Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, March 15, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. For even more facts, figures and discussion, check out our live FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast in New York City on March 20.

420 to 0

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution, by a vote of 420 to 0, demanding that the Justice Department release special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to the public in its entirety. Four Republicans voted “present.” [The New York Times]

10 times more efficient

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed an artificial “leaf” that they say could be 10 times more effective than, like, actual leaves at scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air. This new leaf has the shape of a cube. No word yet on when it will be available for large-scale use, but I hope it’s soon because it really seems like somebody ought to do something about our planet dying. [CNN]

Around 8,000 years ago

We may have the development of agriculture a few millennia ago to thank in part for the way we talk. Some 8,000 years ago, when we humans began relying more on farming and less on meat for our food, our food got softer. This, in turn, affected the human bite. And this, in turn, led to a change in the sounds humans made with their mouths — including the quite recent introduction of the “v” and “f” sounds. Or at least so argues a research team led by a scientist out of the University of Zurich. Very fantastic! [Gizmodo]

12.6 percent of possessions

Much of the credit (or blame) for the ongoing offensive revolution in the NBA has rightly been given an increase in three-point shot attempts. But there is another aspect to all the scoring, which is that NBA players just aren’t turning the ball over very much. The 2018-19 season also set a record (low) for turnovers, with just 12.6 percent of possessions ending that way. [FiveThirtyEight]

3 million tons of plastic

For the first time, Coca-Cola has divulged how much plastic packaging the company creates in a year — 3 million tons. That’s compared to Nestle’s 1.7 million tons, Unilever’s 610,000 tons and Colgate’s nearly 300,000 tons. Pepsi did not volunteer its data to the researchers who collected the data. [BBC]

At least 3 months

As the Wu-Tang Clan once said: The saga continues, the saga continues. U.K. lawmakers voted yesterday to delay the date of the Brexit split by at least three months, after they’d voted down a Brexit deal proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May the day before. May will reportedly bring the deal, which has now been defeated twice, back to the House of Commons again early next week. A request for an extension from Britain would have to be approved by the other EU countries. For us distant fans of numbingly arcane British parliamentary procedure and politics, long may it continue. [The Guardian]

From ABC News:

It’s Morning, America: Friday, March 15, 2019

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

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.