Summary of “Baseball’s Economics Aren’t As Skewed As They Seem”

While MLB players have resisted a salary cap that might make it simpler to establish what the players’ share “Should” be, a 50-50 split sounds fairer - and much more sympathy-inducing, from a PR perspective - than a 60-40 split.
In December 2015, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told the L.A. Times that the players’ share of revenue was “As close to 50 percent as it has been in a long time.” A year later, upon negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that took effect in 2017, Clark said his expectation was that the split would “Stay right in that general area,” remarking that the union “Wouldn’t have agreed to the deal otherwise.” A 50-50 split seems to be the target that the Players Association has set for itself.
Add in the earnings of baseball’s chronically underpaid, nonunionized minor leaguers - the sport’s only true paupers - and the players’ share of revenue rises to more than 56 percent.
Stephen Walters, a professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland who consults on player evaluation for the Orioles, elaborates via email: “Clubs sign a lot of guys to deals that involve bonuses, a lot of teams pay well to store players in inventory as insurance, and clubs also spend a good amount insuring contracts. Those issues can reconcile the ‘estimates’ from outsiders like Forbes/Cot’s with MLB’s accounting.” Insurance, of course, is a cost to teams but not a boon to players’ bank accounts.
“Based on the publicly available data, the players’ share has definitely declined from what it was 15 years ago.” Just before the strike started in 1994, major leaguers were raking in 58 percent of revenue.
“Total player costs were in the range of 60 percent of revenues in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but fell gradually to the 56-57 percent range by 2010, where they have remained,” Noll says.
“Most likely tougher luxury-tax rules and more extensive revenue sharing that were instituted in the 2002 and 2006 collective bargaining agreements reduced the share of revenues going to players, but that had been completed by 2010.” Zimbalist says he doesn’t disagree with Noll’s analysis.
Compared with their predecessors from the Players Association’s early-2000s share-of-revenue heyday today’s players may have cause to be bitter, even if they have only their own negotiators to blame.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s Time to Say It: Retirement Is Dead. This Is What Will Take Its Place”

The truth is that we are doing an enormous disservice to society by setting retirement as an end goal to a long career.
Advances in longevity are making supporting retirement for another 20 to 30 years impossible for 90 percent of all U.S. workers, whose only source of income is Social Security, which only pays from an average of just over $1,300 per month to a max of just over $2,600 per month.
While paid media ads that talk about retirement planning seem to be everywhere, the reality is that very few people are actually benefiting from retirement savings or planning.
Even if you’re lucky enough to be among the 20 percent, who have a $1 million-plus net worth and enough saved up to retire, there is some evidence that the classic notion of retirement may actually be harmful to your health.
Even the unhealthy group reduced their likelihood of dying by 9 percent if they delayed retirement.
What amazes me is that every financial institution’s white paper, study, or promotional piece about retirement planning is missing one critical thing: any mention of continuing to work! We need to wake up.
Rather than perpetuate the mythology of work as penance and retirement as a time to be liberated from it, what if you replaced the concept of retirement with that of a third act in which you can continue to create value and receive value for those things that you truly love to do, while you also establish a balance with other personally fulfilling activities you may want to do more of?
The bottom line is that the old rules were built for an economy and a society in which retirement was seen as a release from bondage-the liberating act from a lifetime of work.

The orginal article.

Summary of “digital paywall business is growing as fast as Facebook and faster than Google”

The Times’ overall digital business, by the way, is growing by 30 percent, altogether faster than Google.
It’s still apt since A) it is Facebook and Google that have been eating away the news business, and B) the Times, a 166-year-old establishment known for being stubbornly and decorously staid, often to the point of self-defeat, is now growing like a Silicon Valley behemoth.
The future of the Times – and of every news publisher – is digital, and the Times aims to create an $800 million digital business by 2020.
When including the Times’ Wirecutter business, led by Perpich, the company booked $607 million in total digital sales for the year.
Would an $800 million business sustain the Times’ current newsroom of 1,300 journalists? That headcount hasn’t changed in years, to the Times’ credit, and it’s clear that supporting such a large newsroom requires the hefty revenues from print.
The Times’ growing native ads business, for example, requires a lot of custom work, effectively amounting to an in-house ad agency.
If the market is being smart, it’s really just applying a startup valuation to the Times’ online business.
Yes, that’s a bit of a walk, but consider: Since 2011, the Times’ digital subscription revenue rose 656 percent and digital ad revenue rose 168 percent, while print continued to get smaller.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Where Did Your Pay Raise Go? It May Have Become a Bonus”

In 1991, for example, spending on temporary rewards and bonuses for salaried employees, known as variable pay, accounted for an average of 3.1 percent of total compensation budgets, while salary increases amounted to 5 percent.
Company spending on one-time bonuses, versus salary increases.
The percentage spent on salary increases never returned to its pre-2009 levels, the Aon Hewitt surveys show, while the percentage spent on bonuses and other short-term rewards climbed to new levels.
Their lifetime earnings – which include salary, wages, bonuses and exercised stock options – have mostly dropped since then.
Salaried workers, rather than hourly wage earners, remain much more likely to be the recipients of such extra payments.
Still, Jesus Ranon, supervisory labor economist at the bureau, said, “You can see in terms of percent of compensation there is an increase in these bonus components.”
When Aon Hewitt asked 2,079 American workers in a second, newly completed survey what they would like to see their employers do with their tax-cut windfall, 65 percent chose a pay raise – twice as many as any other option, including a bonus or a 401(k) contribution.
Takisha Gower, a passenger service agent for Envoy, the air carrier that was previously known as American Eagle and is owned by American Airlines, welcomed her recent $1,000 bonus, which the company credited to the “New tax structure.” She is much more concerned about her base pay week to week, a subject of longstanding contract negotiations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories”

Two of the technique’s pioneers, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, are women, and both of them spoke at the same conference from which I reported.
Of the people she mentioned across 136 articles, just 25 percent were women.
Gender biases are also entrenched in the media, where, in the words of the sociologist Gaye Tuchman, women are being “Symbolically annihilated.” As Adrienne noted in her piece, “Both in newsrooms and in news articles, men are leaders-they make more money, get more bylines, spend more time on camera, and are quoted far more often than women.” Again, there’s plenty of data on this.
I’ve since been trying to actively redress the balance, by spending more time searching for women to interview.
To find more female sources, I just spend a little more time on all of the above-ending the search only when I have a list that includes several women.
Four months after I started, the proportion of women who have a voice in my stories hit 50 percent, and has stayed roughly there ever since, varying between 42 and 61 percent from month to month.
For the first year, I also tracked the number of people whom I asked for an interview, to check if I was actually contacting men and women in equal numbers and simply receiving a skewed set of replies.
Every single person I contact is qualified to speak about the particular story that I’m writing; it’s just that now, half of those qualified people happen to be women.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ancestry DNA Tests Don’t Always Find What We Expect”

If your experience is anything like that of me and my mom, you may find surprises – not the dramatic “Switched at birth” kind, but results that are really different from what you expected.
Mom’s results: 31 percent from Italy and Southern Europe.
How could I have 50 percent of Mom’s DNA and not have any Italian? We do look alike, and she says there is little chance we were switched at birth.
Mom came back as 25 percent southern European, me only 6 percent.
“When we talk about the 50 percent that gets inherited from Mom, there’s a chance that you have a recombination that just gave you more of the northwest European part than the Italian part of your Mom’s ancestry DNA,” she says.
The 23andMe reports results with a 50 percent confidence interval – they’re 50 percent sure their geographic placement is correct.
Move the setting up to 90 percent confidence, meaning your placement in a region is 90 percent certain, and that small 1.6 percent of my ancestry that is Italian disappears.
The ancestry tests also have to take into account the fact that humans have been migrating for millennia, mixing DNA along the way.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Brazil’s Democracy Pushed Into the Abyss”

The evidence against Mr. da Silva is far below the standards that would be taken seriously in, for example, the United States’ judicial system.
The bribe alleged to have been received by Mr. da Silva is an apartment owned by OAS. But there is no documentary evidence that either Mr. da Silva or his wife ever received title to, rented or even stayed in the apartment, nor that they tried to accept this gift.
The evidence against Mr. da Silva is based on the testimony of one convicted OAS executive, José Aldemário Pinheiro Filho, who had his prison sentence reduced in exchange for turning state’s evidence.
According to reporting by the prominent Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Mr. Pinheiro was blocked from plea bargaining when he originally told the same story as Mr. da Silva about the apartment.
Mr. da Silva remains the front-runner in the October election because of his and the party’s success in reversing a long economic decline.
Mr. da Silva took office in 2003, and Ms. Rousseff in 2011.
If Mr. da Silva is barred from the presidential election, the result could have very little legitimacy, as in the Honduran election in November that was widely seen as stolen.
A poll last year found that 42.7 percent of Brazilians believed that Mr. da Silva was being persecuted by the news media and the judiciary.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Zach Lowe 10 things I like and don’t like, including the other Clippers”

The Clippers have a better scoring margin overall with Harrell on the floor, per NBA.com.
Napier has hit 63 percent of shots within the restricted area after failing to crack even 46 percent – hideous for a player of any size – in any prior season.
Napier has been so reliable that Stotts has even experimented with letting Napier and Evan Turner run things without either McCollum or Lillard on the floor – instead of staggering those two stars so that one always plays.
Mills spends only 58 percent of his time on the floor jogging or standing still, the 14th-lowest share among all rotation players, per tracking data from Second Spectrum.
Zach Lowe goes deep on a Heat squad trying to spark another incredible run this season.
He’s even canned a preposterous 65 percent of shots launched out of the floater zone between 10 and 16 feet from the basket.
Steele picks some tidbit – the number of games in which Marreese Speights canned a triple within one minute of entering, Zaza Pachulia’s career 0-of-26 mark from deep – and he and Turner debate over whether it is anything.
Steele plays up a sort of deadpan, hangdog helplessness as he sits at the mercy of an inscrutable judging process.

The orginal article.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 25,000 points for the first time in history last week.
As you may have guessed, that stock ownership is not evenly distributed among income groups: The Federal Reserve reports that 93.6 percent of families earning a median salary of $251,500 owned stock in 2016, while less than 40 percent of families earning up to a median salary of $54,100 did.
Separately, an economist from New York University found that the top 20 percent of earners owned 92 percent of the stocks in 2013.
If you don’t have a job at all, you’re likely less concerned with whether the Dow is at 21,000 or 25,000 than when you’ll get your next paycheck.
Which are low, and our debt, which keeps increasing*-according to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit card balances are at a new all-time high of $1.0227 trillion, which should give the Dow enthusiasts pause.
Are you really celebrating the Dow’s new watermark if you have over $25,000 in student loan debt?
Medical expenses, too, have increased by about 34 percent over the past decade, according to Nerdwallet, while the median income has only grown 20 percent.
62 percent of Americans surveyed by the American Psychological Association said they were stressed about money-a figure that’s unlikely to change-regardless of how high the Dow sails-if the average bank account balance remains below $4,000.

The orginal article.

Summary of “9 ways the world got a lot better in 2017”

There has been a lot of bad news in America this year, and people are noticing: In December, 60 percent of US respondents felt the country was on the wrong track.
The Syrian war, by far the most deadly conflict of this decade, has seen a lower death rate than previous years – estimated at 33,000 last year, compared with 50,000 in 2016.
Average battle deaths per 100,000 people worldwide were 5.7 a year between 1946 and 1989, compared with one per 100,000 each year between 1990 and 2010.
3) Fewer deaths from natural disasters 2017 was also a good year in terms of mortality from acts of God.
Polio paralyzed 350,000 children a year in the 1980s; 2017 saw only 19 cases of wild poliovirus worldwide.
The latest global data suggests life expectancy at birth has climbed by 10 years over the past four decades; it now stands at 72 years.
By October 2017, the proportion of women in the world’s parliaments had reached 23.5 percent, up from 22.8 percent the year before – and up from a mere 11.7 percent in January 1997.
In general, growth in the poorer developing world is predicted to be considerably higher than growth in the rich world, which should reduce global inequality.

The orginal article.