Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

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

-51 degrees Fahrenheit

It was very cold in parts of the country yesterday thanks to “one of the coldest arctic air mass intrusions in recent memory,” per the National Weather Service. It felt like 51 degrees below zero in Chicago. In Minneapolis, it felt like 49 below, threatening to break a 100-year-old temperature record which, for them, is really saying something. And it was so cold in Chicago (How cold was it?) that they were setting railroad tracks on fire. [USA Today]

36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets

Tyson Foods recalled 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets because they may be contaminated with rubber. Customers had complained about “extraneous material” in Tyson White Meat Panko Chicken Nuggets. That material was “soft, blue rubber,” according to the company. [CBS News]

30-minute defense

The drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, is on trial in New York City. Prosecutors had mounted a “monumental” case over 10 weeks that included evidence from 56 witnesses. Guzmán’s defense team, on the other hand, rested its case this week after 30 minutes. [The New York Times]

72 on-air predictions

Tony Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS employee who will be the lead analyst for Sunday’s Super Bowl, has a penchant for making on-air predictions. He often tries to predict what kind of play a team will run before they run it. The Wall Street Journal reviewed 46 hours of tape and identified 72 Romo predictions. He was right 68 percent of the time. “Oh! That’s not bad,” Romo said. [The Wall Street Journal]

20 tons of gold

Venezuela, according to a lawmaker there and a Bloomberg source, has set aside 20 tons of gold, worth about $840 million, ready to load into a Russian Boeing 777 in Caracas. Where is the haul headed? No one seems to know. Venezuela does owe billions of dollars to Russia and China, and “also needs hard currency to buy food for its starving people.” [Bloomberg]

4 billion-year-old rock

The oldest known Earth rock may have been found on the moon. With apologies to the Talking Heads, you may ask yourself, well, how did it get there? According to the scientists offering the theory, an asteroid hit the Earth and shot the rock to the moon, which, at the time, was much closer to the Earth than it is now. Fast forward a few eons, and Apollo 14 astronauts scooped it up and brought it back to Earth in 1971. Welcome home, buddy. [Science]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores 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.