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Significant Digits For Friday, Dec. 2, 2016

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


Number of phase two studies sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies looking into medical uses of MDMA, the club drug that is seeing new life as a potential treatment for PTSD. [The Guardian]

40 percent

Nestle will cut sugar in its chocolate by 40 percent thanks to a breakthrough that the company says makes it possible to use less sugar without affecting taste. [BBC]

100 petabytes

Techies used to talk about the “sneakernet“: In an earlier era, it was sometimes faster to transfer large amounts of data by physically walking the drive to its destination, rather than sending it over the internet. Later, it sometimes made sense to put a computer server in your carry-on luggage rather than sending a terabyte of data across the country. Now, sneakernet has achieved its final form: Amazon Web Services has introduced Snowmobile, which is a tractor trailer that can hold up to 100 petabytes of data. Amazon will literally drive a tractor trailer to your data center, upload 100 petabytes over the course of like a week, and haul it away for backup elsewhere. [Motherboard]

527.12 percent

Increase in Starbucks share price since January 2008, when Howard Schultz became the CEO of the company again. Schultz announced he will be leaving the position to lead a subgroup in the coffee company seeking to launch a high-end coffee shop brand. He will remain as chairman. [The Wall Street Journal]


After public pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, Carrier announced it will maintain about 1,000 jobs in Indiana of the 2,100 it had said it will move to Mexico. [Reuters]


NASA has put out a solicitation for solutions to the oldest problem civilization has known: how to handle poop. Basically, they need a way to keep urine and feces away from astronauts for at least 144 hours in microgravity. The current solution is diapers. The winners can get up to $30,000 and presumably the eternal gratitude of future spacefarers able to maintain their first dignity while in orbit. [SF Gate]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.