Numlock News: October 28, 2020 • Gold, Baked Goods, Anime
By Walt Hickey
A new round of pantry stockpiling has reportedly begun, with demand for baking goods up 3,400 percent from a year earlier in the three weeks leading up to October 13. That’s less than the 6,000 percent increase in demand notched back earlier this year but, like, that’s pretty high. Earlier this year — in the beginning of June — there were widespread shortages in packaged goods, with sold-out stocks of dried pasta hitting 20.1 percent, shelf stable fruits and vegetables hitting 14.1 percent, and essential goods hitting 10 percent sold out. Those have calmed, but outages are sporadic and may be creeping back up, with 8.7 percent of shelf stable fruits and veggies and 8.5 percent of essentials sold out.
Much like a teenager who recently obtained access to rudimentary internet piracy techniques, Netflix is really, really into anime right now and plans to spend a bunch of money on anime for the foreseeable future. The company said that 100 million households globally watched at least one anime title on Netflix from October last year to September of this year, up 50 percent since 2019. Tuesday, the company announced another five anime projects, bringing its cumulative total of original anime titles to 16 in the pipeline, none of which were Yuri!!! on ICE 2, but it’s fine. I’m sure that’s definitely the next on their list. I mean, how could they not, the potential is right there and it’s just begging for a continuation, please Netflix buy more of the anime I like, I will beg if you make me.
Back To School
A new survey of U.S. adults finds a serious split in the country as to whether colleges and universities made a good decision bringing kids back on campus for in-person instruction this fall, with 48 percent contending this was the wrong decision while 50 percent said it was the right one. Fully 68 percent of respondents said that a course taken only online doesn’t offer equal educational value, while 30 percent said it provided equal value. I mean, listen, in defense of the distance stuff even during normal times there are a lot of impediments to college courses providing optimal value and as a person who drank and smoked most of those impediments, it’s really not the end of the world.
The wonders of our economic system come down to this: you need money to continue living in a place that has a roof, and due to a pandemic a lot of people stopped having money so the government stepped in for a bit there, but now they’ve kind of laid off and that’s causing some problems. A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that outstanding rent debt in the United States will hit $7.2 billion by the end of 2020, and without additional stimulus spending Moody’s estimates that it could hit $70 billion. They estimate that 12.8 million people will owe an average $5,400 from missed payments, which is significantly higher than the 3.8 million homeowners foreclosed on from 2007 to 2010. Across the U.S., 30 million to 40 million people face possible eviction once moratoriums expire.
The way we get gold may change soon. Historically, obviously, we mined it: gold mines are synonymous with “enduring and reliable sources of enormous amounts of wealth” because that absolutely remains the case, but humans have been rummaging the gold flakes out of the earth long enough that we’re nearing a point where we may not need that much more of it, and that recycled supply could begin satisfying the continuing demands for gold in both jewelry and commercial applications. Excluding the bits still in the ground, half of the world’s gold is used in jewelry, a quarter is in central banks, and the other quarter is held by private investors or industrial applications. Right now gold costs $1,900 per ounce, and recycling it is far cheaper production-wise than mining it and refining it. About 30 percent of the global gold supply was recycled and not mined. Plus, a kilogram of recycled gold produces 53 kilograms of CO2 equivalent, while mining a kilogram would produce 16 tonnes of CO2.
Ant Group raised $34.4 billion selling 1.67 billion shares, or about 11 percent of the Chinese financial technology company in an IPO. This values the company at around $310 billion, and is now the largest initial public offering on record, beating out the $29.4 billion raised when the Saudi state oil company Aramco went public late last year. The company is linked through founder Jack Ma to Alibaba, the e-commerce juggernaut, and its payment app moved $17.7 trillion payments over the past 12 months and had 731 million monthly active users as of September.
Since 2015, Amazon has scored an enormous quantity of tax breaks and incentives to build 36 warehouses in the Chicago area. An analysis of the deals cut between the municipalities and the largest corporation in America show that the cities are often paying a serious chunk of change for the privilege of a warehouse, and that majority-Black municipalities granted the conglomerate substantially more than majority-White areas. All told, the company and developers won $741 million in incentives in northeast Illinois, collecting $100 million for the 15 warehouses it built in predominately White communities, but $640 million from the 21 projects in more Black and Latino municipalities. The three largest packages — worth a total $512 million — all came from predominately Black suburbs, while seven mostly White areas offered no incentives but still got projects, according to the report.
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