Numlock News: September 30, 2020 • Lizards, Spoofing, Mona Lisa
By Walt Hickey
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A study of the Mona Lisa conducted over 15 years has detected earlier marks in charcoal on the canvas, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage. Specifically, marks in the hand and hairline show artist Leonardo da Vinci shifted her pose over the course of the painting that made her look more directly at the viewer. The process was accomplished with a multispectral camera that can detect reflected light at over 13 wavelengths and used infrared reflectography to observe the sketch underlying the famous painting. The analysis also detected a hairpin which was dropped from the final work.
The fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water annually, and the environmental impacts of that are difficult to comprehend. When it’s said that “water is used” it’s not like it boils off or is used and then cleaned, it means used mostly during the finishing and dyeing process and then just dumped back into the river full of chemicals and dyes. Those chemicals are particularly difficult to remove and dyes by design don’t degrade easily — otherwise they wouldn’t be used to permanently color apparel — and the result is that rivers in Bangladesh (where textiles account for 20 percent of GDP and employ 4 million people) are seriously polluted.
Mind The Gap
A July 2020 survey conducted by Qualtrics of 1,051 adults working from home found that while 57 percent of men said that the working from home has positively affected their career, just 29 percent of women said the same. While 34 percent of men with children at home reported getting promoted during the remote work period, only 9 percent of women with children at home said the same. The same imbalance was seen with pay raises (29 percent of male parents versus 13 percent of female parents), additional leadership responsibilities (29 percent for men with kids and 10 percent for women with kids) and internal praise (19 percent for men with kids and 10 percent for women with kids).
An analysis of 25,000 web pages covering wildlife imports found that 36 percent of reptile species — 3,943 species — are in the exotic pet trade, and 90 percent of the traded reptile species are captured from the wild and sold into captivity. This is going to pose a long-term problem as the financial incentive to raid the wild habitats of endangered and threatened species increases without sufficient regulation.
Big Hit Entertainment will go public in October, and when that happens — demand right now puts it at a market valuation of £3.2 billion ($4.1 billion)— the key asset at the core of the business will be BTS, the superstar K-Pop band that right now is the biggest act on the planet, whatever that may mean in this day and age. Given their centrality to the firm — BTS was responsible for 97 percent of Big Hit’s sales last year and 88 percent this year — each of the members of the band has 68,385 shares of the company, which would be good for a neat little payout of £6.2 million apiece. The record label owner Bang Si-hyuk owns 43 percent and will almost certainly become a billionaire.
Thor Industries, which makes recreational vehicles, is reporting that they have an order backlog valued at $5.74 billion, up from about $2 billion a year ago. People — even younger people — are snapping up RVs, and an industry group is projecting a 19.5 percent increase in shipments come 2021. In the fiscal year ending July, sales at Thor were up 4 percent hitting $8.17 billion.
JPMorgan Chase admitted wrongdoing related to actions of its traders in precious metals and Treasury markets over an eight-year period, and will pay a $436.4 million fine, $311.7 million in restitution, and $172 million in disgorgement. Over the period in question, JPMorgan traders engaged in “spoofing,” where malefactors will flood derivatives markets with orders they don’t actually plan to execute in order to goad prices in a direction of their choice. It’s illegal to do that when it’s part of a deliberate strategy designed to fool other traders, and this is the largest ever penalty for a firm for spoofing markets after two dozen such sanctions since the practice was made illegal in 2010. The matter is not yet entirely concluded as the individuals involved are charged under RICO law.
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