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Significant Digits For Monday, Oct. 1, 2018

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


It’s official — the Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis, the most consistent hitter in baseball history, has batted .247 for the fourth year in a row. He’s really on the upswing, having hit .244 the year before this streak began. [ESPN]

At least 832 killed

At least 832 people in Indonesia were confirmed dead as of Sunday by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami that created an 18-foot wave. The death toll is “expected to climb much higher still.” [The New York Times]

$20 per kilogram

Say what you will about capitalism and the laws of supply and demand but one thing they do really well is set prices, such that your unshakeable curiosity about the prices of weird things can be effectively slaked. The latest example is man-made, simulated Martian dirt, created by University of Central Florida astrophysicists and useful, perhaps, for testing hypothetical Mars-bound crops or equipment. It goes for $20 per kilogram (plus shipping), which honestly is less than I’d have guessed. NASA has already ordered half a ton — or $9,000 worth. [Mashable]

500 million pounds a week

According to a study from the Centre for European Reform published over the weekend, Brexit has cost the British government 500 million pounds a week, and that number is apparently growing. [Reuters]

800 marines

Speaking of the U.K. — and entry No. 1,682 in our continuing series of unexpected effects of climate change — the U.K. is sending some 800 Royal Marines to Norway and four Royal Air Force fighter planes to the skies above Iceland in response to increased Russian submarine activity in the north Atlantic. The ice there is melting, and new shipping routes are emerging. Russia may be staking its claim, trying to militarize this new Arctic region. I always did think the freezing poles never got their due in Risk. [Bloomberg]

183 emissions of gas

Ash from a volcano called Popocatepetl — aka Don Goyo — has landed in southern neighborhoods of Mexico City. The National Center for Disaster Prevention detected 183 emissions of gas and ash over a 24-hour period. The volcano has been more active since an earthquake struck central Mexico last September. [Associated Press]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s out on Oct. 9 and available for pre-order now — I hope you dig it.

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.