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Significant Digits For Thursday, July 12, 2018

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


65-pound waistcoat

That’s pounds like the money, and it’s reportedly the price of the now-famous waistcoat worn by the England football team’s manager, Gareth Southgate. The waistcoat — Queen’s English for “vest” — had surged in popularity in a fit of superstitious sartorialism sweeping England. That didn’t work so well, as England was bounced by Croatia in the semifinal. A truly rough couple of hours for haberdashers. [The Independent]


760 times more seabirds

Coral reefs face an unlikely threat: black rats. Normally, birds that live on islands feed in rich ocean waters and poop nutrients back on the land, fertilizing it with nitrogen and phosphorous. This nitrogen leaches back into the water, feeding the sea life, and the phosphorus also helps nearby reefs grow and resist heat. But the damn rats, carried to islands by humans’ ships long ago, eat birds and birds’ eggs. Ratless islands have 760 times more seabirds than rat-filled ones. [The Atlantic]


10,000 products

President Trump’s trade war has escalated, as trade wars do, to include about 10,000 products. It began with just a few, including solar panels and washing machines, and now includes proposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods and “could grow to target almost 90 percent of what China sent to the United States last year,” reshaping the world’s economy. [The New York Times]


17,000 penalty kicks

With the introduction of the video assistant referee to this year’s World Cup, penalty kicks are taking longer than ever. And all this time might be icing the shooters. A study of 17,000 penalties, dating back more than 50 years, reveals that times between whistle and kick of more than 150 seconds have a statistically significant effect on the kickers. The success rate of penalties with a wait time less than 150 seconds is 76 percent, and the success rate of those with a greater wait time is 73 percent. [FiveThirtyEight]


$900 million cosmetics fortune

Kylie Jenner, who is a person I have heard of, is at 20 the youngest member of a recent Forbes list of top female entrepreneurs, thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars in a cosmetics fortune. Forbes describes Jenner — the youngest adult member of probably the most famous family in America — as “self-made.” [Forbes]


1.1 billion-year-old rocks

The oldest color on the planet is pink, according to a recent study. Scientists discovered the pink pigment in rocks beneath the Sahara desert that are more than a billion years old. The pigments were produced by “ancient ocean organisms” and are still enjoyed by millennials today. [CNN]


If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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