You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
6th branch of the armed forces
President Trump announced that he would direct the Pentagon to create a “space force” — like the Air Force but, um, for space. The announcement was criticized by the Twitter jokerati. And last year, Jim Mattis, Trump’s own defense secretary, wrote, “I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting efforts.” [The Guardian]
1 in 3 apartments
Kevin Baker has written a sweeping, depressing, maddening and impressive essay on the recent and ongoing decline — “death,” the headline calls it — of New York City at the hands of the extremely rich and a complacent and even eager New York government. Among oodles of statistics in the piece, this one, credited to the New Yorker, stood out: In a huge and dense swath of Manhattan, from Fifth Avenue to Park Avenue and 49th Street to 70th Street, nearly 1 in 3 apartments sits empty at least 10 months a year. They are wasted space — investments or pieds-à-terre for the rich. New York, Baker fears, is becoming boring, an “empty city.” [Harper’s]
Just a week and a half after winning the Stanley Cup, Barry Trotz, coach of the Washington Capitals, resigned “after careful consideration and consultation” with his family. After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I hereby apply to be the coach of the Washington Capitals. [Baltimore Sun]
Of the 736 players participating in the 2018 World Cup, 82 were born in countries other than the one they are playing for. FIFA, the sport’s governing body, requires players to be citizens of the country they play for, but citizenship rules vary around the world. “A combination of ancestry, immigration, war and some occasional competitive shenanigans” explains those statistics, wrote The Washington Post. Belgium midfielder Adnan Januzaj, in one extreme example, could likely have also chosen to play for Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Turkey or England. [The Washington Post]
Christo, the installation artist who wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris in fabric and installed thousands of “gates” in New York’s Central Park, has created a new piece. It’s a 650-ton pyramid of brightly painted oil barrels floating in a lake in London. If I were an aspiring young installation artist, I would wrap Christo’s own barrel pyramid in fabric and see how he liked it. [The New York Times]
More than 2,300 children
More than 2,300 immigrant children have been separated from their parents since the Trump administration began its “zero tolerance” immigration policy in April. ProPublica obtained and published an audio recording of 10 such children, separated from their parents one day last week. The children can be heard sobbing and pleading for someone to call their relatives. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” a Border Patrol agent jokes over the crying. “What’s missing is a conductor.” [ProPublica]
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