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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019

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


11 days

A federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was listed as the author of a decision last April, and although he had “fully participated in the case,” he died 11 days before the decision was released. The Supreme Court ruled that the judge’s vote can’t count. The court wrote that “federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity.” [Associated Press]


Less than 5 minutes

As President Trump and Kim Jong Un prepare to meet in Vietnam to discuss potential denuclearization, Russian state television reported that the country was working on a hypersonic missile that could reach American targets in less than five minutes. It then listed some of those targets on TV, including the Pentagon and Camp David. The report was “unusual even by the sometimes bellicose standards of Russian state TV,” wrote Reuters. [Reuters]


2,000 miles off the east coast of Africa

The United Nations’ highest court has said that the United Kingdom should relinquish its control of the Chagos Islands and return them to their rightful owner, Mauritius — though the opinion is not legally binding. The Chagos Islands sit some 2,000 miles off the east coast of Africa and were, Mauritius says, wrested from them in 1965 in exchange for independence. [BBC]


$28,800 per year

Facebook content moderators working for the company Cognizant in Phoenix aren’t allowed to talk about their work. Nor are they even allowed to talk about the fact that Facebook is Cognizant’s client. But day after day, for hours on end, with short and closely monitored breaks and for $28,800 a year, they watch terrible, terrible things. These things include videos of murders, which, they know, violate Section 13 of Facebook’s community standards. [The Verge]


45.5 percent of the U.S. alcohol market

Contentious Super Bowl beer ads have jeopardized a beer marketing campaign. Beer’s share of the U.S. alcohol market is at around 45.5 percent, down from 56 percent in 1999 and losing ground to wine and spirits. Four large beer companies had been discussing a multimillion-dollar campaign — a la “Got Milk?” — to resuscitate the sector as a whole. But a spat between MillerCoors and AB InBev over Super Bowl ads discussing the use of corn syrup has thrown the would-be campaign into disarray. [The Wall Street Journal]


58 former U.S. national security officials

Fifty-eight former U.S. national security officials, from both Democratic and Republican administrations and including Madeleine Albright, Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta and John Kerry, wrote a letter to President Trump about his declaration of national emergency. “In the face of a nonexistent threat, redirecting funds for the construction of a wall along the southern border will undermine national security by needlessly pulling resources from Department of Defense programs that are responsible for keeping our troops and our country safe and running effectively,” they wrote. [NBC News]


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From ABC News:


Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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