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Significant Digits For Monday, Sept. 17, 2018

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

100 mobile carriers

This week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is set to test a system that will let President Trump send a message directly to your cell phone. More than 100 mobile carriers, including “all the major wireless firms,” are participating — there is no way to opt out. Now, what follows is all subject to approval by my editor and presumably many besuited lawyers at the Disney corporation, but I am contemplating a way to beam all of my articles to a receptor implanted in your occipital lobe at which point their text will be projected directly onto your aqueous humour. Or something. In any case, there will be no way to opt out. [NBC News]


At the Berlin Marathon this past weekend, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya smashed the world record by 78 seconds, winning with a time of 2:01:39. If my arithmetic serves, that’s a pace of about 4:38.6 a mile over the race’s 26.2 miles, which, wow. [The Guardian]

200 divorces

Fortnite — the super-popular video game that I can hear the kid who lives in the apartment next door screaming about through the thick masonry walls — has been responsible for more than 200 divorces, according to a United Kingdom divorce resource website. But while that sounds bleak, God knows how many marriages the game must be responsible for! After all, what courtship wouldn’t be sweetened by shouted conversation about skins, chug jugs and boogie bombs? [The Daily Dot]


A man died on Cape Cod after what police called a possible shark attack. If it was indeed a shark attack, it’d be the first such death in Massachusetts since 1936. [Reuters]

1,000 yurts

Some 1,000 yurts were set up for the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan. And honestly the whole thing sounds way too good to be true. The sports competed in included a type of polo played with a decapitated goat carcass; 17 types of wrestling, including horseback wrestling; bone tossing; hunting with eagles; and five different events involving archery (including, of course, horseback archery). [The New York Times]

1,041 unique final scores

The Minnesota Vikings played the Green Bay Packers to a 29-29 tie yesterday. And while neither team won, the game was a victory for the database keepers. It was the first ever NFL game to end with that score, the 1,041st unique score ever recorded. It was the second such “scorigami” occurrence in the last two weeks, joining the Tampa Bay-New Orleans 48-40 encounter last Sunday. [NFL Scorigami]

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.