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Significant Digits For Thursday, May 30, 2019

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

10 minutes

For about 10 minutes yesterday, behind a Department of Justice podium, Robert Mueller delivered a statement in which he formally resigned from his role as special counsel and said that he was returning to private life. He did not take questions, and said that he does “not believe it is appropriate to speak further or comment” and that if he did testify before Congress he would not provide any information “beyond what is already public.” [NBC News]

From ABC News:

Mueller speaks out for first time since ending Russia Probe

2 percent and 130,000 donors

The Democratic National Committee is making it a bit tougher to qualify for its third presidential debate, scheduled for September. The first two debates, scheduled for June and July, require a candidate receive 1 percent in three qualifying polls or have 65,000 individual donors. The third debate will require 2 percent in four polls and 130,000 individual donors. Eight candidates have cleared that polling bar, according to Politico. [Politico]

$1.3 million sale

A plain, old black Samsung laptop loaded with six infamous viruses — I LOVE YOU, Sobig, MyDoom, DarkTequila, BlackEnergy and WannaCry — sold for $1.3 million at an online art auction. Its creator, Chinese artist Guo O Dong, calls the work “The Persistence of Chaos.” Dear art world: I’m pretty sure there are some old laptops somewhere in my apartment that I’m willing to part with … for a price. [AFP]

More than 500 reports

The National Weather Service has received more than 500 reports of tornadoes in the past 30 days — the most since the April 2011 “Super Outbreak.” Nearly 150 tornadoes have been confirmed in the past two weeks, according to May is historically the most active tornado month with about nine a day. []

$1,500 entry fee

Bee week is upon us as the Scripps National Spelling Bee culminates in its final round this evening. Time was that to qualify for the national bee a young speller had to win a regional bee. No longer. This year, with an option called RSVBee, parents could pay a $1,500 fee along with travel and lodging expenses to guarantee their child a spot. The option was introduced last year at $750. Despite the increase, paying spellers outnumbered traditional qualifiers this year. [The Wall Street Journal]

From FiveThirtyEight:

5 tips for going far in the spelling bee

50 percent

Longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek reported that his doctors say he’s in “near remission” following a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer earlier this year. He said some of his tumors had shrunk by more than 50 percent and that his doctors said that “they hadn’t seen this kind of positive results in their memory.” [Associated Press]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

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.