Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Monday, Aug. 31, 2015

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

1 year

A team of six NASA astronauts began a one-year isolation project in Hawaii to simulate a year on Mars without fresh air or privacy. I really hope Fox options this for a terrible reality show. [BBC]

3 times as likely

A new study found that British teenagers who identified with the Goth subculture at age 15 were three times as likely to be clinically depressed in their teen years as those who did not. [The Guardian]

4 months

An Australian man was released from a months-long detention after a substance in his possession originally believed to be methamphetamine turned out to just be Epsom salts. He was in the clink for four months before police finally got around to making sure the rocks were meth. If I were him, I would be so mad at the guy who sold me that “meth.” [The Independent]

72.2 percent

Percentage of pop stars — a set of the 50 top-selling artists of each decade — from 1950 to 2014 who were born in the United States. The U.K. comes in at a far second, with 15.6 percent of the stars in the set. [CityLab]

118 years

President Obama approved an order from the Secretary of the Interior to rename the peak known as Mount McKinley for the last 118 years to its original Alaskan appellation, Denali. This has been an Alaska vs. Ohio fight for some time: the former — where the mountain is in fact located — has long fought to call the peak by its Koyukon Athabascan name, while the latter, where President William McKinley was born, has sought to nix the change. Obama — a guy who presumably gets non-contiguous states, being from Hawaii — finally approved the change. Also, Speaker John Boehner is ticked. [Alaska Dispatch News]

11,000 years

A wooden statue found in the peat bogs of Russia 125 years ago has just been dated to 11,000 years old, making it the oldest wooden artifact in the world. It’s covered in an encrypted code nobody can decipher, but scholars seem to think it contains the outlines of a belief system. [Yahoo News]


About 850 vintage Atari games found in a landfill in New Mexico have sold for a total of $108,000 on eBay. The city of Alamogordo will get most of the funds, with $16,000 going to the local historical society. [CTV News]


How much Major League Baseball paid for the domain in 2000, in addition to six months of free advertising for the domain’s original owners, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. It’s been a steady fight in the following 15 years to nail down domain names for each of the league’s 30 franchises, and only three preferred domains remain out of MLB’s grasp:, which is owned by the New York football team,, owned by a Seattle restaurant, and, which is a whole other story involving a pair of legitimate twins who refuse to sell. [Grantland]

$1.8 million

“We Are Your Friends,” a movie about electronic dance music starring Zac Efron, had one of the worst wide-release openings ever, earning only $1.8 million from 2,333 screens this past weekend. [Variety]

5.5 billion barrels

A huge natural gas field has been found off the coast of Egypt by an Italian energy group. It’s got up to 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, about the same as 5.5 billion barrels of oil. [BBC]

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.