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Significant Digits For Monday, June 17, 2019

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

3 of 5 pollsters

President Trump’s reelection campaign is ditching three of its five pollsters “to prevent further disclosure of survey data.” The leaked internal polls showed Trump trailing Joe Biden in several battleground states and by double digits in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump had reportedly told his staff to deny that the polls existed and called them “fake polls.” [The New York Times]

More than 100 songs

The lyrics website Genius is complaining that Google, rather than sending search traffic to Genius, is instead publishing Genius’s lyrics directly on its own platform. Genius says that, using a special pattern in the formatting of the apostrophes in lyrics, it has identified more than 100 songs on Google that came straight from its site. When the types of apostrophes — straight and curved — are converted to Morse code, they reportedly spell “red handed.” [The Wall Street Journal]

About 70 whales

About 70 dead whales have washed up on the West Coast this year, the most since 2000. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has no place to put them all and the agency has started asking waterfront real estate owners to volunteer to allow whales to rot on their property. While the cost may be the smell, the reward, according to officials, is that the owners can “support the natural process of the marine environment, and skeletons left behind can be used for educational purposes.” [Associated Press]


The United States defeated Chile in the Women’s World Cup yesterday, 3-0, improving its record in the tournament to 2-0. While it wasn’t as dramatic a victory as the Americans’ 13-0 rout of Thailand the week before, it was good enough to ensure their place in the round of 16. It was also good enough to place them atop our predictions table as the favorite to win the title, with a 24 percent chance. France sits a close second at 19 percent. [FiveThirtyEight]

Tens of millions of people

Tens of millions of people in Argentina and Uruguay were without power yesterday in “an unexplained failure in the neighboring countries’ interconnected power grid” that also affected Chile, Brazil and Paraguay. The outage happened as many in Argentina were heading to the polls to vote in gubernatorial elections. Voters there reportedly cast ballots by the light of their cell phones. [CBS News]

$5.64 million

A road-gray Yankees jersey that was worn by Babe Ruth sold for $5.64 million at an auction on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold. The previous record: $4.4 million, also for a Babe Ruth jersey. [ABC News]

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.