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Significant Digits For Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s best number is whatever amount of Halloween candy you decide to eat at your desk.


50/50 odds of legalizing marijuana

New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney puts the odds of a new bill to legalize recreational marijuana at 50/50. “I’m going to put my best effort into it,” he told NJ Advance Media during an interview. Opposition comes from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, but Sweeney said some legislators have already started preparing a backup plan that would pass a resolution asking voters to decide on legalization during the election in November 2020. [NJ Advance Media]


Minus 45 degrees in October

While some cities are worried about the effect of rain on trick-or-treaters, other American residents have had to pull out their late-winter parkas due to a wave of Arctic air swept through parts of the western and central United States. Early Wednesday saw temperatures dip to minus 24 degrees in Big Piney, Wyoming, and the community of Peter Sinks, Utah, recorded temperatures of a blisteringly cold minus 45 degrees. Utah meteorologist Timothy Wright said it appeared to be “the coldest October temperature on record anywhere in the Lower 48 states.” [USA Today]


125,000-square-foot presidential library

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library — a massive, 125,000-square-foot building holds records and artifacts from the Reagan administration including an entire Air Force One plane — is now also under threat by the wildfires in southern California. A blaze known as the Easy fire was burning near the library on Wednesday after flames tore through 1,300 acres of dry, dense brush and threatened 6,500 homes. Other major fires in the state include the Getty, which had destroyed 745 acres as of Wednesday morning, and the massive Kincade fire, which has grown to more than 76,000 acres. [Los Angeles Times]


30 petrochemical plants

A new joint-investigation highlights that while air quality is getting better in the U.S. it’s getting worse in states like Louisiana, where a cluster of 30 large petrochemical plants near St. Gabriel, Louisiana, are contributing to the problem. Resident Hazel Schexnayder has seen several neighbors suffer miscarriages and die of cancer, but the toxic air pollution in the area is getting worse as more petrochemical facilities and expansions have sprung up in the area. The report also notes “the problems are especially acute in predominantly black and poor communities, like St. Gabriel, but whiter and more affluent sections — like neighboring Ascension Parish — are hardly immune.” [ProPublica, The Times-Picayune, and The Advocate]


79.3 percent for gender and racial hiring practices

A new report gave the NFL’s racial and gender hiring practices its lowest score in 15 years. The latest annual racial and gender report card from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport put the NFL at an overall score of 79.3 percent after a significant drop in the number of non-white head coaches and general managers. The report also noted that it was a pretty big disparity given that more than 70 percent of the players in the league are people of color. [Associated Press]


21 foul outs

Foul outs don’t happen that often during NBA games, especially to multiple players, but data shows the number of foul outs have dramatically risen during the beginning of this year’s season. In the 51 games played so far as of Monday night, there have been 21 foul outs. For context on how unusually high this is, if this pace of foul outs continues, the 2019-20 season would see a 60 percent increase over last season, which already saw a 40 percent increase in the number of foul outs from the year before. [FiveThirtyEight]


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