You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
Twitter removed 936 accounts from its service — and suspended some 200,000 more — citing a “significant state-backed information operation” coming from within China and targeting the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The accounts in question had apparently accused the protesters of violence and and of being sponsored by governments in the West. [The Guardian]
50 percent of Americans
Only 50 percent of Americans say that colleges and universities “have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country,” a fact reflective of “an undercurrent of dissatisfaction,” per the Pew Research Center, having to do with how admissions decisions are made and the constraint of free speech on campuses. These views are sharply partisan — 67 percent of Democrats think the institutions have a positive effect compared to 33 percent of Republicans. [Pew Research Center]
The fourth-ranking House Democrat — Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, currently the assistant speaker — has announced his support for an impeachment investigation into President Trump. That makes Luján the highest-ranking Democrat and the 127th Democrat overall to support impeachment, according to a count by Politico. That leaves 108 Democrats who do not, at least yet, support impeachment or an impeachment inquiry. [Politico]
99 percent of bananas
Ninety-nine percent of exported bananas are of the Cavendish variety. And the Cavendish is facing an “existential crisis” in the form of a fungus called Tropical Race 4 which infects bananas plants through their roots and has spread from Asia to Latin America. Salvation may come, however, thanks to Crispr gene-editing which could make Cavendishes that are resistant to the fungus. Mmmm, crisper bananas. [Wired]
Beginning late last week, 22 mostly small towns in Texas were hit with ransomware attacks, by which computer systems are compromised and a ransom demanded for their functioning return, thought by the Texas Department of Information Resources to be the work of “one single threat actor.” While none of the Texas towns were known to have paid the ransom, a study by Recorded Future showed that 17 percent of municipalities do. [NPR]
Between 50 and 100 air mattresses
Some 150 beds and pillows were arranged in Denver this past weekend for an outdoor summertime screening of “Captain Marvel.” When the wind picked up, dozens of the air mattresses took flight, “a herd of air mattresses” according to a witness who filmed an estimated 50 to 100 beds “rampaging” over walls and into pools. The video has since been set to “Ride of the Valkyries” and the theme from “Jurassic Park.” Life, uh, finds a way. [The Washington Post]
From ABC News:
SigDigs: Aug. 21, 2019
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