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Significant Digits For Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

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

2 words

Number of words that most of earth has for “tea,” the other being “chai.” Talk to essentially any human and say those two words and they’ll catch your meaning. The universal nature of those two words is partially due to how they spread; land trade routes exported the word “chai” and sea trade exported the word “tea” and their derivatives. [Quartz]


2 percent

Percentage of Aflac associates nationwide who were able to produce $266,760 in annual sales that the company advertised would allow new fresh recruits to obtain commissions and stock bonuses. The company is the target of a class action lawsuit that alleges the insurer recruited employees with promises of steep incomes despite the rarity of that outcome, encouraging employees to sell to friends, while also massaging metrics and manipulating earning statements. [The Intercept]


$5 Oreos

A new policy being tested at three prisons in New York would force families of inmates to buy care packages through separate companies rather than continuing the existing policy where loved ones can send books or food to the incarcerated. This puts some companies as the middlemen for standards like cookies and simple clothing, which cost a substantial premium compared to prices at most retailers, such as a package of Oreo cookies for $5 when families can usually pay $3, or a plain T-shirt for $10 when a package of T-shirts is often cheaper. [The New York Times]


64 percent

Normal wings made up 64 percent of all wings sold by restaurants, with the glorified McNuggets sold under the “boneless wings” misnomer making up the rest of the balance. Luckily, Americans are picking up on the flim-flam flats and drums being peddled by Big Chicken, and servings of traditional wings were up 6 percent in 12 months ending September while the boneless imitators were down 6 percent. This is like a top 10 strong opinion I have. [Bloomberg]


2,000 people

Number of people reported missing every day, or more than 500,000 per year. Most are eventually found, alive or dead, but many just go on missing. This is commemorated in a couple of forms, with The Charley Project maintaining profiles of the 10,000 cold missing persons cases that have never been solved. [Longreads]


19,000 complaints

Daily complaints to the FTC from members of the National Do Not Call Registry who were contacted by telemarketers and other harassing robocalls. Despite 230 million Americans being on the Do Not Call list, the right to not be bothered is violated daily on an unbelievable scale. [The Washington Post]


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Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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