You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
No. 1 and No. 2
The World Chess Championship is on in London, where the American grandmaster Fabiano Caruana is challenging the Norwegian defending champion Magnus Carlsen in a best-of-12-game match over the next few weeks. And for the first time in almost 30 years, it’s the world’s No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players who are vying for the title. Carlsen is the favorite, though the match is thought by many to be closely contested. If Caruana wins, he’ll be the first American to claim the title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. [Chess.com]
1- to 2-megawatt laser
A recent astrophysics paper argues that the light from a 1- to 2-megawatt laser, fired through a telescope and aimed into outer space, could stand out from the light of the sun and serve as a beacon to establish possible contact with aliens. Yeah. Screw it. Let’s do it. Let’s get weird(er than things already are). [USA Today]
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell in her office two nights ago, breaking three ribs. Ginsburg did not know that she had broken ribs and went home that night instead. She was admitted to the hospital the next morning. She has, the Post reported, broken ribs on at least two other occasions. [The Washington Post]
12,000 new workers
After reports that Amazon was planning to build part of its second headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens, Google is reportedly significantly expanding its presence in the city, nearing a real estate deal to add space for 12,000 new workers. If all goes according to these plans, Google will have 20,000 staff in the city and Amazon an additional 25,000. So if you’re in the area and need, like, tech support, I guess just enter the nearest juice store and start screaming. [The Wall Street Journal]
Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to Congress in September that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (then a nominee) had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school, continues to be the target of death threats and harassment, according to her lawyers. (Kavanaugh denies the allegations.) She has to pay for a private security detail and has had to move four times, she wrote last month. [NPR]
42 percent of Democratic pickups
If you’re a Democrat, thank the suburbanites. Sparse suburban and dense suburban areas were responsible for 42 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of the gains made by Democrats in the House this week, my colleague Geoffrey Skelley writes. [FiveThirtyEight]
Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.
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