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Significant Digits for Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is the number of layers you are wearing to stay warm.


403 pages of internal Chinese documents

The New York Times has published what they are calling “one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades.” The 403 pages of internal Chinese documents give a rare and detailed view of the country’s ongoing clampdown in Xinjiang, where authorities have effectively imprisoned a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others over the past three years. China’s ruling Communist Party has continued to describe the internment camps as “job training centers” that use “mild” methods to fight Islamic extremism. [New York Times]


16.5 million square feet

How many malls is too many malls? Dubai may be about to find out, if it hasn’t already. A new report from Bloomberg News says 19 percent of retail store space in Dubai was vacant in the third quarter. Yet, undeterred, developers in the Middle Eastern city are planning approximately 16.5 million square feet in retail construction over the next two years — that’s more than three Mall of Americas. [Bloomberg News]


0 new state-funded boilers until 2023

In harsh winter temperatures, a working boiler can be the difference between a family getting shelter from the cold or unnecessary suffering. The New York City Housing Authority has finally been given preliminary approval to spend $363 million to upgrade 108 obsolete boilers, but the fine print says the new equipment won’t “come online” until 2023. The money was first set aside as far back as 2016, but it has been caught up in bureaucracy since then. [The City]


1,700 untested rape kits

On Friday, Minneapolis police officials announced that an internal review of sexual assault cases had revealed an estimated 1,700 untested rape kits, some of which were more than two decades old. “We have a failure in terms of auditing and processing that is unacceptable,” the city’s police chief said during a news conference at City Hall. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]


3,200 algorithm changes

A new investigation from the Wall Street Journal has found that Google has increasingly changed the code that generates its search results. For example, the Journal’s report says that the technology supergiant has recently made changes to its algorithm so that search results would favor big businesses over small ones, including eBay, Amazon and Facebook. The report also says the search and advertising company made more than 3,200 changes to its algorithms last year, a significant increase from the more than 2,400 changes in 2017 and from approximately 500 in 2010. [Wall Street Journal]


49 percent of tests

Newsday spent three years looking into housing discrimination on Long Island, and found that black buyers were discriminated against 49 percent of the time. The investigation also found the area’s dominant residential brokering firms “solidify racial segregation” by frequently directing white customers to neighborhoods with the highest populations of white residents. Other minority groups were also subject to disparate treatment and discrimination as part of the investigation — 39 percent of the time for Hispanic testers and 19 percent for Asian testers. [Newsday]


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