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Significant Digits For Monday, Feb. 11, 2019

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

250 city workers

The city of Sandusky, Ohio, population 26,000, has swapped out Columbus Day for Election Day and declared it a paid holiday. Thus far, only 250 city employees are affected — “But we’re very hopeful that the message that it sends will be contagious,” the city manager said. [NPR]

50 or more hippos

No one seems to know what to do with Pablo Escobar’s hippos. What began as a menagerie of four in the Colombia estate of the brutal drug lord has swelled to a population of some 50 hippos, some of which roam outside the compound, possibly displacing native wildlife such as manatees and posing a threat to humans. Hippos are native only to Africa. Killing the hippos is unpopular, and sterilizing or relocating them is dangerous and expensive. [CBS News]

4-year-old island

An island in Tonga, unofficially known as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, is only four years old — it was created by the eruption of an underwater volcano in Dec. 2014. The island has become the object of intense study by NASA, which believes it may hold insights on how water could have shaped the planet Mars. [The New York Times]

$14 million lawsuit

The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for $14 million. Paris says Airbnb published 1,000 illegal rental advertisements, meaning they didn’t include a registration number that the city uses to verify that homeowners are not renting out their homes for more than the maximum allowed 120 days a year. Paris is Airbnb’s single biggest market at around 65,000 listings. [Reuters]


Manchester City trounced Chelsea 6-0 in a Premier League game in Manchester Sunday — Chelsea’s worst loss in 28 years. Manchester City now sits tied with Liverpool atop the league standings, and with about a dozen games to go in the season it’s a two-team race between City and Liverpool. [Associated Press]

“50-50” odds

With a looming Feb. 15 deadline, talks to forestall another government shutdown reportedly “abruptly fell apart” over the weekend. According to Politico sources, the talks broke down following an impasse over “detention beds and interior enforcement.” Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pegged the odds of a deal at 50-50. This is, I suppose, marginally higher than President Trump’s “less than 50-50” assessment late last month. [Politico]

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From ABC News:

News headlines today: Feb. 11, 2019

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.