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Significant Digits For Friday, May 22, 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.

10 top candidates

According to The New York Times, there are 18-and-counting likely Republican presidential candidates. Not wanting, apparently, to turn the first presidential debate into a Rockettes tribute act, Fox News and CNN are limiting the participants to the top 10 candidates, determined by a national polling average. And not to bury the lede too deeply: CNN will also host an undercard debate featuring the not-top-10 who get at least 1 percent in the polls. Must-see TV. [FiveThirtyEight]


40,000 years

How long — 280,000 in dog years — dogs have been man’s best friend, according to a new analysis of an ancient Siberian wolf bone. This is, as if you didn’t already know, sometime during the Upper Paleolithic — the age of wall paintings of horses and people first inhabiting Japan. [The Telegraph]


$174,692 a week

The average weekly wage per player for French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain, the highest of any team in any sport. Eight of the top 10 are soccer clubs. This also beat out the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $154,292 and the New York Yankees’ $140,566. It was enough to win Paris Saint-Germain its third straight Ligue 1 title, thank goodness. [ESPN FC]

$350,000 hunting license

The amount a man paid to kill a black rhinoceros in Namibia. The man successfully killed the black rhino early this week. The man’s name is Corey Knowlton. The man is from Texas. There are fewer than 5,000 of the animals on the planet, but Knowlton claimed this particular rhino was a problem — it was too old to breed and killed other rhinos in fits of jealous rage. [Speaking of Science]

2.75 million dead

The number of Mitt Romney voters who will no longer be with us come the 2016 election. Similarly, according to an analysis of exit polls and Census mortality data, 2.3 million of President Obama’s voters will have died, giving Democrats a 453,000 “advantage.” Either that, or they’ll be haunted by 453,000 additional ghosts. [Politico Magazine]


3.3 million years old

If you thought dogs have been pets for a long time, hoo boy have I got a digit for you. We’ve been making tools for days! Some stone tools found in Kenya are 3.3 million years old — 700,000 years older than any previous find. The tools are sharp blades, but what exactly they were used for is unknown. [The New York Times]

5.3 million youths

Youth participation in baseball in 2013, down from 8.8 million in 2000. This also worries Major League Baseball. “The biggest predictor of fan avidity as an adult is whether you played the game,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. [The Wall Street Journal]

$2.4 billion a year

On paper, jails cost New York City $1.1 billion a year. But the true number is over double that — $2.4 billion according to a report from the Vera Institute of Justice. The “hidden” costs included “benefits for jail employees, medical care for inmates, and administrative services.” Some 12 million people are admitted to America’s jails each year. [BuzzFeed News]

3.5 billion views

The total views of the videos of Joseph Garrett — nom du jeu Stampy — a Minecraft celebrity on YouTube. This edges out even Lady Gaga for total views. So we’re clear: A YouTube Minecraft video is, essentially, a video of a stranger playing with digital Lego’s. [The New York Times]

13 trillion electron volts

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator is being cranked up to 11! Well, to 13 trillion actually. After generating evidence of the Higgs boson — and a couple of Nobel Prizes in the process — at half that energy, physicists at the LHC are now searching for dark matter. Is that not what happened to Doctor Manhattan? [CBS News]

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This is my Significant Digits swan song. Tweet love notes and hate mail to @Ollie. Next week we resume our regularly scheduled programming, so tweet your juicy digits to my main man, @WaltHickey.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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