You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
1/4 of Earth’s population
A quarter of the human population of our planet is facing the growing and dire risk of running out of water, according to World Resources Institute data published this week. Seventeen countries are under “extremely high water stress,” meaning they are already using nearly all the water they have. Several large cities — including São Paulo, Chennai and Cape Town — have recently experienced “acute shortages” of water. [The New York Times]
The mayors of 214 cities — including El Paso, Dayton, Annapolis, Orlando, Parkland and Pittsburgh — signed a letter addressed to U.S. Senate leaders yesterday, urging them to pass legislation strengthening background checks for gun purchases. “Our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them,” the letter reads. [The Washington Post]
160 to 400 euros
You are no longer allowed, I’m very sorry to report, to sit on the iconic Spanish Steps in Rome. Should you, police will “shoo you away with a whistle,” and you could face a fine between 160 and 400 euros. The steps are so named for the Spanish embassy at their base and were made famous in the classic film “Roman Holiday.” A prominent Italian art critic called the ban “Fascist-like.” [Reuters]
Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa. And it’s also the future site of a Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox set for next August. The teams will meet in Dyersville, the filming location of “Field of Dreams.” The league will construct a temporary 8,000-seat stadium for the game, the first MLB game to be played in heaven — I mean, Iowa. [Associated Press]
5 years, $300 million
Following a courtship from six different studios, Netflix has signed the creators of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, to an exclusive deal for a reported five years and up to $300 million. I, for one, really look forward to seeing what they do with the “A Christmas Prince” franchise. [Deadline]
3 feet tall
Scientists have discovered the bones of a three-foot-tall, 15-pound parrot that lived some 16 million years ago. The remains had initially been misidentified as those of an “enormous, possibly human-eating eagle,” which … yikes. The size of a human child, the parrot has been nicknamed Squawkzilla. Polly want an entire box of crackers? [NPR]
From ABC News:
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