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Significant Digits For Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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

80 “regular citizens”

The parking situation in Washington, D.C., is so bad that there is a proposal in front of the city council there that would deputize 80 “regular citizens” to ticket vehicles parked illegally. Vigilante justice — I can see the comic book already. [The Washington Post]

12.4 ounces and 16 percent

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) When shopping for jeans, most people don’t pay too much attention to the weight or elasticity of the fabric, but both are key factors that affect comfort. Laight jeans are made of a pure indigo comfort denim that weighs only 12.4 ounces and boasts 16 percent elasticity, which makes for an ideal fit and feel. One brand is offering 20 percent off all washes of Laight jeans with promo code MEMDAY20, but the offer only lasts until May 28, so jump on it quickly.

1.4755214×10^40 photons

The kilogram has been officially redefined. No longer is its mass equal to that of the special platinum-iridium alloy cylinder locked in a vault beneath a building in Paris. Now it officially weighs the same as 1.4755214×10^40 photons, a type of elementary particle, with frequencies matching a cesium atomic clock. I do feel sorry for the cylinder, which is now just another nameless hunk of platinum-iridium alloy idling away in a Paris basement, a tale as old as time. [Motherboard]

7,000 jobs

Ford unveiled its restructuring plan yesterday. It’s preparing for a future of electric and autonomous vehicles, and plans to save $600 million a year by “eliminating bureaucracy and increasing the number of workers reporting to each manager.” The company will cut 7,000 white-collar workers in all, including 2,300 jobs in the U.S. through buyouts and layoffs. [Associated Press]

37 launches

More details of NASA’s Artemis moon program have been unveiled. It is slated to include 37 launches of NASA and private rockets over the next 10 years, both robotic and human landers, and a “Lunar Surface Asset Deployment” in 2028 which is “likely the beginning of a surface outpost for long-duration crew stays.” [Ars Technica]

0.63 dissimilarity index

My colleague Rachael Dottle built an interactive feature where you can look up where Democrats and Republicans live in your city. She writes that “almost every Democratic city has Republican enclaves, especially when you think about cities as more than just their downtowns. It’s a sign of our polarized times that these Republicans aren’t evenly distributed across the city, of course.” The most politically polarized city in the U.S. turns out to be Jackson, Mississippi, with a partisan dissimilarity index of 0.63. [FiveThirtyEight]

7 floors of stacks

There are seven “football-field-size floors of stacks,” absolute gobs of space in Midtown Manhattan, in the main building of the New York Public Library which sit empty — no books line their shelves. There used to be many books — including rare first editions — but they were removed in 2013. The space could not “adequately protect irreplaceable books from sunlight, heat and humidity,” according to library officials. [The New York Times]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

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.