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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019

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

$2 billion

According to a confidential United Nations report, North Korea has funded its program of weapons of mass destruction in part with as much as $2 billion it gathered from cyberattacks. The U.N. experts are investigating “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency.” [Reuters]

557,000 prescriptions

From 2017 to 2018, the number of dispensed prescriptions of the “overdose-reversing drug” naloxone at U.S. retail pharmacies more than doubled, from 271,000 to 557,000, health officials announced this week. That increase could be responsible for a recent decrease in overdose deaths, which fell from more than 70,000 in 2017 to about 68,000 in 2018. [Associated Press]

0.07 degrees Fahrenheit

In what has become a seemingly monthly entry in this column, this past July was not only the hottest July but also the hottest month on Earth in recorded history. It was so hot that wildfires ravaged millions of acres of the Arctic and swaths of Europe set record highs, including 108.7 degrees in Paris. July 2019 “beat” July 2016 — a month further warmed by “an extremely strong El Niño” — by about 0.07 degrees, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. [The Washington Post]

11 novels

Toni Morrison — winner of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, not to mention multiple appearances in Oprah’s book club and on New York Times bestseller lists — died Monday from complications of pneumonia at the age of 88. Morrison was the author of 11 novels, “characterized by visionary force and poetic import,” per the Nobel committee, including “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon.” Rest in peace. [The New York Times]

1 of 10 favorites

Lo, the college football season approacheth. In anticipation, you may be considering a futures wager on the next Heisman Trophy winner. It’s a super tough bet, however, FiveThirtyEight contributor Jake Lourim writes. Only one of the past 10 pre-season favorites has actually won the award. And if we add up the implied probabilities of those favorites, they have produced only 2.14 winners. Four of the past 10 winners didn’t even appear on the pre-seasons odds board. But that’s the unexpected beauty of the college game. [FiveThirtyEight]

More than 100 people

Under a new law that took effect on July 1 — which was approved by voters under Proposition 63 — California blocked “more than 100 felons and other prohibited persons” from buying ammunition in the past month, according to the state’s attorney general. The law bans ammunition purchases at gun shops if customers do not have a registered firearm or are on a list of felons or “severely mentally ill.” [Los Angeles Times]

From ABC News:

SigDigs: Aug. 7, 2019

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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.