Numlock News: September 19, 2018

By Walt Hickey

Check out this past week’s Sunday special, where I talked to Neil Paine about what to look forward to this Fall in sports.


The Canadians have cracked the enigma machine of our time: how sites like Ticketmaster manage to financially gouge music lovers trying to get a seat at a concert. By monitoring the 17,000 seats for sale to a Bruno Mars concert in Toronto, data journalists found how not all seats were listed when the formal sale began, how prices were hiked mid-sale, and how the service manages to collect fees twice when tickets are later scalped. Ticketmaster made $2.1 billion in ticket sales in 2017 and this one concert is a great look at how: they charged $350,000 in service fees for the first sale of tickets available for the Bruno Mars concert. 4,500 of those tickets went back up for resale on the service, and they collected a further $308,000 in fees on those tickets for a double-dipped total of $658,000, which is seriously Uptown Funking up fans’ wallets.

Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan, Valérie Ouellet & William Wolfe-Wylie, CBC News and the Toronto Star


A Fresno man, Trevon Franklin, faces a prison sentence for uploading the movie Deadpool to Facebook, where it eventually was viewed for free 6,386,456 times. I’m generally sympathetic to small-scale pirates; if I learn some of you forwarded the Numlock Sunday Specials to a non-paying friend I’m probably not going to set my attorneys on you like the Valkyries of yore. But reading up on the case, I do understand why authorities may want to make an example out of Mr. Franklin. Namely, given that he responded to people suggesting his actions were illegal with, “I got the ultimate way out of this, yall might be surprised on how I won’t go to jail but just become more famous,” and “I’m just sitting back smoking out my bong laughing at these mfs who think they know what they talking I haven’t sold shit to anyone, or made copies,” and went on to create a subsequent Facebook group called “Bootleg Movies” and suggested “EVERYBODY JOIN.”

Jennings Brown, Gizmodo


In 2013, about 20,000 salmon escaped from a damaged sea pen in Newfoundland, where they were being farmed. The escapees have gone on to have a profound impact on salmon stocks: a year after the escape, biologists took samples of 1,704 stunned baby salmon from 18 different rivers in Newfoundland and found that 17 of the 18 rivers contained hybrid offspring — the result of a mating between a wild and a farmed salmon — and 13 of the 18 contained feral salmon — a mating of two farmed salmon. There’s also evidence that huge one-time escapes aren’t as big of a problem as slow, ongoing escapes, as there’s genetic evidence some of the salmon are the grandchildren of escapees, meaning their ancestors busted out long before the Great Escape.

Ben Goldfarb, Hakai Magazine


Those 3,000-odd lagoons of North Carolina pig excrement that some were worried would overflow under the historic rain from Hurricane Florence? Yeah, a few of them totally did. As of September 18, 13 lakes of liquid pig excrement overtopped their walls.

Zoë Schlanger, Quartz

Gig Workers

A survey of workers has found that generally those working in the gig economy — those in contract jobs or freelance work — are by and large similar to workers in the economy as a whole, with similar satisfaction with pay, benefits, opportunity and even other metrics like gender, education and income. The one major difference is that the gig workforce is considerably less white than the overall workforce: Hispanic workers make up 20 percent of the gig workforce compared to 10 percent of the overall workforce, and African Americans are 12 percent of the gig workforce compared to 9 percent of the overall.

Sam Sabin, Morning Consult

Chinese Hi Tech

One result of the ongoing U.S. trade war with China may very well be a strengthening of the Chinese high tech businesses. Taking American parts and partners out of the equation, China’s industry may rely more on its own domestic high tech businesses and reduce its overall reliance on international parts. This would accelerate an existing trend in the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong, where in the 2000, 17 percent of all industrial output was high-tech products. This output rose to 44 percent by last year.

Liza Lin and Dan Strumpf, The Wall Street Journal


A new report from the New York Attorney General says three cryptocurrency exchanges — you know, those services your smart friend uses to lose money — may be operating illegally in the state. Binance, Kraken and refused to provide requested information. The report also says that a number of those digital exchanges are doing odd things with house money: almost 20 percent of the volume on Coinbase Inc.’s marketplace was Coinbase’s own trading, which raises questions about the risks faced by smaller customers and the reliability of liquid assets.

Lily Katz, Bloomberg

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Previous Sunday special editions: Fall 2018 Sports Analytics ·  The Media  ·  Omega-3  ·  Mattress Troubles  ·  Conspiracy Theorists  ·  Beaches  ·  Bubbles  ·  NYC Trash  ·  Fish Wars  ·  Women’s Jeans  ·  Video Stores

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