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Significant Digits For Monday, March 18, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. For even more facts, figures and discussion, check out our live FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast in New York City on March 20.

19 percent

Hark, the Earth continues to rotate on its axis, the weather slowly warms and lo March Madness is upon us once again. The tournament’s 68-team bracket was announced yesterday evening. And the favorite of those 68, according to FiveThirtyEight’s predictions: the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils, with a 19 percent chance of cutting down the nets. They are followed by Virginia (17 percent), Gonzaga (15 percent) and North Carolina (9 percent). [FiveThirtyEight]

1.5 million videos

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos with footage of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, within the 24 hours after the attack. Some 1.2 million of them were blocked as soon as they were uploaded, but nevertheless many videos remained online. This is a prime example of “the massive game of whack-a-mole” that social media companies face after high-profile attacks, wrote the Post. [The Washington Post]

100s of cities and towns

Hundreds of American cities and towns are doing away with their recycling programs, citing high costs: China, once a major purchaser of American recyclables, decided recently that too much garbage was mixed in with the useful recyclable materials. In Philadelphia, for example, about half of recycled material is burned in an incinerator, and in Memphis, recyclables from the airport are simply sent to a landfill. [The New York Times]

30.2 feet

The Missouri River rose to a record 30.2 feet in southwestern Iowa over the weekend, two feet above its previous high mark. Flooding, from heavy rain and snowmelt, has also affected Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. At least two people have died and two people are missing as of Sunday. [Associated Press]

2,469 years later

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus’s description of strange riverboats on the Nile in his “Historia” was confirmed by archaeologists recently, some 2,469 years after the fact. A “fabulously preserved” shipwreck of a craft called a baris so closely matched Herodotus’s description that scholars argue it may have been made in the very same shipyard that the historian visited millennia ago. [The Guardian]

More than $20 billion

Lyft is hitting the road in advance of its initial public offering, seeking to raise some $2 billion from investors and achieve a valuation of more than $20 billion. Its archrival, Uber, is planning its own public offering in April. [Reuters]

From ABC News:

News headlines today: Mar. 18, 2019

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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.