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Significant Digits For Monday, Oct. 21, 2019

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

Assembly Bill 5

Freelance writers across California are concerned about the conditions of Assembly Bill 5, a new piece of legislation aimed at cracking down on gig-economy companies like Uber and Lyft. The law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will set an annual cap of 35 “submissions” that freelancers can contribute to each individual employer. Pay rates at some websites can run as low as $25 per article, so many writers are concerned that in order to cover the state’s high cost of living, they would hit the 35-submissions-a-year limit within a month. [The Hollywood Reporter]

12.2 ounces

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) Chances are you have no idea how much your jeans weigh, but it matters more than you think. For fall, you want something that’s not too heavy and not too light.These jeans weigh in at 12.2 ounces, and you’d be hard-pressed to find jeans better suited for the cooler weather ahead. They’re also made out of a unique fabric that boasts incredible softness, which adds a dimension to the overall comfort level of the jeans. First-time customers get 15 percent off, so they’re definitely worth checking out as temperatures start to drop.

10 years of blackouts

After as many as 800,000 California households went through an energy blackout this month, the CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. told regulators last week that the experience will likely be repeated annually for the next decade. On Friday, Bill Johnson said it could take 10 years before outages meant to reduce the threat of wildfires are “really ratcheted down significantly.” Johnson admitted that PG&E was unprepared for the number of customers contacting its call centers and inundating its website, which crashed. [National Public Radio]

$36 million

Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones as the winged character Maleficent are still impressively sharp, but the “Mistress of Evil” sequel to the 2014 hit movie made only $36 million this past weekend. While it was No. 1 at the box office and knocked “Joker” out of the top spot, that amount was much lower than expectations from analysts as well as Disney’s own predictions. The original film grossed $69.4 million during its opening weekend. [Bloomberg]


The Southern Methodist Mustangs continued their hot start to the football season with a win Saturday over Temple. FiveThirtyEight contributor Josh Planos looked back on the history of the program, which was banned from all competition for a year in 1987. SMU has 65 new players this season, including 16 transfers. [FiveThirtyEight]

33,000 bottles recalled

Johnson & Johnson’s negative streak of news continues after the company announced on Friday that it was recalling 33,000 bottles of its namesake baby powder from lot number 22318RB. The move was in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finding a small amount of asbestos in one bottle, and it follows tens of thousands of lawsuits related to the company’s talcum powder, opioid drugs and other products. The lawsuits related to baby powder and other J&J items containing talc claim that usage resulted in ovarian cancer and a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma. [The Wall Street Journal]

9 killed in Kashmir

Authorities from both India and Pakistan say that nine civilians and soldiers were killed on Saturday and Sunday after the two countries exchanged fire in the disputed region of Kashmir. The deaths at the highly militarized area called the Line of Control follow increased tensions, including India’s withdrawal of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, a communications shutdown and the detention of thousands of people. [The Washington Post]