Numlock News: July 10, 2019 • Scams, Friends, Daisy Squeeze

By Walt Hickey

The Pouch

In a contemporary rendition of the ancient theft of flame from the gods themselves, there is now a better ketchup bottle. The packaging innovation — termed the Standcap Inverted Pouch — is set to revolutionize the distribution of viscous liquid condiments in a packaging renaissance unseen since screw-off caps were put on the side of milk cartons. Daisy brand sour cream — arriving at the realization that though a ship in harbor may be safe that is not what ships are for — pioneered the charge with the debut of the Daisy Squeeze in 2015, which packaged the sour cream within a squeezable pouch that functions similarly to a toothpaste tube. It slowed spoilage by minimizing oxygen exposure, but more importantly it led to Daisy reporting a 69.7 percent increase in sales. Based on packaging industry scuttlebutt, this more sustainable distribution system is about to hit the big time.

Laura Reiley, The Washington Post

Look At The Stars

A report released Monday found that 35 percent of products on Amazon in June had fake reviews, and while that’s only an estimate it’s the larger trend that is concerning: in June 2018 that figure stood at 16 percent, and in June 2017 it was 21 percent. Given the algorithmic nature of Amazon’s selection and the considerable profit difference between a high-placed search result and a lower one, unscrupulous companies offer automated fake and positive reviews in exchange for thousands of dollars. This has attracted the ire of legislators, with two lawmakers sending a letter to Amazon asking how the company intends to assure consumers that its recommendations are bona fide.

Naomi Nix, Bloomberg


Thanks to new federal scrutiny and a dedicated bipartisan effort in Washington to lower drug prices and reign in pharmaceutical companies that had grown bold in attempting to jack up the prices of lifesaving medication, literally nothing has happened whatsoever. That’s right, in June drug companies increased the costs of 106 medications, up from 101 drug price hikes in May, with the average increase in price of 27 percent. One anti-diuretic increased by 909 percent in cost.

Tatiana Darie, Bloomberg

The One Where They Leave Netflix

The sitcom Friends is a core offering for Netflix, with an estimated 32.6 billion minutes of the program watched in 2018 according to Nielsen, behind only The Office. Netflix paid $80 million to WarnerMedia for the exclusive streaming rights to the show in 2019, but come next year the program will stream exclusively on Warner’s own new direct-to-consumer streamer to be called HBO Max, which along with HBO Go and HBO Now show that whoever is naming HBO streaming services presumably once made energy drinks. HBO Max — which would make a great name for the new boat Lisa Kudrow could buy with these residuals — will pay a reported $425 million to air Friends for five years, essentially an intra-company payment.

Joe Flint, The Wall Street Journal

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An international con artist crew posing via email as a Navy contracting officer was sent $10.6 million worth of gear from a credulous defense industrial manufacturer, including $3.2 million worth of highly sensitive communications interception equipment that requires a license to export and is so classified “even a photograph of the item is considered controlled.” A subsequent search revealed that, in fact, there has never been a U.S. Navy employee named Daniel Drunz, and also the military doesn’t use Yahoo for their emails. Eight people believed to be in on the scam have been indicted on a litany of federal charges.

Justin Rohrlich, Quartz


Cars have — through legislation that subsidizes their ownership — cemented their place in American society, but even the most efficient vehicle still contributes to the detriment of the surrounding environment. About 85 to 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions come not from the tailpipe, but from tire wear, road surface wear and other sources, and even the most electric of cars is still going to need tires.

Gregory H. Shill, The Atlantic


Airline passengers generated 5.7 million tons of waste globally in 2016, a figure projected to rise to 10 million tons annually by 2030. If there’s one thing thornier than effective waste management, it’s effective international waste management. Not even all U.S. municipalities can handle the same plastics, and only about 20 to 30 percent of the most widely recyclable variety, No. 1 PET, is ever remade into a new product. Compounding that further, some countries don’t even accept waste for recycling from international flights, meaning lots of it just gets incinerated or buried regardless of the fact that some 75 percent of the in-flight waste is estimated to be recyclable. The scope is large — 4.3 billion passengers flew on scheduled flights in 2018 — and with space and weight at a premium on 45 million individual flights it’s complicated to handle.

Jasmin Malik Chua, Vox

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