Numlock News: October 17, 2022 • Rolex, Crabs, Vinyl
By Walt Hickey
A French auction house has fired an expert on staff who valued a Chinese vase at €1,500 and €2,000, considering that it was suspected to be a 20th century decorative piece rather than a more valuable 18th century piece. The invisible hand of the market viewed the situation rather differently, and a Chinese buyer bought it for €7.7 million, or €9.12 million after factoring in fees. The expert stands by their original valuation.
Since February there have been at least 47 proposed class-action suits filed claiming that Meta’s pixel tracking that sends data about video consumption to Facebook violated a 1988 law that was originally designed to protect the privacy of videotape rental records. The Video Privacy Protection Act, though an unlikely piece of legislation for the digital era, is just one of many laws on the books that are being used as the foundation of a number of online privacy lawsuits, including filing state wiretapping suits against browser surveillance data. Violations of the VPPA can be up to $2,500 per class member, and the lawsuits say that the class sizes might be in the hundreds of thousands.
Luxury watches have taken a solid price dive amid the turbulent economy, with the price of a Rolex on the secondary watch market dropping 8 percent between Q2 and Q3, the price of a Patek Philippe dropping 8 percent, and Audemars Piguet dropping 7 percent. It’s a great time for the “reads Hodinkee but, like, in an aspirational way” set, as the overall market index on WatchCharts shows prices down 9 percent in Q3. The pandemic era has been a hot time for watches, as despite the recent price drops, the secondhand price for the 30 most-traded Rolexes is still up 21 percent since January 2021.
NFL coaches are increasingly looking at fourth down and 50 to the goal line as a moment to say screw it, let’s see what our leg can do. Heading into the sixth week of the season, there have been more field goal attempts of 50 yards or more than in the entire 2000 season, and so far 23 percent of field goal attempts have been from over 50 yards, up from 18 percent last year. There’s a weird little liminal space on a football field, the region where a team could conceivably punt the ball, go for it on fourth, or just let a kicker roll the die and go for it, and lately those punts have become kicks: Punts within the opponent’s 40-yard line are down 44 percent compared to a decade ago.
Tennessee is becoming the U.S. hub for vinyl record pressing, and the growth could not come at a better time for the in-demand musical format. United Record Pressing in Nashville is already the largest pressing plant in the country, and a new expansion will add 48 new presses to a grand total of almost 100, which will double manufacturing capacity from 40,000 vinyl records a day up to north of 100,000 records per day. Throughout Tennessee, the number of vinyl plants will rise from two to five overall this year. Through June of this year, vinyl records made $570 million in revenue, which was up 22 percent year-over-year.
Compared to before the pandemic, there are 100,000 fewer child care workers in the U.S. today, with job losses in the sector shrinking it by 9.7 percent compared to February 2020. Competition from other sectors is a big deal, and the cash-strapped child care business can’t really compete on wages with better-paying jobs that have been desperate for workers absent government support. The typical child care worker makes $13 per hour.
Alaska is cancelling its winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea for the first time ever after observing an estimated 90 percent drop in population over the past two years, essentially meaning that a billion crabs aren’t there. The precise reason for the population collapse isn’t known — possibilities include the effects of climate change, increased predation due to climate change, shrinking habitat and changing environment due to climate change, or a disease having a substantial impact on the population exacerbated by climate change — but perhaps one day we’ll figure out why on Earth this mystery has occurred.
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