Numlock News: September 6, 2022 • Jaws, Lux, Floppy Disks
By Walt Hickey
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On Saturday, just over 8 million people went to the movies in North America, significantly more than the 1 million who went on Friday and the 1.7 million who went on Sunday, thanks to an industrywide $3 ticket promotion. Top Gun: Maverick made a four-day gross of $7.9 million, a rerelease of Spider-Man: No Way Home made $7.6 million, and a rerelease of Jaws made $2.6 million. With the weekend win for Top Gun: Maverick, the film is now the first time a movie has been the top grosser on both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fined Instagram owner Meta €405 million after a two-year investigation into GDPR violations of the company. The investigation zeroed in on two issues, one where Instagram allowed 13- to 17-year-old users to set up business accounts and publicized their contact information, and another where young users’ accounts were public by default. It’s the largest fine that the Data Protection Commission has thrown at Facebook, larger than the €225 million they fined them over WhatsApp data collection.
The New York Attorney General appears to be deepening its investigation into the auction house Sotheby’s, which came under scrutiny two years ago over whether it aided top collectors in avoiding paying sales tax in New York State. An art buyer is exempt from sales tax if they’re an art dealer, as they’re ostensibly just going to resell the art and the eventual buyer will be on the hook for the tax. Sotheby’s is accused of giving resale certificates that designate such dealers out to normal clients who are collectors. In mid-August, the AG made a request for documents related to 51 clients who had those certificates and may have avoided sales tax — which on a piece of art could be millions of dollars — as a result.
Wikipedia has 1,800 Russian-speaking editors, and given the Russian government’s recent unhappiness with Wikipedia they’ve faced increased threats of doxxing and retribution. Russia blocked the site in 2015, a decision that was eventually reversed, and this year a Russian court fined the Wikimedia Foundation 5 million rubles ($88,000) over information published about the war in Ukraine. The Russian page for “2022 Invasion of Ukraine” is viewed 40,000 times a day on average.
A new rule from the Federal Highway Administration has set the first minimum standard for the reflectivity of pavement markings on roadways. Essentially, given that a quarter of all driving is at night but half of all deaths are, making sure the markings on the road are visible in all kinds of conditions is an important concern. Roadways with speed limits over 35 miles per hour need markings with a reflectivity of 50 millicandelas per square meter per lux, and highways with speeds of 70 miles per hour or over need 100 millicandelas per square meter per lux. Pavement markings are a combination of paint and glass beads that bounce light back off of headlights, and ideally it should be about two-thirds covered in the beads.
Over the first six months of the year, an analysis of Wi-Fi network usage found that the average amount of data streamed to at-home fitness bikes was down 23 percent compared to the same period of time in 2021. This reflects a general bad vibe in the at-home fitness industry, with Peloton reporting member numbers were down 2 percent quarter after quarter and the average number of workouts per subscriber was down 26 percent year over year. Meanwhile, smart televisions saw data consumption up 34 percent year over year, a little something I like to call the return to normalcy.
Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs has made it a personal mission to once and for all eradicate the usage of floppy disks from the federal government. This is shockingly still very much a component of any number of Japanese government processes: Submission by floppy disk is still required for about 1,900 business applications and forms. The disks, first introduced by Sony in 1983, can store 1.44 megabytes of data. Sony actually stopped making them in 2011. If you’d like to register a proper complaint to this, you can reach the Minister of Digital Affairs office by post, telegram or carrier pigeon.
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