August 2015

Numbers on the Periphery

Issue xvIi


A new experiment shows that hackers using remote computers can take over cars and drive them off the road. New Internet-connected cars are especially susceptible to remote takeovers. According to one of the researchers, “All of this is possible only because Chrysler, like practically all carmakers, is doing its best to turn the modern automobile into a smartphone.”


Fraction of automakers that cannot respond to remote takeovers in real time. [1]


Number of cars recalled by Fiat Chrysler in response to the experiment. [2]



The UN has declared a humanitarian emergency in Yemen, claiming that the war-torn country is dangerously close to widespread famine.


Percent of citizens in Yemen that are in dire need of food assistance. [3]



Greece has reached an agreement with its creditors, allowing the country to remain in the EU. In exchange for dramatic austerity measures (including pension cuts, market privatization, and labor reforms) Greece has been offered its third economic bailout.


Percent of bailout money that will go to financial institutions. [4]


Percent sales tax in Greece for basic goods such as meat, tea, and fertilizer. [5]



Hungary has begun construction on an anti-immigrant fence to stem the rising flow of people illegally entering the country.


Number of migrants illegally entering Hungary each day. [6]


Percent of migrants entering Hungary that come from war-torn countries like Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Afghanistan. [7]



A lawsuit against against GEO, a company that operates a private immigrant detention facility, alleges that the company routinely forces the detainees to do illegal, underpaid labor. The company allegedly threatens those who refuse to work with solitary confinement.


Hourly wage for inmate labor such as scrubbing toilets and mopping floors. [8]



Among presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s top fundraisers are two of America’s largest private prison companies (CCA and GEO).


Amount paid by CCA to Clinton’s lobbying firm in 2014. [9]



A report from the ACLU shows that SWAT teams spend the vast majority of their time responding to low-risk, drug-related situations.


Fraction of SWAT deployments from 2012-2014 that responded to terrorism. [10]


Average number of SWAT officers dispatched for each suicide call between 2012 and 2014. [11]



A report shows that slave labor is still prominent in Brazil. Unpaid laborers are routinely beaten and forced to work on farms, in charcoal camps, and in the jungles cutting down trees.


Estimated number of slaves presently in the world. [12]



Following South Carolina’s decision to remove confederate flags from statehouse grounds, protesting KKK members clashed with African-American groups outside the state capitol.


Estimated number of KKK members active in the US. [13]



The first six months of 2015 were the hottest months on record since 1880.


Number of Pakistanis killed in June due to exposure to record heatwaves. [14]