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Significant Digits For Monday, May 21, 2018

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


11.8 percent

The U.S. Post Office saw a shipping and package income of $19.5 billion last year, which is up 11.8 percent compared to the previous year. It was a bright spot in an otherwise tough financial position brought about thanks to a decline in first class mail and high health benefit costs the USPS is forced to set aside. Industry analysts believe about 40 percent of Amazon packages are delivered by the Postal Service and the company spent $21.7 billion on shipping costs in 2017. [The Washington Post]


37 percent

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) When you’re picking out a pair of jeans, you probably look at things like size and color. Next time, pay attention to the stretch factor, too. The higher the stretch factor, the more versatile the jeans are. These jeans have a sky-high stretch factor of 37 percent, allowing for comfort and freedom of movement without sacrificing the denim look.


38 percent

“Deadpool 2” won the box office and usurped “Avengers: Infinity War,” pulling in $125 million domestically and $176 million abroad in 81 markets, the biggest international opening for Fox ever. Market research indicated — and I don’t mean to shock you here — that the Deadpool movie’s audience skewed young (38 percent of ticket buyers were younger than 25) and male (61 percent). [The Hollywood Reporter]


60 plates per second

Automated license plate readers are devices that are mounted on police cars and can scan license plates — to the tune of up to 60 plates per second — and run those plates against a list of ones law enforcement suspects may be a potentially wanted or stolen vehicle. It’s a Constitutionally grey area — the closest we get to precedence vis-a-vis the necessity of a warrant is a 1983 Supreme Court case — but that’s not stopping even more sophisticated versions of LPRs to hit the market, like a new upgrade from manufacturer ELSAG that allows the devices to identify “color, seven body types, 34 makes, and nine visual descriptors” on top of the plate. [Ars Technica]


42 percent

A study of the 34 scripted shows slotted to debut on network television this fall found that 42 percent of key roles went to women and an equal number went to people of color. This is up from the batch of shows debuting last fall, when 35 percent of key roles in scripted shows on ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox, and NBC went to women and only 20 percent went to people of color. [Variety]


60 percent

By dollar value, that’s the percentage of electronic components in the ZTE Axon M phone that originate from U.S. companies like Qualcomm, SanDisk, Skyworks Solutions and Corning. This poses a mild problem, given a U.S. ban on shipments of phone parts to ZTE began in mid-April. [The Wall Street Journal]


271 coin offerings

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 1,450 digital coin offerings — instances where firms raise money off of a new cryptocurrency — found that in 271 cases there were red flags like plagiarism in investor documents, missing or fake executives or implications of guaranteed money. Those 271 iffy offerings have pulled in over a billion dollars from investors, which is an enormous chunk of the about $5 billion raised by the 1,450 coins studied. [The Wall Street Journal]


Thank you

Today is my last day with FiveThirtyEight; the column will continue, but this is the final edition of Significant Digits that I will write. I just want to personally thank you for reading. It’s been an enormous joy to work on this every day and interact with you all. My next venture is Numlock News, and I hope you’ll check it out. Either way, thanks for waking up with Significant Digits — this project has meant so much to me and you all were a big reason why.

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Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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