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Significant Digits For Friday, Jan. 18, 2019

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

About $12,000 cash in a Walmart bag

That’s what John Gauger says he was paid by Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, in Cohen’s Trump Tower office. (Cohen insists all payments were by check.) Gauger, who owns a company called RedFinch Solutions, was hired to rig online polls in Trump’s favor before his presidential campaign. In 2014, for example, he was asked to rig a CNBC poll on the country’s top business leaders. Gauger couldn’t get Trump into the top 100. [The Wall Street Journal]

1,500 additional flights a day

There will be some 1,500 additional flights a day into the Atlanta area ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport and, thanks to the government shutdown, planning meetings for the big game have been canceled and air traffic controllers and TSA workers could be working that weekend for no pay. [NBC News]

151 to 148

Another day, another vote of no confidence in an international parliament. Most recently it was in Greece, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras barely survived by a 151 to 148 vote. The turmoil there has to do with economic hardship and a proposal to rename the neighboring nation of Macedonia. [The New York Times]

60 percent of wild coffee species

Global warming — and its droughts and flourishing fungal pathogens — has put 60 percent of the world’s wild coffee species at “high risk of extinction,” according to a study in Science Advances. Seventy-five coffee species are threatened with extinction, including the popular arabica and robusta beans. [USA Today]


The Hubble Space Telescope has had its problems recently, including a hardware problem with its main camera and another with one of its gyroscopes. Nevertheless, the head of the Hubble mission gives the telescope’s instruments a more than 80 percent chance of working through 2025. Hubble launched in 1990. Godspeed. []

62 and 63 percent favorites

Going into the NFL conference championship games, the Kansas City Chiefs are 62 percent favorites over the New England Patriots, and the New Orleans Saints are 63 percent favorites over the Los Angeles Rams, according to our quarterback-adjusted Elo ratings. (Both favorites are the home team.) Each of these games is also a rematch: the Patriots and the Saints won the respective clashes earlier this season. [FiveThirtyEight]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.

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

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.