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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is $70 million, the loss projected at Universal Pictures because of the disastrous box office reception to the musical “Cats,” according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.


5 million hectares

The bushfires in Southwestern Australia are stunning in their devastation. The fires, which started in late August, have consumed more than 5 million hectares (or more than 12 million acres), killed nine people and destroyed about 1,000 homes. Incredibly, 500 million animals are thought to have been lost in the fires, including 30 percent of the country’s koala population. Australia’s fire season is typically at its most intense in January and February. [Scientific American]


0.1 percent of Latino students

Teachers who reflect the diversity of their students can significantly increase attendance and participation among those students and can even motivate college applications. But for many Latino children in America, a teacher who looks like them is a statistical rarity. After analyzing the data from school districts in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia, The Washington Post found that only 0.1 percent of Latino students “attend a school system where the portion of Latino teachers equals or exceeds the percentage of Latino students.” [The Washington Post]


28 percent increase

If your New Year’s resolution is to join a sport, take inspiration from the growing number of American girls who are starting and joining female-specific wrestling teams. The Wall Street Journal reports that interest and participation have risen after more states launched wrestling championships specifically for girls, with Missouri experiencing a turnout eight times higher than the year before. While that state’s surge was notable, the National Federation of State High School Associations says it’s part of a much larger trend: Last season, there was a 28 percent increase in participation in girls wrestling across the country. [The Wall Street Journal]


30 zoo animals

At least 30 animals were killed at the Krefeld Zoo in northwestern Germany after a fire tore through a monkey enclosure early on New Year’s Day. The zoo’s director, Wolfgang Dressen, said victims of the fire included “highly endangered monkeys like orangutans from Borneo, lowland gorillas from Central Africa and chimpanzees from West Africa.” The official cause of the fire had not yet been confirmed late Wednesday. [CNN]


3 black NFL head coaches

The NFL instituted a rule 16 years ago requiring teams to interview at least one nonwhite candidate for any available head coaching gig. But the 2019 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card says the league hasn’t performed this poorly on its racial hiring practices since it started collecting this data in 2004, and only three black men are currently employed as head coaches. Troy Vincent, a former player and the NFL’s current executive vice president of football operations, was pretty blunt about the league’s grade: “When you look at the demographics, it’s embarrassing.” [The New York Times]


471 pages of internal files

It’s hard to believe how much of an impact Pokemon Go had on the world in the summer of 2016, instantly drawing millions of users and changing the way people interacted with augmented reality through video games and cellphone apps. But a new report from CBC News based on 471 pages of internal files shows just how much the popular game caught Canada’s military off guard. Civilians had to be officially warned to stay off military property, despite the presence of popular PokeGyms and PokeStops. [CBC News]




SigDigs: Jan. 02, 2020

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