Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

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

0.011 seconds

The Daytona 500 was decided by “less than a nose” — a nostril? a philtrum? — on Sunday, as Denny Hamlin bested Martin Truex Jr. in a photo finish. Hamlin won by 4 feet, or 0.011 seconds, in the tightest finish in the race’s history. [USA Today]

No. 1

Apparently Adele, like most of the rest of us, doesn’t give a damn about the Grammys, and so shook off her technical difficulties there last Monday to regain the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, which apparently still exists, with her album “25.” Second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. [Rolling Stone]

5 degrees Celsius

I don’t care what anyone says, chess is badass. You’ve got chess boxing. You’ve got grandmaster Maurice Ashley schooling trash talkers in the park. And now you’ve got these Russian swimmers pushing pieces while sitting in freezing, barely liquid water. Why? Because chess is badass, that’s why. [Daily Mirror]

6 casinos

Doubling down on the plot of “Ocean’s 11,” Nevada held its Democratic caucuses Saturday, including six caucuses simultaneously at six major casinos. In a coup worthy of Danny Ocean himself, Hillary Clinton won them all. Clinton now has 502 delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 70 (although, that lead comes mostly from superdelegates). [The Hill]

20th anniversary

David Foster Wallace’s doorstop “Infinite Jest” was first published 20 years ago tomorrow, and — now that folks have finally had the time to finish the 500,000-plus-word novel — publisher Little, Brown and Company is releasing a 20th anniversary edition, with a new introduction and some crowdsourced fan cover art. A whole new generation of wannabe literati will now have something new to tote on the subway, artfully arrange in the background of Tinder photos, and show off in prominent locations on Brooklyn bookshelves. (But seriously, Dave, all love and rest in peace and I promise to stop trying to write like you so much.) [The Millions]

59 points

The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis went off on Sunday, scoring 59 points in a 111-106 victory over the Pistons. The Brow’s tally was good for a franchise record and an NBA season high. Oh, and he also had 20 rebounds. So, like, what’d you do Sunday? I had some breakfast — bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel with ketchup and hot sauce — and then wrote this column. And yeah, that was about it. Pretty good Sunday. [Washington Post]

101 endorsement points

Marco Rubio cracked triple digits in our endorsement tracker, which awards 1 point for a congressional endorsement, 5 points for a senatorial endorsement, and 10 points for a gubernatorial endorsement. Rubio now sits comfortably ahead of Ted Cruz, who has 22 points, John Kasich (20), Ben Carson (1), and Donald Trump (0). [FiveThirtyEight]

18,300 applicants

Some 18,300 people applied for NASA’s 2017 astronaut class, breaking a nearly 40-year-old record. They will be competing for eight to 14 openings. Sorry, NASA, I am happily otherwise employed. (But, like, just DM for my cell, OK?) [Christian Science Monitor]


Taylor Swift donated a quarter of a million dollars to Kesha, who has been fighting a legal battle to get out of a six-album deal with Sony, which brought her into contact with a producer called Dr. Luke, who Kesha alleges drugged and raped her. Dr. Luke was never criminally charged. [E! Online]

$13.6 million

With Super Tuesday just over a week away, the race for the Republican presidential nomination is wide open, as are the candidates’ purse strings. Ted Cruz is the best-financed candidate. He began this month with $13.6 million cash on hand. [New York Times]

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.

If you see a significant digit in the wild this week, send it to me: @ollie.

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.