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Significant Digits for Monday, Jan. 5, 2015

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

2 seconds

As automakers start adding tablets to vehicles, they’re trying to keep in mind a voluntary guideline from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Limit any single interaction with a car’s technology to two seconds or less. At 60 mph, a car travels 176 feet in 2 seconds (or about the time it takes to put Miley Cyrus on repeat). [New York Times]

75 percent

France’s two-year-old tax rate on the nation’s highest earners is set to expire at the end of the month. Earnings over 1 million euros — roughly $1.2 million — were taxed at a whopping 75 percent rate. I have been unable to get a picture of a smiling Grover Norquist in a beret out of my head. [Reuters]

76 Matthews

An analysis of IMDb data found a relative paucity of heroic characters named Matt or Matthew on TV and in movies. There were just 156 Matts and 76 Matthews, despite Matthew ranking in the top 5 male names in every year from 1981 to 2006. Other common names, such as Jack or David, are equally common in TV and film. But as a Walter, I urge Matts to stop whining. [Medium]

200 fundraisers

A former adviser to Mike Huckabee said the former Arkansas governor would have to do between 200 and 300 fundraisers to amass the estimated $150 million needed to win the GOP nomination for president in 2016. [The Washington Post]

7:52 CST

Jan. 4 is the busiest day for online dating websites, according to data from and Plenty of Fish, with yearly traffic peaking sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. said the peak time for its traffic was 7:52 p.m. CST. [Quartz]


Estimated cost of doing CrossFit for one year in Manhattan, compared to about $6,000 per year doing SoulCycle four times a week. On the other hand, my daily fitness routine, eating a wheel of brie while watching Netflix, only costs about $800 per year. [New York Magazine]

150,000 acres

Poppy cultivation has almost tripled in Myanmar since 2006, as farmers turn to producing the in-demand and portable crop over others, such as coffee, which can take three years to produce beans. Close to 150,000 acres are devoted to poppy production. [The New York Times]


That’s the average cost for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2013 until age 18. Education and child care have both become much more expensive. Still, as with most things in the United States, it’s cheaper-per-unit to buy in bulk — the average cost for each subsequent child decreases. [Vox]


Average cost to produce an hourlong episode of a true-crime reenactment for the rapidly growing Investigation Discovery network. The pulpy shows — such as “Momsters: When Moms Go Bad” and “Wives With Knives” — are cheap to make, with scripts ripped from the headlines, allowing the network to crank out 700 hours of original content per year. [New York Times]

$9.69 billion

Movies released in 2014 made $9,690,909,381, according to Box Office Mojo, the lowest haul since 2011. [Box Office Mojo]

A Significant Digits daily newsletter is coming soon. If you want to be one of the first to receive it, sign up here. And, as always, if you see a significant digit out in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.