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Significant Digits For Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

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


1.5 million packages a day

There’s a price for all those smiling boxes on your doorstep. The popularity of Amazon Prime and other e-commerce vendors has resulted in more gridlock, congestion, parking violations, as well as pollution in New York City due to increases in truck traffic. Matthew Haag and Winnie Hu of The New York Times report that more than 1.5 million packages are being delivered each day, with households now receiving more shipments than businesses, and the situation could get worse with Amazon’s Prime delivery service changing to one day instead of two. [New York Times]


96 miles per hour winds

Historic winds hit Northern California on Sunday morning, with the National Weather Service recording speeds of 96 miles per hour not far from an area directly threatened by the massive Kincade fire, which has spread to more than 30,000 acres. Extreme wind speeds of 50 mph along with low-humidity air can significantly worsen fire conditions by further drying out vegetation on the ground. National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson told the LA Times that wind gusts in the 70 mph range were expected to continue through Sunday and into Monday. [Los Angeles Times]


62 percent off the selling price

Bruce Makowsky’s Los Angeles super-mansion has its own crocodile skin-clad elevator, but after three years of being on the market, the $250 million house finally found a buyer only after its price fell by 62 percent. The Wall Street Journal reports Makowsky wasn’t alone in his price reduction due to a high oversupply of “extremely expensive” luxury homes featuring amenities like a bowling alley, movie theater, art installations, and a helipad. Makowsky became a billionaire through sales of affordable leather bags on QVC, the home shopping channel. [Wall Street Journal]


1st African American face transplant recipient

There have been fewer than 50 face transplants completed worldwide, but when Robert Chelsea saw the first face he was offered, he turned it down because it belonged to a man with skin much fairer than his own. After more than another year of waiting for a new donor, Chelsea became the first African American recipient of a full face transplant after a catastrophic car accident with a drunk driver five years covered most of his body in third-degree burns. Medical professionals hope the 68-year-old man’s story could encourage more black Americans, and their family members, to become organ donors, which would save lives and help reducing wait times. [TIME]


$334,000 for an unwashed cardigan

It doesn’t smell like teen spirit, but Kurt Cobain’s stained, cigarette-burned cardigan was still worth a lot of money after it sold at auction in New York on Saturday for $334,000. The green, unwashed garment became famous in 1993 after Cobain wore it during a MTV “Unplugged” performance with his band Nirvana. Cobain’s custom-made Fender Mustang guitar was also on sale and sold for $340,000. [BBC News]


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