October 2014

Numbers on the Periphery

Issue VII


NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been awarded the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “alternative nobel prize,” for his “courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights.” He received the award jointly with Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of The Guardian.


Cost of the CryptoPhone 500, a highly encrypted phone that protects users from phony cell towers used by government and law enforcement to surveil cell phone users. [1]


Percentage of Americans who believe domestic   surveillance by the US government is acceptable.


Number of countries with less than 61% approval of the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance. [2]



A single copy of the 1970 MTA Graphics Standards manual that helped to standardize the New York public transportation system has been found in a design firm's basement. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, new copies of the manual are available for purchase until October 10.


Money raised through Kickstarter as of September 29 to support the manual's reprinting. [3]


Cost of a single-ride ticket, for a single bus or subway ride in NYC in 1970. 


Cost of a single-ride ticket, for a single bus or subway ride in NYC in 2014. [4]



The FCC received a record number of comments on the proposal for “Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet,” also known as net neutrality, with the period for public comment ending on September 18. The New York Times reports that less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality. The previous record for most comments to the FCC was held by the Janet Jackson “nipplegate” debacle at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.


Comments submitted to the FCC on its proposal for “Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet."


Comments submitted to the FCC about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during her 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance. [5]



West Africa is experiencing the largest ebola outbreak in history. The WHO calls this epidemic “the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times.” There is no known cure for ebola, but an American doctor infected with the disease was recently declared virus-free after receiving experimental treatment. [6]


Total number of Ebola cases in this epidemic. [7]


Total number of deaths from Ebola in this epidemic. [8]



The Scottish independence referendum pulled in over 3.6 million votes on September 18. By a narrow margin, Scotland voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom.


Percentage of votes against Scotland becoming an independent country. [9]


Number of signatures gathered so far at change.org demanding a re-vote of the referendum. [10]



Five hundred migrants en route to Europe from Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Sudan were believed to have perished off Malta’s coast after a shipwreck on September 10. That Sunday, a ship carrying 250 Africans sank off the Libyan coast with only 36 survivors.


Number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean from January to September 2014. [11]


Percentage of the recovered bodies or remains of undocumented border crossers into the US that are identified. [12]



Protesters from around the world came to New York City to march in the People’s Climate March, the largest environmental action in history.

300,000 - 400,000

Estimated number of protesters present in Manhattan for the march. [13]


Long-term profit the Koch Brothers are expected to earn from the Keystone XL Pipeline, if the pipeline is approved. [14]



Stock prices for American military contractors set “all-time record highs” after President Obama’s announcement of new military operations in Iraq and Syria.


Number of Tomahawk Missiles used by US government on Monday, September 22. [15]


Cost of each Tomahawk Missile. [16]


Daily cost of American military operations in Iraq through August, before Obama’s announcement of new military offensive. 



The University of Michigan cancelled their Cokes-for-tickets campaign following much criticism and concerns that the Big House’s high attendance streak is in jeopardy.


Number of Coca Cola products one had to purchase in order to receive two free tickets to the Michigan-Minnesota game through the campaign. [17]


Number of consecutive home games at Michigan with six-figure attendance rates, according to University officials. [18]


Percentage drop in student season ticket sales from 2013 to 2014. [19]



Due to the growing use of cellphones, North Korea has begun issuing guidelines on mobile phone etiquette, including how to introduce one’s self when answering a call.


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. [20]


[1] http://privacysos.org/node/1510
[2] http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/nsa-opinion/table/american-citizens/
[3] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thestandardsmanual/full-size-reissue-of-the-nycta-graphics-standards
[4] http://web.mta.info/fares/
[5] http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/18/net-neutrality-comments-to-f-c-c-overwhelmingly-one-sided-study-says/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
[6] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/26-september-2014/en/
[7] http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/index.html
[8] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-outbreak-death-toll-passes-3000-as-who-warns-numbers-are-vastly-underestimated-9759314.html
[9] http://www.bbc.com/news/events/scotland-decides/results
[10] https://www.change.org/p/alex-salmond-we-the-undersigned-demand-a-revote-of-the-scottish-referendum-counted-by-impartial-international-parties
[11] http://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/pbn/photos/MissingMigrantsProject2014.jpg
[12] https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/immigrants/humanitariancrisisreport.pdf
[13] http://www.democracynow.org/2014/9/22/voices_from_the_peoples_climate_march

[14] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/21/keystone-xl-koch-brothers_n_4136491.html
[15] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/25/defense-contractors-making-killing/
[16] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/25/defense-contractors-making-killing/
[17] http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/24721689/michigan-cancels-coke-for-tickets-deal-for-minnesota-game
[18] http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/09/is_university_of_michigans_4-d.html
[19] http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/08/u-m_hope_for_positive_feedback.html 
[20] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-20518929