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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

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


84.6 percent

Media coverage of the 2020 Democratic primary candidates has become hyper-concentrated on former Vice President Joe Biden. Last week, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, data from TV News Archive and Media Cloud showed that Biden was mentioned in a higher share of 15-second cable news clips (74.3 percent) and online stories (84.6 percent) about the Democratic race than all of the other candidates combined. [FiveThirtyEight]


Bear 409

Bear 409, a beloved brown bear nicknamed “Beadnose” became a social media sensation last year before winning Katmai National Park’s Fat Bear Week. However, the plump and previously healthy bear has not been spotted at all this year, which is why she’s not in the 2019 bracket of salmon-eating competitors. The bear is now in her 20s, which puts her at the end of a brown bear’s average lifespan, and up until now she has returned to the Brooks River, where the bear cam is located, every year. Park staff say Beadnose’s disappearance could be due to failing health, harsh winter conditions, or simply a move to another part of the wilderness. [Mashable]


$6 million settlement

A civil rights lawsuit regarding the abusive treatment and neglect of several developmentally disabled adults in a group home has resulted in a New York state settlement of $6 million. Five years ago, reports of workers mistreating residents became public; staff members at the Bronx facility were accused of hitting and kicking residents, spitting in their faces, and giving them black eyes and other bruises. The lawsuit also alleges that when the sister of one resident called the group home, a worker answered, “Good morning, Bronx Zoo.” [The New York Times]


69-month auto loan

The growing size of auto loans and the pursuit of manageable monthly payments has led many U.S. borrowers to agree to stretched loan terms of six, seven, even nine years, according to credit reporting firm Experian. The average term of an auto loan is now 69 months, a record, resulting in many car buyers trading in their vehicles before fully paying off their debts. The Federal Reserve says after the recession, auto loan debt among U.S. consumers swelled to $1.3 trillion at the end of June 2019, up from about $740 billion a decade earlier. [The Wall Street Journal]


1,000 dolphins

Fifty years ago, the Potomac River was so polluted that President Lyndon B. Johnson called it a “national disgrace.” One sign that the waterway may now be much cleaner is that a fast-growing population of bottlenose dolphins has been observed near Reedville, Virginia. After identifying about 200 of the distinctive swimmers in 2015, researchers have now counted well over 1,000, and even gotten evidence of a rarely observed dolphin birth. [The Washington Post]


290 freed detainees

On Monday, Yemen’s rebels, known as Houthis, released 290 detainees. Most of the prisoners had been held since 2014, after the Houthis overran the capital city of Sanaa and pushed out the country’s internationally recognized government. This political moment ushered in a civil war that has killed thousands, with millions of other Yemenis suffering from food shortages and lack of medical care. [Associated Press/The Christian Science Monitor]


CORRECTION (Oct. 2, 11:38 a.m.): An earlier version of this article included the incorrect date in the headline. This edition of Significant Digits is for October 2nd, not October 1st.

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