September 2014

Numbers on the Periphery

Issue VI


The US military has banned its employees from visiting The Intercept, an online news publication founded by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras.


Number of years NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is allowed to stay in Russia after his asylum terminated on August 1. [1]


Number of years American whistleblower Chelsea Manning is serving for leaking documents pertaining to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [2]



Palestine and Israel have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire that purports to end the fighting and ease the blockade on Gaza.


Number of Palestinians killed in Israeli offensive. [3]


Number of Palestinian children killed in Israeli offensive. [4]


Israel’s death toll from the conflict. [5]



After offering a month-long respite to Detroit’s water shut offs, on August 25, the city resumed cutting off water to residences behind on their payments.


Average monthly cost of a water bill in Detroit. [6]


Average monthly cost of a water bill in the US. [7]


Percent of Detroit citizens living in poverty. [8]



A nine-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor in a shooting range in Arizona. The instructor was teaching her to handle an uzi submachine gun.


Percent of Americans who support stricter gun control laws in 2014. [9]


Percent of Americans who supported stricter gun control laws in 1991. [10]



A writer’s residency program called Write A House was developed in 2012 to bolster the Detroit literary community, giving the writers-in-residence a Detroit house. The program announced their first ten finalists this month.


Number of writers who applied to Write A House. [11]


Dollars the program spent to buy its first house on the border of Hamtramck and Detroit. [12]


Additional dollars spent so far on prepping the house and recovering from a break-in. [13]



Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American teenager, was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer on August 9. The event incited several protests and race riots in Ferguson that escalated after police sought to disperse people using rubber bullets and tear gas.


Fraction of Ferguson’s population that is black. [14]


Fraction of Ferguson city council members who are black. [15]



The Ice Bucket Challenge™, a fundraiser for ALS, has gone viral and raised almost one hundred million dollars for the ALS Association. Celebrities from Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, and David Lynch have participated in the challenge. Even 50 Cent challenged Floyd Mayweather (saying, “Fuck this bucket of ice!”): If he reads one page of Harry Potter without messing up, 50 will donate $750,000 to the charity of Mayweather’s choice.


Deaths per 100,000 people from ALS in the US in 2011. [17]


Money raised for heart disease from the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser in 2013 [18]


Deaths per 100,000 people in the US from Heart Disease in 2011. [19]


Money raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge™ since July 29, as of August 27. [16]



James Foley, an American journalist who was captured by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was executed in an undisclosed location in the Middle East. Video of his execution was posted on YouTube as retaliation for recent US airstrikes against the terrorist group.


Ransom offered by ISIS for James Foley's release. [20]


Number of journalists killed since 1992. [21]


Percentage of the victims who covered politics. [22]



On August 20, CongressEdits — an automated Twitter account that tracks any Wikipedia edits originating from IP addresses assigned to US Congress — caught someone in the House of Representatives who edited a Wikipedia entry for Laverne Cox, a transgender actress who plays a transgender inmate on the TV show Orange Is the New Black. The original line, “Orange Is the New Black contains the first ever women-in-prison narrative to be played by a real transgender woman,” was edited to “a real man pretending to be a woman.” The official (or staff member) also added a link to a National Review article that claimed Cox is “not a real woman.”


Percentage of transgender people in the US who have reported attempting suicide. [23]


Percentage of transgender people in the US who reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it. [24]


Fraction of transgendered people in the US who experienced harassment so severe that they left schools in K-12 settings or in higher education. [25]



North Korea has retracted its decision to send cheerleaders to accompany its athletes at the Asian Games. North Korea decided against sending their 350-member squad, claiming tensions with South Korea. Son Kwang-ho, vice chairman of North Korea's National Olympic Committee, was quoted as saying, “The South called the cheerleading squad political subversives aimed at stirring trouble, and raised issues with its size and even touched on cost that caused working level talks to break down.”


Number of pages the Chinese Communist Party’s newspaper committed to a photo spread of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un after he was awarded The Onion’s “Sexiest Man of the Year” award in 2012. [26]