Numlock News: November 21, 2023 • Lawns, Grid, New Years Rockin' Eve
By Walt Hickey
You Are What You Watch is going to be part of the big holiday promotional push from the publisher! What that means for you is that if you want to buy it as a gift, it’s 25 percent off right now and shipping is free with the code CYBER23 on the Hachette website. That’s a really great deal and probably one of the best we’re going to see to score the book.
A pair of scammers convicted for the largest known royalty scam in the history of YouTube have been ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution, a fraction of the $23 million they’re accused of ripping off predominantly Latin artists, after claiming to be the rightsholders of 50,000 recordings. The pair was sentenced to six- and four-year sentences in prison. They owe $1.4 million to Regalias Digitales, $1.2 million to the RIAA, as well as $153,000 to Jose Luis, $149,000 to Los Caminantes, and in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars to other artists, $500 to international sensation Bad Bunny.
Right now, there are only 12 passenger airlines in the United States, and that’s up from 10 just a few years ago but down from about 80 airlines at the peak industry in the 1980s. The rigors of a publicly-traded airline have, through a series of bankruptcies and mergers, brought the industry down to just a few companies. Four of those companies — Delta, United, American and Southwest — control 80 percent of the market, with the balance being low-budget airlines that are increasingly struggling. The average airline fare has declined 13 percent over the past year, and that’s been causing issues for the companies that specialize in lower fares, as many of their customers are now seeing the big guys as more accessible than before.
ABC has cut a long-term deal with Dick Clark Productions, which will keep the elegantly titled “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” on ABC through January 1, 2029. The most recent edition of the franchise, in which Ryan Seacrest cosplays as an iconic and nationally beloved television host instead of just the jawline that elbowed out Brian Dunkleman, pulled in 13.8 million viewers during the 2022 to 2023 edition. The show first aired in 1972, and Clark himself appeared on the program until his death in 2012.
From 2014 to 2018 the city of Hoboken in New Jersey, just across the river of New York City, saw 4,500 car crashes that claimed three lives. The city has recommitted itself to making its streets as safe as possible: It’s added Citi Bike and has since logged 850,000 trips; the city lowered the citywide speed limit to 20 miles per hour; crosswalks have been repainted and added; and the city has fully embraced daylighting. That’s a practice in which parking spaces and possible obstructions near intersections are removed, and the visibility on different sides of intersections is expanded at the expense of parking but to the benefit of safety. It’s a smash hit: While pedestrian deaths in the country as a whole are way up, Hoboken hasn’t seen a single traffic death since 2017, and injuries are down 41 percent.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, simple investments into improvements in the electrical grid can have massive positive impacts on the health of the grid. Right now, the incentive for for-profit utilities is to plow every dollar they have into capital projects and new construction of transmission lines, rather than improvements to existing lines that can save their customers money. Based on a project in Pennsylvania by PPE Electric Utilities, rather than rebuilding two 230-kV lines, the company spent $300,000 adding some sensors to the lines, which saved the company $50 million immediately, and then another $20 million annually thereafter. Capacity ratings increased 18 percent on one of the two lines and 19 percent on the other, and congestion costs dropped from $60 million in the 2021-22 winter season to $1.6 million in the 2022-23 season.
In 2020, North America accounted for 58 percent of the $25 billion global lawn and garden equipment market, about two-thirds of which is from households. As states like California roll out electrification laws for that kind of equipment, the industry as a whole is moving toward a battery-powered future. Beyond the fuel efficiency advantages, many communities are pivoting toward electric-only lawn equipment, if only for sound reasons; dozens of cities have banned gas-powered leaf blowers.
A prominent European pharmaceutical distribution cooperative has undergone a crackdown by the Italian government, but analysts anticipate that the 20,000-employee organization with an estimated $55 billion in revenue will not face any serious challenges when it comes to meeting forthcoming earnings targets. Yes, an attempt by Italy to interfere with ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, has seen 200 people convicted of collaborating with the crime syndicate, including former law enforcement, politicians and businessmen who were found guilty after a three-year trial. The ‘Ndrangheta controls 80 percent of the European cocaine trade. Over 320 people stood trial in a fortified bunker-style courtroom, and it included thousands of hours of testimony from witnesses that included over 50 former mafiosi who testified for the government.
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