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Significant Digits For Friday, April 12, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.


1 count

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested yesterday morning at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He is being charged by the U.S. with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted. The charge stems from accusations that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. army intelligence analyst, in 2010 to break into Defense Department computers to obtain classified documents. [The Guardian]


335 years in prison

Michael Avenatti, meanwhile, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 36 counts, including fraud, perjury and embezzlement — charges that could bring a maximum sentence of 335 years in prison if convicted. The grand jury alleged that Avenatti, the attorney who gained fame as the lawyer who represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels against President Trump, “stole millions of dollars from five clients and used a tangled web of shell companies and bank accounts to cover up the theft.” [Los Angeles Times]


1,000 audio clips per shift

A team of Amazon employees and contractors around the world work in nine-hour shifts, each listening to as many as 1,000 audio clips of what customers have said to the company’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa. The Amazon review program, whose workers have signed non-disclosure agreements barring them from discussing it, “highlights the often-overlooked human role in training software algorithms.” [Bloomberg]


7 percent tax

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a new 7 percent tax on “the largest, most profitable U.S. companies.” The Real Corporate Profits Tax would affect some 1,200 companies and is projected to raise $1 trillion over a decade. Warren specifically mentioned Amazon in her proposal — the company would have paid $698 million more in U.S. taxes for 2018 under Warren’s plan. [The Wall Street Journal]


$27.20 a semester

Undergraduate students at Georgetown University are voting on a proposal that would increase tuition by $27.20 per semester to create a fund to benefit descendants of 272 slaves who were sold to pay off the Georgetown Jesuits’ debt, a move which “saved the university financially.” The debate on the Georgetown campus, writes ABC News, takes place against the backdrop of a larger political conversation on the 2020 presidential campaign trail about reparations. [ABC News]


$1,535 rent

Driven by millennials’ demand, job growth and rising wages, the median rent in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent in March compared to the year before, according to data from the online rental housing site HotPads. It’s now $1,535 a month. Phoenix was the big “winner,” where the median rent rose 6.7 percent to $1,520. The median rent in New York, on the other hand, ticked up just 1.5 percent — to $2,380. [Associated Press]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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