Numlock News: September 7, 2022 • Eternal Orbs, Raccoons, Fliers
By Walt Hickey
Reports are brewing of a massive widespread currency crisis in the game Diablo Immortal related to the in-game currency of Eternal Orbs, which can go for $1 for a pack of 60 orbs or $100 for 7,200. The issue is related to players who bought up orbs from third-party resellers, some by the hundreds of thousands, orbs that are obtainable at a steep discount because they’re likely being used to launder stolen credit card information. Blizzard cracked down, and now players who bought secondhand orbs have seen their Eternal Orbs evaporate, which is like the one thing an Eternal Orb is not supposed to do. Some players are in the hole hundreds of thousands of orbs, and players who have accounts loaded up with ill-gotten orbs are trying to sell those accounts to dupes. Players can’t join parties or access the in-game market if they’re in orb debt, and since those orbs were bought at a discount many are staring down the possibility they will have to pay full price just to claw out of this hole. Obviously contending with a classic moral hazard, in-game boss Skarn the Herald of Terror, Lord of Damnation, Chair of the Federal Reserve and God of Retribution has remained notoriously mum on a Troubled Orb Relief Package.
Juul Labs has tentatively agreed to pay $438.5 million to resolve a two-year investigation into marketing and sales practices that 34 states alleged got kids hooked on vaping and reversed decades of youth tobacco use public health gains. The investigation found that Juul represented itself as a smoking cessation device without FDA approval, and the settlement will force Juul to limit its marketing and sales practices.
This weekend saw 8.76 million air travelers screened in the United States over the long Labor Day weekend, which exceeds the 8.24 million passengers screened over Labor Day weekend of 2019. This is now the first time in the pandemic era that a holiday weekend saw more travel than the same weekend of 2019. The air travel industry is still seeing substantial problems getting flights to locations on time, as the first six months of the year saw 24 percent of domestic flights delayed and 3.2 percent cancelled, but has seen some recovery since mid-August.
The increasing accessibility of gambling over mobile phones has presented serious issues for problem gamblers attempting to abstain from the habit. Where once someone could merely avoid the physical location of a casino — 20 states now have casinos, up from nine in 2001 — now that sports betting is within any cell phone, it’s causing problems. According to survey data from the National Council on Problem Gambling, young people are now disproportionately gamblers. Last year, 40 percent of people aged 18 to 44 gambled online, nearly double the 21 percent of those aged 45 to 54.
Over 50 percent of minor league baseball players voted to support unionization, according to a letter the Major League Baseball Players Association sent to MLB on Tuesday. The union has now asked for voluntary recognition, which would greenlight the minor leaguers joining MLBPA, or they might choose not to recognize it, which would then lead to a vote held through the National Labor Relations Board. This would increase membership in the MLBPA about fourfold and bring the total number of represented players to about 5,000. As it stands, most minor leaguers make $400 to $700 a week only during the season.
The government is three decades into a plan to vaccinate raccoons from rabies, and decades away from their goal of driving rabies into the sea. Because raccoons are, to get a little technical here with the jargon, a bunch of bitey bastards, they tend to be a conduit for rabies to spread to other, less bitey mammals. Human exposure to rabies is 600 percent higher in areas where both raccoons and bats have rabies compared to areas where just bats carry it. The best way to vaccinate raccoons is to basically take a gusher, except it’s flavored like fish or vanilla, and the goo inside is a rabies vaccine, and then you dump thousands of them from airplanes. When 60 percent of raccoons in an area are vaccinated, the spread stops, and the goal is to eliminate rabies in raccoons by 2063.
Long the world’s largest gambling town, Macau is on the decline as a destination and has even ceded the regional title to the Philippines. At least four casino suppliers in Macau are picking up and leaving, as business is beginning to dry up and the market for new slot machines goes down. The government announced a cap of 12,000 gaming machines in the city effective 2023, which would be down from the 2019 count of 17,000 machines in the city. Macau’s August saw revenues at just 9 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while Singapore was up to 70 percent and the Philippines and South Korea were at 75 percent. Slot machines are also a lower draw in Macau at just 5 percent of gaming revenues compared to other gambling centers like Las Vegas, where the one-armed bandits bring in 50 percent of gaming revenue.
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