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Significant Digits For Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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

8.5 percent

Chinese stocks took a big hit Monday as two major indices fell more than 8 percent. Some blame the drop on “malicious” short selling. Regulators vowed to deal sternly with anyone engaging in such trading behavior, “in Beijing’s latest attempt to stave off a full-blown market crash.” [Reuters]

35 women

New York magazine published the stories of 35 women who have come forward publicly to accuse Bill Cosby of rape or sexual assault, and agreed to be interviewed and photographed. In total, 46 women have now accused Cosby publicly. “The group, at present, ranges in age from early 20s to 80 and includes supermodels … alongside waitresses and Playboy bunnies and journalists and a host of women who formerly worked in show business,” wrote Noreen Malone and Amanda Demme. [New York]

40 percent

The share of adults on the face of the Earth who have never heard of climate change. Most of them serve in Congress. But seriously, folks, this suggests to researchers the importance of education, and understanding the country- and culture-specific nature of how climate change is perceived. [The Washington Post]

300 trucks

French farmers turned away 300 trucks containing meat and dairy products at the border with Germany. The farmers are angry about the low prices for their own produce, and sought to scuttle the would-be imports. Farmers also blocked food trucks on the Spanish border the day before. [AP]

1,000 signatories

True fact: Visionary humans Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have taken action to save the world from killer robots. I didn’t really know killer robots were an actual thing until just this moment, but OK, I feel safe-ish knowing they’re on it. So what action did Musk and Hawking take to protect us from a hellish revolution of autonomous weapons? They, along with 1,000 others, signed an open letter that will be presented at a conference. Hmm. Well, on behalf of humankind, uh, thanks? [ABC News]

2,000 bags

New York City authorities seized 2,000 bags of synthetic marijuana from delis in East Harlem last week, after seizing 8,000 bags of the substance in a raid early this month. Synthetic marijuana — also called spice — sells for as little as $2 a packet, and is apparently difficult to ban because of always-shifting chemical formulae used in its manufacture. Drugs of this type, however, have been linked to spikes in overdoses and emergency room visits in New York City and elsewhere. [Gothamist]

50,000 mariners

The Thai fishing fleet, which fills much of the American demand for cheap fish, has an annual labor shortage of around 50,000 mariners. Much of that shortage is filled by migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar, who “become so-called sea slaves in floating labor camps.” [The New York Times]


A hunter bribed guides $55,000 so he could kill a lion in Zimbabwe. The lion, named Cecil, was a major attraction at Hwange National Park. It was shot with a crossbow and survived, but was later shot with a rifle, beheaded and skinned. And as if this story wasn’t too goddamn sad already, Cecil’s six cubs will now be killed, since another male lion won’t abide them in the pride. [BBC]

$100 million a day

The Northeast Corridor, the rail sector reaching from Boston to Washington, D.C., and carrying 750,000 passengers a day, is crumbling. Amtrak owns a majority of the rail infrastructure along the corridor, and President Obama has called for a $1 billion increase in the rail service’s subsidy next year, while House Republicans passed a bill last month to trim it by $250 million. If the Northeast Corridor were shut down for just one day, according to one report, it would cost the country $100 million. [The New York Times]

$4 billion

LaGuardia Airport, a well-known dumpster fire in Queens, is getting a facelift. Well, more like a face transplant. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden — who once compared the airport to “some Third World Country” — unveiled the plan to demolish LaGuardia’s existing buildings and replace them with a big, new terminal. The plan’s first phase is slated to cost $4 billion. The new parts will open to passengers in 2019, and hey, I bet it’ll be really fun when it’s under construction! [AP]

The great Walt Hickey is on a beach somewhere, so if a digit strikes you as particularly significant, please tweet it to me @Ollie. And have a wonderful Tuesday!

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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.