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Significant Digits For Thursday, March 28, 2019

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


Brooklyn, stand up! Very tall, as it happens. Robert Cornegy Jr., a city councilman who represents the borough, is a former pro basketball player and member of a Final Four college team. He now also holds the Guinness World Record for tallest politician. He’s 6-foot-10, and wrested the title from Sir Louis Gluckstein, a London politician, by more than two inches. New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, is reportedly just under 6-foot-6. [The New York Times]

5 men

According to the bookmaker William Hill, five men are the betting favorites to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she’d be willing to step down before the next phase of Brexit negotiations. They are environment secretary Michael Gove (5-2 odds), former foreign secretary Boris Johnson (5-1), foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt (7-1), “May’s de facto deputy” David Lidington (7-1), and home secretary Sajid Javid (9-1). [The Washington Post]

Less than 1 billion years ago

Despite the fact that the “great thinning,” during which Mars lost most of its atmosphere, happened more than 3 billion years ago, Martian rivers still flowed with water as recently as less than 1 billion years ago, according to a new study by geophysical scientists. The rivers were filled by precipitation, flowed “intermittently but intensely,” and were often twice as large as comparable rivers on Earth. []

$75,328 in taxes

Stephen Moore, President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, is “being pursued” by the government for $75,328 in back taxes from 2014. “For several years I have been working through a dispute with the IRS, attempting to be returned what my attorneys and accountant believe were tax overpayments of tens of thousands of dollars,” Moore said in a statement. [The Guardian]

10 alleged raiders

Recently, in international incidents: Ten alleged assailants from a “mysterious dissident organization” raided a North Korean embassy in Madrid. They held employees hostage and stole computers and documents as part of an attempt to overthrow the Kim regime. They then fled for the U.S. by way of Lisbon and offered the pilfered material to the FBI. Oh, and did I mention they were led by a Mexican national who graduated from Yale and once did a jail stint in China? Just your typical story, in other words. [Associated Press, The New York Times]

93 miles

And finally, in a much calmer story: A 57-year-old British fugitive wanted for drug charges tried to flee Australia on a jet ski “possibly armed with a crossbow” and believed to be bound for Papua New Guinea. He made it some 93 miles before being arrested, only about 2.5 miles from the coast. [Gizmodo]

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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.