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Significant Digits For Monday, Dec. 18, 2017

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

2 percent

An economic collapse that began in 2014 has led to staggering problems across Venezuela. Malnutrition is a huge one. And while the government has been suppressing data about the extent of the problem, a 2015 report showed the mortality rate for children under four weeks in Venezuela had increased to 2 percent, from 0.02 percent in 2012. [The New York Times]


35 percent

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) How does the stretch factor of a pair of jeans affect when and where you wear them? Simply put, the higher the stretch factor, the more versatile the jeans are. When you start approaching stretch factors of 35 percent, like these jeans, you can do pretty much any activity you want in them.


2 counts of assault

An acclaimed British surgeon pleaded guilty to two counts of assault after carving his initials into the livers of two of his patients by using an electric beam otherwise used to seal blood vessels. The hepatic graffiti was discovered when one woman’s liver did not heal properly. [The Washington Post]


8 octogenarians

There are eight senators who are at least 80-years-old, nearly twice as many as ever before. The varying health needs of those senators has required some logistical maneuvering from leadership in order to schedule votes. Still, being one of the most powerful people in the country is pretty sweet — all things considered — so senators have an incentive to remain in their positions as long as they can. [The Washington Post]


11 percentage points

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found Republicans getting slammed on the generic ballot: 50 percent of respondents said they preferred Democrats lead Congress next year to 39 percent who preferred Republicans, the first double-digit lead in the poll for Democrats since 2008. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News figures are in line with FiveThirtyEight’s tracker, which looks at all polls and has Democrats leading Republicans 48.7 percent to 37.6 percent. [The Wall Street Journal, FiveThirtyEight]


1,180 flight cancellations

An 11-hour power outage affecting the cornerstone of the U.S. air transportation system, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, led to 1,180 flight cancellations in and out of Atlanta. [CNN]


$220 million

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” made $220 million in the U.S. and Canada in its opening weekend, which makes it only the fourth film to open above $200 million. Adjusted for inflation, it’s looking at a release on par with 2012’s “The Avengers.” [USA Today]


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If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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