You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
30 percent faster
According to research by the record labels Deutsche Grammaphon and Decca, classical music is being played faster and faster. Performances of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, for example, are a third shorter than they were 50 years ago, with about a minute being shaved off every decade. That is really a shame, and not because I care about the fidelity of Bach’s intentions or whatever. It’s because I care deeply about the greatest piece of classical music ever composed and performed — the “Jurassic Park” theme, 1,000 percent slower. [Rolling Stone]
10 billion years ago
The Milky Way galaxy as we know it was forged by a collision 10 billion years ago with a smaller galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus, according to a new astronomy paper in Nature. The collision provided the Milky Way’s “signature halo” — the equivalent of some 600 million Suns of galactic material — and filled its “distinctive disk.” Thanks for that, Gaia-Enceladus. And sorry, I guess. We didn’t see you there. [AFP]
5,000 tribal citizens
An estimated 5,000 tribal citizens in North Dakota won’t be able to vote because of a new provision that requires voters to furnish IDs that have a street address listed. Some tribal communities have had no street signage and no mail delivery directly to homes for years, and some residents have only recently learned the name of the street on which they live. Critics call the requirement an act of voter suppression. The ID law is ostensibly meant to combat voter fraud, though the Republican who oversees elections in the state has in the past said voter fraud is not a significant issue in North Dakota. [NBC News]
60 percent more heat
Our oceans have been retaining heat — 60 percent more heat each year than scientists previously thought, according to new research published in Nature. That heat represents a lot of energy. And that energy could warm the planet even faster in the coming years than scientists predicted. [The Washington Post]
5 toss-up governorships
There are five toss-up governors races according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts. And new polling in two of them suggest really tight races, my colleague Geoffrey Skelley writes. Those two are in Georgia — where Democrat Stacey Abrams could become the first African-American woman governor in history — and in Ohio — where Democrat Richard Cordray is deadlocked with Republican Mike DeWine. And just so you know a little bit more about me, whenever I hear “Richard Cordray,” I think “Danny Cordray,” who was a bit character who appeared in like two episodes of “The Office” eight years ago. Fun fact: There was also a producer on the show named Randy Cordray. Election’s almost over, I keep telling myself. [FiveThirtyEight]
58 percent white men
At 58 percent, the share of white men among the midterm candidates for the House, Senate and governorships is the lowest it’s been in at least the past four elections. Of the 964 candidates on the ballot on Tuesday, 272 are women; 215 are black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or multiracial; and 26 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. [The New York Times]
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