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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019

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

22nd place

The U.S. has fallen from 16th to 22nd on this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index, a measure of the countries perceived to be the least corrupt, administered by the watchdog group Transparency International. Denmark scored best, Somalia scored worst, and the U.S. sits right between France and the United Arab Emirates. [NPR]

“5,000 troops to Colombia”

John Bolton, the national security adviser, carried a yellow legal pad with him during a news conference in which U.S. sanctions on Venezuela were announced. Photographers got a clear shot of the legal pad, on which the words “5,000 troops to Colombia” had been written. Colombia shares a border with Venezuela. Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said that his country did not know the “importance and reason” for Bolton’s note. [CBS News]

13-minute hearing

In a 13-minute hearing yesterday, Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime adviser, pleaded not guilty to one count of witness tampering, one count of obstruction of an official proceeding and five counts of making false statements. The charges were brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. [NBC News]

16,625 papers

The MIT Technology Review analyzed 16,625 abstracts of academic papers in the “artificial intelligence” section of the arXiv, a repository of scientific work, to understand where AI is heading. The researchers observed three trends: “a shift toward machine learning during the late 1990s and early 2000s, a rise in the popularity of neural networks beginning in the early 2010s, and growth in reinforcement learning in the past few years.” [MIT Technology Review]

16,889 bottles

In March in Hong Kong, the auction house Sotheby’s will hold what is predicted to be the priciest-ever wine auction — 16,889 bottles will be on the block and the sale is expected to bring in as much as $26 million. A quick glance at my calculator here tells me that these bottles cost, on average, about 100 times what I am accustomed to paying for my wine. And my wine works perfectly well, thank you very much. [New York Observer]

25 or more candidates

It’s presidential election season — but then again, when isn’t it? In any case, we’re tracking all the 2020 polls. Our tracker had to go through a bit of a redesign to accommodate all the candidates that pollsters are asking about — in some cases, 25 or more per poll. Enjoy all this sweet polling data. [FiveThirtyEight]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s 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. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.