Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, March 20, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.

0.7 percent

Just three games into the NCAA men’s tournament on Thursday, only 0.7 percent of the 11.57 million brackets submitted to ESPN remained perfect. That only got worse as the night went on. [ESPN]

50 years

As of Thursday, that’s how long it’s been since the first time a person managed to float in space outside of a box designed to keep someone alive in space. On Mar. 18, 1965, cosmonaut Alexey Leonov went on the first spacewalk. [io9]

559 jokes

An analysis of Federal Reserve open-market committee transcripts looked at how often the board was reduced to laughter in each transcript. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan landed 559 jokes during his long tenure, the most of any Fed leader. [The Atlantic]

100,000 convictions

A batch of racially insensitive — to understate this a bit — text messages from five San Francisco police officers were released last week. As a result, about 100,000 convictions are being reviewed for bias. [Gawker]

$3 million

That’s the FBI reward for information about Russian cybercriminal Evgeniy Bogachev. It’s the first time the feds have put out a bounty on a hacker. Guys, at some point we need to really reconsider using the word “cyber.” It’s getting antiquated. [Associated Press]

$194 million

The NCAA makes a bunch of money from March Madness. It gives a portion of that money — $194 million last year — to the conferences that send teams to the tournament based on how well the teams do there. But the NCAA has a somewhat convoluted way of allocating all that cash. [Bloomberg Business]

1.35 billion

Visits to U.S. Government websites over the past 90 days. Check out this wild tool to see the government’s web traffic. Their traffic makes Buzzfeed look like some Firefly fan’s Geocities site. [Analytics.USA.Gov]

$4.2 billion

Amount Blue Shield of California had in its coffers when it was stripped of its tax-exmpt status. That’s a lot of profit for a non-profit. [Los Angeles Times]

$2 trillion

Amount of foreign money held by Swiss banks. The U.S. is negotiating an agreement with the Swiss as the former tries to combat tax evasion. Having seen the documentary “The Wolf Of Wall Street” I sincerely believe this is a problem. [CNN]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

Just do it people.

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.