Numlock News: January 29, 2021 • Magic, Utrecht, ATMs

By Walt Hickey

Have an excellent weekend!

Investment

While every other news source in the country is falling all over itself to cover the ongoing GameStop stock short fiasco, we here at Numlock News make it our priority and mission to cover only the most consequential, stable and systemically important investments for the modern-day trader. A Black Lotus Magic: The Gathering card has sold for $511,100 at auction, a significant price jump for the most prized card in the iconic game. This specific 1993 card, released as part of the original Alpha set of MTG, is in a case signed by Christopher Rush, the illustrator of the card. Still, the half-million gavel price is five times that of the Black Lotus’ value in 2018, making it a vastly more sensible investment than anything Wall Street or Reddit teenagers are putting out today.

Charlie Hall, Polygon

ATMs

Attempted ATM heists jumped 150 percent from 2019 to 2020 according to 3SI Security Systems, which provides security tech for banks and other financial providers. An ATM in a bank can hold several hundred thousand dollars, while one in a convenience store contains on the order of $20,000; however, the lockdowns of last spring saw ATMs stuffed to the gills as the banks and credit unions that otherwise would provide money through a non-automated teller shut their doors. According to the company, the average ATM theft yielded $83,000, while police recover about 80 percent of the money stolen from ATMs under their purview.

Scott Calvert, The Wall Street Journal

K-Pop

Big financial moves are happening in the insular but powerful Korean pop music industry, as Big Hit Entertainment — the firm behind BTS — took in a $321 million investment from Naver, a Korean entertainment tech company, and also itself invested $63 million into YG Plus, which is the home of a number of other acts like Blackpink, BigBang, iKon and more. This more closely ties together the production components of K-pop with digital distribution, as Big Hit will take control of Naver’s livestreaming platform V Live.

Tamar Herman, South China Morning Post

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Gassy

A new study of a seven-country research project, MEMO2, measured the utility pipes that deliver natural gas across the cities of Utrecht and Hamburg in Germany. The researchers found 81 leaks in the Utrecht network and 145 in the Hamburg, which beyond being a health and safety concern for local residents is also a major environmental issue, as methane is 25 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and new evidence suggests that methane emissions from fossil fuels may be 25 to 40 percent higher than originally thought. A 2016 study found 7 percent of leaks are responsible for 50 percent of gas escaping from utility pipes, so finding the problem pipes and fixing them can go a long way.

Paul Tillis, Bloomberg

Sanitizers from Mexico

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert Monday to block the import of hand sanitizer made in Mexico after a study conducted from April to December found 84 percent of hand sanitizer from Mexico was not up to snuff with the FDA regulations. For lots of them, the issue was that they used methanol instead of the normal, safe ethanol, while others used 1-propanol, which is toxic.

Beth Mole, Ars Technica

KC

A poll of 2,200 U.S. adults found that 38 percent of respondents want the Kansas City Chiefs to win next week’s Super Bowl, while 27 percent want the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win and 35 percent don’t yet have an opinion. That also conforms to who people think will win, with 41 percent thinking Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will beat Tom Brady and the Bucs, while 24 percent think that Tampa’s going to win it. Because the NFC South is a vicious autoclave and Tom Brady has made enemies from The City of Buffalo to strawberries, fully 51 percent of respondents rooting for the Chiefs said that “I don’t like the other team” was why they picked KC over the Bucs.

Alex Silverman, Morning Consult

PFAS

There are over 9,000 known perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — better known as PFAS, or in headlines “forever chemicals” — and 600 are currently used in products in the U.S. Over time, levels of PFAS have increased in soil and surface water, and that’s a problem because there have been links found connecting PFAS with a number of health concerns. A new study synthesizing government records and original analysis estimated that over 200 million people have PFAS tap water concentrations of one part per trillion or more, and anywhere from 18 million to 80 million may be exposed to amounts of 10 parts per trillion or higher.

Annie Sneed, Scientific American

Last Sunday, I spoke to Julia Alexander who wrote “From Fanfiction to Netflix Hits” for The Verge, a very cool profile of the site Wattpad. It’s a really cool story made all the more prescient by Wattpad getting bought a week after she wrote it for $600 million. Julia can be found at her excellent newsletter, Musings on Mouse, on Twitter, and at The Verge.

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