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Significant Digits For Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I’m Candice Norwood, and I’ll be taking over for Ollie! Send any tips or suggestions to

175 miles of border fencing

It’s safe to say that President Trump’s original plan to fund a border wall — get Mexico to pay for it — is on hold indefinitely. Enter the U.S. military to help out. The Pentagon is diverting $3.6 billion meant for other military construction projects to build part of the barrier. The change will halt approximately 127 military projects in order to construct 175 miles of border fencing. Trump’s proposed wall is roughly 1,000 miles so … we’ve got a long road ahead. [AP, New York Times]

$170 million

Google will pay big to settle a YouTube lawsuit. The tech giant has agreed to pay $170 million following allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and New York state that YouTube illegally collected user information from children to sell for targeted advertisements. The FTC’s part of the settlement, $136 million, is the largest fine paid for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. [CNN]

1 state

Michigan teens: Say goodbye to your peach-flavored nicotine. In an effort to curb underage vaping, Michigan became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The vaping craze has led to reports of illnesses around the country. “I am committed to protecting public health,” wrote Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a letter to state senators. “There is no doubt that keeping nicotine out of the hands of kids is one of the most powerful ways to fulfill that commitment.” [NBC News]

$54,000 in fines

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown faces a pricey penalty for reportedly missing training camp and a walkthrough. In an Instagram story, Brown posted an image of a letter from the team detailing the fines, which amount to nearly $54,000. This is just the latest dust-up in a tumultuous offseason for Brown, which has included a fight with the NFL over his game helmet and reporting to the Raiders training camp with frostbitten feet. Ouch. [The Washington Post]

Two minutes of prayer

The mind is a powerful thing, as they say. For Marianne Williamson, it’s strong enough to control hurricanes. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate deleted a tweet Wednesday suggesting that people can protect the U.S. from Hurricane Dorian with “two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation.” She later replaced the tweet by simply calling for “prayers for the people of the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.” [Yahoo]

5 Texas House Republicans

More House Republicans are checking out. Texas Rep. Bill Flores announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in 2020, becoming the state’s fifth House Republican to announce plans to retire. Nationally, 15 House Republicans have made similar announcements. As GOP lawmakers flee, Democrats hope to use the state’s changing demographics to move in on the open seats. [The New York Times]

Candice writes the Significant Digits column for FiveThirtyEight, and is interested in how race, gender and class shape societies throughout the world. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for Governing Magazine and a White House stringer with Bloomberg News.