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Significant Digits For Monday, March 9, 2015

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

1 percent increase

Daylight saving time is not the energy saver it’s intended to be. According to one Indiana study, it results in a 1 percent increase in residential electricity use. This is further evidence, if we needed it, of the futility of humanity attempting to manipulate time itself. [Quartz]

2.2 miles

The length of a troubled streetcar line in Washington, D.C. The city has invested $200 million in a system eventually projected to cost $3 billion, but it has missed several targeted opening dates and might be scuttled. [The Washington Post]

4 inches

Fairbanks, Alaska, finally got some fresh snow a day before the Iditarod dogsled race was due to start. The annual race had to be moved north because snow levels were insufficient along the planned route. [AP]

6.1 percent

Percentage of Albanians who sought an American green card in 2013 through a U.S. State Department immigration lottery called the Diversity Visa Program. [Dadaviz]

30 percent of beaches

In Florida, sea-level rise from climate change threatens 3 in 10 beaches by the year 2100. Meanwhile, the state government banned Department of Environmental Protection employees from using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming ” in official communications. [Miami Herald]

32 percent chance

After finishing its regular season undefeated, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team has roughly a one-in-three chance of finishing 40-0, based on probabilities calculated before Saturday’s regular-season finale. [FiveThirtyEight]


Two New York City auxiliary police officers were arrested after allegedly ripping off a delivery man of his wallet, his phone and $180 in cash. Courtesy, professionalism, respect. [The New York Times]

227-page report

The International Cycling Union dropped a report about how doping was tolerated for years in cycling, blaming Lance Armstrong. Whatever, right? Here’s the crazy part: In order to smuggle blood into France — without trying to sneak blood bags past border police — one rider was given “two to three units of blood in Madrid and he would then travel to France, where the units would be removed immediately, to be used later throughout the Tour.” The hell? [The New York Times]

9,000 recipes

IBM supercomputer Watson is taking a stab at cooking, factoring in 9,000 recipes from Bon Appétit to understand what kinds of food go well with one another, like black pepper with saffron, paprika with carrot, or boxed macaroni and cheese with all the remaining booze in my house. [Kernel Mag]


“American Sniper” surpassed “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” as the top-grossing film of 2014 this past weekend. Local lifestyle writers were heard to say that the latter film “totally had it coming because of that stupid title.” [Box Office Mojo]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.