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Significant Digits For Friday, Aug. 30, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. This is my final column as your digit wrangler. It’s been a pleasure — thank you for reading.


408,000 men and women

A new study in the journal Science — the “largest ever to analyze the genetics of same-sex sexual behavior” — examined genetic data from 408,000 men and women and found that genetics does play some role in determining who has same-sex sex. It’s not the result of a single gene, but many genes that contribute some small effect. The Times also reported that several scientists who are part of the LGBTQ community at the Broad Institute, which led the research, “said they were worried the findings could give ammunition to people who seek to use science to bolster biases and discrimination against gay people.” [The New York Times]


8 pages

During its failed establishment of a second headquarters in New York City, Amazon reportedly kept a “burn book” — “an eight-page, bullet-pointed, Calibri font testimony” of what the company saw as insults from politicians and labor leaders who opposed the deal. Maybe I’m a typeface nerd, but the thing that most bothers me about this news is the use of Calibri. [The Wall Street Journal]


405 police departments

Speaking of Amazon, Ring, its home-security company, published a map this week showing the police departments across the country with which it has signed deals. Ring has acknowledged active partnerships with 405 such departments. The deals vary, and include such things as police offering rebates to people in the community who buy Ring products and granting police “access to a portal they can use to request footage from Ring camera owners in their communities.” [Gizmodo]


3,000 applications

The Morris Animal Refuge in Philadelphia put out a call online recently for adoptees of a 26-pound (!) cat named BeeJay, a.k.a. Mr. B. Needless to say, given the collective preferences of the internet, the call went viral and some 3,000 applications were submitted. Mr. B did find a home, and the shelter is working with the foster family “to help resolve the cat’s health and behavioral issues so that they might eventually become his permanent home.” Good luck, big fella. [NBC News]


140 home runs

Records continue to fall in baseball’s latest home-run era. Most recently, the Minnesota Twins broke the record for most homers on the road, smacking two in the third inning yesterday against the Chicago White Sox for a total of 140. That previous record was 138, set by the San Francisco Giants in 2001. [Associated Press]


From ABC News:


2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 20 and 30

For decades, an Edmonton, Alberta, man named Bon Truong played the exact same lottery numbers, derived from important dates in his life: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 20 and 30. And last fall, he finally won — $60 million. Truong said he has waited nearly a year to claim his winnings because he was “overwhelmed by the size of his luck.” I, for one, am overwhelmed by the size of his persistence. [The Washington Post]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”


Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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