Numlock News: October 27, 2023 • Short Corn, Thai Food Near Me, Zoom Wave
By Walt Hickey
Thanks to everyone who supported the book release this week! It’s been so exciting to see people get their hands on it finally and I’ve been blown away by the response. If you’re liking the book, say so; word of mouth is so important, tell a friend about it, or if you’re inclined, leave a review for it on Amazon. That could really help the book find an audience.
Have a great weekend!
Newsletter Near Me
Earlier this year, a Thai restaurant in New York opened with the iconic name Thai Food Near Me, calling to mind the search that anyone a bit peckish for pad see ew in a new town might search for. This is far from the only time a business has deliberately named itself to capitalize on SEO, and it’s not even the only one in the “near me” genre: Texas is home to several Affordable Dentist Near Me’s, there are seven Plumber Near Me businesses, as well as north of 20 different Notary Near Me’s. It’s cheeky, and it’s not entirely obvious that it actually works in juicing one’s score on Google, but the term “Thai food near me” does get searched about a million times per month in the U.S. so on some level, it can’t hurt.
Tokyo Laboratory is a film processing company that started as far back as 1955, and the company will fold this November due to the transition to digital making the business unsustainable. The problem is, they’ve got approximately 20,000 films in their possession that, because of an idiosyncrasy of Japanese copyright law, they legally have to dispose of unless claimed by clients. This is a trove of decades’ worth of feature films, documentaries and animation from 1970 to the 2000s that is poised to be put in the dumpster, even though plenty of people are willing to take them on for preservation and archiving. That’s because copyright law forbids the lab from transferring unclaimed films to a third party, given that they don’t own the film, they’re just storing them for clients. Some are calling for a government agency to take possession of the films until their creators can be located, but bigger-picture people want this possible loss of cultural heritage to be the last under this law.
I’m getting married soon, and I just wired the caterer the final balance, so long story short for one day only here’s a 30 percent off sale of an annual subscription to Numlock News.
Thank you for considering becoming a paid subscriber to Numlock News at this price, which is easily the lowest I can possibly do.
A new poll asked Americans how they sort the books in their house, and found that overall 22 percent sort by genre or subject, 20 percent sort by the size of the book, 10 percent alphabetize by author name and 9 percent alphabetize by title. Of those that remain, 5 percent claim to have some other kind of system, 29 percent are people who have absolutely no organizational system whatsoever, and 3 percent of people organize by color. Reflecting on my own stacks, I think my books can best be described as organized by eras, with each bookshelf representing a point in my life where I simply owned too many books to store and had to buy another. Among people who said they own at least 100 books, they were vastly more likely to say they organize by genre (37 percent) and vastly less likely to say they alphabetized by title, sorted by book size, or simply do not organize their books. That said, things may be changing: People under the age of 40 are vastly more likely to organize their books by color, doing so at double the overall rate.
End Call For Everyone Or Just The Fool Waving?
A new survey that continues work previously done by Zoom found that 55 percent of workers reported waving at the end of Zoom calls, that classic enthusiastic farewell that people do at the end of massive meetings where the entire arrangement looks more like a game of Guess Who? than a meeting. That’s down from the 75 percent who reported waving at the end of Zoom calls in October of 2021, and down only slightly from 57 percent measured in October of last year. I’m sure there are all sorts of reasons why the end of a video call provokes a response from my arms not unlike that of a seal being tossed multiple herring at the end of a solid performance at SeaWorld.
Hotels catering to business travelers are rushing to install the hot new amenity: electric vehicle chargers. A perk that will become only more important as the rental car companies increasingly replace their fleets with electrics, at this point 26 percent of U.S. hotels have an EV charger, according to a recent survey of 17,000 facilities by an industry trade group. Depending on the place within the hospitality sector one finds oneself, that can be as high as 90 percent of hotels in the luxury category having a charging station or as low as 20 percent of hotels within the limited service sector. Hilton, which has 5,900 locations in the U.S., is adding 20,000 charging points at 2,000 locations on top of the 1,850 locations that currently have chargers, while rival Marriott has chargers at 1,200 of its 5,900 locations as of last year and is looking to add much more.
Corn is, to some notoriety, pretty tall. The dominant varieties in the United Stated range between 2.5 meters and 3.5 meters in height, and some can grow as much as 4 meters high. From 2001 to 2016, something like 800,000 hectares of cornfields were damaged by high winds, with the top-heavy corn being prone to disaster. This has prompted a new, compelling agricultural innovation: short corn. Bayer has made three short hybrid varieties of corn, and is testing them in the U.S. market with about 300 farmers and 12,000 hectares of short corn across four states. The early data was compelling: After a windstorm in 2020 hit 14 experimental fields of short corn, on average only 25 percent of the short corn was damaged, compared to 50 percent of the tall corn.
The state of Florida has become uninsurable in some areas, with a report from late last year finding that 13 percent of homeowners are simply not taking on an insurance policy at all, double the national average. The average annual premium in Florida is up 102 percent over the past three years, and with the insurance industry trade group saying that the average homeowner’s insurance rate in Florida is, at $4,231 per year, triple the national average, there’s been a push at the state level to try to coax skittish underwriters back into the state. As the state government has been reluctant to invest in the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. or other ways of subsidizing the market, rates seem poised to get worse.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.