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Significant Digits For Thursday, July 19, 2018

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


+5 net support

Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is polling poorly. He’s sitting at a net confirmation support of +5, based on an average of surveys that measure the gap between those who do and don’t think he should be confirmed. This is worse than the equivalent polling for Harriet Miers, whose nomination was withdrawn in 2005, and Robert Bork, who was not confirmed in 1987. “But don’t get your hopes up, Democrats,” my colleague Nathaniel Rakich writes. “[T]his doesn’t mean that nominees struggle to be confirmed because they are unpopular; they could just as easily be unpopular because they possess other qualities that can derail a confirmation.” [FiveThirtyEight]


20 troops

In an interview on Fox News, President Trump continued to express his unhappiness with NATO and balked at defending the small country of Montenegro should it be attacked. Montenegro, which is roughly the size of Vermont, contributes 20 troops to the NATO operation in Afghanistan — more per capita than the official contribution of the United States. [NBC News]


2,400 signatories

More than 2,400 artificial intelligence specialists — including Elon Musk and Google DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis — signed onto a pledge that they would “neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons,” i.e. killer robots. Um, thanks, I guess? [The Guardian]


$274,000 on Facebook ads

The biggest political advertiser on Facebook? President Trump. Trump and his PAC have spent $274,000 on ads there since early May. Second place? Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I don’t seem to get anything but ads for apartments in Manhattan that I can’t afford. [The New York Times]


$12 million parade

President Trump’s military parade through D.C., scheduled for November 10, is now estimated to cost $12 million. This is nearly as much, CNN reports, as the military exercise with South Korea that Trump canceled following his summit with Kim Jong Un. “We save a fortune by not doing war games,” Trump said at the time. [CNN]


$5.1 billion fine

Reminiscent of Microsoft in the ’90s, Google was hit with a $5.1 billion fine by the European Union for using its Android operating system “as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” the E.U. antitrust commissioner said. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.” Microsoft did something similar with Windows and Internet Explorer and, well, let’s just say I’m not writing this post using Internet Explorer. [Select All]


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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