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Significant Digits for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Welcome to the fourth edition of Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.

2.5 times as likely to die

Main characters in children’s cartoons were 2.5 times as likely to die as the main characters of films aimed at adults, a study found. They were also three times as likely to be murdered, and parents in particular were five times as likely to die in animated films. I look forward to the second season of “Serial” trying to exonerate Roger Rabbit in the murder of Marvin Acme. [UCL]

13 hours

Amount of time a New Zealand couple was reportedly stuck in their car. The pair did not realize that they could exit the Mazda 3, as it featured keyless entry and they didn’t have their transmitter. [The New Zealand Herald]

“25 to 30 percent”

That’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s estimate for how much of Russia’s economic difficulties are because of U.S.-led sanctions. [The Washington Post]

27.7 percent

That’s the average obesity rate of U.S. workers. The occupation group with the highest rate — 40.7 percent — was police officers, firefighters and security guards. [The Wall Street Journal]

47 percent increase

Desktop search queries on Amazon increased 47 percent between September 2013 and September 2014, which could be bad news for Google. Commercial searches make up 20 percent of queries on the search engine, and losing market share to direct searches on Amazon could hurt the company’s largest business. [Business Insider]

$2,500 worth of prison calls

That’s the estimate for how much Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast might have spent talking with Adnan Syed in the Maryland correctional facility. The top rate for telephone calls to prisons in 2013 was 89 cents per minute, plus a charge of $3.95 per call. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

1.6 million mishandled bags

In the first nine months of 2014, 1.6 million reports of mishandled baggage were sent by airlines to the Department of Transportation. The biggest offender was Envoy Air, a subsidiary of American Airlines, which had about 9 complaints per 1,000 passengers. [The Washington Post]

3.5 million fewer Justin Bieber fans

In what’s being referred to as the “Instagram Rapture,” the photo sharing company is cracking down and deleting spam accounts. As a result, some celebrities are seeing their follower counts fall by the millions. Bieber’s follower count dropped by 3.5 million, and rapper Ma$e reportedly lost so many followers — dropping from 1.6 million fans to a mere 100,000 in 20 minutes — that he has deleted his account entirely. [Business Insider]

$20 million

How much billionaire investor Carl Icahn has said he would spend to keep the bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City open. Talks to avert the Saturday closing have fallen apart between the investor and the casino workers’ union. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]


That’s the (deliberately obscured) number of a Texas City, Texas plumber who has been inundated with phone calls after a photo of one of his company’s former vehicles hit the internet. The truck, which says “Mark-1 Plumbing” on the side along with the phone number, now has an anti-aircraft gun in the bed and is allegedly being used by Islamic State militants. The plumber says he has no idea how the vehicle ended up in Syria. [Galveston Daily News]

See a significant digit out in the wild? Tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.