Significant Digits for Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is 77-feet, the height of the Norway spruce tree that will be lit today in New York City’s Rockefeller Center.


19,006 times two advertisements aired

Maybe you bought some cool electronics or a new kitchen appliance during all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that helped set new records for e-commerce in the U.S. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went on his own spending spree from Saturday, November 23 until Sunday, December 1, purchasing two television advertisements that aired 19,006 times. The estimated cost of all that screen time was $23.7 million, which is more than three times the amount spent by all the other Democratic presidential candidates’ ads during the same time period combined. [FiveThirtyEight]


14 prototypes

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) Quality shirts aren’t built in a day. From shirt length to button placement, every detail needs to be taken into consideration. It took 14 prototypes to create these shirts, which eliminate constraint via a well-placed bottom button and can be worn tucked or untucked thanks to carefully thought-out shirt lengths. They also come in a variety of fits and colors.


220 pounds of trash

Pollution is a major issue in the world’s oceans, affecting millions of animals and killing creatures on a regular basis. One of the most recent victims was a young sperm whale that died with 220 pounds of trash in its stomach after getting stranded on a Scottish island last week. The ball of debris, which included fishing nets, plastic cups, and tubing, was discovered by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme during an autopsy of the 20-ton animal before they helped to bury it on the beach. [CNN]


$10 million in discrimination settlement

A class action lawsuit at Riot Games, involving approximately 1,000 women who alleged discrimination and frequent experiences of sexual harassment at the video game studio, has resulted in a settlement of at least $10 million. Court documents filed on Monday provided new details of the settlement, including how payments will be handled and initiatives the company has undertaken to change its workplace culture. The class action lawsuit began in November 2018 and both the company and the plaintiffs have agreed to the settlement, although the court still needs to approve it. [Los Angeles Times]


100 percent tariffs

If you are an American planning to purchase French products like Champagne, cheese, makeup, and handbags, there’s a chance they may soon cost up to 100 percent more. On Monday, the U.S. government said it was looking into applying “punitive duties” on $2.4 billion of those specific French items and other products after the U.S. Trade Representative’s office concluded France’s new digital services tax was “unusually burdensome” for companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Members of the public have until Jan. 14 to submit feedback to the U.S. trade agency. [CNBC]


2 day shutdown

All government services in the Pacific island nation of Samoa will shut down on Dec. 5 and 6 for an immunization drive due to a significant measles outbreak that has killed at least 53 people, four dozen of them young children under the age of 4. The World Health Organization said only 31 percent of the country had received vaccinations prior to the measles outbreak in October. Since then, more than 3,700 measles cases have been reported among a population of less than 200,000 people. [National Public Radio]


1 death for every 29,000 miles

Richard Branson is known for a lot of different entrepreneurial efforts, but his latest partnership has major safety issues. Data analysis from the Associated Press shows that Brightline, the high-speed rail service that recently partnered with Branson’s Virgin Group, has killed 41 people with its trains since July 2017. It’s a rate of approximately one death for every 29,000 miles the trains have traveled, which the AP says is “the worst per-mile death rate of the nation’s 821 railroads.” [Associated Press]