Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 4, 2015

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

0 games suspended

NFL Commissioner and [expletives redacted] Roger Goodell’s decision to suspend New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been overruled. Goodell, ever the senator’s son, pledged to fight this as far as it will go, but the long and short of it for now is that Brady will play in Week 1. This is, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, a rather big deal for the Patriots. [CNBC]

2 bears

A Chinese man was sold a bill of goods, to put it mildly, as apparently the two puppies he adopted two years ago were in fact black bears. The man realized the animals weren’t dogs after visiting a local wildlife sanctuary and seeing several bears. [The Dodo]

8 percent

Percentage of those ages 18 to 34 who identified themselves as members of the Greatest Generation in a Pew survey, to which I say damn right. Are people in that age range typically described as “millennials”? Sure. But let’s get a couple of things straight. First, naming generations is a pseudoscience developed by charlatans with peculiar and frankly stupid notions of generational predestination. Second, any society that has convinced itself that its greatest generation has past — and do not get me wrong, they were awesome — dooms itself to decline. Third, naming a new generation before its finest hour is an act of desperation that the dying prosecute on the ascending. Are 18- to 34-year-olds millennials? Maybe. Are they the greatest generation? Give us a few years to find out. Kudos to the 8 percent who think they already know. [Pew Research Center]

10 percent

Google Chrome is a busy web browser from a processing standpoint, with each individual tab constituting its own process. This means that the browser runs a lot slower when a lot of tabs are open. Google is rolling out an update that reduces each page’s memory use by 10 percent, something that could have a huge effect for people like me who still have tabs open from literally weeks ago. [The Verge]

33 percent

Polling for the New Democratic Party of Canada, according to the CBC. Canadians vote on Oct. 19, and right now Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party is lagging behind the NDP with 29 percent support. [Bloomberg]

52 years

Yesterday, my colleague Jody Avirgan — host of our fantastic What’s The Point podcast — spent the day on the New York City subway system, traveling 154 miles in almost 14 hours all over the city in pursuit of the longest continuous non-redundant subway trip. I bring this up because Jody is a madman, as apparently the New York City subway system is so decrepit and in need of infrastructure overhauls that one analysis estimates the work will take 52 years to complete. [New York Daily News]

84-hour work week

A metals company in Pittsburgh hired a staffing firm to put out the worst Craigslist ad ever, seeking replacement labor to work 84-hour weeks paying $1,700 to $3,000. Allegheny Technologies is currently in a contract dispute with employees stretching into its third week and desperately needs workers to cross the picket line to work 12-hour shifts. [Quartz]


A Peoria, Illinois, resident whose home was raided by police after running a Twitter account parodying the city’s mayor has settled a civil rights lawsuit for $125,000. I worry I’m reading this as “You can make money by annoying the right elected officials on the Internet” more than I probably should. [Ars Technica]

$14 million

Approximate amount spent on TV advertising by Republican campaigns and allies thus far in the election cycle. Is that a lot of money? Sure. But an estimated $4.4 billion will be spent on this election, so take this as a standard reminder that the race has barely begun. [FiveThirtyEight]

$500 million

Reported cash offer to Elemental Technologies, a mobile video company, from Amazon in an acquisition bid. Should that number bear out, it’ll be the fifth-largest Amazon acquisition ever. [Forbes]

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.