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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019

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


203 Democrats

An impeachment inquiry of President Trump has the support of 203 Democrats, which is about 86 percent of the party’s 235 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, as of 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Additional details about Trump’s attempt to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has resulted in at least 68 Democrats announcing their support for impeachment proceedings. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — registered now as an independent — is the only member who isn’t a Democrat to support an impeachment inquiry. [New York Times]


4-month ban

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced an immediate statewide four-month ban on the sale of vaping products, citing the rising number of vaping-related lung illnesses across the country. Unlike the bans of flavored vaping products in New York and Michigan aimed at reducing the sale to children, the ban in Massachusetts is for all e-cigarettes and supplies used for tobacco and marijuana, which is legal in the state. A study by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found the popularity of vaping has risen to one in four 12th-graders and one in 10 8th graders reporting they had vaped a nicotine product in the previous 30 days. [Reuters/NBC News]


885,000 nonexistent customers

The Federal Communications Commission says Sprint falsely claimed millions in government subsidies for up to 885,000 customers under a federal subsidy program aimed at helping low-income Americans afford cellphone and Internet service. The telecommunications company said regulatory changes to the Lifeline program in 2016 were the reason for the error, and have offered to pay back the government. The Oregon Public Utility Commission was the first to notice the discrepancy and launched an investigation that showed Sprint was counting customers as active, even if they had not used a device in 45 days. [CNN]


$50 million

Comscore, the company everyone else relied on to tell them web traffic analytics, was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud for juicing its public revenue filings between 2014 and 2016 by $50 million. The SEC says that the analytics company and its former CEO Serge Matta (who left in 2016) misreported its customer numbers and growth percentages, as well as the value of data-swapping contracts. But on Tuesday, Comscore and Matta agreed to settle, and paid financial settlements of $5 million and $700,000, respectively, without having to admit wrongdoing. [The Verge]


43 percent

A new research paper, led by a Duke University economist, found 43 percent of the white applicants accepted to Harvard University between 2009 and 2014 were athletes, the children of alumni, or the children of donors and faculty. The researchers found athletes alone make up over 16 percent of admitted students who are white, and the admission rate for white athletes was 87 percent, compared to 5 percent for applicants who are not athletes. White children of alumni, also known as legacy students, had an admission rate of 34 per cent. [Slate]


360 Adams Street

A series of sidewalk sheds at 360 Adams St, in front of the Brooklyn Supreme Court Building, have been up since 2007, costing the city $4,340 a month in rent to a private contractor. Repairs still need to be made to the building’s facade in accordance with a city law, but a spokesperson from the Department of Design and Construction says construction is not expected to start until 2021. Rental fees for the sidewalk sheds have already totaled more than half a million dollars. [Brooklyn Paper]


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