Numlock News: May 9, 2019 • Pokemon, Cook books, Side Effects

By Walt Hickey

Liking Numlock? Forward today’s email to a friend you think may enjoy it and might subscribe.

Niantic Used Payday, It’s Super Effective

This weekend, with the release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu, we'll finally get a look at the underbelly of the Pokémon world with a hard-boiled and ghastly detective story featuring a very adorable electric mouse. But it's worth noting that even if it crushes it at the box office, it's got a ways to go to surpass what sneakily remains the most financially successful Pokémon property in operation, the most definitely still-extant Pokémon Go, a mobile augmented reality game that made $65 million in April worldwide, which is up 15 percent year over year. To date, Pokémon Go has grossed $270 million in 2019, up 33 percent over the the same period in 2018, and has grossed over $2 billion since launch.

Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter

No Sundays No Problem

Chick-fil-A made $10.18 billion in 2018, which is more than three times the $2.96 billion it made a decade ago in 2008. Despite remaining closed on one-seventh of the typical days of operation of a restaurant in its class, the privately-held company is poised to become the third-largest restaurant chain by sales behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. That growth has come only in part from an expanded footprint — Chick-fil-A had 1,423 locations in 2008 and 2,370 in 2018 — and is scooping up an expanded share of chicken-focused limited service restaurants, now 32.9 percent of the market compared to 17.7 percent in 2009. KFC has been in a rut — down to 15.3 percent from 28.5 percent in 2009 — while Buffalo Wild Wings and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen hold down 14.5 percent and 10.9 percent marketshare, respectively.

Micah Maidenberg, The Wall Street Journal

Side Effects

A new Health and Human Services regulation expands the disclosure obligations of pharmaceutical ads, a $4 billion annual marketing juggernaut. While the television promotions have long had to disclose the myriad negative effects taking those pills might have on your health at the end of the 30-second spot (you know the whole "Megatrex may cause gout, sleeplessness, spontaneous human combustion, dropsy and lightheadeness in some patients" spiel) they will now be forced to disclose the negative impact their wares will have on your financial health by mandating disclosure of sticker prices in ads for any pharmaceutical that costs more than $35 for a months supply, which let's be real is all of the pharmaceuticals. Drug makers are expected to challenge the decision in court.

Nicolas Florko, STAT News


Yesterday saw Uber and Lyft drivers stage a one-day strike, and despite the fact that they're not technically employees it's an early action in what will doubtless be one of the most decisive labor-related questions of the era to come. Gig workers remain a fraction of U.S. employment — only about 0.6 percent — but are high-profile representatives of a larger fraction of non-standard workers, including the 0.9 percent of workers employed by temp agencies, 1.7 percent as on-call workers and 6.9 percent as independent contractors. What legal rights are owed to those laborers remains an unsettled question, but one thing is for certain: collective action is back. In 2018, a full 485,000 workers were involved in some sort of stoppage, 20 times the level observed in 2017 and the highest since 1986.

Noah Smith, Bloomberg


A study of high school students found that on average the kids slept 8 hours and 17 minutes per night; however, 8 percent slept less than 6 hours. Here's the wild part: the longer a student's commute, the less they got to sleep, and it's not even the kind of minute-for-minute sleep-for-commute trade-off you’d expect: no, it’s instead that for every additional minute of commute, those studied suffered a 1.3 minute reduction in sleep, so a 20 minute difference in commute time meant a 26 minute reduction in sleep. Girls also averaged 24 minutes less sleep than boys.

Richard Florida, CityLab


PrEP is a drug that (with proper use) greatly reduces, if not eliminates, the transmission of HIV. It’s also owned by a pharmaceutical company, Gilead, that made $3 billion off the drug in 2018 and planned to hike the price 4.9 percent in 2019. The treatment costs $1,600 to $2,000 per month despite being available for as little as $6.50 per month in other countries, as the very U.S. taxpayers who helped finance the development of the drug were not able to access it as a generic due to a patent. In April, the Justice Department started investigating whether Gilead violated the terms of the patent, and that certainly seemed to light a fire under them, because according to their latest quarterly report Teva will be allowed to manufacture a generic in September 2020, one year earlier than the patent.

Matthew Rodriguez, Out


A study analyzed the sheer number of deaths necessary to prepare every single recipe in a given cookbook and, let me tell you, I never thought I’d see the day where Paula Deen was highlighted for her exemplary rights record, but here we are. For instance, to prepare every dish in the acclaimed cooking bible Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It (2011) would require 71 deaths, of which 37 are chickens, translating to an average 0.55 deaths per Guy Fieri recipe, which is fairly good! Some do better — Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook clocks in at an even 0.5 deaths per recipe, Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking requires a sacrifice of 0.37 deaths per dish, and with her predisposition towards larger livestock rather than the comparatively scrawny birds that pad out the numbers, Paula Deen’s cookbook requires only 0.31 deaths per recipe. The deadliest cookbook is Mario Batali’s Molto Gusto, which required 620 total deaths, 567 of which were glass eels, for an average 5.25 deaths per recipe. Man, come to think of it, Julia Child is basically John Wick, but for chickens.

Dylan Matthews, Vox

Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.

Thank you so much for subscribing! If you're enjoying the newsletter, forward it to someone you think may enjoy it too! Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips, or feedback at Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at

Previous 2019 Sunday special editions: Scrubbers ·  Saving the World ·  Summer Movies ·  No One Man Should Have All That Power ·  Film Incentives ·  Stadiums & Casinos ·  Late Night ·  65 is the new 50 ·  Scooternomics ·  Gene Therapy ·  SESTA/FOSTA ·  CAPTCHA ·  New Zealand ·  Good To Go ·  California Football ·  Personality Testing ·  China’s Corruption Crackdown ·  Yosemite

2018 Sunday Editions: 2018  ·  Game of Thrones  ·  Signal Problems · CTE and Football · Facebook · Shark Repellent · Movies · Voting Rights · Goats · Invitation Only · Fat Bear Week · Weinersmith · Airplane Bathrooms ·  NIMBYs ·  Fall 2018 Sports Analytics ·  The Media  ·  Omega-3  ·  Mattress Troubles  ·  Conspiracy Theorists  ·  Beaches  ·  Bubbles  ·  NYC Trash  ·  Fish Wars  ·  Women’s Jeans  ·  Video Stores