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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018

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


$666 sinks

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is spending north of $1 billion to repair homes in Puerto Rico damaged by Hurricane Maria, but some of the money is going to contractors charging big markups. This includes, for example, $666 bathroom sinks. Heck, an Archer Vitreous China Pedestal Combo Bathroom Sink in White with Overflow Drain, on the website of a popular home goods retailer, is only $226.55. [The New York Times]


31 percent likelihood

On the cusp of college football’s Championship Saturday, my colleague Neil Paine broke down some possible scenarios and what they’d augur for the selection of the four-team College Football Playoff. In the likeliest of these — Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State win, which is 31 percent likely — the selection committee would have to pick two out of Ohio State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame to join Alabama and Clemson. Tough one! [FiveThirtyEight]


10.7 million unauthorized immigrants

There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, according to Pew Research Center estimates — the lowest number in more than a decade. The decline is almost completely attributable to a drop in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization. [Pew Research Center]


39,000 years ago

A giant rhinoceros known as the Siberian unicorn walked the Earth as recently as 39,000 years ago, much more recently than previously thought and overlapping with humans. The animal — which, surprise surprise, had a long horn on its nose — may have inspired the mythology of unicorns. It is thought to have gone extinct as a result of the shrinking of the grasslands on which it liked to graze after the Ice Age. There but for the grace of God go I. [BBC]


$1.6 billion

President Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, while Senate Democrats are holding firm to a $1.6 billion deal agreed to earlier this year. As such, and ahead of a Dec. 7 government funding deadline, Trump said he is considering a “Plan B” that could include more military troops and razor wire. [The Washington Post]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new 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 is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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