Numlock News: August 13, 2021 • Spite House, Mangoes, Off-White

By Walt Hickey

Have a great weekend!

Skinny House

The Skinny House in Boston is on the market, with owners seeking $1.2 million for the architectural embodiment of the concept of human spite. Basically, there’s this house that’s 10 feet at its widest point, four stories, and 1,165 square feet that was built, it is said, to block the view of the owner’s brother who lived in the adjacent property. The “Spite House,” as it is known, sold four years ago for $900,000. So, it you want a home that exudes the vibe of petty vengeance now’s the time to get into this hot market.

Zachary Kussin, The New York Post

Mangoes

Pakistan is the sixth-largest exporter of mangoes in the world, and while the U.S. imported a half million tons of mangoes in 2019, only 100 tons of them were from Pakistan. This is a huge disappointment for not only the Pakistani diaspora, but also people who like the country’s mangoes, which are universally considered particularly great. Pakistan’s mango export market opened up in 2010 thanks to a bit of diplomacy at the time, but in order to get them into the country without pests per USDA regulations, they’ve got to be irradiated first. This is a challenge because a farmer in Pakistan who wants to export the mangos to America needs to find a USDA approved irradiation facility in Pakistan to do so and, bad news on that front, there are none. So for those who manage to score some of the fruit, it’s a real rare treat.

Ahmed Ali Akbar, Eater

Off-White

American homeowners are besieged by off-white paints, with thousands of nearly-but-no-not-entirely shades of off-white hitting shelves across the country. The days of eggshell-or-bust are beyond us, and the aisle of off-whites is now like a bleached Rothko exhibit with the varieties on offer. Benjamin Moore has 152 off-whites, Behr has 167, and PPG’s got 315. This is bad news for New York landlords, who now have to work all the harder to correctly paint over their electrical outlets with the perfect tone.

Melissa Korn, The Wall Street Journal

Fiber

AT&T is the biggest buyer of fiber optic cable in the country, but due to supply shortages they’re struggling to meet the goals that they set out to hit. The previous plan was to roll out fiber optic internet to 3 million new households this year, but they just announced that owing to supply chain problems with the fiber supply they’re likely going to come in at 2.5 million households.

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

Processed

A new study published in JAMA found that 67 percent of U.S. children and teens’ diets come from ultra-processed foods, up 5.6 percentage points compared to the levels seen in 1999. Most of the increase came from ready-to-eat meals, which rose from 2.2 percent of daily calories to 11.2 percent of calories. Interestingly, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda actually took a pretty considerable dip, falling from 10.8 percent of calories in 1999 to 5.3 percent in 2018.

Jessi Devenyns, Food Dive

Mine Closures

In May, China’s State Council banned the mining of cryptocurrency and trading. This seriously disrupted what had previously been the epicenter of Bitcoin mining in the world, housing some 70 percent of the mining power at the time. After the crackdown, that’s down to like 46 percent. Lots of the hardware ended up going abroad, to places like Kazahkstan — which added just 3 gigawatts of power in the past decade, so not a lot — or Texas, where energy is comparatively rather cheap.

Meaghan Tobin, Rest of World

Netflix

At the end of 2020, Netflix’s share of the non-Chinese Asia-Pacific’s premium video subscribers was 32 percent. By the end of 2021, that’s projected to fall down to 16 percent, owing in large part to the entrance of Disney and other rivals into the streaming markets. It’s one reason that Netflix is putting a lot of effort in Japan, where anime is by far the most important content category to compete in against rivals like U-Next and TVer. Netflix is throwing up 40 new original anime titles this year to try to stay in the game.

Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter

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