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Significant Digits For Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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


1 bracket

After the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this past weekend, only one perfect bracket remains across the major online March Madness games, and it belongs to an Ohio man named Gregg Nigl. During one crucial game, Nigl said, “I wasn’t watching. I went to bed, I was tired. I had no idea that this was even happening.” [NCAA.com]


19,500 pounds

The biggest Tyrannosaurus rex known to humans, which would’ve weighed an estimated 19,500 pounds, was announced recently by paleontologists, with its first remains unearthed nearly 30 years ago. It’s nicknamed Scotty, after a bottle of scotch used to celebrate its discovery. The skeleton is 65 percent complete and the dinosaur is thought to have lived to at least the age of 28, geriatric by Jurassic standards. [National Geographic]


410 to 192

The European parliament voted in a landslide — 410 to 192 — to eliminate daylight saving time starting in 2021. Each of the 28 member countries will get to decide whether it wants to remain on a setting of “permanent summer” or “permanent winter,” either of which seems to present its own version of hellish bleakness. [The Guardian]


12 candidates

It’s common knowledge that a caravan of Democrats are running for their party’s presidential nomination. But of those, what makes a “major” presidential candidate? According to my colleague Nate Silver, 15 candidates (including former vice president Joe Biden) qualify as major by FiveThirtyEight’s rules, but only 12 have qualified for the debates according to the rules of the DNC. [FiveThirtyEight]


$270 million settlement

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma for its role in the opioid crisis. The state argues that Purdue, among other companies, is at least partially responsible “for thousands of opioid deaths across the state, in addition to the health care, law enforcement and treatment costs of the state’s addiction crisis.” [The Washington Post]


3 16-digit integers

For decades, mathematicians have pondered, as mathematicians are wont to do, a pressing question: Can the number 33 be expressed as the sum of three cubes? And now, at long last, to the fanfare of mathematical trumpets and the serenading of mathematical angels, Andrew Booker, a mathematician at the University of Bristol, has provided an answer. Yes it can, in the form of three 16-digits integers: (8,866,128,975,287,528)³ + (–8,778,405,442,862,239)³ + (–2,736,111,468,807,040)³ = 33. I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the news. [Quanta Magazine]


From ABC News:


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

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.


Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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