Numlock News: June 8, 2018

Subway Riders

New York City leaders reportedly came to a deal that would subsidize the cost of a half-price MetroCard so that low-income families have access to our decrepit and broken subway system. The city will pony up $106 million to fund the first six months of a program that would make the shamefully maintained, foul-smelling infrastructure boondoggle available to all New Yorkers, regardless of wealth. It's projected that 40 percent of those eligible would sign up to access the shambolic rail system in the first year. 
J. David Goodman, The New York Times

Money Spent On Getting Hair

People generally do not enjoy going bald, and are willing to spend a bunch of money to reverse that process. Still, it's pretty weird that while annually about $3.6 billion is spent on the hair growth business, all of that is spent on products that do not in fact regenerate hair that has been lost. 
Amos Barshad, The New Yorker

Price Per Live Foal Generated

This weekend Justify, a horse, will run around a track and set the effective cost for his genetic contribution indefinitely. If he wins at the Belmont Stakes, he wins the Triple Crown. His owners will make a bunch of money, and Justify guarantees an epically hedonistic retirement. A purported $60 million breeding rights deal in the works would have a bonus of $25 million with a win. American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, and commands about $200,000 every time he sires a healthy foal. In the U.S. alone, that happens an average of 150 times per year. 
Melissa Hoppert and Matthew Goldstein, The New York Times


Pitchers are bad at hitting baseballs. They always have been, with few exceptions they always will be, and they've also been getting worse at it decade after decade. In the 1,900 combined plate appearances so far this year, pitchers got on base only 14.6 percent of the time, 16.9 percentage points below the NL league average. It's depressing to watch! The designated hitter debate has been going on for generations now, but this is getting ridiculous.
Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer 

Gig Economy Workers

For the first time since 2005, the Labor Department released a study looking at the chunk of the workforce who are independent contractors, on-call workers or employees of third-party contractors, a group generally referred to as the "gig economy." Somewhat surprisingly given the growth of ride share and freelance labor apps,10.1 percent of U.S. employees in May 2017 were in this group, down from 10.7 percent in 2005. The study didn't look at people for whom their alternative job is a side hustle in addition to a main position, which could potentially obscure the number. 
Katia Dmitrieva, Bloomberg

Facebook Users

A software bug from Facebook made the private posts of as many as14 million users public over the course of 10 days in May. This is just latest in a line of privacy scandals for the social network, and if it goes the same way as the rest of them, by next week we'll learn the bug has affected eleventy billion users and has actually been live for the past six hundred years. Anyway, if you've been shady on Facebook lately, now is the time to worry.
Kurt Wagner, Recode

EU Member States

Of the 28 member states in the European Union, 6 countries do not allow same-sex marriage. The European Union's Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that those E.U. members still have to grant residency to the same-sex partners of E.U. citizens. The case stemmed from a Romanian man married to an American, as Romania would not grant their citizen's spouse a residency permit because they do not recognize same-sex marriages. Still, being in the E.U. means abiding by the freedom of movement policy.
Alex Cooper, Slate