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Significant Digits For Friday, June 22, 2018

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


Nearly 40 years

For the first time in almost four decades, women in Iran watched a men’s soccer match in a stadium. Women were barred from attending men’s sporting events after the 1979 Islamic revolution, but on Wednesday they were allowed into a stadium in Tehran to watch a live broadcast of Iran playing Spain in the World Cup. Just before the match was set to begin, officials announced that no one would be allowed into the stadium, but Iranians showed up anyway, and both men and women were eventually let in. Spain won 1-0. [Vox]


46 years old

Koko, the western lowland gorilla who communicated in sign language, played the recorder and hung out with Robin Williams and Mister Rogers, has died. Koko was 46 years old. [NPR]


60 percent of chicken processing plants

A carbon dioxide shortage is wreaking havoc in the United Kingdom. Three of the largest plants there that produce the gas are closed for maintenance, sending horrifying shivers through the food and drink industries, during the World Cup no less. Sixty percent of chicken processing plants, which use CO2 during the slaughter process, could be shut down, while a pub chain and a brewer said that the supply of beer could be cut off “within days.” England plays on Sunday. The horror. The horror. [The Guardian]


More than 1,200 civil rights probes

The Department of Education and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, have “scuttled more than 1,200 civil rights investigations” that began during President Obama’s tenure and lasted at least six months, according to a ProPublica analysis. These investigations concerned violations including discrimination and sexual violence in school districts and colleges across the country. Nevertheless, a spokesperson said the department was “as committed as ever” to enforcing civil rights. [ProPublica]


2,000 years before Pythagoras

According to a new book by megalithic experts, the ancient builders of Stonehenge were using the Pythagorean theorem — the fact that the sum of the squares of the lengths of the two legs of a right triangle equals the square of the length of its hypotenuse — some 2,000 years before Pythagoras was born. Sorry, Pyth. The Neolithic theorem does have a cool ring to it. [The Telegraph]


$8 billion to $23 billion a year

The Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for state and local governments to collect new sales taxes from online retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. The stock prices of those companies and other online retailers slipped after the decision. Governments will be able to collect somewhere between an extra $8 billion and $23 billion a year, according to estimates. It remains to be see whether this will in any way curb my eBay fascination with vintage “Jurassic Park” (1993) action figures. [Bloomberg]


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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