You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
3.7 million more voters
Over 8.3 million Texas voters voted in the 2018 midterm elections. Some 4.6 million voted in the 2014 midterm elections. That’s a difference of almost 3.7 million, which is 1) amazing and 2) “says a lot about the changing face of the Lone Star State,” FiveThirtyEight contributor Kirk Goldsberry wrote, alongside some maps of Texas with dots of different colors and different sizes. [FiveThirtyEight]
More than 50 people
Facebook seems to materialize in this column an awful lot. But when a service has “connected” more than 2.2 billion people, I suppose that makes sense. The New York Times published a deep dive into the company, based on interviews with “more than 50 people,” many of whom are anonymous. We learn, for example, that the company hired a Republican opposition-research group to discredit protesters by linking them to George Soros, and that it lobbied a Jewish civil rights group to label criticism of Facebook as anti-Semitic. Just normal, cool, I-started-a-company-in-my-Harvard-dorm-room stuff. [The New York Times]
Florida’s 67 counties are meant to complete their machine recounts in the governor and Senate races in that state by 3 p.m. Eastern time, and, as some counties have already said they would surely miss that deadline, Sen. Bill Nelson, who trails Gov. Rick Scott by about 12,000 votes, is seeking an extension from federal judge Mark Walker. It sounds, frankly, like a bit of a mess. Walker ruled this morning, for example, to allow some 4,000 Floridians whose ballots were rejected thanks to mismatched signatures to resolve the problems by Saturday. “Democracy is messy,” said Robert Kennedy, according to a sketchy quote website I just googled. [NPR]
Japan’s recently appointed minister of cyber-security has never used a computer. So jealous, first of all. And second, this would make him awfully hard to hack, as many Japanese observers (on social media, natch) were quick to point out. [BBC]
26 House Democrats
Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is getting it from all sides. On the one hand, there were reports that President Trump wanted her out for being “insufficiently draconian on immigration.” On the other, now 26 House Democrats have signed a letter demanding her resignation. “You are responsible for the unimaginable trauma of thousands of children across the United States,” the letter reads. [The Daily Beast]
82 million people
As of yesterday evening, at least 48 people were killed in the so-called Camp Fire in California which started burning a week ago and other fires killed at least two others. And smoke from wildfires will negatively affect air quality and people’s health — both as we speak and in the decades to come. According to a model of an environmental epidemiologist, some 82 million people will experience more smoke, and more so-called “smoke waves,” in California, Oregon and the Great Plains. [The Washington Post]
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If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.