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Significant Digits For Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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


Just as Alexander Hamilton surely envisioned it, President Trump’s reelection campaign has raised $460,000 in a week selling plastic straws. The campaign appears to be in reaction to some environmentalists’ efforts to move toward paper straws. Ten Trump-branded, “laser-engraved,” own-the-libs straws go for $15. [The Guardian]

1,022 nouns

Chaser, a Border collie known as the world’s smartest dog, has died of natural causes at the age of 15. Chaser’s owner, a psychology professor named John Pilley, used “800 cloth animal toys, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees and an assortment of plastic items” to teach Chaser 1,022 nouns. Chaser is also said to have understood sentences including a prepositional object, verb and direct object. Rest in peace. I’m gonna go figure out how many nouns I know. [The New York Times]

353,633,660 trees

Ethiopian officials say that volunteers in the country planted more than 350 million tree seedlings in 1,000 sites in just 12 hours in a day. It was a mass effort to counter deforestation and climate change. The world record for single-day tree-planting had been held by India, where 800,000 volunteers planted more than 50 million trees in 2016. [BBC]

7 frozen tiger carcasses

Speaking of single-day hauls, authorities in Vietnam seized 275 pounds of rhino horns at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport and seven frozen tiger carcasses from the vehicle of a wildlife trafficking suspect. While it’s illegal, some believe rhino horns have medicinal properties and they are “a status symbol in some circles.” Unrelatedly, and the horrors of poaching aside, Frozen Tiger Carcass is a pretty good band name. [Gizmodo]

52 inmates

Fifty-two inmates died in a prison riot in Brazil on Monday, according to officials there. Sixteen of them were decapitated. The deaths follow gang-related prison riots elsewhere in Brazil in May, which killed 55 people. Human rights groups say the Brazilian government has done little to prevent such violence and accuse it of “even facilitating clashes by allowing the cells to become overcrowded.” [CNN]

17 weeks

Lil Nas X has broken the record for the most consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. His song, “Old Town Road,” has now sat atop the Hot 100 for 17 of them, or enough time to listen to the song about 65,000 times, which it feels like we, as a society, have indeed done. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” had topped the chart for 16 straight weeks each. [Associated Press]

From ABC News:

SigDigs: July 30, 2019

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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.