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Significant Digits For Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

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


1.7 million people

For more than 10 weeks, pro-democracy protestors, spurred by an extradition bill, have been out in force across Hong Kong. Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands gathered in an overflowing Victoria Park for more peaceful protests. The protest’s organizers, the Civil Human Rights Front, put the number of attendees at 1.7 million. [BBC]


$0.001 per image

Amazon’s Rekognition facial-recognition software had been able to place faces on a scale for seven emotional categories — “happy,” “sad,” “angry,” “surprised,” “disgusted,” “calm,” and “confused.” Last week, Amazon AI engineers added an eighth category — “fear.” The system can detect fear at a cost of $0.001 per image, with a discount for those totally normal people who analyze more than a million images. Alexa, I’m scared. [Wired]


“$700 million a year”

President Trump wants to buy Greenland — which, if you’ve seen “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” you know was once covered with ice and which, if you’ve followed the climate news lately, you know is less true every day. Anyway, Trump said: “Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it.” [Associated Press]


8 repeating FRBs

A group of Canadian scientists have detected eight fast radio bursts, or FRBs, adding to a short list of such discoveries of “these brief signals that are crossing the universe,” which last only about a millisecond. While some of these signals have been traced back to the galaxies from which they originated, their cause remains unknown. Some theories suggest that the cause is a neutron star or a similar magnetar. [CBC]


7,560 pounds of marijuana

Beneath a shipment of jalapeño peppers at a border checkpoint in San Diego were 7,560 pounds of marijuana, valued at $2.3 million, according to the Customs and Border Protection who uncovered it. If my math is correct, that’s about $304 a pound or about $19 per ounce, and so if my, uh, reading on the subject is correct, that’s a whole lot of not great pot. [NBC News]


5 linguists

Five linguists at the City University of New York are nearing the end of a three-year project to document the “New Yawk” accent and “to catalog just what makes the dialect so distinctively New York.” The researchers employed undergrads across the five boroughs to record interviews. They found dropped R’s, nasally A’s, and “a trademark spin on the first vowel in words like coffee, making it cawfee.” Hey, undergrad, I’m walking heeah. [New York Daily News]


From ABC News:


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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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