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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Ollie is gone, but your new regular host will be here later this week! For today, you’re stuck with me.


13,000 homes

As of early Tuesday morning, the center of Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 3 storm, was about 100 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Early reports suggest that as many as 13,000 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed in the Bahamas, and casualties have been reported. The storm is forecast to come “dangerously close” to the east coast of the U.S. this week. [ABC News, The Guardian]


45 years-old

Feel like you missed your moment to become a billionaire tech baron who is being hauled in front of Congress now that your startup is a megacompany? Don’t worry! You don’t have to have founded a company in college to have the honor. A group of economists analyzed the fastest growing startups started from 2007 to 2014 and found that the company’s founders were 45 years-old at the time of the company’s creation, on average. [New York Times]


$90 million

How much money would you spend to not have to employ people? Uber, Lyft and the food delivery company DoorDash have pledged a combined $90 million to get around a California bill that would force the companies to employ their drivers, rather than hire them as independent contractors. The companies want to spend the money on a ballot initiative that would exempt them from the legislation if it were to pass. [New York Times]


No. 1 seeds

Both top seeds at the U.S. Open – Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic – are out of the tournament after losing this weekend. With Osaka out, we’ll be denied a repeat of last year’s final between her and Serena Williams. And with Djokovic out, we’ll be denied what some website called the greatest rivalry in tennis — Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal. [Bleacher Report]


65 cliche-riddled fight songs

Ah, fight songs, those great American cliche factories. My colleagues on the sports desk welcomed the beginning of college football season by looking at the fight songs for 65 big-time football schools and saw just how many could avoid mentioning “fights,” “victories” or the word “Rah.” Not many passed the test. [FiveThirtyEight]


13 straight weekends

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong again took to the streets this weekend to pressure China to grant Hong Kong residents more civil liberties. It was their 13th straight weekend protesting China’s control of the city. On Monday, Reuters revealed that Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, told business leaders she would step down if she could, but doesn’t feel she is able to because of pressure from Beijing. [Reuters]


Chadwick Matlin is a deputy editor at FiveThirtyEight.

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