Numlock News: December 3, 2020 • Mafia, ARMY, Redditors

By Walt Hickey

You Come To Me On The Day Of My Daughter’s Zoom Wedding

Interpol would like to warn you that the mafia will probably try to disrupt the distribution of the vaccine for COVID-19, according to a new statement released to 194 member countries on Wednesday. More specifically, organized crime networks are reportedly angling to worm into supply chains in order to get a hold of the vaccine, which will understandably fetch a ridiculous price on the black market. Furthermore, they warned of the sale of fraudulent vaccines through fake websites and fake cures, a tried and true tactic of organized crime: an Interpol analysis of 3,000 online pharmacies they believe hawk illegally disbursed medicine were also lousy with malware, with 1,700 of them home to such phishing or spamming tech. Anyway, I don’t know precisely who needs to hear this but please don’t get your coronavirus vaccination from the mafia, go to a doctor. If you’re having trouble telling the difference between the mafia and an honest American healthcare provider, one is a corrupt protection racket that functions as a powerful organized conspiracy to entrap desperate people into vast amounts of debt enforced by the possibility of grievous bodily harm once the debtor can no longer pay, and the other was featured in The Sopranos.

Julia Reinstein, BuzzFeed News

Flood

A new study published in Environmental Resource Letters points out upcoming risks to housing thanks to increased flooding thanks to climate change. In 2050, three times as many housing units will be exposed to frequent flooding as in the year 2000, and that year the United States will lose 24,519 units to repeated flooding. Many of these are in low-lying mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, especially in places like Norfolk, Virginia, which stands to lose 710 units of affordable housing by 2050 to flooding, about 6.7 percent of the city total.

Patrick Sisson, Bloomberg CityLab

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Work

Salesforce bought Slack for a breathtaking $27.7 billion, linking up the highly profitable company, which sells software that helps companies keep track of customers, and Slack, which successfully won the “who can best re-skin IRC to be palatable to normal people” lottery. One push for the acquisition was a competition with Microsoft that is heating up, and the fact that 90 percent of Slack’s enterprise customers are also Salesforce customers.

Clare Duffy and Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Old Business

When it comes to companies that have been in operation for a long time, Japan is chock-full of them. It’s home to over 33,000 businesses that have been in operation for over 100 years, which is about 40 percent of the total known businesses the world over. While that’s a great run that makes for some fun trivia for some well-known companies — Nintendo is 131 years old! They first sold playing cards! — there are other businesses in an entirely different league including 3,100 that have existed for more than 200 years, 140 that have been around for 500 years, and at least 19 that have generally accepted claims of continuous operation since the first millennium. One of these companies, Ichiwa, sells mochi, another named Tanaka Iga Butsugu has made Buddhist religious supplies since 885.

Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno, The New York Times

BTS

This Friday, Kim Seok-jin of pop music sensation turns 28, and while aging out of your mid-20s is never particularly fun, for Kim it’d have been a real issue given that South Korea mandates enrolling in military service for young men for about 20 months by age 28. Given that BTS is pretty popular — you know, a sensation the likes of which Korea has never seen before, wielding global influence, a soft power coup that any nation would want, and serving as an international cultural ambassador for the country at a tenuous time in geopolitical relations in the region — given that, legislators thought better of pulling the plug on that one. On Tuesday, they passed a revision to the Military Service Act allowing entertainers who received government medals for spreading Korea’s cultural influence — like all the boys of BTS have — to delay their service another two years, until they are 30. Every year about 200,000 young men who are not K-pop stars have to join the military.

Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times

Redditors

Reddit revealed for the first time its daily active user count, a figure that had been used by other social media companies to attract advertisers. The company said it averaged 52 million daily active users in the month of October, which is up 44 percent from October 2019. This would pretty much blow up the idea that Reddit is just me and one other guy who has a lot of sock puppet accounts. By comparison, Twitter averaged 187 million daily users in Q3 and Facebook averaged 1.82 billion.

Sahil Patel, The Wall Street Journal

Appliances

After months at home with them, Americans are shelling out for new and improved home appliances, and manufacturers are obliging them with new functionalities designed for times like these. From May to August 2020, sales of kitchen machines went up 99 percent, washing machines were up 46 percent, air treatment appliances up 23 percent, and espresso machines up 39 percent. Year over year, sales of vacuum cleaners were up 32 percent from March to August compared to the same period a year ago, and sales of washing machines with purifying steam functions were up 46 percent over the summer.

Elizabeth Koh, The Wall Street Journal

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