I'm suspect these values are upper bounds, and in the NY Times case, pretty close to the peak, of what someone processing information and having to make /some/ decision or determination based on it -- a post / no-post decision in the case of the Times, a brief, possibly extended, reply in case of Wolfram's email -- might be expected to handle.
And that the true value is probably in the 10 - 100 items range.
@Publicvent Space alien cats are quite accustomed to being misunderestimated.
We take it lying down, mostly, because, well, we sleep 14 hours a day.
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