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Significant Digits For Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

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

4 flopped bills

President Trump’s decision to scrap Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows people who were brought to the U.S. at a young age to remain in the country without fear of deportation, is coming to a head. The program expires March 5, and the U.S. Senate failed to pass four separate immigration bills on Thursday. Needing 60 votes to pass, the main bipartisan compromise got 54, another bipartisan plan got 52, Trump’s preferred plan (which would also cut legal immigration) got 39 and a fourth piece of legislation to simply punish sanctuary cities got 54 votes. [Yahoo]


The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled 9-4 against the Trump administration’s proposed ban on travelers from six largely Muslim nations. The court looked at administration rhetoric and the presidential proclamation announcing the ban, and concluded that it “second-guesses our nation’s dedication to religious freedom and tolerance.” [The Associated Press]


It turns out that a cryptocurrency miner operating a power-intensive rack of computers somewhere in the zip code 11229 was responsible for the static T-Mobile users in southern Brooklyn were hearing, according to agents for the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has directed the miner — who really should do some research because New York City is hardly the ideal place (one with cheap power) to build a rig — to disable the interfering Antminer s5 Bitcoin Miner. [Bloomberg]

150,000 students

More than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary and secondary schools have experienced a school shooting in the U.S. since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, according to the Washington Post. That would seem a pretty stunning statistic, yet the nonprofit group Everytown for Gun Safety is still pushing inflated school shooting stats. [The Washington Post]

$26 million

President Trump’s inauguration committee steered $26 million to a firm, WIS Media Partners, controlled by First Lady Melania Trump’s longtime friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Apparently Wolkoff founded the firm about a month and a half before the inauguration. She has since been brought on as a senior advisor to Melania Trump’s official government office. [The New York Times]

320 million cubic meters of sand

An archipelago of islands built to resemble a map of the world in Dubai is once again trying to make a hard sell to investors. It took five years of dredging 320 million cubic meters of sand and 25 million tons of rock to build the vain and ridiculous array, and then like a few months later the global economy collapsed and all plans to develop them went kaput. But the economy is back, baby, and the government investment arm that owns the archipelago is itchy to sell again. [The Guardian]

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.