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Significant Digits For Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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


In what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has suggested may be one of many 5-4 decisions to come, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to dismiss a challenge to a lower court’s ruling that some Virginia legislative districts were racially gerrymandered. The Supreme Court’s decision was about who had the standing to sue, not about what constitutes a racial gerrymander. Ginsburg was joined in the majority in the decision by the “unusual alignment” of Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. [The Washington Post]

From ABC News:

Supreme Court justices hand down opinions

“In 10 days”

A spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency said that the country’s stockpile of uranium will exceed the limits set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — from which the U.S. withdrew a year ago — within 10 days. The spokesman said Iran had “quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently.” The announcement comes after an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, for which the U.S. blamed Iran, though Iran has denied involvement. [NPR]

From ABC News:

1,000 more troops headed to Middle East

$2.7 billion

After decades as a publicly traded company, the auction house Sotheby’s will be taken private by the “art collector and media entrepreneur” Patrick Drahi in a deal worth $2.7 billion. Drahi bought Sotheby’s shares for $57 each, a 61 percent premium on their closing price at the end of last week. Going once, going twice, sold to the 190th richest man in the world. [The Wall Street Journal]

10.9 billion

According to a new report from the United Nations, the population of the planet could rise from its current 7.7 billion to 10.9 billion by the year 2100. This is a downward adjustment from the last U.N. prediction, thanks to a decrease in the global fertility rate. Nevertheless, for some, an additional 3 billion people are concerning as they could accelerate global warming. For me, I’m just excited to make some new friends. [NBC News]

5.8 percent undercount

The Supreme Court is also soon due to rule on the addition of a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. My colleague Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux searched for researchers who had studied the potential impacts of such a question, including what would happen if the Census undercounted 5.8 percent of noncitizens. Congressional seats (and electoral votes) for states like California and Texas could be in jeopardy. [FiveThirtyEight]

45 euros

The Trappist monks of the St. Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, one of 14 such Trappist producers and makers of “one of the world’s most coveted beers,” are very online now. They’re starting a website to forestall unauthorized resales of its product. A crate — which is the only way to buy beer, to be honest — goes for around 45 euros which works out to about $2 a bottle. [Associated Press]

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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.