Skip to main content
Menu
Significant Digits For Friday, April 17, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.

12 hours

Away messages are back! Facebook Messenger is adding the ability to set an away message for up to 12 hours. Remember, future tech titans: Imitating AOL is absolutely the route to success. [The Verge]

13 days

How long until NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, currently orbiting Mercury, has until it runs out of fuel and crashes into the aforementioned planet. The craft has been orbiting the Mercury since March 2011, but what will it do now that it knows the end is coming? Presumably on MESSENGER‘s bucket list is “continue orbiting Mercury” and not much else. [Discovery News]

22-9

Vote in the Tennessee State Senate to send a bill to make the Bible the official state book back to committee, effectively killing the proposal. (As if the state behind the Scopes “Monkey Trial” really needed to show the country it likes the bible.) [The Tennessean]

38 percent

Percentage of Americans who oppose the death penalty for people convicted of murder, the highest level of opposition Pew’s observed since the 1970s. [Pew Research Center]

74 “lost” seasons

When a player leaves college early to join the NBA — as seven members of the University of Kentucky basketball team elected to do earlier this year — the school loses a year of production (that’s how the colleges see it, at least). Indeed, Kentucky has “lost” more seasons than any other Division I basketball program from players going pro, with 74 player-seasons “lost” since 1999. [ACC Sports]

78 years old

Sen. Pat Roberts has “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel from the film “Frozen” as his ringtone. It interrupted a Senate hearing. The septuagenarian is enjoying absurdly high approval ratings among local lifestyle reporters. [The Washington Post]

6240-6740 MHz

That’s the frequency used by both radio telescopes — which are used to plumb the depths of space, look back into time itself and understand man’s place in this ancient dusty abyss we call a universe — and new lawn-mowing Roombas, which mow your lawn because you’re lazy and terrible. This is a problem and our species will have to pick one or the other. [Wired]

2 million

Number of high school aged Americans who smoke electronic cigarettes, according to the CDC. For some reason, people seem to think that telling a bunch of teenagers an activity is potentially dangerous will make them stop doing it, a strategy that has never worked in the history of teenagers. [Bloomberg Business]

3.4 million

Number of people displaced though involuntary resettlement from 2004 to 2013 by World Bank projects. [The Huffington Post and ICIJ]

23 million

Estimated number of people who will take a cruise this year based on bookings data observed so far. [Bloomberg Business]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. P.S. Subscribe.

P.P.S. Have a good weekend.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

Comments