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Significant Digits For Friday, Aug. 31, 2018

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


1.8 million federal workers

President Trump is canceling pay raises for nearly 2 million federal workers, pointing to the U.S.’s “fiscal situation.” Most of these workers were scheduled to receive a 2.1 percent bump in salary next year. The Senate had backed a 1.9 percent raise but House Republicans approved a plan that endorsed the White House’s decision. [Politico]


4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0

Nick Kyrgios’s apathetic tennis play at the U.S. Open yesterday put him down a set and a break to the unseeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert while boos rained down from the New York City crowd. That was when the chair umpire, Mohamed Lahyani, clambered down from his official perch to give Kyrgios a pep talk. “I want to help you,” he said. Kyrgios went on to win in four sets, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0. Herbert, needless to say, was not pleased. [AP]


Fewer than 1/10

The Trump administration will cancel all funding for a U.N. aid program for Palestinian refugees. The administration will also seek a dramatic drop in the number of Palestinians classified as refugees, from more than 5 million to “fewer than a tenth of that number.” Experts told the Post that the moves would “worsen an already disastrous humanitarian situation.” [The Washington Post]


25 percent for every 1 degree Celsius

An unintentional recurring feature of this column has been the unexpected effects of global warming. Hotter temperatures will, according to a new study in Science, make insects hungrier, which in turn will spread more disease and decimate more crops. For every 1 degree Celsius (about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) wheat, corn and rice will be damaged 10 to 25 percent. [NBC News]


$200 billion in tariffs

Trump wants to impose another $200 billion in tariffs against China as soon as next week, sources tell Bloomberg. Trump said the sources were “not totally wrong.” The move would be a massive escalation of the trade war. Asian and U.S. stocks fell. [Bloomberg]


133 30-somethings

The NFL, FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Salfino writes, is increasingly no league for old men. Last season, not counting kickers or punters (because, I mean, come on), there were 133 players over 30 who started at least eight games. In 2007, that number was 201. A big reason is roster construction. Teams are spending tons of money on a few elite players, leaving the rest of the roster to be filled in with minimum contracts, and minimum salaries are determined by service time. Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day. [FiveThirtyEight]


If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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