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Significant Digits For Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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

Half of $35 billion

MacKenzie Bezos has pledged to give at least half of her $35 billion to charity. Bezos wrote that she had “a disproportionate amount of money to share,” which is certainly one way of putting it. She joins Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and others of the superrich in signing Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge initiative. [Forbes]

12,000 satellites

SpaceX’s planned “megaconstellation” of 12,000 Starlink satellites, which are designed to provide global broadband service, would triple the number of satellites orbiting the Earth and could therefore make life difficult for astronomers. The “bright, reflective surfaces” could impede the view of the universe from Earth. [CNET]


The 11th revision of the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, known as ICD-11, now includes video-game addiction. Known as gaming disorder, the document describes it as “impaired control over gaming” with “increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.” [USA Today]

246 packs of cocaine

An autopsy on a 42-year-old man who went into convulsions and died on an Aeromexico flight from Mexico City to Tokyo found 246 small packs of cocaine in the man’s stomach and bowels. He likely died after one of the packs ruptured. The Times writes that the episode is a reminder of the “demand for recreational drugs” and “of the extreme methods traffickers adopt to satisfy it.” [The New York Times]

$110 million sale

The venerable magazine Sports Illustrated has been sold by the media conglomerate Meredith Corp. for $110 million to Authentic Brands Group, which, I guess unsurprisingly, “specializes in managing fashion, entertainment and sports brands.” The buyer said it saw the purchase as a chance to expand the magazine’s coverage into areas including e-sports and sports gambling. [Associated Press]

55 people

At least 55 prisoners in Brazil have died in a violent two-day power struggle between “quarreling Amazon mafiosos.” Many of the dead were reportedly strangled or stabbed with sharpened toothbrushes. The region’s attorney general said that the recent killings were the result of a confrontation between the same two criminal factions responsible for bloodshed in 2017 that killed 56 prisoners. [The Guardian]

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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.