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Significant Digits For Thursday, July 5, 2018

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.


2 senators

All eyes are on two Republican senators: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. With President Trump set to announce his Supreme Court nominee on Monday, liberal strategists see that legislative duo as a possible bulwark against the Senate confirmation of the nominee, who they see as likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Millions of dollars are flowing toward ads targeted at those senators’ states, and conservatives plan to counterattack. Republicans have 51 votes in the Senate and would likely need 50 to confirm the nominee. [The Washington Post, FiveThirtyEight]


6-4, 1-6, 7-5

In a stunning upset, Caroline Wozniacki, the world No. 2 tennis player, crashed out of Wimbledon in the round of 64 in three sets against Ekaterina Makarova on Wednesday. Wozniacki complained about flying insects, demanded that bug spray be brought to the court, fretted about a brief drizzle and said that her opponent “got a little lucky” and that “I would be very surprised if you saw her go far.” [ESPN]


7 people arrested

Yesterday, July 4, seven people were arrested on Liberty Island, the site in New York Harbor of the Statue of Liberty. One woman climbed up to the statue’s robes, saying that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released.” The protesters unfurled banners and chanted, “Abolish ICE.” [CNN]


74 hot dogs

During July 4’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, Joey Chestnut, the world’s best hot dog eater, ate 74 dogs in 10 minutes to claim his 11th title and topple his own world record of 72 dogs. The event, as these events go, was not without its controversy. The judges, dazed from the sun and the thick miasma of hot dogs and digestion, one assumes, originally credited Chestnut with having eaten just 64 dogs, later realizing that entire plate of dogs had gone uncounted. I happened to take the sojourn down to Nathan’s yesterday, too. I ate two dogs. [USA Today]


PSR J0337+1715

That’s the name of a pulsar 4,200 light years from Earth. That pulsar is notable because it was recently used to further test one of Albert Einstein’s theories, called general relativity, which he proposed in 1916. This theory holds that gravity is caused by a distortion of cosmic fabric. If that’s true, all objects should fall the same way — even a bowling ball and a feather, for example. The theory has been tested on Earth, and on the moon, and now in deep space, by observing for six years “two superdense stellar corpses … and an even denser neutron star.” [Space.com]


3 million years ago

Kids these days. Three million years ago, a toddler of the species Australopithecus afarensis, an apelike hominid, could walk on two feet and climb trees. These findings are based on fossil analysis described in a brand new paper. But could they also scream for their iPads? [Gizmodo]


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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