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Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 2, 2016

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. It’s Guest Week here at this column, which means a cavalcade of FiveThirtyEight writers has agreed to keep you numerate. Today’s guest writer: @ollie.


1 minute, 15 seconds

IBM’s Watson — our computer overlord that was welcomed in 2011 by Ken Jennings on “Jeopardy!” — is now in the movie business. The artificially intelligent Watson helped cut a 1 minute, 15 second trailer for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming horror flick “Morgan.” Using visual and audio analyses, the system identified moments from the film that were especially frightening, and a human editor spliced them into a comprehensible preview. [TechCrunch]


150 hours of commercials

Television commercials are an indelible part of childhood. Whether it’s cowboys obsessed with picante sauce, the virtues of savory microwavable pastries, or hallucinogenic zebra gum, TV ads are the gooey medium that is still the mortar for my fragile, 30-something psyche. However, a troubling new study from Exstreamist estimates that today’s children are spared 150 hours of commercials a year, thanks to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. I weep for the future. [Engadget]


178 years later

In 1838, Jesuit priests sold 272 slaves to shore up the struggling finances of Georgetown University. Yesterday the university announced a plan to offer preferential status in admissions to the descendants of the slaves whose forced labor benefited (and physically built) the school. The recompense will also include a formal apology, a new institute for the study of slavery, and renamed campus buildings — but no financial assistance. [The New York Times]


2,271 words

If you sign up to volunteer making phone calls for the Donald Trump campaign, you might want to retain counsel. Would-be volunteers are required to sign an unusual 2,271-word non-disclosure agreement. Among its stipulations: A volunteer must promise not to disparage Trump “during the term of your service and at all times thereafter.” For-ev-er. [The Cincinnati Enquirer]


$143 million

Hillary Clinton’s august August fundraisers garnered $143 million for her campaign and the Democratic Party, more than any month so far this cycle. She’s had better luck than me in the Hamptons. The last time I was there, Paul McCartney was conspicuously absent, I danced alone and all I took home was a sunburn. [The Washington Post]


$915.6 million

It’s summertime, but the livin’ isn’t so easy for Hollywood. Summer typically generates about 40 percent of yearly moviegoing sales, but this year, of the 32 movies released by the six major studios, 17 of them lost a combined $915.6 million. It might be time to ask Watson if it knows how to direct. [Bloomberg]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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