries. About 60 percent of Sony’s revenue last fiscal year came from games, music and movies.
Political contributions from journalists are widely regarded as ethical no-noes for the people in the press, but an investigation of FEC reports found 39 reporters who contributed over $110,000 in the current election cycle. This included reporters who had covered politics at one point or another, though it also included people who work for reporting outfits in roles ancillary to political coverage.
Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train has become the fastest film in the history of Japanese cinema to reap 10 billion yen ($95.3 million), doing so in just 10 days. With the country’s COVID-19 situation largely in control — there were 200 infections reported in the entirety of Tokyo last Thursday — the movie is bringing audiences back to cinemas, as seen by the fact it took classic Spirited Away a full 25 days to hit 10 billion yen domestically. The film is based on a 22 volume manga series, which sold over 100 million copies, that spawned an incredibly popular anime series that came out last year.
Today the International Space Station hit 20 years of continual service, having hosted 241 visitors from 19 countries over two decades. It’s also expanded significantly, growing from a cramped and humid three room space station to a cramped and humid 12-room, six-sleeping compartment, three-toilet station. The first crew took off from Kazakhstan on October 31, 2000 and moved into the new digs two days later, doing tasks that sound suspiciously like what anyone does when they move into a new apartment in, like, Queens: trying to get all the stuff to work, messing with the heating system which is sweltering for no reason, fixing things the landlord — who constantly alternates between Russian, English, and what sounds vaguely European but you can’t really place it —forgot to mention were busted, you know the usual.
A survey of 926 seafarers by the International Transport Worker’s Federation finds that conditions for the workers in the shipping industry have grown incredibly dire, with 59 percent of respondents saying they had to extend their contracts with their current ships because they were unable to manage a crew change at the appointed time. In general, workers sign contracts to work on a ship for a certain period of time and then at the end of their contract they disembark and are sent home. The pandemic has gummed up those works, with large ports forbidding workers from entering their nations because they seek to contain the spread. This has meant disgraceful working conditions in an industry that already has a reputation for being rough on workers, as 26 percent of respondents have been on board longer than the 11-month legal maximum, with some stuck on a ship for 18 months.
This year has been a boom year for bicycles, and just a little bit of federal support could go a long way in ensuring that those gains endure and expand in years to come. Given that 60 percent of American car trips are under six miles and switching to bikes could have significant environmental benefits, now could be a good moment to reevaluate the federal incentives pushing people into cars. The number of biking fatalities rose 38 percent from 2009 to 2018, so a more assiduous accounting of where these incidents occurred and a small investment in improving protections for bikers could go a long way. The New Car Assessment Program from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could take a page from their European counterpart, awarding top marks only when a model’s technology slows it prior to colliding with a pedestrian or cyclist. Those changes led to 80 percent of European models rolling out cyclist detection, something not seen in the U.S.
From March to September, Americans spent 60 million fewer hours commuting to work than before, according to a new estimate. Those hours could have been diverted into anything, but often they were diverted into just working more. An estimated 35.3 percent of the time previously used to commute went to working more on their primary job, something like 22 million hours. Another 15.5 percent went to home improvement and chores, 11.1 percent to child care, and 8.4 percent to working on a secondary job. In total, 70.3 percent of the time clawed back by commuters during the pandemic merely went into additional labor. Not all of that time was just handed back to the boss though, as something like 18.6 percent of it was applied to indoor leisure, 11 percent to outdoor leisure.
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2020 Sunday subscriber editions: The Mouse · Subprime Attention Crisis · Factory Farms · Streaming Summer · Dynamite · One Billion Americans · Defector · Seams of the Grid · Bodies of Work · Working in Public · Rest of World ·