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Significant Digits For Monday, July 30, 2018

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


Following a meeting with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, President Trump yesterday claimed that “90% of media coverage of my Administration is negative,” that the media has been “driven insane,” that they are “Very unpatriotic!,” that they were engaged in distraction and cover-ups, and that their coverage “truly puts the lives of many … at risk.” It was unclear whether the president was including Significant Digits in his rant. [The Hill]

19 years at Dow Chemical

That’s a line item on the resume of Peter Wright, a lawyer nominated in March by Trump to run the EPA’s Superfund toxic cleanup program. He once described himself as “the company’s dioxin lawyer.” (Dioxin is a toxic chemical which Dow once released into the Tittabawassee River, contaminating more than 50 miles of river and lake.) Unsurprisingly, I think it’s abundantly fair to say, this nomination has raised all sorts of chemically tinged red flags, which you can read more about in this piece from the Times. [The New York Times]

+76 PARG

Last week, my colleagues introduced a new stat, which is one of my favorite things my colleagues do. It’s called PARG — Popularity Above Replacement Governor — and it’s calculated by measuring the distance between a governor’s net approval rating and his or her state’s partisan lean. Leading the inaugural PARG list is Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, with a healthy +76 PARG. At the bottom is Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, with an unhealthy PARG of -93. [FiveThirtyEight]

1 minute and 51 seconds

Geraint Thomas of Wales won the Tour de France yesterday, one minute and 51 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, after 21 stages over three weeks and 2,000 miles. I imagine Thomas’s immediate celebratory plans include a lot of not riding a bicycle. [BBC]

12-year McDonald’s scam

One day in 2001, in Rhode Island, a crew claiming to be from McDonald’s showed up at a man’s door with video cameras and a giant cashier’s check to celebrate his $1 million winnings from the restaurant’s long-running Monopoly game — wherein you peel real estate “properties” from Cokes and packs of fries, etc., trying to make certain sets to win prizes. The problem for this man, however, was that the crew was really undercover FBI agents. For over a decade, McD’s Monopoly game was the target of a major and colorful criminal conspiracy. [Daily Beast]

“Something like 183 unique conversations on tape”

So said President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani over the weekend, regarding what exactly federal investigators had seized from Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney. Giuliani also implied that Trump is heard on only one of those tapes, and that there are “maybe 11 or 12 others” on which Trump is discussed at any length. [CBS News]

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.