Numlock News: May 18, 2021 • Lard, Bribes, Webcomics

By Walt Hickey

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Webcomics Inc.

South Korean internet giants Kakao and Naver are each gunning for control over the internet’s sprawling desire for sequential art. Naver owns Webtoon, home to over 700,000 comic artists, and will conclude a $600 million acquisition of Wattpad by the end of the month. Kakao, which owns Piccoma in Japan, is buying up Tapas Media and Radish Media. The latest innovation in digital comics has been the mobile-friendly full color vertical scroll comic, and business is good: the content businesses of Naver and Kakao over the past three years was $460 million.

Kotaro Hosokawa, Nikkei Asia

Crypto

In April, a federal judge ordered a payments company to turn over customer records to the IRS related to gains customers made from crypto, and then in early May another IRS summons was approved for the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken. The data requested is just for customers who had over $20,000 in transactions in any year from 2016 to 2020. The reason is that the IRS is looking at the $2.45 trillion market cap of all cryptocurrencies as of mid-May, and then looking at the teeny tiny $10 billion market cap of all cryptocurrencies as of the beginning of 2016, and then it’s looking back at the $2.45 trillion market cap of all cryptocurrencies as of mid-May, and then it’s wondering where all of its friggin’ money is.

Laura Saunders, The Wall Street Journal

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The Window

The 90-day theatrical window has buckled but not broken, with Disney finally announcing they too will bow out and leave Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters for just 45 days before it hits home entertainment. The first to break was Universal Pictures last July, which cut a deal for a 17 day window, with Warner and Paramount going to 45 shortly after. All that’s left to make a final switch is Sony.

Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Lefty

An analysis of photographs of NBA players signing autographs compared to their shooting style found that 8 percent of the league’s All Stars over the last decade write with one hand and shoot with another, including 76ers star Ben Simmons, a right-handed writer who shoots southpaw and LeBron James, who writes lefty but shoots righty. While everyone in the NBA is basketball ambidextrous to an extent, the truly mixed-handed are rarities: only about 1 percent of people are equally likely to use their left hand as their right hand, while about 10 percent are mixed-handed to a lesser extent, preferring some tasks with one hand and others with the other.

Ben Cohen, The Wall Street Journal

Send Help

Monday was Tax Day in the United States, and it was a weird one, with multiple stimulus checks, several rule changes, a bunch of one-off loans with peculiar tax implications and enough credits and deductions to make you wish they covered this crap for like 10 minutes in high school. They didn’t, so Americans called for aid at an unprecedented level: the number of electronically submitted returns completed by a professional was up 11 percent, while the self-prepped returns were down 6 percent.

Laura Davison, Bloomberg

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Bribes

A new survey of unvaccinated Americans found that a considerable bribe would do the trick for a majority of those respondents, with 57 percent of unvaccinated adults saying that a $1,000 savings bond would convince them to get a COVID-19 shot. A few of those folks come considerably cheaper: 43 percent would do it for $50. While those are the carrots, sticks are also on the menu: 57 percent said they would get a vaccination if their employer required it to work in person.

Gaby Galvin, Morning Consult

Lard

The global lard market was $15.7 billion in 2018, up 2.9 percent from 2017, and all told lard consumption is poised to grow 1.6 percent annually through 2025. Driving that is rising demand from China, but also interest from consumers in maximizing the use that people get out of the livestock. While the U.S. gave up on lard with the whole low-fat phase society went through, China’s consumption is estimated to be 2.87 million tons, 40 percent of global consumption, but that’s only four times the runner-up — Germany.

Christopher Doering, Food Dive

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