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Significant Digits For Friday, March 13, 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.

5 or 6 percent

The proportion of sanitary wet wipes designed to be flushable. New York City has spent more than $18 million in the past five years to resolve problems with equipment that were related to wipes. [The New York Times]

43 percentage points

Onscreen, 15 percent of bartenders over the last two decades have been played by women, according to an analysis by me using OpusData data. In the U.S. last year, 58 percent of bartenders were women, which is a 43 percentage-point difference. Seems weird, right? [FiveThirtyEight]

330 kilometers

And you thought having oceans was so special. Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon, may have vast oceans exceeding the size of our own, extending up to 330 km below its surface. [Science]

1,000 mph

Needless to say, that’s pretty fast. The Bloodhound SSC, allegedly belonging to the category of “car,” is trying to shatter the land-speed record — 763 mph — by exceeding 1,000 mph. The Bloodhound has two engines: a jet engine usually used in fighter planes and a rocket engine typically used in space satellites. For context on the whole “1,000 miles per hour” thing: In the ’50s, the U.S. military put a bunch of dudes on sleds attached to rocket engines to see what speeds, and decelerations, people could withstand without dying. John Paul Stapp maxxed out at 632 miles per hour. Bon voyage, rocket “car.” [Wired]

190,400 duplicate species

The World Register of Marine Species says almost 200,000 types of sea animal believed to be new species have, since 2008, been reclassified as belonging to already identified species. Unfortunately, Cthulhu is not yet on the register, but as far as this reporter can tell, the Lovecraftian horror plausibly remains lurking beneath the depths. All I’m saying is, y’all should be prepared. [The Washington Post]


Cost to buy a passport in St. Kitts and Nevis. Holders of the pricey passports don’t have to pay any tax on capital gains or income. [Bloomberg Business]

$1.1 million

The nonprofit contractor International Relief and Development charged the U.S. agency in charge of international aid $1.1 million for parties and retreats during the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. For context, that is a fart’s worth of money compared to the total cost of those wars. [The Washington Post]

19 million

The number of cases of bourbon sold in the U.S. last year, up from 13 million in 2002. That means more Americans have good taste. But the growing demand for bourbon, which caught distillers unawares, mean we’re kind of running out of the elixir. After all, bourbon needs to age, and — to my knowledge — distillers haven’t yet mastered time travel. Some, though, are testing tricks to mimic the aging process. [Nautilus]

70 million

Number of NCAA men’s basketball tournament brackets that the American Gaming Association projects will be filled out this month by 40 million Americans who will wager, on average, $29 per bracket. Warren Buffett, last year’s Elon Musk of brackets, won’t give you $1 billion for a perfect bracket this time. [ESPN]

$15 billion

Valuation of Snapchat, the ephemeral-photo sharing app, following a reported $200 million investment from Alibaba. Normally, you would see some snark about the company here from me. But not this company: Snapchat has too much dirt on me. [Bloomberg]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. If you don’t see a significant digit in the wild, still tweet @WaltHickey. Always tweet @WaltHickey. Tweet @WaltHickey. Have a wonderful weekend. @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.