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Significant Digits For Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

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

6 to 1

In the presidential election, there’s been substantial discussion about the impact of big money on politics. But most of that discussion has been about the massive spenders, somewhat ignoring where the real sausage gets made: state legislatures. A new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that between 2010 and 2014, there were six advocacy groups lobbying state legislatures for every single individual lawmaker. [The Center for Public Integrity]

15 percent

Percentage of the audience for Democratic debates that is under the age of 35, according to Nielsen. If candidates are trying to reach the 44 percent of Americans under the age of 35, a debate is likely not an ideal platform to do it. [@CarlBialik]

44 states

Two Tennessee poachers who killed upwards of 40 deer have been issued lifetime hunting bans in the state. Since Tennessee is in a compact with 44 other states, that means that the duo is banned from hunting in all of them, with four other states hoping to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator’s Compact. The good news is that Eddy Albert and Densibel Calzada can still legally hunt in the great state of New Jersey, one of the two states (Nebraska is the other) not part of or trying to be a part of the ban. One word of advice: I would not eat any animal killed in New Jersey. [The Washington Post]

44.2 percent

Assist percentage of Kris Dunn of Providence University, which is absurdly high yet still somehow lower than his 50 percent rate last year. [FiveThirtyEight]

1,011 co-authors

You bet I counted: That’s the number of authors of a landmark paper identifying the presence of gravitational waves in the universe. The group of international researchers found a transient gravitational-wave signal that matches the wave that would be generated by two black holes colliding a billion light-years away. The idea of gravitational waves was reportedly first described by Albert Einstein, presumably when working with the Manhattan Project to develop a cutting edge and devastating Yo Mama joke to win the war. [LIGO, The New York Times]


Martin Shkreli, everyone’s favorite Pharma bro, allegedly owes a ton of money to the IRS: $3,431.85 from 2013 and $4,625,496.70 from 2014, according to Gawker. This is great, because just yesterday Shkreli — who, in addition to cranking up the price of a rare drug, last year bought the only existing copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album for a reported $2 million — offered Kanye West $10 million for his new album, “The Life of Pablo.” [Gawker]

$16.4 million

Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, who is one of two Democrats vying for the Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, caught flak yesterday for running a small hedge fund managing $16.4 million in assets as of October while in office. Grayson sits on the House Foreign Affairs committee, which makes his fund’s focus on parts of the world in times of unrest a potential issue. [The New York Times]

$44.19 million

SoundCloud is in financial trouble: According to a new financial report, the company made $17.35 million in 2014, but lost $44.19 million in the same period. Their auditor, KPMG, said there’s reason to be worried about SoundCloud’s ability to remain a going concern. This is devastating for me, because my ability to make more FiveThirtyEight is entirely dependent on this page staying on the Internet. [FactMag]

50 million

Number of people who visit MySpace every month. What on god’s earth are you people doing? Did you suffer a head injury in 2006 that made you forget how to change your browser’s home page? I can send help! Anyway, Time Inc. bought MySpace. Well, technically Time was not really buying MySpace for the sake of those sick CSS hacks — Time bought an ad-tech company named Viant, which owns Specific Media, which in 2011 teamed up with Justin Timberlake to purchase MySpace from News Corp at the corporate equivalent of a garage sale. So now MySpace, and all those unflattering photos of you from a decade ago, are owned by Time. [The Verge]

$8.2 trillion

Cost in lost revenue and after interest payments of Marco Rubio’s tax plan, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. While it’s a slightly better bargain than Trump’s, we don’t even get a frivolous wall with this one. [Vox]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.