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Significant Digits For Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

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


$12.2 million

A 13-foot satirical oil painting by Banksy — which shows the UK’s House of Commons filled with chimpanzees and is titled “Devolved Parliament” — sold for $12.2 million (£9,879,500), almost five times more than its top estimated price. The record-breaking artwork was created in 2009 for an exhibit at the Bristol Museum and re-exhibited at the same institution on March 28 of this year, the day before the original Brexit Day. The previous highest price for a Banksy artwork at auction was $1,870,000, paid for a painting called “Keep it Spotless” in 2008. [CNN]


5.7 percent

Data analysis from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group shows college football teams are punting less often inside the midfield, both on a per-game basis and as a percentage of all drives. Josh Planos and Neil Paine report that “just 5.7 percent of all Power Five offensive drives this season have resulted in a punt in opponent territory, the lowest rate since at least 2008.” Analysis of Power Five teams’ first five games of the college football season going back to 2008 shows more drives are ending in touchdowns today, rather than punts. [FiveThirtyEight]


24 states

Two dozen states are challenging Purdue Pharma’s request to pay its executives $38 million in bonuses, incentives and severance payments after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The private pharmaceutical company has been accused of triggering the opioid crisis through “aggressive and deceptive marketing,” resulting in billions in profits. The company’s bankruptcy filing is part of an effort to deal with the more than 2,600 lawsuits it’s facing. [Bloomberg]


Category 6 hurricane

Meteorologist Jeff Masters says the conditions of Hurricane Dorian, with its sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, would qualify it for a Category 6 rating, which does not currently exist on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale. Category 5 is defined by “sustained 1-minute average wind speeds of at least 157 mph (70 m/s).” The new level of intensity would help define the extreme rarity of a hurricane like Dorian, which heavily damaged much of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas in September. [Scientific American]


2,700 schools

Data analysis of measles-mumps-rubella vaccination records at thousands of American schools show many educational institutions do not have the immunization levels considered adequate to protect a population from measles. The Wall Street Journal found many schools have rates in the 70 percent to 80 percent range — about 2,700 schools in all fell below the 80 percent level — and some small, private schools have rates around 50 percent. This is significantly lower than the guidelines from the World Health Organization, which say “95 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated to prevent the disease from spreading.” [The Wall Street Journal]


400,000 tons of Himalayan salt

You’ve seen Himalayan pink salt sold in spa treatments, at Trader Joe’s and even as lamps. But industry advocates in Pakistan want you to know most of it doesn’t originate in India. A region of Pakistan that’s home to huge mines of pink salt winds up exporting around 400,000 tons of salt each year, and a big chunk of it goes to India for processing. From there, it’s sold on to consumers, including those in Europe and the United States, at a markup. [National Public Radio]


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