You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.
11 days in the wild
The amount of time a family of three — Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his two sons, aged 7 and 5 — survived while lost in an Australian National Park. Someone on a motorcycle found them when they had only a few slices of bread left. [The Guardian]
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has engaged in at least 14 raised-voice confrontations with regular people since 2010, usually at town hall meetings. Aides said the governor has held 127 town halls across the state, so if we assume for a second that all of them happened at town halls, it puts the odds of a confrontation breaking out at roughly 11 percent. That’s a threat level somewhere between a guy cutting you off on the Turnpike and a Jets home win. [The Washington Post]
15 percent of marriages
There’s been a huge jump in multiracial marriages recently, which make up 15 percent of recent unions. In 2010, that number was 8.4 percent; in 1960, 0.4 percent. [Brookings Institute]
97 percent of teams
That’s the proportion of 9-3 NFL teams that eventually made the playoffs in the last 24 years. The Eagles, who were 9-3 three weeks ago, were eliminated from playoff contention yesterday. [FiveThirtyEight]
20 million cats and dogs
People in Japan take holiday pet presents seriously, showering their furry friends with luxury goods and even vacations. The nation has only 16 million people under the age of 15 but 20 million cats and dogs. [The Washington Post]
90 deaths per day
U.S. traffic fatalities were down in 2013, with 32,719 people dying in car accidents compared to 33,782 in 2012. [Associated Press]
In China, the village of Yiwu is responsible for manufacturing 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations. The 600 factories produce everything from plastic snowflakes to the felt Santa hats adorning our drunkest SantaCon attendees. [The Guardian]
Following allegations that the company over-billed the U.S. government, Lockheed Martin will pay the feds $27.5 million. The defense contractor is said to have overcharged the feds for work performed by people who were unqualified. A lesser column would seize this opportunity to make a joke about Congress. [Reuters]
34 million packages
UPS will deliver that many packages on Monday, the most it has ever delivered. Last year around this time, UPS bungled the delivery of millions of packages, prompting it to spend $500 million on system upgrades in advance of this year. [The Wall Street Journal]
$4 billion per year
Economics professor Joel Waldfogel estimated that poorly chosen gifts caused between $4 billion and $13 billion annually in economic waste. [The New York Times]
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CORRECTION (Dec. 22, 5:18 p.m.): This post originally misspelled Joel Waldfogel’s first name.