Skip to main content
Menu
Significant Digits For Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.

0.2 percent

Stand clear of the closing doors, please: They are teeming with bacteria. A new study of the New York City subway found that the system is a thriving ecosystem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, fragments of anthrax, and general crap. Almost half of the DNA on surfaces did not match any known organism. Only 0.2 percent of the DNA was even human. I don’t care what Harry says the wind chill is, I’m walking tomorrow. [The New York Times]

2.36 percentage points

A study suggests that when women become governors, more women are elected to their states’ legislatures in subsequent years. Four years after states voted a woman into the statehouse, the proportion of their legislators who were women rose by an average of 2.36 percentage points, after controlling for other variables. [Medium]


12 venomous snakes

Australia — where, as I understand it, every living thing is either poisonous, venomous, dangerous, or imported — is establishing a venom library in Melbourne, starting with 12 snakes that have been milked of venom. Researchers will try to develop new anti-venoms with the tissues and samples collected at the facility. [The Guardian]

14 designers

So far 14 designers have signed up for this summer’s New York Men’s Fashion Week. This sounds like a terrible idea, mostly because the middle of July is the worst possible time to wear a suit in the city. [New York]

37 seconds

Troubles began for TransAsia Airlines Flight GE235 just 37 seconds after takeoff on Wednesday, according to investigators. The flight crashed into the Keelung River, just east of Taipei Songshan Airport, soon afterwards, killing at least 35 of the 58 passengers and crew on board. [BBC]


73 percent

Share of Americans who want regulations on privately owned drones, according to a new online poll. I know my rights, government, and once I strap a firework on to that quadcopter it falls under the second amendment, so buzz off. [Reuters]


250,000 license-holders

As part of an annual holiday event, the designers behind the horrible-but-also-delightful game Cards Against Humanity bought an island and gave each of the 250,000 event subscribers a license to one square foot of it. The island — dubbed Hawaii 2 — is in a lake in Maine. Yesterday the designers explained exactly how one buys an island. [Cards Against Humanity]

4 million MAUs

One major measure of participation for social media services is monthly active users (MAUs). So when Apple made changes to iOS 8 that caused Twitter to “lose” 4 million MAUs, it was a big deal for Twitter, which now has 288 million MAUs. [Quartz]


100 million years

New data from the Planck telescope suggests that the first stars began to form about 550 million years after the Big Bang, which is 100 million years later than previously thought. [Press Association]

$1.39 billion in debt

RadioShack has filed for bankruptcy, shocking absolutely no one who has even briefly looked at the changes the American economy has undergone in the past any years. RadioShack has assets of $1.2 billion and $1.39 billion in debt. [CNBC]


Sign up for the newsletter now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

 

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

Comments