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Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 6, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I’m Candice Norwood, taking over for Ollie. Send any tips or suggestions to

8 executive orders

Texas is making moves to prevent mass shootings — but not to restrict gun access. Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued eight executive orders in response to shootings in Odessa and El Paso. The measures largely try to improve how tips and intelligence about potential shooters is handled by law enforcement. In a statement, Abbott pledged to “keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals” while preserving 2nd amendment rights. [Texas Tribune]

2 people

A second person in the U.S. has died from a lung illness linked to vaping. Health officials say symptoms were consistent with reports of other vaping-related respiratory illnesses around the country. This most recent report in Oregon involved marijuana. The first reported death happened in Illinois after the victim used an e-cigarette. [ABC News]

More than 1,000 names

Jeffrey Epstein had a lot of names in his address book. Court documents reveal hundreds of people connected to the former financier and convicted sex offender. One attorney said the people are named in depositions, investigatory records and an address book listing more than 1,000 names. One man known as John Doe petitioned the judge this week to keep the records sealed. [The New York Times]

$4.5 million fine

The U.S. Department of Education has fined Michigan State University $4.5 million for failing to address abuse committed by Larry Nassar. The MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor was sentenced to up to 175 in prison after decades of sexually assaulting patients. The fine is a record amount, and the second major Title IX violation for MSU in the last five years. [Detroit Free Press]

13 states

Sports betting is here and Americans are ready to win — or more likely lose — some money. As the NFL season kicks off, football fans in 13 states can now gamble legally. About five additional states and the District of Columbia are also poised to open legal markets soon. So what do big winnings mean for federal taxes? Fortunately for you casual gamblers, the IRS wants to make things easy. [CNBC]

56 percent

Big brother is watching, but most Americans are cool with that. More than half of U.S. adults trust police to use facial recognition responsibly, according to the Pew Research Center. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they either trust law enforcement “a great deal” or “somewhat” in using the technology to address security threats. Facial recognition has become a popular policing tool in the U.S., despite pushback from civil rights groups. Say cheese? [Pew Research Center]

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.