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Significant Digits for Friday, Jan. 9, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. A Significant Digits daily newsletter is coming soon. If you want to be one of the first to receive it, sign up here.

2.5 GPA

Minimum grade to reap the benefits of a proposed tuition-free community college system proposed by President Obama. If all states participate, the program could cover almost 9 million people. [The New York Times]


9 miles

Rob Konrad, a former NFL fullback, swam 9 miles back to shore after falling off his boat while fishing off the coast of South Florida. Seems worth noting that he once played for the Miami Dolphins. [Associated Press]


12.9 percent uninsured

The uninsured rate among U.S. adults is at 12.9 percent, down from 13.4 percent in the third quarter of 2014 and steeply down from 17.1 percent a year ago. [Gallup]


17 degrees Fahrenheit

That’s the forecasted high for Mars, specifically the location of the Curiosity rover’s location in the Gale Crater. It’s also warmer than the forecasted high for the entire state of Michigan on Friday. [@MarsWxReport]


20.3 percent cut

The Pentagon is seeking $51 billion in Overseas Contingency Operation funding — which pays for wars, in addition to the basic defense spending of about $534 billion — in the upcoming fiscal year, about a 20 percent cut from this year’s allocation of $64 billion. [Bloomberg]

88 percent

It’s 2015, which means that we’re in for a miserable year of people pointing out that the plot of “Back to the Future Part 2” is supposed to play out come October. The roundups of the film’s predictions have already begun, and 88 percent of articles about them mentioned the self-lacing shoes or the flying car and every single one mentioned the hoverboard. [FiveThirtyEight]

85,432 people

Five years out from a devastating earthquake, that’s the number of Haitians still living in tent camps as of September 2014. [CEPR]


42 million people

Following decades of declining marriage rates, the share of never-married Americans is at an all-time high; 23 percent of men and 17 percent of women over 25 have never been married. That’s 42 million people who still have the joys of explicit monogamy to look forward to. [Pew Research Center]

$52 million

Auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s are returning to the practice of guaranteeing sellers a price, which would require the auction houses to pay out in the event of an unimpressive sale. Sotheby’s lost $52 million in a single season in late 2008, after guaranteeing prices to sellers. [The New York Times]


$70 million fine

Honda was fined a record $70 million for underreporting fatal accidents and injuries to the government. [The New York Times]


As always, if you see a significant digit out in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

CORRECTION (Jan. 9, 11:05 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that the uninsured rate among U.S. adults decreased 17.1 percent from a year ago. It is down from last year’s rate of 17.1 percent.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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