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Significant Digits For Monday, July 9, 2018

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


18,632 state employees

Turkey fired over 18,000 state employees — including teachers, academics, police officers and members of the military — and canceled their passports, for “alleged links to terrorism groups.” The country has been in a state of emergency since a coup attempt in July 2016. [Associated Press]


29,000 homes and businesses

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the Los Angeles area were without power as of Sunday following a triple-digit heatwave. It takes a lot of energy to keep people cool, and peak megawatt usage there surpassed the power department’s estimates. [Los Angeles Times]


$650 a night

New Yorkers brag about their efficiency with regard to at least two things: leaving the city for the weekend and spending money. These two skills can now be efficiently combined with glamping (that is, glamor camping) which is now available on Governors Island in New York Harbor. It’s between $220 and $650 per night, there’s a bar, foam mattresses, “Turkish towels,” birdsong fills the air, the views are great and it’s all without a doubt nicer than my apartment, which is, you know, indoors. [The New York Times]


1 year old

A 1-year-old boy, occasionally asking for “agua,” appeared before a Phoenix immigration judge, where he was asked whether he understood the proceedings. That child, from Honduras, is one of hundreds of children who must be reunited with their parents after the Trump administration separated them from their parents while crossing the border. [Associated Press]


100 volts

Since at least the days of of Darwin, we’ve known that spiders could fly, miles up and hundreds of miles away. They don’t have wings, but they can thrust out strands of silk and float away. It was thought that their silk caught the wind, like a kite. But, in fact, it seems that spiders take advantage of Earth’s electric field — spiders can sense it and the air can be charged with as little as about 100 volts, which launches them. To recap: Spiders, flying hundreds of miles, fueled by the high voltage of thunderstorms. Got it. Sweet dreams. [The Atlantic]


69 percent

According to University of Chicago researchers, owning an iPhone is the most reliable indicator of whether someone is rich. “Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016,” they wrote. Previous brands that occupied this dubious role were Land O’ Lakes butter in 2004, and Grey Poupon Dijon in 1992. Pardon me, do you have any iPhone? [Gizmodo]


If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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