Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, Oct. 16, 2015

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

55 percent

Percentage of registered Democrats who thought Hillary Clinton won Tuesday’s debate, according to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll. About 22 percent said Sen. Bernie Sanders won. [The Huffington Post]

617 emergency room visits

About 617 people go to the emergency room each year due to side effects of taking sexual-enhancement supplements. [FiveThirtyEight]


How much Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, tried to donate to Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders declined the contribution, and will donate it to a health clinic in Washington. Shkreli was the guy who tried to jack up the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 a pill to $750. [The Week]

9,800 U.S. troops

President Obama announced on Thursday that he will maintain 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year. For some perspective on the matter, the U.S. has had troops in Afghanistan since I was 11 years old. [FiveThirtyEight]


Democrat Lincoln Chafee reported raising a skull-crushing $15,000 in campaign contributions in the third quarter, which is slightly less than the cost of a Ford Focus. [FEC, via @ByronTau]

200,000 laser pointers

Approximate number of standard laser pointers (the kind you use to distract your cat) one would need to assemble into a weapon capable of killing someone. Remember yesterday when I said my laser tag team was accepting applications? We’re no longer accepting new members, we’re kind of scared of who’s going to apply now. [Gizmodo]

220,000 investors

Number of investors in China who may lose their money after all trading at the Fanya Metal Exchange was suspended six months ago. [Quartz]

800,000 Facebook profiles

According to Facebook, around 800,000 Americans have changed their profile in the past year to express a same-sex attraction. Call it the “Anthony Kennedy Facebook Effect.” [Facebook]

$4.2 million

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, still running for president, raised $4.2 million this past quarter, about 67 percent of which was already spent in the same period. Christie is barely hovering above the polling average needed to earn a podium at the forthcoming CNBC debate. He also killed the proposal to build another New Jersey to New York City tunnel, which has kind of ruined my commute for the past three years. So yes, I have a bone to pick with the guy. [The Wall Street Journal]

$77 billion

Cost to the U.S. economy in 2010 due to hungover workers, according to the CDC. In related news, today I learned the government is hella judgy. [Bloomberg]

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.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.