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Significant Digits For Friday, Oct. 26, 2018

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


More than 24 firefighters

More than two dozen firefighters were dispatched to a house in Fresno, California. Why? The son of the homeowners was trying to kill black widow spiders with a blowtorch. This is certainly the most badass version of the Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly dilemma that I’ve ever heard. [KFSN]


55 percent of contributions

The nonprofit online fundraising platform ActBlue has become a powerful force in Democratic fundraising. Since the beginning of 2017, some 55 percent of all contributions from individual donors to Democratic congressional candidates passed through it, for a total of almost $564 million. ActBlue, which is used by nearly every Democratic candidate, says it has raised more than $2.9 billion since it was founded in 2004. [FiveThirtyEight]


112 new PFAS compounds

Since 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed 112 new perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS compounds, to be manufactured or imported into the country in large quantities. This is despite the fact that the EPA was aware of their health risks. These chemicals, which The Intercept has dubbed The Teflon Toxin, have been linked to “cancers, hormonal disruption, obesity, and immune and reproductive problems.” [The Intercept]


800 or more active-duty troops

The Trump administration plans to send 800 or more active-duty troops to the Southern U.S. border as several thousand Central American migrants make their way north through Mexico. An official told the AP that the troops would provide support to the Border Patrol. “Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!” Trump tweeted to the migrants. [The Associated Press]


$83 million in New York City property

Companies linked to a rich Chinese oilman named Ye Jianming bought a 5,278-square-foot apartment in New York City on Central Park West for more than $50 million and a 4,028-square-foot place on Park Avenue for almost $33 million. (That’s a lot, even in this stupid city.) Even more gilded purchases were in the works. But then Ye disappeared. His whereabouts remain unknown. [The Wall Street Journal]


$90 million in pay

Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, was paid $90 million when he left Google in late 2014. This was despite the fact that a woman with whom Rubin had an extramarital affair had accused him of sexual misconduct, including coercing her into performing oral sex. Google concluded that the claims were credible. Google, reports the Times, could have fired Rubin and paid him next to nothing. [The New York Times]


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.

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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