Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Monday, March 16, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as a email newsletter, subscribe.


Cost of a 95-page booklet describing a cinnamon-based cure for diabetes. GOP presidential contender and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was a spokesman for the product. Now would probably be a good time to mention that cinnamon does not cure diabetes. [New York Times]

41 percent

March Madness has begun: The men’s bracket was announced Sunday night, and FiveThirtyEight’s model gives the University of Kentucky a 41 percent chance of winning the whole thing. [FiveThirtyEight]

90 percent of buildings

Vanuatu, an island nation located in the Pacific, was ravaged by a cyclone that reportedly damaged 90 percent of the buildings in Port Vila, the capital. [Associated Press]

90 percent

We’re not super sure what’s up with Russian President Vladimir Putin lately. He hasn’t been seen in public, which has caused a lot of speculation about what Russia would be like without him. One group of people presumably not speculating about this: the 90 percent of Russians who get their news from state controlled television. [The Atlantic]

108.6 inches

Oh, look, Boston totally beat the previous city record for total winter snowfall. “There will be no parade,” tweeted the mayor. [Associated Press]

1,500 streams

According to Billboard, 1,500 streams of a song is considered equivalent to one album sale. That differs substantially from the current market value of those streams. [Kernal Mag]

1,609 active rigs

Peak rig activity in the U.S. over the past several years, reached on Oct. 10, 2014. The recent collapse of oil prices have meant the number of active rigs has cratered. [Bloomberg Business]

10,000 years

How long a volcano needs to chill out before being described as “dormant.” The distinction between an “active,” “dormant” and “extinct” volcano is actually somewhat nuanced. Extinct volcanos are cut off from a magma supply, active volcanos are, well, active, and dormant volcanoes haven’t erupted for at least 10,000 years (but with scientists believing it will erupt again). [Mental Floss]

$500,000 per episode

When Netflix scored the digital distribution rights for “Friends,” they paid more than $500,000 per episode. Now that “Seinfeld” is on the block, the 180 episodes are reportedly going to catch an even higher price. While Netflix has tapped out of the negotiations, Amazon, Yahoo and Hulu are reportedly still in. [Wall Street Journal]

117 million .coms

The “.com” moniker turned 30 on Sunday. March 15, 1985 was the day manufacturer Symbolics decided to claim “” as their web address, the first of now 117 million dot-com websites. [VentureBeat]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter to be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. If you don’t see a significant digit in the wild, still tweet @WaltHickey, because why not.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.