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Significant Digits For Friday, Jan. 11, 2019

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


$0 pay stubs

Pay stubs with a net pay of $0 were distributed yesterday to air traffic controllers going, well, without pay thanks to the partial government shutdown. This seems to me much worse than getting no pay stub at all. (Though both situations obviously sound awful.) Controllers planned to protest in front of the Capitol yesterday. [Politico]


1,000 GoFundMe pages

Speaking of the shutdown, those affected have started some 1,000 pages on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise money for rent, utilities, and other things that you need money for. The pages have raised a total of about $100,000. [The Guardian]


25 percent

Twenty-five percent of the stuff we try to recycle is too contaminated, and heads instead to the landfill. Ironically, the easier it is to recycle — with single-stream systems, for example — the less actually gets recycled, because as the amount put on the curb increases the contamination rates skyrocket, my colleague Maggie Koerth-Baker writes. [FiveThirtyEight]


1,765.5 per 1,000

We Americans aren’t making babies fast enough to replace ourselves, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To reproduce our population, the fertility rate must be 2,100 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age over their lifetimes; we’re at 1,765.5 per 1,000 — “or 16 percent below the number needed to keep the population stable without additions through immigration.” And thus, nine months hence, began the Significant Digit Baby Boom. [NBC News]


Less than 1 percent of books

A millennium ago, around the 12th century, less than 1 percent of all books seemed to be made by women. Recently, however, a skeleton of a woman who lived at that time was discovered in Germany, its jaw stained with lapis lazuli pigment, which was used to illustrate books and texts and worth as much as gold. The scientists believe that the woman to whom the skeleton belonged may have been a scribe of manuscripts, her jaw possibly stained from licking a brush to create a point. The discovery could possibly upend the conventional historical understanding of women and their role in book-creation at the time. [USA Today]


7 burgers

Earlier this week, Enes Kanter, the New York Knicks center, ate seven burgers: “three triple-patty burgers with eggs on them, four additional burgers and a plate of fries.” The next day, he left practice “due to an illness.” Athletes: They’re just like us. [Yahoo Sports]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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