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Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018

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

24 minutes off a 9-inning baseball game

An academic game theorist and a computer scientist have proposed a rule that they calculate would shave 24 minutes off the average nine-inning game. It’s called the Catch Up Rule and it goes like this: When the game is tied, it’s baseball as usual, with three outs per side. But when the team at bat has or takes a lead, it only gets two outs. At the risk of editorializing too much, this proposal speaks directly and loudly to the state of the academy in this country more than it says something about the length of baseball games. [The Wall Street Journal]

3 seconds

A new earthquake early-warning system in California detected a small quake, 4.4 magnitude, in the Los Angeles area, sending out a warning three seconds before the shaking began. Despite the slim head-start, the warning was seen as a successful test and positive sign for the system, which relies on the fact that earthquakes’ waves move slower than modern communications. [Los Angeles Times]

15 nominees

Days before the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is scheduled to begin, Democrats in the Senate expedited votes for 15 of President Trump’s district court nominees. Seven were confirmed and the other eight will get “quick votes” next week. This “major win for Trump and McConnell,” the Huffington Post reported, was delivered because the Democrats “wanted to go home” for the holiday weekend. [Huffington Post]

35 French boats and 5 British boats

Skirmishes are breaking out in the English Channel. Over scallops. According to authorities, 35 French fishing boats and five British fishing boats confronted one another, and flares were fired. This involves some intricate interplay of French law, British law and maritime law which I very much encourage you to read more about on your own. But in any event, scallops are delicious, and I totally get it. [NBC News]

5 decades at No. 1

Red Delicious is dead. Long live Red Delicious. The apple variety lost its No. 1 spot in American orchards after some 50 years. Bow down to your new queen: the Gala apple. And watch out for the fast-rising Honeycrisp. The world is turning upside down, nothing is what it once was, and my head is spinning. [Slate]

3 times in the past 14 months

Historically, goalkeepers have been the most undervalued players in the international soccer market, FiveThirtyEight contributor Terrence Doyle wrote yesterday. But the world record fee paid by a team for a goalie has been set three times in the past 14 months, all by teams in the Premier League. De-fense, clap clap clap, de-fense, clap clap clap. [FiveThirtyEight]

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.