Numlock News: October 27, 2021 • Voyagers, Wrestlers, Burgers
By Walt Hickey
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Cards On The Table
Panini SpA, an Italian company which makes collectible trading cards, poached the WWE from beleaguered rival Topps, with a multi-year deal that starts in 2022. The past year has been brutal for Topps, which lost the rights to make trading cards for multiple major sports leagues like Major League Baseball to upstart Fanatics. The deal is worth at least $10 million over the term of the contract. The trading card business is a notoriously bareknuckle one, with the cutthroat dealmaking seen in the past year almost as bad as the last round of deals, when a prominent card company owner used the Millennium Eye to seal the soul of a customer’s grandfather into a trading card while battling in the Shadow Realm, forcing the young man to embark on a season-long quest in the Duelist Kingdom.
In the 1980s, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder was ascending in popularity, and rival A&W sought to beat the company at their own game by releasing a 1/3 Pound Burger. The plan seemed unbeatable: more meat, more burger, bigger size, can’t lose. However, and we’re not pointing fingers here, the burger flopped in part because lots of people were unable to discern, at first pass, that 1/3 of a pound was more than 1/4 of a pound, and as a result were unable to grasp the inherent value advantage on offer. Focus groups after the botched launch were clear on that fact: 4 is, after all, bigger than 3. This is one reason that A&W announced they will relaunch the 1/3 Pound Burger, instead billing it as the 3/9 lb. Burger, at its 525 locations while supplies last.
Ohio, which has been locked in rhetorical combat with North Carolina over who truly is the first-in-flight, put the Wright Flyer on their new license plate pulling a banner behind it. The issue is, working from still photographs, the plane is actually flying backwards on the license plate. This was obviously hilarious and the best thing to happen to Carolina since Michael Jordan, and THE Ohio State Department of Public Safety said a design change would roll out to fix the plate’s plane, but an even funnier wrinkle has emerged in that they actually already made 35,000 of the erroneous plates. They’ll be recycled and new corrected plates will be released on December 29.
New data released by the National Confectioners Association has candy sales up 48 percent in the 8 weeks ending October 4 compared to the same period of 2020 and up 59.8 percent compared to the same period of 2019, a colossal pop for this Halloween. Now historically the first Samhain after a plague year is a bit of a banger, and per data from the NCA, 82 percent of Americans are going to celebrate — 12 points ahead of last year — including 93 percent of millennial parents. It’s a Halloween for experimentation, with costumes like Squid Game, where for one day you pretend to live in an exploitative capitalist deathmatch; The Supply Chain, where you arrive to the party late and completely plastered; and The Supply Chain (Sexy Version), which is pretty much the same thing as The Supply Chain but Amazon wasn’t successful in two-day delivering the pants.
Monday, Hertz announced it would order 100,000 vehicles from Tesla at a cost of about $42,000 per car, a $4.2 billion purchase. Something very interesting then happened: Tesla stock rose 12 percent, which added $118 billion to the company’s valuation, and Hertz stock rose $1.17 billion in value, which is pretty phenomenal for a company previously valued at $8 billion that announced its intention to spend $4.2 billion. Nevertheless, a $4.2 billion transaction created approximately $119 billion in value, or about 28 times the value of the sale.
Point Of Sale
PAX Technology Inc., a Shenzhen company, provides 60 million point-of-sale terminals in 120 countries, making it one of the largest companies on the planet handling transactions. Naturally, right before the holidays is a pretty busy time for point-of-sale systems, which is one reason that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security raided a PAX warehouse in Jacksonville, Florida, part of a court-authorized search in a federal investigation that also includes the NCIS and Customs. According to KrebsOnSecurity, the FBI has been investigating PAX related to malware that is originating from the company’s payment terminals; furthermore, two major financial providers are yanking PAX terminals from their infrastructure.
The World Grows Great When
NASA asked a team to come up with a possible successor mission to the Voyager spacecraft, a pair that launched in 1977 and have since exited the solar system. Within a few weeks, they’ll have a report on what’s possible. If it’s greenlit and built, it could launch in 2036. What’s particularly cool here is the mission length, which could be a minimum 50 years, and possibly even a century, which would be the longest planned duration of any NASA mission and by a huge margin at that. If the project is greenlit, the eventual researchers who will pore over the data may very well be in diapers right now. Voyager 1 is 14 billion miles away and Voyager 2 is 11 billion miles way, and they’re running out of power — they’re predicted to go dark in 2030 or 2031 — even though they’re still sending back reports on the interstellar gas they’re traversing.
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