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Significant Digits for Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is two, for the number of tails on Narwhal the puppy, including the very cute one on his head.


1,567 tear gas canisters

The Associated Press reports that Hong Kong police officers have escalated their response to protestors. Officials say that police fired 1,567 tear gas canisters, 1,312 rubber bullets and 380 beanbag rounds on Tuesday alone. The protests, which are now in their fifth month, have shut down major subway routes, blocked streets, and resulted in spontaneous rallies in the Hong Kong’s busy Central business district. [Associated Press]


6 feet of water

The mayor of Venice cited climate change as the reason behind severe flooding in the famed Italian city on Wednesday, with water levels peaking at six feet and causing “grave damage” to St. Mark’s Basilica. This is the second-highest water level since official records began in 1923, and Venice is flooding increasingly often. As of Wednesday, there were two deaths due to the floods, including a man who was electrocuted after trying to start a pump in his home. [BBC News]


$22,000 worth of hidden cocaine destroyed

Wild boars can cause a lot of damage, including to drug deals, apparently. The animals stumbled upon cocaine hidden in an Italian forest and worth approximately $22,000. They then dug the drugs up, destroying them in the process. Police learned of the incident after wiretapping members of the gang as part of a larger investigation and heard someone complaining about what the animals had done. Four suspects were arrested, but no one knows what happened to the boars after their discovery. [Newsweek]


80.5 percent field goal success rate

After decades of great conversion rates, NFL kickers are struggling this year. Michael Salfino notes this year’s field-goal success rate of 80.5 percent “is at its lowest level since 2003.” There are 12 teams that currently have field-goal success rates at or below 75 percent, which hasn’t happened since 2003. [FiveThirtyEight]


4,000 wild black bears

Sometimes living in a mountain town means nature comes to your street in the form of a 200-pound hungry bear drawn to the smells of garbage and bird seed. Asheville, North Carolina’s human population has grown nearly 40 percent in the past two decades, but long-term conservation efforts have also increased the wild black bear population to more than 4,000 in the surrounding mountain region. Researchers plan to teach residents how to secure garbage in bear-proof containers, clean barbecue grills and restrict the usage of bird feeders. [Wall Street Journal]


$43 million in lost scallops

There’s been another reported case of mass seafood deaths after a major Chinese seafood supplier announced it had found more than 80 percent of scallops at a major farm had died due to unidentified natural causes. The owners of the farm said that it supplies more than 50,000 tons of scallops a year, a big portion of the over 100,000 tons that are traded globally. The dead scallops were valued at $43 million dollars. That’s an expensive, smelly mess to clean up. [Bloomberg]


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