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Significant Digits For Monday, Aug. 17, 2015

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

2 squirrels

Two squirrels in Yosemite National Park have died from the plague, leading officials to shut down a campsite. Did you know that 42 people have caught the plague in California since 1970? Did you know that apparently plague is still a thing? All of this is new and horrifying information to me. [Associated Press]

14 acres

Disney announced that it will build new “Star Wars” attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland — 14 acres each. Full disclosure: I work for Disney (it owns ESPN, which owns FiveThirtyEight). Fuller disclosure: “Star Wars” plays an unsuitably large role in my life in general, so, yeah, I’m kind of a homer on thinking this is swell. [CNN Money]

20 years

The sperm of a ferret named Scarface who has been dead for about 20 years was successfully used for breeding. The black-footed ferret is critically endangered, which I suppose kind of — but not entirely — explains why someone has been holding on to ferret semen since the Clinton administration. [ScienceDaily]

70 times

The investigation into the explosions in Tianjin harbor continues, with reports emerging that a warehouse near the blasts may have held 70 times the allowed amount of sodium cyanide, a toxic chemical that is not supposed to be next to apartment buildings. [The Guardian]

95 percent

A yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times found that the Pinellas County School Board had transformed five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into “failure factories” by abandoning integration and breaking promises of new resources. About 95 percent of black students tested at the schools are failing reading or math. [Tampa Bay Times]

250 babies

Nine months ago, Buffalo was hit with a freak storm that dropped 7 feet of snow on the city. That means that this month, Mercy Hospital is delivering a slightly higher-than-normal number of babies. Ask your parents to explain that. In a typical August, Mercy welcomes about 200 new Buffalonians, but this month, the hospital is expecting about 250. [NBC New York]

1,000 scholarships

LeBron James’s foundation will pay the tuition to the University of Akron for more than 1,000 kids participating in the “I Promise” program. [SB Nation]


Donald Trump has released a set of immigration policy proposals. He wants to triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who detain and deport undocumented immigrants to 15,000, end the citizenship granted to anyone born in the U.S. regardless of their parentage, and increase just about any fee involved in getting from Mexico to the U.S. [ABC News]

$56.1 million

N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” won the box office this weekend, hauling in $56.1 million. That’s the biggest-ever opening weekend for an R-rated movie in August. [Variety]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.