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Significant Digits For Tuesday, June 4, 2019

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

84 rollbacks

More than 80 environmental rules and regulations are “on the way out” under the Trump administration, according to a New York Times analysis. Forty-nine of these rollbacks are complete, and 35 are in process. They have to do with issues such as air pollution and emissions, drilling and extraction, infrastructure, animals, and toxic substances and safety. [The New York Times]

3,700 plants

Three South Korean nationals were charged with stealing more than $600,000 in wild succulents from U.S. public lands — and more than 3,700 plants were seized in a raid. There is a booming market for succulents in Asia, where the plants have become a status symbol among a growing middle class, retailing for as much as $50 apiece. [The Washington Post]

1 million pounds

A single walrus-ivory chess piece is expected to sell for as much as 1 million pounds at auction in London next month. It was purchased in 1964 for 5 pounds and has sat in a drawer since. It turns out to be one of the five missing Lewis chessmen, a famous cache of medieval chess pieces unearthed in 1831 and an “important symbol of European civilisation.” [The Telegraph]

770,000 Illinois residents

The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council estimates that 770,000 residents of the state could qualify to have low-level marijuana crimes expunged from their records thanks to a provision in a bill that passed the state legislature legalizing recreational marijuana use. The governor has said he plans to sign the legislation. That would make Illinois the first state to make the move via its legislature. [ABC News]


The king has lost; long live the king. James Holzhauer’s 32-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak came to an end with Monday’s show, in which he finished in second place behind Emma Boettcher. Holzhauer’s total winnings during his streak were $2,462,216, less than $60,000 shy of Ken Jennings’s record $2,520,700. But as a contestant, Holzhauer was sui generis — thanks to his ultra-aggressive play, he averaged well over double the daily winnings of Jennings. [FiveThirtyEight]

44 percent drop

Researchers writing in the Journal of Transport and Health analyzed 17,000 fatalities and 77,000 severe injuries between 2000 and 2012 in a dozen major U.S. cities. And they found that protected bike lanes make both bicyclists and drivers safer. When “cycle tracks were most abundant on a citywide basis,” fatal crashes were 44 percent lower and injuries were cut in half. [CityLab]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

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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.