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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018

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


$18,000 fine

In South Korea, where video gaming is something of a national sport, the National Assembly passed an amendment outlawing “boosting” — a gaming practice whereby skilled players are hired to play matches for someone else, thereby boosting that person’s ranking. The penalty for boosters could include a two-year suspended prison sentence and an $18,000 fine — and presumably a serious loss of street cred. [IGN]


2 human-made objects

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has zoomed past the edge of the heliosphere, out of our solar system and officially into interstellar space. It is the second human-made object to journey into this great beyond, after its big sibling, Voyager 1, which did it in 2012. Remarkably, Voyager 2’s gear — including a cosmic ray subsystem, a low energy charged particle probe, and a magnetometer — still functions. The probe launched in 1977. Godspeed out there in the darkness. [Engadget]


Career .289 hitter

Harold Baines (yes, Harold Baines) was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the group that used to be called the veterans committee. The 22-year career .289 hitter said he was “very shocked,” and he wasn’t alone. The vote is “sure to spark renewed cries of cronyism at Cooperstown,” wrote the Associated Press, and Baseball Twitter was “either baffled or outraged,” according to Yahoo Sports. [Associated Press, Yahoo Sports]


52.5 million users

Google+, Google’s failed social network, will shut down earlier than planned after the discovery of a new “privacy hole” that exposed the data of 52.5 million users on apps that used the Google+ API. The service will shutter in April. I’d tell you that if you were using the service, you should prepare a migration plan, but, let’s face it, you’re not. [TechCrunch]


14 nominations

Movie awards season is nigh, and nominations for its various prizes are starting to be announced. On Monday, it was those for the Critics’ Choice Awards: “The Favourite,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, led the way with 14 nods, followed by “Black Panther” with 12 and “First Man” with 10. (If I had a prize to give “The Favourite,” I’d give it Coolest Use of Fisheye Lenses.) Awards season is good because it can be a useful cultural filter — movie tickets are expensive! Awards season is bad because one wonders whether rich and famous people need prizes. In any case, as my former colleague Walt Hickey has shown, awards like the Critics’ Choice can be used to predict the really big one: the Oscars. [Variety]


69 yards

If you watch any football, you’ve probably seen it already: a 69-yard miracle play that sent the Miami Dolphins to a walk-off win against the New England Patriots. It was the “longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time left since at least the 1970 merger,” according to Deadspin. In fact, the play was swiped from Boise State, which used it in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. Boise State called their play “Circus”; Miami calls its “Boise.” [Deadspin]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.

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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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