Numlock News: September 24, 2021 • Conjuring, Trash, Kirk/Spock Fanfiction

By Walt Hickey

Have an excellent weekend!

Conjuring

A Rhode Island home, whose purported history of paranormal infestation made it the inspiration for the film The Conjuring, has hit the market for $1.2 million, proving that, good god, the American housing market is really running hot. The three-bedroom, 3,100 square foot, multiple ghost home is currently a hot rental property, with bookings through 2022. The home first became notorious in the 1970s when a family experienced a series of spooks later documented in a series of books, and the home is currently owned by two paranormal investigators. After discussions with my accountant, I, for one, am going to keep my powder dry and will continue holding out until the house that inspired Parasite hits the market.

Erika Mailman, The Wall Street Journal

Garbage

San Francisco is years into an extremely expensive process of buying new garbage cans, with July seeing the Board of Supervisors vote to spend $427,500 on 15 prototypes for the three possible models of new trash can, with a per-trashcan price tag of $12,000 to $20,000 each. At the end of the day, San Francisco plans to buy 3,300 of the cans, and while the initial goal was to buy $1,000 cans, it’s looking like they might end up paying $5,000 a can. All told, the city will have to spend $6.6 million to $16.5 million on the misbegotten project, the brainchild of a disgraced former city official facing charges of fraud and lying to a federal agent. What’s wild is there are plenty of off-the-shelf models they could have gone with, from the $3,900 Bigbelly to New York’s $632 can, Los Angeles’ $449.51 can, D.C.’s $987 can or even Portland’s $1,851 can.

Lydia Chavez, Mission Local

Wires

The typical European Union resident owns at least three chargers and uses two of them regularly. The 420 million mobile phones and portable electronic devices sold in the bloc last year are a major contributor of e-waste, particularly of the vestigial chargers that continue to hide in drawers and underfoot. That’s one reason the European Commission proposed legislation that would mandate that all smartphones sold adopt the universal charging standard of USB-C, a move that would mostly affect Apple devices that use their proprietary Lightning charging port. The E.U. estimates it would save consumers €250 million a year.

Kevin Chan, Associated Press

The Archive

A team is attempting to migrate the Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, a historically significant stockpile of smut, from the existing digital archive system based on the vestigial eFiction platform to the Archive Of Our Own (AO3) platform. The Kirk/Spock Archive was formed in 2004 and hosts thousands of fan-created works that predominantly focus on the Star Trek characters James T. Kirk and Spock, originally designed as a digital location for the scattered fan creations to live. In 2019, the Archive crashed after the technology on which it was built finally broke down, but AO3 has begun the work of migrating about 6,000 works to their own stable platform. There are about 200 authors who have not yet replied to the administrators’ requests to migrate their work, so if you were into the slash scene back in the day, you’re urged to check your inbox.

Jay Castello, Polygon

Somewhat Pyramidal In Shape

The trade group that represents multi-level marketing schemes — which are direct selling companies that some criticize as exploitative or resembling the business models of pyramid schemes — is coming off a banner year, with as of late July, 60 percent of companies reporting the pandemic had a positive impact on their domestic and global revenue. The Direct Selling Association estimated business grew 13.4 percent to $40.1 billion in retail sales in 2020, with 7.7 million people working as direct sellers. However, just because things are looking good for the brass absolutely doesn’t mean things are good for most sellers: one 2011 report estimated that 99 percent of people who participated in multi-level marketing schemes lost money.

Emily Stewart, The Goods

Microdrip

Around the world, 85 percent of irrigation is done the ancient way, by releasing a large amount of water across a field in a flood. It’s a cheap way to irrigate, but it’s seriously resource-intensive, with 70 percent of the water going to waste and excess fertilizer blasted away in the flow to eventually contaminate streams and water bodies. Microdrip irrigation, first developed in the 1930s, is vastly more efficient — water drips out of lines slowly, and is more effectively delivered to crops — but somewhat more expensive, which is why it’s applied to just 5 percent of irrigated areas. Setups cost about $2,000 an acre, so it’s mostly used for almonds, wine grapes and tomatoes, but new tech that brings that cost down to $400 an acre could open it up to more crops.

Elizabeth G Dunn, Bloomberg

HFCs

A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency will decrease U.S. production of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, by 85 percent over the next 15 years. HFCs are used in refrigerators and air conditioners, and they’re atmospherically gnarly, causing greenhouse effects thousands of times more severe than carbon dioxide. A 2016 global agreement pledged to slash HFCs by 2036, and the rule will reduce emissions by the equivalent of 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

The Associated Press

Last week in the Sunday edition, I spoke to Ariana Case of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative about their groundbreaking new study about the underrepresentation of Hispanics and Latinos in Hollywood, “Hispanic and Latino Representation in Film: Erasure On Screen & Behind the Camera Across 1,300 Popular Movies.” I’m a huge fan of the AII and this latest study is a real shocker, check it out.

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