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Significant Digits For Wednesday, July 20, 2016

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Are you at the Republican National Convention and want to chat? Email me!


1 in 1 trillion

Approximate probability that a 16-word phrase in one speech would coincidentally match a phrase of the same length in another speech, according to the company that makes Turnitin, a plagiarism-detection program. On Monday night, Melania Trump appears to have partially plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention. [Turnitin]


11 members

Up to 11 members of the California delegation to the Republican National Convention are showing symptoms of a norovirus infection, a disease that spreads quickly in close quarters and ends with explosive vomiting and diarrhea. [STAT News]


Relevant weeklong sidebar: It’s the Republican National Convention! FiveThirtyEight has sent its crack political team — and also for some inexplicable reason me — to “the Cleve” (as it was called on “30 Rock” so I assume it’s true) to cover the events. FiveThirtyEight has its own show on ABC News Digital at 5 p.m. ET each evening of the convention, so tune in to that! I’ll be on the stream later on in the evening, so watch that too.


+18 points

A pervasive theme of the Republican National Convention has been that the world is in a state of disarray. Still, based on several metrics averaged across a number of polls in the FiveThirtyEight database, Americans trust Clinton more than Trump on foreign policy by an average 24-point margin, during an international crisis by an average 18-point margin, and on immigration by an average 9-point margin. They do trust Trump on terrorism more than Clinton, but by an average 3-point margin, and on the economy and jobs by a 7-point margin. [FiveThirtyEight]


99 percent

Based on calculations from NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, there is now a 99 percent chance 2016 will be hotter than 2015. [The New York Times]


750 cars

Up to 750 New York City subway cars could include open passageways connecting the cars by 2020, which is an awful, awful idea. Here’s the skinny for those unfamiliar with the New York City subway system. Right now, there’s no easy way (beyond opening doors you sometimes can but are not supposed to open) to travel between cars. This is considered an antiquated system in modern transit design. But in New York, there is a very, very good reason to not give up on this system, and that’s a little something I call stench containment. See, sometimes someone will do something horrible in a subway car. The subways run 24/7. This happens irregularly, but consistently. It will smell like someone pooped everywhere and then died and exploded everywhere, et cetera and literally ad nauseum. In the current arrangement, this situation will ruin at most one car. In the new one, you have ruined a train. This is a bad idea. [The New York Times]


60,000 ads

Number of television advertisements aired by the Clinton campaign and the primary super PAC advocating for Clinton since June 8. Pro-Trump groups have aired less than 3,000 ads. [The Center for Public Integrity]


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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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