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Significant Digits For Thursday, July 26, 2018

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


1 hour and 42 minutes

Nothing brings us together as a species quite like the brief alignment of heavenly bodies. And this Friday will bring a special treat: an extra-long lunar eclipse, lasting one hour and 42 minutes. (The longest this century, according to NASA.) So ready your binoculars and … oh, crap. It’s not visible from North America. Figures. Well, request a vacation day quickly, go go go. Tell your boss he or she can give me a call. [NPR]


2 congressmen

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, both Republicans and leaders of the House Freedom Caucus, introduced a resolution yesterday to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who oversees the special counsel’s Russia investigation. The resolution is not a sign, however, according to CNN, that the House is close to a vote on impeaching Rosenstein. The chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee did not sign onto the resolution. [CNN]


1 Martian lake (probably)

Researchers have discovered what they believe to be a lake, about 12 miles across, under the southern polar ice cap of Mars. It’s the first sign of an extant, persistent body of water on the red planet. “It’s probably not a very large lake,” said the man from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics who led the study and who, with all due respect, I fear may be missing the point. [BBC]


17 percent plunge

Facebook (if you haven’t heard of it, ask your parents) missed its revenue and user projections for this quarter. The … embattled social media company (“embattled” is the word, right?) has been grappling, or not, with big scandals concerning data security and its promulgation of fake news. Facebook stock fell 17 percent on the misses in premarket trading on Thursday. [CNBC]


76 ducklings

Take a breath, time for a brief respite. Last month, an amateur wildlife photographer took an eight-foot plastic boat out on Minnesota’s Lake Bemidji and captured an extraordinary sight: one duck leading more than six dozen ducklings. No, they aren’t all her progeny. The common merganser was acting as the matriarch of a large brood, likely raising the “babies in a day care system that’s called a crèche,” according to experts on these sorts of matters. Make way for ducklings, indeed. [The New York Times]


5 million customers

The home DNA test kit company 23andMe is partnering with the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. The latter will use the test results from 5 million customers of the former to design new drugs. The latter has also invested $300 million in the former. [NBC News]


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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