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Significant Digits for Friday, October 18, 2019

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

300,000 students

Class for more than 300,00 students in Chicago officially halted on Thursday morning after teachers and support workers in the country’s third-largest school district went on strike. The Chicago teachers union is asking for bigger budgets to pay for salaries, classroom supplies, smaller class sizes and additional support staff. The last strike in Chicago’s school system happened in 2012 and lasted seven days. [New York Times]

55 mph winds

Incredible wind speeds as strong as a tropical storm have been hitting several parts of the East Coast due to a specific kind of weather phenomenon called a bomb cyclone. Hundreds of thousands of customers in several states don’t have electricity and dozens of flights have been delayed or cancelled due to high wind speeds, significant drops in air pressure and damaged infrastructure. Approximately one quarter of the residents in Maine lost power on Thursday. [United Press International]

20 sealed ancient Egyptian coffins

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities says more than 20 sealed coffins, spread out over two levels of a large tomb, have been discovered by archaeologists in the city of Luxor. The “well-preserved sarcophogi” have been described by authorities as “one of the largest and most important discoveries to have been announced in the past few years.” The same ministry recently announced the discovery of an extensive industrial area comprised of 30 workshops which made pottery, furniture and other decorative items for royal tombs. [CNN]

$631 billion

A new report from the Society of Actuaries estimates the cost of the opioid epidemic to the U.S. economy is at least $631 million. Much of the amount is due to unrealized earnings from victims who died from the highly addictive painkillers, as well as health care costs between the study’s period of 2014 to 2018. The information was released as part of a landmark federal trial happening this week in Cleveland. [Washington Post]

1,479 vaping-related injury cases

On Thursday, federal health authorities said the number of lung injuries related to vaping grew to 1,479, and the number of deaths is now 33. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows almost 4 out of 5 of those injured have been under the age of 35. Many of the cases of vaping-related illnesses have occurred in users who said they had vaped products containing unregulated sources of THC. [Wall Street Journal]

2 bulls

In the world of dairy farming, the popularity of artificial insemination combined with a hyper-focus on top-producing female offspring means the lineage of most, if not all, of the American industry’s Holstein bulls can be traced back to two names: Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation and Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief. After Penn State geneticist Chad Dechow and some of his colleagues figured this out, they realized it had also led to a significant decline in genetic variation. But now Dechow is trying to use old bull semen to bring back valuable genes that went missing, and show how they’re still great for producing milk. [National Public Radio]