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Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 13, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I’m your host, Candice Norwood. Send any tips or suggestions to me.


145 CEOs

The pressure is mounting to act on gun control. The CEOs of 145 companies sent a letter to members of the Senate on Thursday stating that inaction is “simply unacceptable.” The companies represented include Uber, Twitter, TOMS and Airbnb. “Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded,” the letter states. The leaders are calling for stronger background checks, in addition to a red flag law. [NPR]


10.8 million children

Integration is still a challenge for most U.S. school districts, but a number have seen improvements. A Washington Post analysis found that 10.8 million children attended highly integrated public schools in 2017, compared with 5.9 million in 1995. The trend highlights drastic demographic changes taking place in small towns and suburbs that were once overwhelmingly white. Meanwhile, many children in big cities remain in deeply segregated districts. [The Washington Post]


$1.6 million

In Florida news, a fortune teller is headed to jail. A Florida woman has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for conning another woman out of $1.6 million. The fortune teller said she needed the money to remove a curse on the other woman’s family. According to the grand jury, the fortune teller represented herself as having “God-given powers that enabled her to help people afflicted with curses.” She later admitted to the victim that there was never a curse, ultimately pleading guilty to wire fraud. [NBC News]


$400 million lawsuit

CBS is getting sued. Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax filed a $400 million defamation lawsuit on Thursday against CBS after it reported on allegations of sexual assault against Fairfax. Earlier this year, the network aired interviews between Gayle King and Fairfax’s accusers Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson. Fairfax has denied the accusations, but CBS is not backing down. “We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit,” CBS News said in a statement to The Hill. [The Hill]


$3 billion in cash

It’s a big moment for the Purdue Pharma opioid cases. Thousands of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against the opioid manufacturer that is accused of contributing to the nationwide epidemic. The company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, have now tentatively reached the first comprehensive settlement. The family does not admit any wrongdoing, but would pay $3 billion in cash over seven years under the proposal. Still, the fight isn’t over. A number of state attorneys general have denounced the plan and promised to come after the Sackler fortune. Sounds like these states came to battle. [The New York Times]


6,106 home runs

MLB players are smashing balls and smashing records. Wednesday night, the Baltimore Orioles’ Jonathan Villar hit the league’s 6,106th home run of 2019, breaking the record set two years ago for the most runs in a season. So, what’s causing this surge? A ball’s spin rate off the bat could have something to do with it. There’s less spin this year than last year, and excessive spin might lead to batted balls traveling higher, but not farther. [FiveThirtyEight]


Candice writes the Significant Digits column for FiveThirtyEight, and is interested in how race, gender and class shape societies throughout the world. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for Governing Magazine and a White House stringer with Bloomberg News.

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