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Significant Digits For Friday, April 5, 2019

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

2 open seats

There are two open seats on the seven-seat Federal Reserve board of governors. President Trump has been hoping to fill one of them with Stephen Moore, the author of “Trumponomics” and who the IRS has said owes tens of thousands in back taxes. Now, Trump is hoping to fill the second seat with Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, promoter of the “9-9-9” tax plan, and accused sexual harasser of multiple women. [The Washington Post]

More than 280 people

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested more than 280 people at a phone equipment repair company in the Dallas suburbs, in what BuzzFeed News reports is the largest such sweep in more than a decade. ICE officials said they’d received a tip that the company, CVE Technology Group, “may have knowingly hired workers with fake documents.” ICE agents made almost 10 times as many immigration arrests at workplaces last fiscal year than the fiscal year before. [BuzzFeed News]


That was the appraised value of the house belonging to Peter Brand, Harvard’s fencing coach. Two years ago, however, the house sold to a wealthy businessman for nearly $1 million. The buyer’s son later matriculated at Harvard and joined the fencing team, and the buyer sold the house, having never lived in it, for a $324,500 loss. [The Boston Globe]

4th richest woman

Following her divorce settlement with Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Bezos is now the fourth-richest woman in the world. She retains a 4 percent stake in Amazon worth some $36 billion. She is behind a L’Oreal heiress, a member of Walmart’s Walton family, and a member of the Mars family of confectioners. [Bloomberg]

“70 percent”

When we say it, we mean it. My colleagues recently published an exhaustive look at thousands of forecasts that FiveThirtyEight has made in the past, testing them for calibration — do events occur about as often as we say they’re going to occur — and discrimination — can we distinguish relatively more likely events from relatively less likely ones. The results of this self-analysis were good. For one thing, the events we said had a 70 percent chance of happening happened 71 percent of the time. [FiveThirtyEight]

7 agencies

Before yesterday, the spacecrafts of six agencies — the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, Japan, India and the European Space Agency — had orbited the moon. Israel has become the seventh with its Beresheet craft, which will attempt to land on the lunar surface on April 11. If successful, it would become the first privately funded craft to do so. [The New York Times]

From ABC News:

It’s Morning, America: Friday, April 5, 2019

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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.