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Significant Digits for Tuesday, Dec. 10, 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 Olympics Russia has been banned from as punishment for its state-sponsored doping program.


1 in 5 university students

Despite significant improvements in the gender ratio at elite universities in China, Singapore and South Korea, the situation in Japan has remained deeply unequal at institutions like the University of Tokyo, where the number of female university students has been stuck at 1 in 5 for nearly the past 20 years. The New York Times reports on how a degree from Todai, as the school is known, is considered crucial to accessing opportunities in politics, business, law and science. But a larger culture that emphasizes marriage and life as a housewife over a high-powered education for women, along with an admissions process that relies heavily on the results of a single entrance exam, may be reducing the number of women in the applicant pool. [The New York Times]


13.4 percent of Louisiana’s prison population

Hayward Jones has mentored and taught hundreds of other Louisiana inmates about skills like self development and anger management since he was arrested more than two decades ago. But Jones is among the 4,700 people serving life sentences without parole in the state — 13.4 percent of its total prison population, the highest percentage in the country. The most common conviction for this group is second-degree murder, which can be applied to accomplices like getaway drivers and lookouts who participated in a crime that led to a death, even if they didn’t intend for anyone to die. [The Advocate]


5 quadruple jumps

Nathan Chen continues to build his case for being the world’s best figure skater, landing five quadruple jumps and winning his third straight Grand Prix Final title. Chen is a two-time reigning world champ who beat Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion, by 43.87 points on Saturday. Chen landed two quad toe loops, a quad flip, quad Lutz and quad Salchow with no major errors. It was his fifth straight win over Hanyu. [NBC Sports]


1,422 shots fired by accident

An investigation by the Associated Press found that law enforcement officers’ guns had gone off unintentionally at least 1,422 times across 258 agencies since 2012. Because these incidents are not systematically tracked, there’s no way of knowing how many other cases might not have been turned up in the investigation, which collected information by reviewing media reports and surveying law enforcement agencies. The AP found 21 cases where people died in accidental shootings by police, as well as almost 200 cases where the officer injured themselves or another officer. One accidental shooting killed 34-year-old Autumn Steele, whose family would later file a wrongful death suit against the city and the officer who shot her, resulting in a $2 million settlement in 2018. [Associated Press]


Up to 20,000 Ring cameras

Thousands of Ring cameras have been sold under the promise of greater security for users and video footage that can be useful for law enforcement. But a new report at Gizmodo says reporters were able to locate the precise locations of up to 20,000 Ring cameras, revealing the extent to which video surveillance is now a major presence in several major U.S. cities, as well as the privacy risks that could arise from the surveillance systems themselves. Ring’s crime-alert app, Neighbors, offers access to hundreds of video posts from places like Washington, D.C., which are encoded with geographic data “accurate enough to pinpoint roughly a square inch of ground.” Ring was acquired by Amazon last year for $1 billion. [Gizmodo]


70,000 ties sold each month

Neckties might no longer be trendy or necessary in many North American offices, but the silk symbols of business dress codes are finding new lives on platforms like Etsy, Instagram and TheRealReal. Ties, especially from high-end designer brands like Hermès, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren, are still popular among businessmen in Asia, who buy them for up to $75. The auction website eBay also sells approximately 70,000 ties each month. [The Wall Street Journal]


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