Numlock News: May 11, 2020 • Antarctica, Air Jordans, Reply All

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!


A pair of Air Jordan 1s have gone up for auction at Sotheby’s, with the estimate for the sale projected to be between $100,000 and $150,000. The reason that these Air Jordan 1s are expected to fetch such a fee is that these are the Air Jordan 1s, the ones made explicitly for Michael Jordan and that Michael Jordan wore all the time, the Jordans then signed by Michael Jordan, those Jordans. Sneakers have been steadily appearing at auctions, with Nike’s original handmade “Moon Shoes” selling for the record-setting $437,500 last year at Sotheby’s. Worth noting is that the AJ1s could go higher than that estimate, just like the Moon Shoes were estimated at $110,000 to $160,000 prior to their moment on the block. For those unaware, Michael Jordan was a famous minor-league baseball player who, when called upon by Bugs Bunny, aided a team of misfits in a basketball game against the Monstars that determined the fate of their society. Beyond that, historians know very little and the man is an enigma.

Katya Kazakina, Bloomberg

Working Remote

Right now, there are roughly 5,000 people working in about 80 bases across the continent of Antarctica. It’s a frozen desert devoid of inhabitants beyond the scientists who study it and, based on the documentary The Thing by John Carpenter, the extraterrestrial mimics who seek to infiltrate, imitate, and eat those scientists. That being said, despite the nippy working conditions basically everyone down there is pretty delighted to be riding this one out in one of the most far-flung reaches of the planet. An estimated 78,500 tourists were expected to go to Antarctica in the 2019-20 season from November to March, up from the 56,168 travelers who visited during the 2018-19 season, but it’s not like a dip in tourism is going to shatter the Antarctic economy or a struggling small business selling tapas atop the Ross Ice Shelf.

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN


The Justice Department has settled the case United States v. 99,337 Pieces of Counterfeit Native American Jewelry, which concerned the fate of, well, 99,337 pieces of counterfeit Native American jewelry that had been imported from the Philippines and illegally sold under false pretenses as being created by Native Americans. In October 2017, the FBI and Fish and Wildlife Service seized $288,739 and counterfeit jewelry following a sting operation. Two men have pleaded guilty to violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and will be sentenced in June.

Michael Doyle, E&E News

Pay TV

It’s been a brutal quarter for cord-cutting, with the 1.7 million decline in subscribers for the cable and satellite companies being the worst on record in the first quarter, up considerably from the 1.1 million loss in Q1 of 2019 and more than triple the half-million lost in the first quarter of 2018. This likely doesn’t account all that much for subscriber losses related to shutdowns, which only occurred in the last few weeks of the quarter. With businesses — many of which have cable and internet subscriptions — potentially slamming pause, it could get rough.

Gavin Bridge, Variety


Reply-allpocalypses are when someone mistakenly sends an email to hundreds or thousands of recipients by getting a little trigger-happy and replying to all parties involved. Everyone has those moments now and again — Microsoft itself had one in 1997 when 25,000 people generated 15,000,000 email messages and 195 gigabytes of data — but only now has the technology been built to stop them before they get too out of control. A new feature — called Reply-All Storm Protection — being rolled out for Office 365 and Exchange Online will detect when 10 reply-all emails will go to over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes.

Tom Warren, The Verge

Snake Oil

The FTC has warned 45 marketers hawking junk that they claim can prevent or treat COVID-19 to cease and desist lest the feds drop the hammer on them. This is the fourth batch of warning letters sent out by the FTC, which has cumulatively warned 100 companies and individuals to please stop shilling snake oil. The newest batch of hucksters to be warned by the agency include supplement and vitamin pushers, air sanitizer sellers, an EMF Radiation Protection thing, one musical therapist, and something called “ozone therapy” that better be a Nathan For You thing because, jeez, it can’t be that easy to find marks, can it?

Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch and FTC


Waste Management handles 18.3 million residential customers’ garbage across the U.S. and Canada, as well as lots of commercial and industrial trash, which is where the real money is. The issue is that there’s been a huge dip in that business-related trash — volume was down 16 percent in the first quarter compared to last year, leading to a $40 million dip, to be precise — and a surge in the amount of at-home trash. That residential trash is typically handled as part of a multi-year contract with cities where the price is flat regardless of the filth produced in a given municipality over the period. The weight of residential waste is up anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent all over the country, meaning more work, more trucks, more loads, and more trips. Interestingly, the high demand for recycled paper and cardboard — to produce more packages and toilet paper — means that Waste Management is actually selling 80 percent to 85 percent of its recycled materials domestically, up from 70 percent typically.

Nina Trentmann, The Wall Street Journal

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