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Significant Digits for Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

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


$26 million in missing paychecks

Millions of people around the world depend on automatic payroll deposits being regularly delivered into bank accounts to do things like pay rent, buy groceries, and make student loan payments. That didn’t stop the president of a New York payroll management company called MyPayrollHR from redirecting $26 million in payroll funds directly into his personal accounts. It wasn’t his only major instance of financial redirection. After being arrested and charged with bank fraud, former MyPayrollHR president Michael Mann admitted in court to stealing almost $70 million over the last nine years. [New York Times]


1,350 women with defective medical devices

It took seven years and a class action suit involving more than 1,350 women, but an Australian Federal Court judge has found a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson was actively negligent and is now liable to compensate patients who suffered injuries from defective permanent medical devices. Women involved in the class action suit had transvaginal meshes inserted into their bodies, but many of the implants resulted in severe complications among patients, including incontinence and chronic pain. [BuzzFeed News]


2,400 layoffs

The bad news continues for office-sharing company WeWork, after the company announced it was laying off 2,400 employees on Thursday. The staffing measure is an effort to cut costs and refocus on the office-sharing component of the business. The company had expanded to several other side ventures such as a school and co-living facilities, but that’s all crumbling now. After the company pulled back its IPO filing in September, co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down from his role as CEO after intense scrutiny over the organization’s bad balance sheet. [CNBC]


1 ice cream spoon

Discarded items, even small ones from a popular ice-cream chain, can hold important biological clues to crimes that happened decades ago. This week, officials in California announced they had identified a suspect in two cases of sexual assault from 1997 by using DNA evidence that had been collected from a Baskin-Robbins spoon. A 60-year-old man has now had multiple felony sexual assault charges filed against him. [Los Angeles Times]


20 years old

When I was 20 years old, I was still an undergrad, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. At 20, Luka Dončić is already playing for the Dallas Mavericks, and averaging mind-numbing numbers: 29.9 points per game, 10.6 rebounds, and 9.4 assists this season in the NBA. FiveThirtyEight’s Jared Dubin points out the only other player averaging similarly high numbers is LeBron James. Dubin also notes that Dončić is among the youngest players in the league’s history to achieve these statistics and is “well on his way to the best age-20 season of all time.” [FiveThirtyEight]


145 graves

The location of a high school in Tampa, Florida will likely be moved after the graves of 145 people were discovered underneath the building. The graves are part of Ridgewood Cemetery, a burial location for the poor that was originally owned by the city, then sold off to a private company before being acquired by the school district in 1959. The school district said records show more than 250 people were buried at Ridgewood, most of them African-Americans, and up to a third of the burials were for babies and small children. [BBC News]


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