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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Ollie is gone, but your new regular host will be here later this week! For today, your host is me, FiveThirtyEight sports intern Ari Levin.


18 hours stationary

Hurricane Dorian is now moving northward as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of just over 100 m.p.h. That’s considerably weaker than when Dorian arrived as the most powerful Atlantic hurricane (by sustained wind speed) to make landfall. It’s also at least moving now — Dorian slowed to nearly a complete stop Monday through Tuesday morning, barely budging over an 18-hour span as it pummeled the Bahamas. In the past 70 years, only Hurricane Betsy in 1965 moved less over a 24-hour span. [ABC News, National Hurricane Center]


200 knuckleballs

The knuckleball pitcher appears to be on the decline — just 200 of the unpredictable pitches have been thrown in MLB this season. However, “The Knuckleball Isn’t Dead Yet” proclaims Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer. Just enough knuckleballers (two to three) exist around the fringes of the major leagues to impart their knowledge to the next generation (as the “knuckler code” apparently dictates). Hopefully, that will ensure the pitch’s survival. [The Ringer]


1 vote

British MP Phillip Lee defected from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Democrats on Tuesday, costing Prime Minister Boris Johnson his one-seat majority in Parliament. Next, a potential vote on Wednesday will attempt to shift control of the Commons. There also could be an election on Oct. 14, should Johnson call for one, just two weeks ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. It’s all very confusing. But, to be clear, the BBC says that the vote on Wednesday “will give [MPs hoping to block no deal] the chance to introduce a cross-party bill which would force the prime minister to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 31 January, unless MPs approve a new deal, or vote in favour of a no-deal exit, by 19 October.” Got that? [BBC]


2 free throws

Khris Middleton sealed a victory for Team USA in the group stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Tuesday by sinking two free throws with two seconds left in overtime. That was after teammate Jayson Tatum forced overtime by making two of three foul shots with 0.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Still, a game this close against Turkey, the 17th-ranked nation, is a troubling sign for the Americans. Should the U.S. defeat Japan on Thursday, they’d advance to the second round, where they may have to face a Greece team featuring NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. If the U.S. doesn’t win gold, expect another “redeem team” for next year’s Olympics. [ESPN]


$90 million

Running-back Ezekiel Elliott appears to have agreed to a six-year, $90 million extension with the Dallas Cowboys. The deal gives him a massive raise over his previous rookie contract and would end Zeke’s month-long holdout just five days before his team’s first game. Elliott would become the highest-paid running back in football, surpassing Todd Gurley. [ESPN, Pro Football Talk]


26 licensing deals

With their lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay ongoing, the U.S. women’s national team has found other ways to profit from their fame and success. The USWNT Players Association projects to make over $1 million through licensing deals, including Wheaties boxes, t-shirts and bobbleheads, despite being told during collective bargaining negotiations that their image had no value. I did not know an Alex Morgan sipping tea bobblehead existed, and now I need one. [Yahoo Sports]


Ari Levin is FiveThirtyEight’s sports intern.

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