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Significant Digits For Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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


20,000 homes

Over the next 10 years, Google plans to invest $1 billion to “enable the development of” 20,000 new homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, including more than 5,000 affordable housing units. The announcement came a day ahead of Google parent Alphabet’s shareholders meeting. Protesters have cited the company’s negative impact on the San Jose real estate market. [Engadget]


70 years

Permafrost in the Arctic is not so perma anymore. A University of Alaska Fairbanks team on expedition in the Canadian Arctic was “astounded” to find that permafrost there was thawing, 70 years earlier that predicted. The permafrost — “giant subterranean ice blocks” — had been frozen solid for thousands of years. [The Guardian]


0.4 miles

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is orbiting and photographing Bennu, an asteroid, at a distance of just 0.4 miles from its surface, less than the height of Earth’s tallest skyscraper and the closest any craft has orbited around a space object. The proximity will help scientists identify the best place from which to collect a sample of Bennu next year. [The Verge]


$1 billion

The latest from the busy Department of What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Facebook, which is under federal investigation over its privacy practices, is launching a cryptocurrency. It’s called Libra and is scheduled to launch in the next six months to a year. The company hopes to raise $1 billion to support its launch, which “could drive more e-commerce on its services and boost ads on its platforms.” [Associated Press]


284 people

According to data from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Americans have received some 126 million doses of measles vaccine in the past dozen years. During that time, 284 people filed claims that they were harmed by those vaccinations, through a federal program created to compensate such people. About half of those claims were dismissed. This “little-known database offers one way to gauge the safety of vaccines,” writes the Times. [The New York Times]


67 percent of the time

If you’re interested in winning the New Hampshire primary, it helps to live nearby, like maybe the state itself, or neighboring Maine, Massachusetts or Vermont. To wit, 67 percent of the time they’ve run in the primary, candidates from those states have won. Three Democratic presidential candidates foot that geographical bill this year: Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. [FiveThirtyEight]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.


Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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