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Significant Digits For Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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


More than 450 former federal prosecutors

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors, from both Democratic and Republican administrations, have signed a statement that says the findings of Robert Mueller would have led to criminal charges of obstruction of justice against President Trump were he not president. The statement and its signatories are a rebuke to Attorney General William Barr, who claimed that the evidence was “not sufficient” to show that Trump committed a crime. [The Washington Post]


7th in line

Sound the royal baby klaxons: The Duchess of Sussex — aka Meghan Markle — gave birth to a 7-pound, 3-ounce boy. The as-yet-nameless baby, through no fault of his own, is seventh in line to the throne. [BBC]

From ABC News:


900 inspectors

Boeing is going ahead with plans to eliminate some 900 human inspectors over this year and next, “replacing their jobs with technology improvements.” That’s out of a total of some 3,000 at its Seattle operations. The employees’ union criticized the decision, writing in a newsletter that the cuts would “eliminate the second set of eyes on thousands of work packages.” [USA Today]


1 million species

About 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, according to a new report by an international group of scientists established by the United Nations and based on some 15,000 studies. The report does not list specific species, but reports, for example, that around 25 percent of mammals, 40 percent of amphibians and 25 percent of plants are threatened with extinction. [NBC News]

From ABC News:


20 CNN town halls

There have now been 20 CNN town halls — a new kind of genre of political “appointment viewing.” My colleague Clare Malone analyzed this town hall industrial complex and how it’s shaping the 2020 presidential race. “As a political journalist, I’ve realized an unfortunate, stomach-dropping thing: An awful lot of what we cover is pseudo-events,” Malone writes. [FiveThirtyEight]


260 contract workers

In Hyderabad, India, over the past year, some 260 contract workers have been poring by hand over millions of Facebook photos and posts, categorizing them within five “dimensions” — e.g., is this picture a selfie? A cat? Avocado toast? Facebook says the work is meant to help teach the company what people post on its service, and how it is changing over time. However, legal experts told Reuters, the “labeling program could raise new privacy issues for Facebook.” [Reuters]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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