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Significant Digits For Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

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

3 votes

Three members of California’s Occupational Safety and Health standards board voted in favor of restrictions that would require pornographic performers in the state to work exclusively with condoms, one shy of the four required to institute the policy. Industry representatives argued the policy would ultimately make the business less safe by driving production underground. [ABC News]

6 teams

Projected number of NFL teams that will have more than $50 million in salary cap space come March 9. The league as a whole will have an unheard of $1 billion in total cap space based on the estimated $154 million salary cap for each team. [ESPN]

8 percent

Wal-Mart’s profits fell 8 percent last quarter despite modest sales growth, mostly due to costs associated with the planned closure of stores and a strong dollar, the company said. Wal-Mart has been attempting to pivot to digital sales but has seen growth of that business slow. [The New York Times]

30 percent

Percentage of never-married adults who have used an online dating site, one-and-a-half times the rate of those who have been separated or widowed and nearly four times the rate of those currently married or living with a partner. [Pew Research Center]

+53 favorability rating

In sentences I didn’t anticipate ever writing: Pope Francis and Donald Trump have butted heads. The spat started after remarks from the pope seemed to imply that supporting a wall at the border — as Trump does — makes one a poor Christian. So of course Trump is now fighting the pope. Cool! Good luck to Trump: Americans view the pope rather favorably — a 53 percent net positive favorability rating — and Trump rather negatively — a 27 percent net negative approval rating. Honestly, the last square on my election bingo card is “Candidate is called a ‘papist’ by rival,” so I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time. [FiveThirtyEight]

80 percent

When Rio de Janeiro applied to host the Olympics, the city promised to improve water quality by 80 percent in the areas where rowers, sailors and triathletes would compete. The city has totally failed to meet that figure: There’s actual poop in the water, and now teams are taking precautions to make sure their athletes stay healthy after rowing in the effluence. [ESPN]


Annual cost of renting a cable box to an average household, according to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. The FCC voted Thursday to require cable companies to give out information to third-party manufacturers, meaning those manufacturers will eventually be able to sell competitor devices to consumers who no longer want to rent one from their cable company. [Tech Insider]

450,000 calls

Number of calls to a suicide hotline operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014. During times of high volume, about a sixth of those calls are routed to backup call centers. However, a report from the VA inspector general found that some of those calls went to voicemail at the backup centers. [CBS News]

$30 million

The Michigan House approved a measure that would allocate $30 million to pay the water bills of Flint residents. Flint had some of the costliest water in the country and it also happened to be filled with toxic lead. [The Washington Post]

$35.1 million

How much advertisers are expected to spend on podcasts in 2016, according to ZenithOptimedia, a group that analyzes the marketing business. That’s higher than last year but still small compared to the $18 billion dropped on radio every year. Step it up, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and MailChimp. [The Wall Street Journal]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.