Numlock News: September 1, 2022 • Albedo, Bubbles, Smuggle
By Walt Hickey
A massive scheme took in cash in exchange to get verified accounts for people on Instagram. The hustle was clever, and exploited the service's granting of verified accounts to people in the music industry while simultaneously having no way to actually verify if someone is a legit musician. They'd stage photoshoots for a client and then create profiles on Apple Music and Spotify, loading fake songs up and paying to stream them. They'd publish paid content about the client hyping them up as an actual musician, they'd post music content and buy likes and comments, eventually bamboozling Google, and then lastly emphasize their (fake) musical chops in their bio. Then someone at Instagram would be like "yeah sure seems legit" and give them the shiny blue checkmark, after which the client could drop the charade. This service typically cost $25,000 and at times cost over $100,000.
To save energy, get a light or even white roof. "Albedo" is a number that describes how much sunlight gets reflected off a surface; it's 1.0 if it's perfect sun-reflecting white, and 0.0 if it's perfect sun-absorbing black. An analysis out of the Berkeley Lab's Heat Island Group looked at roofs in major California cities and found them wanting, with albedos of 0.17 to 0.18 in L.A., San Francisco, San Jose and Long Beach. This is an issue because roofs make up a lot of urban land use, and small roofs make up 60 percent to 70 percent of roofs. While warehouses and commercial buildings are wise to albedo and, either pressured by building codes or the better economics, tended to have more reflective roofs, the average albedo of a small roof on houses was 0.14 to 0.17, meaning they're sucking up that sun and not repelling the heat.
China's imports of Malaysian crude oil hit 791,000 barrels per day in July, which is weird, because the current total amount of oil that Malaysia produces a day is at best just under 600,000 barrels per day. In reality, the waters around Malaysia is big for ship-to-ship transfers of oil. This likely means that Malaysian oil shipments are being padded with oil from other countries. This oil is likely coming from a number of countries that have been sanctioned or that are otherwise unwelcome in the global oil market, like Russia and Iran and Venezuela.
AKB48 is a Japanese idol girl group, one so popular that they've set up localized franchises. In Indonesia, that franchise is called JKT48, a sister group that was formed in 2011 and performs Indonesian-language versions of AKB48 songs. That is, until now: Their latest release is an English-language danceable track that is very clearly pulling from K-pop, and since its release it’s racked up 2.4 million video views, a velocity better than any previous J-pop style release from the group. This is now presenting a problem for a Japanese pop culture engine that is now seeing its “Cool Japan” style lose out to the Korean wave, and Indonesia is a prime case. Of 7.8 billion Twitter posts about K-pop in 2021, Indonesia was the single largest source.
This fall Americans are likely to see an onslaught of ads shilling Medicare Advantage insurance policies. The ads are a bonanza every year, because seniors can sign up for new plans annually from October 15 to December 7 and they are private insurance plans that are paid for by the government. Enrollment grew 8 percent last year and hit 28.4 million in 2022. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have given a stern warning to the companies, which often pay famous octogenarian pitchmen to hawk their wares, that this year they’re going to be tightening oversight on what exact perks they’re promising in their ads. Last year, consumer marketing complaints about the ads were up 165 percent over 2020, hitting 41,136 complaints.
The Future Is Equally Female and Male
As of last year, there were 44 million more living males than females, a disparity that’s due to a number of reasons, from a slight inherent natural bias toward boys to sex-selective abortions in some patriarchal countries. Overall in 2025, the global sex ratio is going to be 100.9 males per 100 females. The latest projections from the United Nations show the overall global gender gap reducing, and by 2050 the worldwide sex ratio will be equal, 100.0 males per 100 females. This is due to declining fertility — less young people overall — and longer lives, which given that women tend to outlive men — globally, people over the age of 65 are 56 percent women — will shift the vital statistics a little more.
While we have too much carbon dioxide in some places (i.e. the atmosphere), there is not enough of the stuff in places where we actually want it (i.e. pressurized bottles in food and beverage plants). This carbon dioxide shortage is the result of shutdowns at plants that produce it as a byproduct, and it’s affecting the food and beverage world the most. About 70 percent of the CO2 produced at U.S. facilities goes toward the things we eat and drink, mostly in cooling them down, preserving them in transit and making them bubbly. Supply is tight because demand is creeping up while supply has been fixed, and in the coming years an additional 1,600 tonnes of CO2 will be needed per day.
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