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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018

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

$7.5 million in television ads

The Senate confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, are set to begin early next month, and conservatives are dramatically outspending liberals in an advertisement war targeting “vulnerable” senators. Conservative have spent more than $7.5 million on ads, while liberals have spent about $1.3 million. The heavily targeted senators include Democrats Doug Jones in Alabama, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Donnelly in Indiana, as well as Republicans Susan Collins in Maine and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. [Politico]

2.6 to 2.9 billion contact lenses

Every year, we (well, not me, #Blessed) flush nearly 3 billion contact lenses down our sinks and toilets. After typical wastewater treatment, that translates to about 50,000 pounds of contacts in sewage sludge, and some 25,000 pounds of contacts winding up in our dirt. Some may also find their way into oceans and rivers. [Scientific American]

$3.2 billion purchase

PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi and Mountain Dew and other things, is buying SodaStream, the maker of home carbonation machines, for $3.2 billion. And here I thought PepsiCo had already figured out its own way to carbonate its beverages, like in a big factory or something. [CNN Money]

1302 Elo rating

The Cleveland Browns professional football team is very bad. They went 0-16 last year and 1-15 the year before that. They are so bad, in fact, that according to their Elo rating, our preferred method for assessing the strength of a football team over time, they have regressed all the way back to their level in 1999, when the franchise was rebooted from scratch. Our headline yesterday — “The Browns’ Suckiness Defies Math And Reason” — pretty much sums it up. [FiveThirtyEight]

26 new judges

President Trump has already placed 26 new judges on federal courts, more than any other president by this point in their tenure. Trump has also nominated over 100 district-court judges; 26 of them have been confirmed. “These judges are overwhelmingly young, ideological and now set to serve lifetime appointments,” wrote Rolling Stone. [Rolling Stone]

31 percent plummet

Sales of luxury apartments in New York City — those pads worth $5 million or more, of which there are a ton in this town — plummeted in the first half of 2018, dropping 31 percent, he typed, as he played the world’s tiniest Stradivarius with his other hand. [The Wall Street Journal]

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.