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Significant Digits For Thursday, June 7, 2018

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


1 hour 58 minutes and 7 seconds

Two expert climbers — Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell — climbed the 3,000-foot “Nose route” of El Capitan, a rock wall in Yosemite National Park, in under two hours. It’s a first. “It’s like breaking the two-hour marathon barrier, but vertically,” another speed climber said. [National Geographic]


76 percent

The men’s World Cup begins a week from today (!), and FiveThirtyEight will have you covered with previews of all of the tournament’s eight groups. First up, Group A, composed of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Uruguay. It’s possibly the weakest group in World Cup history. Uruguay is its strongest team and has a 76 percent chance of advancing to the round of 16, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index. Russia, the host nation, rides its home-country advantage to a 73 percent chance of advancing. [FiveThirtyEight]


100 feet beneath the ocean surface

Microsoft has placed one of its data centers on the ocean floor off the Orkney Islands, in Scotland. Why? Servers get hot and it’s cold down there. It’s unclear what happens when they need to unplug something and plug it back in. [Motherboard]


114 workers

Roughly 200 federal immigration agents arrested more than 100 workers at two locations of an Ohio gardening and landscaping company Wednesday. This large raid comes after federal officials arrested 97 workers at a Tennessee meat-packing plant in April and 21 people in a sweep of 98 7-Eleven stores in January. “They’re armed. They had the dogs. We hear the helicopters on top of us,” an employee told a local television station. “They took them on a big bus.” [The Washington Post]


115 employees

The editorial staff of The New Yorker, everyone’s favorite weekly magazine to pile up on a coffee table, has unionized. Nearly 90 percent of the magazine’s 115 or so union-eligible employees — copy editors, fact checkers, web producers, social media editors, editorial assistants and so on — have signed on. New Yorker writers, however, are not involved — nearly all of them work as independent contractors. [New York]


Every 10,000 to 20,000 years

Planet Nine is a gas giant, 20 times further from us than Neptune, orbiting the sun every 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years. That is, if it exists. The evidence for its existence is an odd “gravitational dance” of small, distant bodies called trans-Neptunian objects. But a new model is challenging that, suggesting that the trans-Neptunian orbital weirdness may have been caused by many small outer space encounters, rather than a big run-in with Planet Nine. Anyway, I miss Pluto. [Popular Mechanics]


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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