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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.


Hundreds of National Guard troops

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California will withdraw about two-thirds of of his state’s 360 National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico ordered a similar withdrawal last week. [Reuters]


At least 52 polar bears

Officials overseeing a Russian archipelago that reaches into the Arctic Ocean have declared a state of emergency after at least 52 polar bears arrived in a settlement there. Russian state news reported that the bears “tried to enter office buildings and residential quarters, and that they had chased residents and engaged in other aggressive behavior.” The bears were driven to the settlement by changing conditions in the Arctic, caused by global warming. [The Washington Post]


6,800-mile-wide storm

If you thought the polar vortex where you live was bad, be thankful you don’t live on Neptune, where a 6,800-mile-wide storm is roiling and is expected to last for about two years. And lest you get any ideas, it’s not much better on Uranus, where the “entire polar region is currently ensconced in white, like a cockeyed celestial skullcap.” [Popular Mechanics]


2,600 educators

After 15 months of negotiation over wages, some 2,600 educators in the Denver public schools went on strike yesterday. It’s the first such strike there in 25 years. Schools are scheduled to remain open with the help of substitute teachers. [The Denver Post]


53 percent of Americans

In a survey conducted almost entirely before the scandals involving high-profile Virginia politicians, 53 percent of Americans think it is “never” or “rarely” acceptable for a white person to use blackface as part of a Halloween costume, while 34 think it’s “sometimes” or “always” acceptable. White adults were roughly twice as likely as black adults to say that blackface can be acceptable. [Pew Research Center]


$46.7 billion in giving

Donations to American colleges and universities were up more than 7 percent last fiscal year, to $46.7 billion, a record. The increase was apparently driven by a booming stock market and looming changes in tax law. Harvard topped the list with $1.4 billion in gifts, and Stanford and Columbia also cracked ten figures. [The Wall Street Journal]


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From ABC News:


Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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