You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
For the first time, the FDA will now allow genetic analysis start-up 23andMe to administer genetic-disease tests direct to the consumer, without a doctor involved. There are seven tests available, including ones for celiac disease, primary dystonia and hereditary hemochromatosis. The FDA cautioned that the test results should be treated as information, not diagnoses. [MIT Technology Review]
According to a report from the Brewers Association, small and independent craft brewers remain on the rise, representing 21.9 percent of the beer industry’s retail value last year. [Brewers Association]
Here’s some fresh heresy for you: researchers have concluded that escalators move people faster when riders stand two-by-two across, rather than the current social contract where the left is the passing lane. This has been confirmed by several studies: a London Underground analysis found congestion dropped 30 percent when people rode the escalator standing still, side by side. Reading this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to the “wizards are real, kid” moment from Harry Potter. [The New York Times]
Last night the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase that was reported to be the launch site for an alleged chemical weapons attack. It’s the first direct military action the U.S. has taken to intervene in Syria’s civil war. [CNN]
At least 167 police and fire departments bought unmanned aircraft last year, double the number that bought some in 2015. [Recode]
15 billion euros
Fifteen years after the introduction of the Euro, there’s still 15 billion euros worth of outdated currency floating unaccounted for around Europe. The most common vestigial coins and notes stuck in sofas are marks, francs, pesetas and liras. [Bloomberg]
If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.