Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

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

1 hour, 12 minutes

This Sunday, it’s supermoon versus eclipse! For over an hour, the supermoon — a full moon occurring when the moon is closest in its orbit to Earth — will be blocked by our planet’s shadow in a total lunar eclipse. This hasn’t happened in more than 30 years. [NASA]

13 minutes, 22 seconds

In a valiant effort to dispel the Curse of the Billy Goat, five Chicago Cubs fans — who are also competitive eaters — devoured a 40-pound goat in 13 minutes and 22 seconds. The Cubs will likely play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild-card game on Oct. 7. [Wall Street Journal]

20 percent

During his first visit to the United States, Pope Francis exhorted bishops to help priests devote more time to caring for their parishioners’ spiritual needs. But that might be difficult: 20 percent of parishes have no priest in residence, wrote my colleague Leah Libresco. That number is up from about 5 percent just 30 years ago. [FiveThirtyEight]

360 pounds of cocaine

It’s fall! That means pumpkin spice lattes and decorative gourd season. But some gourds have been used for something else. Officials discovered 360 pounds of cocaine, worth more than $6 million, in a shipment of pumpkins and squash arriving at the Port of Philadelphia. It was the eighth-largest cocaine seizure at the port ever. [Associated Press]

At least 717 people

A stampede during Islam’s annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca killed at least 717 people and left more than 850 injured. The stampede happened less than two weeks after a crane crashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people. [New York Times]


Singer Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” has been played 178 million times on music streaming services. But the song’s co-writer, Kevin Kadish, says he’s received just $5,679 as a result. That works out to $0.00003 per stream. [Quartz]

7,000 cops

Pope Francis is currently in New York City. And he’s not traveling alone. At least 7,000 New York Police Department officers will be on duty for the visit. There will be “a lot of overtime,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. [New York Daily News]

2 million refugees

Turkey has taken in 2 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees and spent $7.6 billion to care for them — but they can’t stay. They are not allowed to seek asylum, and work permits are hard to obtain. Many plan to risk their lives to get to Greece, according to experts. [NPR]

240 million cousins

Hey, you, we’re cousins. A.J. Jacobs, an editor at large for Esquire, is showing exactly how, by helping build a family tree of the entire human race. So far, it contains 240 million people. [FiveThirtyEight]

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.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.